Researcher: Vikings used coded runes for romantic messages

Feb. 13, 2014 at 11:25 AM
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OSLO, Norway, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- A researcher at Norway's University of Oslo said his research found Vikings sometimes used coded runes to send each other romantic messages.

Jonas Nordby, a Ph.D. candidate at the school, said his studies of more than 80 coded runic inscriptions found coded messages, including some using the previously undecipherable Jotunvillur Code, were often used to pass along frivolous thoughts, reported Thursday.

"Many believe the Vikings used cryptography to hide secret messages. But I think the codes were used to joke around and to learn runes, rather than to communicate," Nordby told science website Forskning. "We have little reason to believe that rune codes were used to hide sensitive messages. People often wrote short, everyday messages."

Nordby said one coded message, found carved into a piece of bone discovered in Sigtuna, Sweden, reads, "kiss me."

The researcher said his studies allowed him to crack the Jotunvillur Code, which has baffled experts for decades.

"It's like solving a puzzle," Nordby said. "Gradually I began to see a pattern in what was an apparently meaningless combinations of runes."

"I think it was something you practiced while learning runes," Nordby told Forskning. "If you learned to read and write, you would also have learned codes."

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