Cow’s rib with runic inscription from St Benedict’s Square, Lincoln. (c) Christer Hamp, 2011, courtesy of The Collection, Lincoln
Rune Inscribed Rib (LCNCC : 1999.103.104)
Cow’s rib with runic inscription from St Benedict’s Square, Lincoln
Runes were used not only for monumental inscriptions, or to mark ownership of valuable objects, but also in more informal contexts. In this case the animal bone suggests an after-dinner pastime after a good meal in the Anglo-Scandinavian trading centre of Lincoln. The runes read ——l × hitir × stin × … Only two words of the Old Norse inscription can be read with certainty, and even so they are ambiguous. One possible interpretation is ‘[someone] is heating a stone’ the other is ‘[someone] is called Stein’. The bone is fragmentary, but the inscription may never have been intended to make much sense. The object dates from around the 10th century. It is one of only three runic inscriptions from the East Midlands.