Neutron beam sheds light on medieval faith and superstition. A Norwegian amulet dating back more than 700 years has been hiding a runic inscription that holds religious and magic significance.

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Paywall articles should be banned on this sub


I feel like I just hit the lottery! I’ve realized that I have not EVER been bored enough to even think about paying 199 dollars to a website to read about a rock! Cool rock, but it’s not ever happening, and now I’m pretty freaking excited about how bored I’ve never been!


For those who are just here for the inscription: 1. They weren’t able to compile a really clear text from it but it definitely references the Tetragrammaton and most likely references St Olaf. It also contains some gibberish that might be magical incantations or might just be actually gibberish. 2. It appears to be Latin transcribed in Norse runes, although the researchers theorize that the inscriber might not have actually known Latin except from exposure at mass. 3. This is from after the area was fully Christianized (although that’s probably apparent from point 1). Having said that, there’s some other interesting stuff in the paper if you’re at all interested in how we actually uncover knowledge from the past and it’s worth a read (/u/Karantalsis provides a link with a PDF in their comment). Not terribly long, but unsurprisingly a fair bit of technical jargon.


Any way through the paywall?


Interesting that this 700 year old amulet uses similar principles to contemporary sigil magic, i.e. hiding the magic words from sight within objects seen or handled commonly. There are also clay balls from Africa with magic inscriptions hidden inside them that are several thousand years old. I doubt any of these three are directly related, but there is some common pattern that connects them.