According to Scandinavian mythology, the Runes were discovered by the god Odin as he hung impaled on the world tree, Yggdrasil, for nine days and nine nights.
Carved Runestones of great antiquity can be found mainly in Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and a few elsewhere.
Many were carved as commemorative markers for people or events, and many were destroyed by christian missionaries and monks during the countries conversion, often being seen as reminders of their pagan past. Many are thought to be carved on standing stones which were of even greater antiquity and may have stood since neolithic times.
These pictures are just a selection of some of my favourite Scandinavian Runestones ,though im not sure of some of the translations in english.
This one is the 'Smiths stone' in Llungby Nisse (?), Smaland, Which had been used as building stone in an old house, and was re-discovered in 1954.
Small Rune staves used for divination and other magical purposes were more traditionally made of wood.
SOME BRITISH RUNESTONES..................
This stone was found on the isle of Barra off the west coast of Scotland and commemorates Thorgerth, daughter of Steinar.
This stone was found in Yorkshire in Northern England. The inscription says 'Eoh made this'. Eoh is the name of the rune representing the yew tree, a tree which has always been held sacred in its association with death and rebirth, hence it being common in cemeteries and for its use in coffin making.
These are just some of the runes carved on the stones inside the beautiful barrow at Maes Howe, a neolithic temple on the Orkney islands just off the north coast of Scotland.
This inscription says "The man who is most skilled in runes west of the ocean carved these runes", but he doesn't give his name. There are many inscriptions and verses inside the barrow, some of which speak of magical axes, and buried treasure etc.
This lovely Rune-ring was also found in Yorkshire in northern england, but is kept in the national museum in Copenhagen.
The franks casket is carved from whalebone, with scenes from Scandinavian mythology.