Why did Vikings sometimes use codes when they wrote in runes? Were the messages secret, or did they have other reasons for encrypting their runic texts? Researchers still don’t know for sure.
A rather forthright message written in code: “Kiss me” is etched into a piece of bone found in Sigtuna in Sweden, dating to the 12th or 13th century. The code is in cipher runes, the most common code known from medieval Scandinavia. This variety is called ice runes [Credit: Jonas Nordby]
But Runologist K. Jonas Nordby thinks he has made progress toward an answer. He has managed to crack a code called jötunvillur, which has baffled linguists and historians for years.
His discovery can help researchers understand the purpose behind the mystery codes.