Gs 13 Runestone – Gävle, Sweden - Atlas Obscura

Gs 13 Runestone

A Viking man's tribute to his brother stands in Gävle's oldest church. 

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Gävle is an old fishing town over the Gavleån river. The current city is about 500 years old, but the site was home to much earlier settlements, including some Viking ones. But due to their way of life and the materials that they used, not much remains of these former cities and villages.

One significant surviving item is the Gs 13 runestone, a medieval Christian text that provides evidence showing the religion had spread to the far north in the 11th century. According to the inscription, a man named Brúsi erected the stone in memory of his brother Egill, who died in Tafeistaland. The stone also pleads for God and God’s mother to watch Egill’s soul.

The exact translation reads: “Brúsi had this stone erected in memory of Egill, his brother. And he died in Tafeistaland, when Brúsi bore long-spear [battle standard] after his brother. He travelled with Freygeirr. May God and God’s mother help his soul. Sveinn and Ásmundr, they marked.”

The stone originally stood in Södertull in Sörby and was carved by Åsmund Kåresson, who lived during the 11th century. It was moved from its original spot to the church in 1895. The stone is 7.2 feet high (2.2 meters) and 3.6 feet wide (1.1  meters). The edge is damaged along the entire stone, especially on the left side. A replica can be found at stone’s original spot.

Know Before You Go

The stone is in the vestibule of the church and can be viewed during opening hours.