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RuneS module conference on Runic Text grammar and Pragmatics
Ninth International Symposium on Runes and Runic Inscriptions (ISRRI 9) with the title:
Functions of runic literacy 200 to 1500 AD: Text-types and historico-cultural contexts,
June 14–19, 2022, Akademie Sankelmark, Schleswig-Holstein
Organisers on site: Christiane Zimmermann, Ute Zimmermann, Gregor Große-Bölting, Felix Weißenrieder

The International Symposium on Runes and Runic Inscriptions (ISRRI), which takes place every five years, is the central runological specialist conference, last in Germany in 1995. Originally, the conference had been planned already for 2020, but had to be postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic, finally taking place in 2022. As even in early 2022 the pandemic situation was not completely foreseeable, the conference was planned as a hybrid meeting; in this way, five presentations were delivered from a distance by participants from Iceland, Italy, Austria, Russia and Sweden; in addition, all presentations and discussions were accessible online. All in all, around 70 runologists from 15 countries took part in the conference in person, including around 20 doctoral students and young researchers. Due to geographical proximity, the organising body regarding planning and preparation was the RuneS research unit Kiel (Gregor-Große-Bölting, Edith Marold, Felix Weißenrieder, Christiane Zimmermann, Ute Zimmermann).

The conference was financially supported primarily by the Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Lower Saxony. Further support was provided by Kungl. Gustav Adolfs Akademien för svensk folkkultur, Kungl. Humanistiska Vetenskaps-Samfundet i Uppsala, Uppsala Runforum, Donation of Charles and Myrna Smith, St. Paul, Minnesota and the Frederik-Paulsen-Foundation.

Conceived as the module conference for Module III, Runic Text grammar and Pragmatics, the conference dealt with the topic “Functions of runic literacy 200 to 1500 AD: Text-types and historico-cultural contexts“. Oriented along the three great periods of runic literacy, the  59 papers were into three thematic blocks, (1) inscriptions in the older fuþark from the Roman Iron Age and the Migration Period, (2) inscriptions from the Viking Period in the younger fuþąrk/ fuþork and inscriptions in the Anglo-Frisian fuþorc, (3) inscriptions from the Scandinavian Middle Ages in the younger fuþąrk/fuþork. Each block was introduced by a keynote.

Other thematic sections treated central issues of the digitisation of runic inscriptions and of artefacts with (additional) ornamental or iconographic markings (Workshop Digital Runes) as well as the structure and the concept of new runic editions. The complete programme and the abstracts of the presentations can be viewed under https://www.isrri2022.uni-kiel.de/schedule/ and  https://www.isrri2022.uni-kiel.de/abstracts/.

Four parallel all-day excursions to runologically, archaeologically and historically significant places in Schleswig-Holstein and in Southern Denmark as well as a half-day excursion to the World Heritage Site of Haithabu and the Schlei region rounded off the programme.

The publication of the conference proceedings will take place in cooperation with the University  of Uppsala (Marco Bianchi and Henrik Williams) in the series Runrön .

The RuneS members gave the following presentations:


ScriptandSound V
From the Maya Script to the Germanic Runes – Case studies on the Typology of Scripts and Research on Writing Systems
October 25–28, 2022, Fevik, Norway
Co-organisers of the RuneS-group were: Alessia Bauer, Kerstin Kazzazi, Gaby Waxenberger

The fifth conference of the international and interdisciplinary conference series LautSchrift SpracheScriptandSound was organised in cooperation with the editors of the publication series ScriptandSound Paola Cotticelli and Gaby Waxenberger, further RuneS members involved were Kerstin Kazzazi and Alessia Bauer, the organizer on site in Fevik, Norway, was Prof Dr Michael Schulte. Sponsors for the conference were the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung, the Universitetet i Agder – Fakultet for humaniora og pedagogikk, the Kungliga Humanistiska Vetenskaps-Samfundet i Uppsala and Kungliga Gustav Adolfs Akademien för svensk folkkultur, Uppsala.

This conference was dedicated to the topic From the Maya Script to the Germanic Runes – Case studies on the Typology of Scripts and Research on Writing Systems. Whereas the first LSS conferences had dealt mainly with the phonographic, specifically the alphabetical script type, the fifth LSS conference systematically broadened the view to include other script types and writing systems. This meant making an inventory of different language and script-constellations in hitherto unconsidered geographical spaces (e.g., North and South America, China, India) as well as taking stock of different time horizons (Elamite cuneiform script 4th cent. B.C. vs. Cherokee syllabic script 19th century A.D.) and the respective specific developments. By including completely independently developed scripts such as the Maya script, it was possible to take into consideration further script-typological and cultural historical dimensions. Therefore, at the conference, corresponding ideographic, logosyllabic and alphabetical scripts with different types of characters applied in writing languages and language stages on different continents were presented. The comparative perspective focused on the application of scripts and writing systems on different languages.

The RuneS members Gaby Waxenberger and Kerstin Kazzazi will also function as co-editors of the conference proceedings.

The RuneS members gave the following presentations:

  • Alessia Bauer: „The Icelandic Runica manuscripta: Between Tradition and adaptation“.
  • Julia-Sophie Heier: „A difference in writing: The case of formulaic vs. non-formulaic words in Viking-age runic inscriptions in Scania“.
  • Kerstin Kazzazi: „Attempting a typology of writing: script types, writing systems and written languages“.
  • Gaby Waxenberger: „Is the perfect fit more perfect in runic writing in England?“
  • Christiane Zimmermann: „Writing in/with runes: Graphetic phenomena in the runic inscriptions in the older futhark“.



RuneS module conferenence on
Runic Graphemics
ScriptandSound IV
November 8−10, 2018, Munich, organised in cooperation with the editors of the series ScriptandSound Paola Cotticelli and Gaby Waxenberger; organisers on site: Alessia Bauer, Gaby Waxenberger.

The module conference on Runic Graphemics took place from Nov 8–10, 2018 at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich (LMU), organised as part of the international and interdisciplinary conference series LautSchriftSpracheScriptandSound. The conference addressed questions regarding the configuration of the sign-phoneme relation, dealt with by specialists on graphemics from different individual philologies working on a wide range of different writing systems (e.g., the Hittite cuneiform script, Luvian hieroglyphics, ogham, North Italian alphabets, the Latin script used for various languages and language stages). The main aim was to provide scope for methodology and concepts as well as recurring questions in the evolving discipline of Historical Graphemics. However, runes formed the central topic of the conference, being treated by all project members in their presentations, but also by external runologists. In this way, it was possible to present and discuss various aspects of the inscriptions from different rune rows (older fuþark; English and Frisian (Pre-)fuþorc and younger fuþąrk/fuþork) as well as their linguistic attribution (e.g., North Germanic, (Pre)Old English/(Pre-) Old Frisian). This ensured that the methodological approach used in and the insights gained from the graphemic studies by RuneS could be discussed with a larger international and indisciplinary academic audience.

Papers given by the members of the project group were:

  • Jens-Uwe Bahr: „Building a Toolset: Collection, Verification and Presentation of information in the RuneS project“
  • Julia-Sophie Heier: „In <stain> gemeißelt: orthographische und graphtypologische Varianz der wikingerzeitlichen Runensteine in Schonen“
  • Edith Marold: „Langzweig-s-Runen für /k/ in Norwegen”
  • Alessandro Palumbo: „Orthographic Parallels between Roman and Runic Script in Medieval Sweden“
  • Gaby Waxenberger: „The Runes c and g and Their Velar Counterparts in the OE fuþorc
  • Christiane Zimmermann und Kerstin Kazzazi: „Prozesse und Ergebnisse einer vergleichenden funktionalen Analyse der runischen Verschriftung: Fallbeispiel Älteres fuþark – Anglo-friesisches fuþorc
  • Christiane Zimmermann und Ute Zimmermann: „Vergleichende formale Beschreibung runischer Graphe: Fallbeispiele Älteres fuþark – Anglo-friesisches fuþorc – Jüngeres fuþąrk/fuþork



In 2016, RuneS members were involved as academic advisors and co-organisers of the following conference:

Epigraphics in an intermedial context, Oslo, 16–18 November 2016 (organized by Alessia Bauer [RuneS-project group], Elise Kleivane and Terje Spurkland):

The study of epigraphics represents an important part of Old Norse, Celtic and Medieval studies. The subject of the present investigation will be all kinds of inscriptions from north-western Europe, such as runic inscriptions, Roman letter inscriptions and Ogham, from the Viking Age and Medieval Period. By focusing on inscriptions with different writing systems, we aim to open up for comparative analyses of Scandinavian and Insular epigraphical records and their functions.
Interpretations of epigraphical texts are, more than texts in manuscripts, dependent on the material context carrying them. This context should be taken into consideration in order to get a better understanding of the inscriptions which often are rather short and laconic. The object on which the text is written will in most cases give insight into the situational context the written communication was produced in, and hereby reveal the function it may have had. In connection to this, we may ask to what extent the carver was aware of the material and kind of object he was using. This opens for the possibility that different speech acts required specific materials and artefacts, and a question in relation to that is if we then may observe different kinds of literacy at play.
Intermediality is an important aspect in the study of epigraphics. The range of definitions of inter-mediality is quite wide: in a narrow sense intermediality is the combination and adaptation of very diverse material vehicles of representation, for example text and image. In a broader sense it could also be meant as two separated variants of one medium, through which a particular function can be achieved, by highlighting parts of text. In our opinion different writing systems – such as runes, Roman letters and Ogham – can be con-sidered as distinct media, and we intend to explore their interaction and the interplay between writing and ornamentation or other paratextual features, as well as their lay-out. In addition we consider the use of more than one language – Nordic, Latin, Celtic and Anglo-Saxon – as a facet of intermediality.

RuneS project members gave the following papers:

Bauer, Alessia: „Manuscript runes in an intermedial perspective“.



In 2014, RuneS members were involved as academic advisors and co-organisers of the following conferences:

1) The theory and method of runology. 27th Meeting of the Field Runologists, 4–6 April 2014, Centre for Advanced Study, Oslo:

The 27th Annual Meeting of Field Runologists took place in Oslo, 4–6 April 2014, with the theme “The theory and method of runology”. It did convene at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in Oslo, and was organised and sponsored by the runological research project at the Academy’s Centre for Advanced Study (=CAS; i.e. “Reading and interpreting runic inscriptions: the theory and method of runology”, headed by James Knirk). The meeting did consist of lectures and discussion.

Christiane Zimmermann from the RuneS research unit Kiel co-organised the conference as member of the CAS project and Fellow of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

RuneS members gave the following papers:

Bauer, Alessia: „Runica manuscripta. Methodologische Überlegungen: Probleme und Lösungen“.

Marold, Edith: „Vers oder nicht Vers? Argumente und Kriterien für eine Klassifikation“/„Poetry or not? Implications for interpretation“.

Zimmermann, Ute: „Interpretation von Brakteateninschriften: Methode und Überlegungen“/„Interpretation of Bracteate Inscriptions: Methods and Considerations“.

Zimmermann, Christiane: „Interdisziplinäre Interpretation“.


2) Across the North Sea. North Sea Connections from AD 400 into the Viking Age. Second Interdisciplinary Symposium on Runes and Related topics in Frisia, 5–8 Juni 2014, Fries Museum, Leeuwarden (organised by John Hines, Nelleke IJssenagger, Tim Pestell, Tineke Looijenga, Gaby Waxenberger, Kerstin Kazazzi und Han Nijdam):

The general aim of the symposium was to advance the discussion on the early Frisian-Anglo-Saxon and other cross-North Sea relations within a fully cross-disciplinary and international framework. The symposium did focus centrally on the challenges of measuring and explaining the demographic and linguistic relationships across the North Sea between England and the continental coasts in the decisive period of the early 5th century AD into the Viking Age, with a particular focus on the earlier period. This topic was approached from a runological, a linguistic, a toponymic, a historical, an archaeological, a legal, and an archaeogenetic angle: that is, it is an interdisciplinary subject.

Gaby Waxenberger and Kerstin Kazzazi from the RuneS research unit Eichstätt-München were involved in the preparation of the conference hosted by the Fries Museum in Leeuwarden.

The following papers were given by RuneS members:

Kazzazi, Kerstin: „Methodological and Linguistic Perspectives on the Definition of the Frisian Runic Corpus“.

Waxenberger, Gaby: „Sounds and Forms in the Frisian Runic Corpus“.

Zimmermann, Christiane: „Cultural contact between the Western Baltic and the North Sea – the evidence of the comb with runic inscription from the emporium reric“.



In 2013, RuneS members were involved as academic advisors of the following conference: 

LautSchriftSprache III – Third International Conference on Comparative Historical Graphemics, Verona, 25–28 September 2013:
The conference brought together researchers on the topic of writing and scripts. As members of the scientific board, Gaby Waxenberger and Kerstin Kazzazi were involved in the academic preparation of the conference and the publication of the conference proceedings. 

Papers given by members of the RuneS project group were:

Bauer, Alessia: „Orthophonic Spelling: A Different Kind of ‘Perfect Fit’?“.

Kazzazi, Kerstin: „Between universality and individual creativity in spelling – examples from multilingual language acquisition and historical writing systems“.

Waxenberger, Gaby: „Graphemes: (Re)construction and Interpretation“.



In 2012, RuneS members organised the following conference: 

Old English Runes Workshop: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Methodology, 15–17 March 2012, Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt; second interdisciplinary conference on the topic "Archaeology and Runes", hosted by the RuneS research unit Eichstätt-München.

The aim of the conference was to bring together specialists from different disciplines (runology, linguistics, archaeology, history, art history) who deal with various aspects of the Old English runes and their context, in order to gain more insight into the different methods and theoretical models employed. The conference was a follow-up to the Runen-Workshop in Schleswig (3–4 February 2011), which addressed theoretical and methodological aspects of the dialogue between runology (inscriptions in the older fuþark) and historical disciplines, first and foremost archaeology. The conference contributions will be published in a conference volume (eds Gaby Waxenberger, Kerstin Kazzazi and John Hines). 

Papers given by members of the RuneS project group were:

Bammesberger, Alfred: „The Ruthwell Crucifixion Poem Revisited: From Various Angles“.

Kazzazi, Kerstin: „Methodology: Definition, Approaches, Perspectives“.

Waxenberger, Gaby: „The Chronology of the Early Sound Changes: How Dependent Are We on Archaeology?“

Waxenberger, Gaby: „Dating and Provenance of the Auzon/Franks Casket from a Linguistic Point of View“.



In 2011, RuneS members were involved as academic advisors in the following interdisciplinary conference on the topic Runes and Archaeology

Runen-Workshop (Schleswig, 3–4 February 2011), hosted by the Zentrum für Baltische und Skandinavische Archäologie (ZBSA) in Schloss Gottorf, Schleswig, in co-operation with Klaus Düwel and Edith Marold.

The Schleswig Runen-Workshop aimed at initiating discussion on some clearly defined historical issues from an archaelogical and a runological perspective by presenting relevant case studies. This was intended as a platform for testing new ways of interdisciplinary co-operation, applying them to three selected topics. Questions from social history, history of religion and the history of events formed the respective frameworks. It was in particular the runic new finds of the last decades as well as recent archaeological insights in the context of research on sacrificial bog sites, on the row grave culture and on cultic practice that provided the incentives to review the long-standing dialogue between the two research disciplines with regard to the results achieved so far, to develop research syntheses for the selected case studies, where possible, and to place the co-operation on a fresh theoretical and methodological basis. 

Papers given by the members of the project group were:

Bauer, Alessia: „»Jütländische« Runenfibeln im südgermanischen Bereich. §Runologisches“.

Düwel, Klaus: „Runenkenntnis als Oberschichtenmerkmal“.

Krüger, Jana: „Die sprachliche Zuordnung der Inschrift auf dem Ortband von Thorsberg“.

Marold, Edith: „Die Inschrift von Tune als religionsgeschichtliches Zeugnis“.

Zimmermann, Christiane: „Inschriften auf nordeuropäischen Fibeln: Versuch über eine ausschließlich sprachlich-runologische Betrachtung der Runen­inschriften unter sozialgeschichtlichen Aspekten“.



In 2010, RuneS members were involved in the organisation of the following conferences: 

1) Edith Marold: 23rd Meeting of the Field Runologists in Schloss Gottorf, Schleswig (22–25 April 2010).

2) Hans Sauer and Gaby Waxenberger: LautSchriftSprache/ScriptandSound II – Second International Conference on Comparative Historical Graphemics„The (Dis)ambiguity of the Grapheme“, München (08–11 September 2010).