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Type: Journal article
Title: Runes from Lány (Czech Republic) - the oldest inscription among Slavs. A new standard for multidisciplinary analysis of runic bones
Author: Macháček, J.
Nedoma, R.
Dresler, P.
Schulz, I.
Lagonik, E.
Johnson, S.M.
Kaňáková, L.
Slámová, A.
Llamas, B.
Wegmann, D.
Hofmanová, Z.
Citation: Journal of Archaeological Science, 2021; 127:1-8
Publisher: Elsevier
Issue Date: 2021
ISSN: 0305-4403
Statement of
Jiří Macháčeka, Robert Nedoma, Petr Dresler, IIlektra Schulz, Elias Lagonik, Stephen M.Johnson ... et al.
Abstract: When Roman administration and legions gradually withdrew from the outer provinces after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, they created a power void filled by various groups. The dynamic Migration Period that followed is usually considered to have ended when the Germanic Lombards allegedly left Central Europe and were replaced by Slavs. Whether or how Slavic and Germanic tribes interacted, however, is currently disputed. Here we report the first direct archaeological find in support of a contact: a bone fragment dated to ~600 AD incised with Germanic runes but found in Lány, Czechia, a contemporaneous settlement associated with Slavs. We documented and authenticated this artifact using a combined approach of use-wear analysis with SEM microscopy, direct radiocarbon dating, and ancient DNA analysis of the animal bone, thereby setting a new standard for the investigation of runic bones. The find is the first older fuþark inscription found in any non-Germanic context and suggests that the presumed ancestors of modern Slavic speakers encountered writing much earlier than previously thought.
Keywords: Genetics; SEM microscopy; ancient DNA; runes; Early Middle Ages; slavs
Rights: © 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
RMID: 1000035807
DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2021.105333
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Appears in Collections:Genetics publications

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