Runes in Action: Two South Germanic Inscriptions and the Notion of a "Literate" Epigraphic Culture

Michelle Waldispühl
2015 Futhark: International Journal of Runic Studies  
This article investigates two well-known South Germanic inscriptions, the iron sax from Steindorf and the silver disc brooch from Bülach. Detailed epigraphic analysis reveals such great uncertainties in readings for each of these that the previous interpretations of both must be re-evaluated. A subsequent contextual analysis of the function of the epigraphy considers technical features of writing and of layout and composition, as well as the material properties and function of each of the
more » ... f each of the objects. Employing a broader approach to literacy which examines not only the writing itself but also the situational communicative setting, the author interprets the inscribed objects as a means of performance in various conceivable situations. The main conclusion is that greater attention should be given to the visual characteristics of runic writing.
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