An elaborate message, thought to be tales of Viking feats and kings, inscribed on a massive runestone in Sweden may, in fact, be much more mundane that historians thought.
A new study of the legendary Rok Runestone by a Scandinavian linguist offers a radical reinterpretation of the mystifying riddle contained on the monument.
Per Holmberg argues that the inscriptions reveal details about the stone itself rather than an account of Viking history.
He came to this conclusion using a process known as 'social semiotics,' which allows for a new interpretation of the presumed words.
When putting this theory to the test, Holmberg determined that the inscription was more in keeping with other runestones that also contain similar self-identifying insights.
Since the Rok Runestone is the longest such monument and contains the most text, historians have long thought that it was of particular importance and attached incredible narratives to the piece.
The new findings from Holmberg cast doubt on that belief and may upend what has been believed to be written in the runestone for over a century.
In retrospect, perhaps it should have obvious that the country that gave us Ikea would also be home to a rock that contained elaborate and indecipherable instructions on how it was created.