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Scientists find runes on ancient comb

Published: 13 Apr 2012 11:45 GMT+02:00

The ancient letters, called runes, were scratched onto a 12.5 centimetre-long comb by Germanic settlers in the second century, scientists working on the site in Saxony-Anhalt believe.

The letters spell out “Kama”, meaning comb, the president of the state Heritage and Archaeology Management Office, Sven Ostritz, said on Thursday.

It is the oldest ever example of runic writing to be found in that part of the country, he added.

Germanic languages used the runic alphabet to write before the Latin alphabet became widespread. The earliest runic engravings have been dated back to 150AD.

Engravings from a similar period have been found in the Märkische Schweiz region near Berlin, and in western Ukraine, Ostritz revealed.

The comb, which is made from deer antler, was lifted out of its resting place nearly two metres below the ground several years ago. But it had been tucked away until recently, when scientists cleaned it off and put it under a microscope to examine the writing.

It had to be painstakingly re-assembled by the team though, as it was originally found broken into pieces. Historians have been working on the ancient Germanic settlement where the comb was found since 2002.

DPA/The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

14:43 April 13, 2012 by n230099
The case in remarkable condition!
15:51 April 13, 2012 by Sayer
I wonder if this is where the national obsession with labeling everything came from?
22:31 April 13, 2012 by Englishted
Just proves that people were stupid then as well,if you must write comb on it so you know it is a comb.

I wrote keyboard on the keyboard so I could write this.

But I didn't do it in runes I did it in crayon.
17:00 April 15, 2012 by zevenster
I would have liked a picture of the actual runes ... this is somewhat disapointing...

non-exciting piece of non-news... frankly...
19:25 April 15, 2012 by wbarnim
Ignorance judges before it understands.
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