Rune axe

Foto: Ian Schemper

In September 1983, an axe was found under a floor that was being ripped up on Eriksgatan in Lödöse. The axe was virtually undamaged, and they quickly realised that it was a highly unusual find.

An incredible find

There were several features that make the axe unique. It is totally preserved in its original condition, and it is decorated with a double-toothed pattern along the shaft.

Apart from the fact that the axe and the decoration are in excellent condition, it also has a runic inscription with the words:

+ petar a mik iohannes risti mik “Peter owns me, Johannes engraved me.”

Attempts have been made to find out who Peter and Johannes were, but without success. This was not totally unexpected, as Peter and Johannes were two of the most common men’s names in mediaeval Scandinavia.

A luxury upper-class object?

This exhibit is dated to the middle of the 13th century. Interpretations differ, although it is very likely that this splendid axe was made mostly for appearances and was not intended to be used. It was probably quite a powerful status symbol for a member of the upper class. Lödöse Museum has a considerable number of axes in its collections. Some are exhibited, although not the axe shown here.