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Drawing of runic letters engraved in a carving knife from Fløksand.

Drawing of runic letters engraved in a carving knife from Fløksand.


A woman's grave was found in a small grave chamber at Meland in Fløksand in 1864. In the grave there were clay jars containing the remains of human bones, needles made from bone, combs, bear claws and two small meat knives. One knife had a runic inscription with runes of different sizes (between 3.5 mm and 5.5 mm). To be able to read the inscription you have to turn the runes round and read from right to left. Then it says: Lina Laukara. The word “laukar” is the basis for the word onion and Lina means linen.

In other similar inscriptions there is another word – alu. Possibly the a- rune following Laukar on the Fløksand inscription (laukara) might be the starting rune in the magic word alu. The magic power of the rune was increased by the – a. The two plant names made up a fixed relationship used in ancient cults and magic.

In the saga of St. Olav it was said that the king once came on a visit to a couple who had a horse phallus - Volsi - wrapped in a linen cloth together with an onion. In a ceremony with song Volsi was passed from one to the other until the Christian king Olav became angry and threw it to the dog.

The woman from Fløksand who lived in the fourth century had probably used the meat knife in connection with a ritual cult for fertility.