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13.06.2021

Andre VIII stone (8th century)

The Ardre image stones are a set of ten runes and stone images, dating from the 8th to 11th centuries, which were found in Ardre church, in Ardre, Gotland, Sweden. The main edition is by Suna Lindqvist.

The Ardre stones were reused as paving under the wooden floors of the local church in the parish of Ardre on the island of Gotland. Before the historical significance of runic and image stones was realized or appreciated, they were often used as materials in the construction of roads, bridges and buildings. The image stones were rediscovered during the restoration of the church around 1900. The stones are now preserved in the Swedish Museum of National Antiquities in Stockholm.

The largest and best-known of the stones is the Ardre VIII, which dates from the 8th or 9th century and depicts scenes from Norse mythology, notably "The Tale of Wayland the Blacksmith", "Thor Fishing Jörmungand", Loki's punishment for Baldr's death and Odin riding to Valhalla on Sleipnir. Other depictions on this stone, such as the woman on the right with the two swords, are not currently understood, as they do not correspond to any of the known Scandinavian myths that have survived to this day. The depiction of the barque motif stone with its sailors is somewhat reminiscent of the image on the Överhogdal #III tapestry from Härjedalen. The main study of this stone is done by Ludvig Buisson. 

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