The Lundagård Stone
The Lundagård Stone, at 4.6 m, is Denmark’s tallest runestone and was probably erected at the end of the 10th century. It was discovered in the ruins of the former All Saints monastery in 1682. Within this former monastery area, the then newly built University Library was inaugurated in 1907.
The runestone was probably moved to Lundagård in 1751, where it lay in three parts at the entrance of the building Lundagårdshuset, which housed the university’s historical museum. On the 200th anniversary of the university in 1868, the Viking romantic runestone mound was created in the former Botanical Gardens north of Lundagårdshuset. The Lundagård Stone became the crown of the mound.
When the rebuilding and extension work of the university library was completed in 1957, the runestone was moved to the library’s entrance hall. Thus, it has returned to its probable place of origin on Helgonabacken.
The Lundagård Stone or Helgona (All Saints) Stone?
The modern name of the runestone is misleading. The “Helgona Stone” would probably be more apt. One hypothesis is that it was originally part of a runestone monument at a large manor house whose land in the 1070’s formed the economic basis for Lund’s first monastery.
The inscription on the stone “good landowners” denotes something higher than a simple free farmer, and probably refers to men close to and in the service of the king. The main motif pictures two wolves bearing arms in the process of tearing someone to pieces.
The translation of the runes on the narrow sides read: “Torgisl, son of Esge Björnsson, erected these stones in memory of his two brothers, Olav and Ottar, good landowners.”
The huge runestone is considered to be the oldest written original document in the University Library.
Text and photo: Claes Wahlöö