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Description of stone

Event ID 1009918

Category Descriptive Accounts



Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, Swedish runestone

Measurements: H 1.36m above ground level, W 1.00m, D 0.38>0.08m at the top

Stone type: granite

Place of discovery: Little Ramsingarde, Westmanland, Sweden.

Proposed location: to be set upright in a small garden on the south side of 50 George Square, Edinburgh.

Evidence for discovery: brought from Sweden and presented to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland by Alexander Seton before 1822. It was set upright below the Castle Esplanade in the south-east corner of Princes Street Garden. it was removed by excavation in 2017, conserved and re-sited off George Square in 2019.

Present condition: weathered and damaged at the top. The carving has been picked out in red paint.


This substantial 1.3 ton boulder has been carefully dressed to a flat surface on one broad face, leaving the others very rough. Deeply incised on dressed face A is a cross with expanded wedge-shaped arms, a central ring and triangles between the arms. The shaft terminates in an expanded point, which is ‘tied’ by bands to the ends of a ribbon bearing an inscription in runes, which reads ‘Ari put up this stone in memory of his father Hjálm. God help his soul.’ At some period the runic letters have been picked out in red paint. The lower part of face B appears to have been slightly dressed and bears a roughly incised equal-armed outline cross with expanded arms, a central pit, and a shaft, also picked out in red paint. The style of carving on the two faces is quite different and the crosses may not be contemporary. The 1822 account of the stone states that ‘On one side of the stone, there is another figure represented on the plate, the meaning of which is not understood’, which suggests that the cross on face B may be a nineteenth-century enhancement of an original carving.

Date: eleventh century.

References: Archaeologia Scotica 2 (1822), 490-1.

Compiled by A Ritchie 2016

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