A Valkyrie name in Medelpad?

By Magnus Källström

In: Ortnamnssällskapets i Uppsala årsskrift 2019


On the Berga stone (M 3) in Njurunda parish, Medelpad, there is a sequence of runes which in the most recent literature has been read as sihraifr and understood as the man’s name Sigræifʀ. As the fifth rune is a distinct t-rune, however, the sequence should strictly speaking be rendered as sihrtif(r). The present author suggests that the runes t and r may have been transposed and that the carver intended a woman’s name Sigdrīf, cognate with the familiar Valkyrie name OWScand. Sigrdríf(a) in the Eddic poems about Sigurðr Fáfnisbani. In Swedish-speaking areas, earlier evidence for the name element –drīf is found in the woman’s name Aldrīf (gen. [altr]ifaʀ) on a rune stone in Södermanland (Sö 31), and a similar transposition of two runes is seen in another of the name forms on the Berga stone, the name Alþrūðr being rendered as alrþuþr. Alternatively, an r-rune may have been omitted after the t in sihrtif, implying that the name had the form Sigrdrīf, exactly matching the earliest Old West Scandinavian form.