An uninterpreted man’s name on the rune stone at Lund, Björklinge parish (U 1054), and a word formation problem

By Henrik Williams

In: Ortnamnssällskapets i Uppsala årsskrift 2021


The rune stone U 1054 at Lund in Björklinge parish was already badly damaged when it was discovered in 1860, and since then a piece of the lower part of the stone has been lost. According to Elias Wessén, partially based on a drawing by Richard Dybeck, the inscription read as follows:

… oias … þfastr hi … [skatnik faþur -…]
… [Gu]ðfastr hi[ogg?] … faður
‘… Gudfast carved(?) … father…’

The sequence skatnik has never been interpreted, but clearly represents a man’s name. It has not, though, been possible to find a credible interpretation based on the suggested reading. As the branch of the last k-rune is placed remarkably high up, it is possible that this character is a damaged or misread f. That would open the way for the reading skatni1f, which can most credibly be understood as an accusative form of *Skatnæfʀ, a pet name or nickname for a man with a nose resembling a magpie’s beak (Old Swedish skata ‘magpie’). Words for birds and parts of bodies are not uncommonly found in Old Norse bynames.