“It was very common to use codes. Much of the population mastered them. That’s why I think they were something people picked up at the same time they learned the runic alphabet. If you had learned to read and write, you had also learned codes,” says Nordby.
The use of the code as a tool in learning is not as odd as it might seem. There were no rune schools then but knowledge of this alphabet could be transferred from generation to generation by linking it to games, poetry, drills and codes, Nordby says.
Story: Ida Kvittingen, Science Nordic | Photo: Aslak Liestøl/Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo