Library Exhibition

Library Exhibition
Welcome to the Bookstore. This room will teach you about the history of runiform script and show you two rare artifacts with runic inscriptions on them found in the Szarvas area.

One is a needle case from the Avar period. The iron or bronze needles were pierced into a leather or linen strip which the needle case was pulled onto. A knot was tied at the end of the strip to prevent the needle case from slipping off. Small bone needle cases of the like are often found in female graves from the Avar period, as their use was characteristic throughout the era. However, this is a special piece that stands out because all four sides of it are covered with runiform inscriptions. This is our earliest contiguous example of a runic script. There is another object with a short inscription on display – a cast bronze strap end, also originating from the Avar period.

In your travels in Hungary you might have seen that next to the sign that identifies a town there is generally another sign on which the name of the town is written in runic script. But what do we know about these strange notched letters? The boards in the room will show you the history of runic scripts. The Germanic runes, the Turkic runic scripts discovered in Inner Asia and Mongolia, and the Eastern European runiform writings are each covered on a separate board. The runic scripts of the Carpathian Basin belong to the last group in the row and can be organized into three major periods.

The first type was the Avar script which emerged in the Late Avar period in the 8th and 9th centuries. These can be found on the famous gold treasure of Nagyszentmiklós as well. The longest text written in the Avar runic script consists of at least 59 characters and was discovered on the needle case in this room. Unfortunately, the inscription has not yet been completely deciphered, but some signs and deity names have been reliably identified. If another record of a similar size was found, we could come closer to understanding the inscription of the Szarvas needle case. The other two periods of the runiform scripts of the Carpathian Basin are the Hungarian Conquest Period and the age of the Szekler script in the 13th century.

In addition to the two objects showcased, the boards on the wall also deal in detail with the history of runic scripts in general and their other archeological records in the Carpathian Basin.

If you want to delve deeper into learning about runic signs, we suggest you try the runic script games in the room. Remember that runic writing should be read from right to left.