Runestone from Norway, ca. 400. Usually interpreted: ‘IuthingaR. [Maybe: IuthingaR (lies here).] I, WakraR, have learned writing.’ Another suggestion is that WakraR says he ‘took land’, that is, settled down. Runes are not a language, but the Old Germanic alphabet. Each sign represented a sound. Runes were developed around the birth of Christ, probably in Scandinavia. By 500 AD they were being used by Germanic peoples from the Black Sea in the south to Norway and England in the north.