Cunningsburgh III (SH 4)

This memorial was found as part of the western wall enclosing the burial ground of Mail church, Cunningsburgh, Shetland. The short-twig runes adorn the edge of an otherwise undecorated block of sandstone, 1m by 0.15m by 0.125m. The beginning and end of the inscription is now missing, and a number of the surviving runes near the start of the text are now damaged to the point of illegibility.


...eftir föður sinn Þorbjörn...

' memory of his/her father Þorbiör...'

The use of the runes for b and o is paralleled in the Manx corpus, with the modification that they are reversed. This seems to be a feature of inscriptions from the Northern and Western Isles, since the same rune for o is paralleled on Thurso I (SC 11) and the rune for b is found on the Iona stone (SC 14). Similarly, then, the Norwegian chronology (see Thurso I) would use the implementation of o for /o(:)/ argue for a terminus post quem of c. 1020. The stone is assumed to be post-conversion in date, having been found on a Christian site, which, on the grounds of the Orkneyinga Saga, would give a terminus post quem of the end-of-the-10th-century. A late 10th/early 11th century date would be consistent with the similarities noted with the Thurso and Iona stones. However, the stone could conceivably be contemporary with the Manx material beginning in the middle of the 10th century.