June 7, 2003

Oldest written English?

What is believed to be the oldest form of writing in English ever found has been uncovered in an Anglo-Saxon burial ground. It is in the form of four runes representing the letters N, E, I and M scratched on the back of a bronze brooch from around AD650. The six inch cruciform brooch is among one million artefacts recovered from a site at West Heslerton, near Malton, North Yorks, since work began there in 1978. Dominic Powlesland, the archaeologist leading the excavation team, said: "This could well be the earliest example of written English we know of. Only one or two other runic inscriptions from around this period have been found, but this is either the earliest or one of them. We have no idea what the letters mean, except that it would have been something in early English."
From the Telegraph.

Posted by David on June 7, 2003 2:25 PM


Obviously it's a partial inscription; though it's surprising indeed that Neiman-Marcus had a store in England at such an early date.

Posted by: Will Duquette on June 7, 2003 7:28 PM

Clearly, it spells NIEMAN-MARCUS

Marcus, of course, being his Roman cousin who had all the good connections.

Posted by: jbelkin on June 8, 2003 2:47 AM
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