History Resource Cupboard – lessons and resources for schools

History Resource Cupboard - lessons and resources for schools

4. What does the Rök runestone tell us about the Little Ice Age?

This lesson takes as its focus the famous Rök runestone.

The Rök runestone was discovered in the 19th century in the village of Rök in modern-day Sweden.

The runes tell a complicated story, and historians disagree over the messages that the stone’s creator(s) wished to convey.

In the lesson, students first have the chance to ‘de-code’ some of the runes. They  use the ‘Younger Furthark’ version of the runic alphabet.

Then, they delve deeper into the runestone’s messages. This helps them to reach their own conclusions about the purpose behind the stone’s creation.

Recently, historians from three Swedish universities have proposed that the runes refer to fears of a recent climate crisis, known as ‘Fimbulvetr’ (‘awful winter’ – or, as we now call it, the Little Ice Age) returning.

Whether or not your students are convinced by this theory, this is a great lesson built around a fascinating source.

The lesson ends with students creating plaques describing the runestone’s significance.


Download lesson

  • Lesson presentation: PowerPoint
  • Lesson write-up: PDF
  • Resource 1: PDF
  • Worksheet 1 : PDF

Price: £12.99


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