Jonas Lau Markussen

The Runestone Styles

In the same series:


The Runestone Styles


The Styles


The Stones







Please note: This series of articles is a work in progress.




The Evolution of Animal Heads in Late Viking Age Art


In the video above you’ll get a introduction to the development of animal heads in Late Viking age art and how their features change over time, from the Jelling style to the Urnes style.


The development of the features is documented on the many runestones and on them we can trace how the characteristics of the art evolved from Late Mammen style to Late Urnes style.


The development can be categorised into five stylistic groups or stylistic periods, called Pr1 to Pr5.





Stylistic Groups




Parametres of Identification


  • Overall impression
  • Head
    • Eye
    • Ear
    • Mouth
    • Tail
    • Feet
  • Layout
    • Additional serpents
    • Union Knot
    • Cross





Danske Runeindskrifter, Nationalmuseet in collaboration with Nordisk Forskningsinstitut
Københavns Universitet,

Gräslund, Anne-Sofie, 2006. ‘Dating the Swedish Viking-Age rune stones on stylistic grounds’. Runes and their Secrets – Studies in runology.

The Scandinavian Runic-text Data Base, Uppsala Universitet,

Sveriges runinskrifter,  Riksantikvarieämbetet,


Download the Runestone designs

Want to use the runestone illustrations for your own project? No problem! They are all available in editable hi-res and vectorised versions.