RUNIC INSCRIPTIONS ON THE SZERTO CREST STONE
On 1 September, 2006, the authors received an important e-mail message from the Calvinist minister of Felsosófalva (Ocna de Sus), Hargita County, Transylvania. He informed that a stone with runic inscriptions had been found in a nearby forest. Within the same month, they managed to study the stone on the spot, taking photographs and impressions of it. As it turned out, the Szerto Crest inscription, with its 45 or 46 runic symbols, can be taken to rank with the more significant Eastern European runic relics. If one just takes the groups of symbols of unambiguous carving into consideration, the number of graphemes is 25 to 27. Most Eastern European runic relics that the authors know of, numerous though they are, contain much fewer symbols each. Members of that group of relics, not directly related either to Székely runic script or to the well-known Central Asian Turkic runic script and geographically distributed over a vast area from the Caucasus to the River Volga, from today's Bulgaria and Eastern Romania to the former territories of historical Hungary, are collectively known as 'Eastern European runic relics'. Relics that make up the corpus of Eastern European runic script, hitherto undeciphered, do not constitute a linguistically, chronologically, or technically homogeneous group. Some of them may be associated to the Khazars whose empire the future Hungarians had left before the Hungarian Conquest. Some may even be associated to the conquering Hungarians themselves. However, the authors have not yet got beyond the point of raising that as a possibility. The main aim of the present paper is an accurate description of the symbols, taking stock of them. They have also run a statistical analysis to see which symbols are the most frequently occurring ones in the inscriptions of the Szerto Crest Stone and what position they occupy within the groups of symbols. Drawing more far-reaching conclusions, however, remains a task for future research.
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