Picture: Sigmund Oehrl

Although much research on the Gotlandic picture stones has been carried out since the early 1940s, most of this research, by necessity, has been based on Sune Lindqvist’s edition “Gotlands Bildsteine”. However, 75 years after the publication of this important book it is quite clear that Lindqvist’s edition is outdated, and it is outdated for two reasons. Firstly, his edition only includes 240 picture stones, which were the number of monuments known in the early 1940s. However, today about 570 picture stones and fragments of picture stones are known. Consequently, a new edition of all Gotlandic picture stones is an urgent desideratum. Secondly, all interpretations of the published picture stones and their images have been based on Lindqvist’s painted pictures, that is on the fundamental perception of the shallow carved lines by a single scholar. Although Lindqvist was an excellent specialist, his perceptions of the images are sometimes doubtful and have been challenged several times. Consequently, more precise and up-to-date documentation of all the monuments is highly needed.

For these reasons, a new project has been started, financed by the Swedish Research Council, based at Stockholm University and Gotlands Fornsal, in order to create a new digital edition of all Gotlandic picture stones. The project has three major aims: 1.) Digitization of the entire corpus of Gotland’s picture stones, applying the most advanced 2.5D and 3D recording methods available, combining different technical approaches. 2.) Creating an interactive online edition and searchable database, addressed to both the public and researchers, gathering all available information about the picture stones and presenting the digital data (RTI files and 3D models). 3.) Based on the new documentation: research on iconography, foreign influences and Scandinavian parallels, workshop traditions, raw material studies, and medieval re-use of picture stones. Four German PhD positions are associated with the project.


Finansieard av Vetenskapsrådet.

Projektledare: Sigmund Oehrl

Further project members:

  • Anders Andrén (Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies)
  • Laila Kitzler Åhfeldt (RAÄ)
  • Mike Fergusson (Gotlands Museum)
  • Per Widerström (Gotlands Museum)