In remote Swedish Älvdalen (River Valley) along the border to Norway, it turns out that the local community used runes and runic writing until into the 1900’s. The runes commonly found on buildings and etched in wooden pieces. Also, researchers have found a letter from 1906, which is partially written using the runic alphabet. Runic writing as the primary form of written communication was believed to have been discontinued across Scandinavia by the 15th century, as a result of the Christian church bringing with it the Latin alphabet. The runic letters have common features shared with the runes for example on the Jelling Stones, although with some influences from Latin letters.
Additionally, linguists are excited about the local spoken language called Elvdalsk, which due to the isolation of the community is believed to be even closer to the original Norse spoken during the Viking Age than Icelandic (which generally has been considered closest, together with the language of the Atlantic Faroe Islands).
Had this sensational discovery been announced on April 1st, we’d all have thought it an April Fools prank!! As it stands, then results of additional research will be exciting to follow – as it may fill in some more of the gaps we have of the Viking Age!