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Research has revealed the importance of Queen Thyra, a Viking Age figure previously overlooked by historians 1. Runestones, ancient monuments inscribed with runic writings, contain information about significant events and were common in Scandinavia during the Viking Age. Historians had often sidelined Viking women’s accomplishments, focusing on kings, warriors, and ships. Queen Thyra, married to King Gorm, had been considered a side plot in history, despite her presence on four runestones. New evidence suggests she played a key role in assembling the Danish realm and may have been involved in expanding Danish territory. Historians from the 12th century credited her with building fortifications in Denmark. The study reveals that all runestones mentioning Thyra were carved by the same person, confirming her status as a powerful queen with authority and land. This discovery highlights the growing recognition of Viking women’s power and their ability to be rulers.

The runestone from Læborg is dedicated to Thyra as the dróttning, meaning “lady” or “queen.”

(Left) Jelling 2 with runes chosen for analysis. (3D-scanning by Zebicon, drawing by Laila Kitzler Åhfeldt)


1 Imer, L.M., et al, (2023), “A lady of leadership: 3D-scanning of runestones in search of Queen Thyra and the Jelling Dynasty”, Antiquity, Vol 97, Issue 395, pp 1262 – 1278