The runestones are one of the few existing examples of Viking writing. The stones are often very large rocks carved with runes and sometimes pictures. The Futhark, or runic alphabet was used. Often they were commissioned by a person to commemorate someone who had died. Stones would be signed by the rune carver. There are over 2500 runestones in Sweden alone.
The runes were in the Well of Urd and only revealed themselves to the worthy. To prove he was worthy, Odin hung himself from a branch of Yggdrasil and pierced himself with his spear. He waited and looked downward into the waters. For nine days and nights he took no aid from the other gods. On the ninth night the runes revealed themselves and their powers.