A startling message on a 1,200-year-old granite slab created by the Vikings appears to predict climate change, experts say.

The research, published in Futharc: International Journal of Runic Studies, looks at the message that was written after Viking warrior Varin's son died in battle in the 9th century, foreseeing a new "climate crisis," similar to the weather conditions that happened nearly 300 years prior.

"This study proposes instead that the inscription deals with an anxiety triggered by a son’s death and the fear of a new climate crisis similar to the catastrophic one after 536 [AD]," researchers, led by Per Holmberg, wrote in the study's abstract.

Runes at the famous Rök runestone, Sweden, telling a story about the Vikings and the loss of a son. (Credit: iStock)


Holmberg and his researchers decoded the message that spoke of Theodoric the Great, who reigned during the Dark Ages. The nearly 8-foot stone was written in "nine enigmatic questions," according to the abstract, five of which pertain to the sun. The other four ask issues related to the Norse god, Odin.

"A central finding is that there are relevant parallels to the inscription in early Scandinavian poetry, especially in the Eddic poem Vafþrúðnismál," the abstract added.

Viking leaders were believed to have outsized influence on crop control, giving Varin's warning outsized importance during the time period. According to The Sun, prior to the death of his son, a solar eclipse occurred, a solar storm turned the sky red and an exceptionally cold winter happened, leading to Varin eventually hiding the warnings in the stone.

536 A.D. is widely regarded as "the worst year to be alive," as the planet's population was ravaged by disease and famine and a mysterious fog that covered a significant portion of the globe for 18 months.

In an interview with Science Magazine in 2018, Harvard professor Michael McCormick said he thinks the planet did not recover from the events until 640 A.D.

Stone covered in runes from the 9th century. (Credit: iStock)


Several Viking-era discoveries have surprised archaeologists in recent years.

In October 2019, archaeologists excavating a site at Vinjeroa in central Norway uncovered the boat grave of a woman who died in the second half of the 9th century. Shell-shaped gilded bronze brooches and a crucifix-shaped brooch fashioned from an Irish harness fitting were found in the grave, along with a pearl necklace, two pairs of scissors, part of a spindle and a cow’s skull, according to the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

A grave containing the skeleton of a Viking warrior, long thought to be male, was recently confirmed as female in Sweden in February 2019.

In 2018, a Viking “Thor’s hammer” was discovered in Iceland and archaeologists in Norway used ground-penetrating radar technology to reveal an extremely rare Viking longship.

Also in 2018, an 8-year-old girl discovered a 1,500-year-old sword in a Swedish lake and an incredible trove of silver treasure linked to the era of a famous Viking king was discovered on an island in the Baltic Sea. Hundreds of 1,000-year-old silver coins, rings, pearls, and bracelets were found on the German island of Ruegen.


Fox News' James Rogers, Bradford Betz and The Associated Press contributed to this article.