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South side of the Tońukuk inscription.

Throughout the immense Eurasian steppe zone there can be found a great number of runiform inscriptions written and erected by the Turkic peoples. The most well-known representatives of these sources, often referred to as central ones, are the Old Turkic commemorative stelae at the Orkhon river of present-day Mongolia. Beside that there are hundreds of smaller inscriptions, often referred to as marginal ones, ranging from the Yenisei river to Kyrgyzstan, from the Altai region to the North Caucasus and the Carpathian Basin. The total number of runiform inscriptions hitherto discovered is not exactly known, but it certainly exceeds the number of 500. Beside their importance as linguistic sources, they are invaluable for a better understanding of the history, culture and religion of the peoples concerned.

The Orkhon inscriptions were deciphered already in 1893 by Vilhelm Thomsen and since then thousands of scientific publications have been devoted to runiform studies. However, there remain many fundamental matters which are still much debated or even have been neglected. Moreover, a significant number of inscriptions have not yet been deciphered.

This database aims to provide a comprehensive edition of all the known runiform inscriptions written by the Turkic peoples of Eurasia. The corpus aims at being comprehensive, uses a unified description model and notation system. The description of the inscriptions relies on already existing editions, both printed and on-line.

The website is in a preliminary test phase including 11 inscriptions and may change in any respect.

Technical details and basic principles of the edition are explained on the page Basic Principles.


The entire content of the database is provided under the terms and conditions of the Attribution, Non Commercial, Share Alike 4.0 International license. Some of the materials including photos and other graphical elements found in the database are subject to copyrights held by other organizations. In such cases, some restrictions on the reproduction may apply and it may be necessary to seek permission from the rights holder prior to reproducing the material.

Quoting the website

The entire website can be cited and referred to in the following way:

Károly, László and Rentzsch, Julian (eds) A Database of Turkic Runiform Insciptions, URL: http://www.runiform.lingfil.uu.se/ (accessed 06 Oct 2022)

As far as an individual inscription is concerned (e.g. Uyuk-Tarlak), the following way of citation is recommended:

Károly, László and Rentzsch, Julian (eds) Uyuk-Tarlak, in A Database of Turkic Runiform Inscriptions. URL: http://www.runiform.lingfil.uu.se/wiki/Uyuk-Tarlak/ (accessed 06 Oct 2022)


The editors of the database welcome any kind of feedback or comment about technical and/or Turcological questions. Feel free to contact the project manager by email.


The establishing of the database was supported by the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (Forschung und Technologietransfer: Stufe I)

Since February 2017, the database is hosted by the Uppsala University.