The Elder Futhark, Elder Fuþark, Older Futhark, Old Futhark or Germanic Futhark is the oldest form of the runic alphabets. It was a writing system used by Germanic tribes for Northwest Germanic dialects in the Migration Period, the dates of which are debated among scholars. Runic inscriptions are found on artifacts, including jewelry, amulets, tools, weapons, and, of course, runestones, from the 2nd to the 8th centuries.
In Scandinavia, beginning from the late 8th century, the script was simplified to the Younger Futhark, and the Anglo-Saxons and Frisians extended Elder Futhark, which eventually became the Anglo-Saxon futhorc. Anglo-Saxon futhorc and the Younger Futharks remained in use during the Early and the High Middle Ages respectively. Knowledge of how to read the Elder Futhark was forgotten until 1865, when it was deciphered by Norwegian scholar Sophus Bugge.