A number of media outlets decided to cover the story of the runestone. Newspaper Värmlands Folkblad even asked a runestone expert to take a closer look at the photo, according to Sveriges Television (SVT).
However, he was unable to confirm its authenticity.
Found throughout Scandinavia, as well as in other locations frequented by Nordic Vikings, runestones typically feature a runic inscriptions dating from between the 4th and 12th centuries.
They feature raised inscriptions etched into raised boulders or bedrock, and often served as memorials to the deceased.
The fact that so many media outlets ran with the story seems to have jaded some of the students’ trust in media.
“I didn’t think it would be so big,” student Marcus Andersson told SVT.
“I thought maybe it would be published in the Filipstad newspaper. It’s funny and at the same time a little scary that so many wrote about it without checking up on it properly.”
The advertisement on Blocket.se, which seemed to have been written by an individual seller, was titled: “Piece of a Runestone in Filipstad.”
The description read, “A piece of a runestone is for sale. Have lost interest for it and don’t have room for it. It has been in our family for a long time and I’ve inherited it from my grandmother.”
The entire class visited the editorial staffs of a number of media outlets on Friday April 1st to reveal that they had in fact made the fake runestone.
The whole affair started as an assignment about ancient writing. Torbjörn Strömberg, the class’ teacher, approved the project. They then went a step further by putting an announcement out on Blocket.se.
“You have to take everything you read with a grain of salt,” Andersson told SVT.