The Runes as a divination tool date back over 1500 years to the Dark Ages, to the Norse, and Anglo Saxon peoples of Northern Europe, my ancestors.
In Norse mythology the runes were carved on stone tablets and have a powerful association with wisdom and health. The word “rune” itself comes from an early Anglo-Saxon word meaning “secret”, “mystery”, or “whisper. Consulting the runes for divination purposes was considered a secret tradition and was passed down through the ages in spoken teaching.
Runes are the 24 letters of the ancient Norse Futhark alphabet, carved into tablets. Each rune has a specific and deep meaning other than the individual letters they represent.
It is said in rune legend that they originate from Odin, the most noble and tragic of the Norse gods and came about from his ability to see into the future.
It is believed that he created the runes after hanging from the branches of Yggdrasil (The tree of knowledge) for 9 days and nights, sacrificing his life yet returning from the Underworld by sheer will with the knowledge of the world beyond, and the runes were born. This legend is echoed today in the image of the Hanged Man in Tarot.
Wikipedia has lots more about the many different rune alphabets and some images of rune stones (large stone carvings) here