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Norse Stone Authenticity Put To Test (Kensington Runestone)
AP ^ | 10-03-2003 | Travis Reed

Posted on 11/16/2003 9:57:09 PM PST by blam

Posted on Fri, Oct. 03, 2003


Norse stone authenticity put to the test

Associated Press

Its authenticity may forever be in question, but the Kensington Runestone is on its way to Sweden, where a group of scientists will study it and lend their opinion to the question of whether the rock is really a centuries-old artifact or a 200-pound hoax.

Scientists working with the Runestone Museum in Alexandria, Minn., are traveling with the stone and say they have new geologic findings that suggest it was buried far longer than anyone was settled in western Minnesota.

The stone was purportedly found in 1898 by a Minnesota farmer near Kensington, under a tree he uprooted to prepare his fields for plowing. It's thought by some to carry an inscription from Norse explorers in the 14th century.

If it's authentic, experts say it would be one of the most important artifacts discovered in North America. But scholars have debated its authenticity, arguing that the language on the stone is too modern and no archaeological evidence suggests the Norse made it this far inland.

The Smithsonian Institute once endorsed and displayed the stone, but has since declared that the stone was not genuine.

Scientists working with the Alexandria museum say that for the past three years, they've conducted the first geological studies on the stone itself, and weathering shows it's been buried at least 200 years.

That's still several hundred years short of the 14th century, but they say it proves that the stone wasn't created by the farmer who found it, which was long suspected.

"Putting it back 200 years, there weren't any people in western Minnesota," said LuAnn Patton, executive director of the Runestone Museum. "To find things to compare it to that've been dated 700 years is next to impossible."

Scott Wolter, a Chanhassen geologist who owns a material forensic business, led the study. Researchers used scanning electron microscope equipment at the University of Iowa to help them date the rocks.

They examined the way the stone was eroded by freezing and thawing cycles while it was buried. It's made up of different kinds of rocks, which degrade at varying rates.

At the Statens Historiska Museum in Stockholm, Sweden, geochemists, runeologists, archaeologists, language experts and others will study the geologic findings.

"Until we put the stone under a microscope three years ago, it'd never been under one at all," Patton said. "The abilities to do studies and research (when the stone was found) weren't as great as they are now."

Patton said she hopes scholars at the conference will acknowledge that mistakes and false determinations have been made over the stone, and that legitimate proof exists that it is authentic.

She said a museum in Sweden is bankrolling the trip, proof that their findings are being taken seriously.

"They're very interested and very much want to understand what this is," Patton said. "Quite frankly, this could be a moment of their history that they've missed."

Shipping the stone is its own ordeal. It travels in a specially built, 180-pound wood and steel crate loaded with padding that conforms to the stone's shape. Museum representatives watch it as it's loaded and unloaded into and out of the bulkhead.

"Someone's with it all the time," Patton said. "It's a pain in the neck."

TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: Minnesota
KEYWORDS: archaeology; basques; celts; clovis; economic; epigraphyandlanguage; gascons; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; history; kensington; kensingtonrunestone; minnesota; norse; preclovis; put; runestone; stone; totest; vikings; welsh
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To: shamusotoole
Midwest Explored by Scandinavians In Middle Ages, Linguist Asserts
21 posted on 11/16/2003 10:41:00 PM PST by blam
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22 posted on 11/16/2003 10:54:46 PM PST by Reagan Man (The few, the proud, the conservatives.)
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To: Norse
Ja! Pass the lefse.
23 posted on 11/16/2003 11:22:42 PM PST by SoDak
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To: blam
Interesting article! There is also an Oklahoma Runestone. Don Coldsmith has written a WONDERFUL story showing a possible interpretation of how it came to be here entitled "Runestone, Mystical Adventure".

Here is a page devoted to links to info about other runestones, including the Kensington:

Here is a page devoted to the Oklahoma runestone:

Excerpt from that page:

The Mystery of the Heavener Runestone

In a hollow on Poteau Mountain near Heavener, Oklahoma, there is a state park that holds a mystery. A mystery that many have tried to explain. A mystery etched in the face of a large slab of stone which stands 12 feet tall, 10 feet wide, and 16 inches thick. For years, locals called it "Indian Rock."

Today, it is known as the Heavener Runestone. Gloria Farley, who dedicated over 33 years of research to the stone, says is solved. Farley says the letters on the stone are actually Scandinavian runes and translated means "Gnomel's Valley."

Gloria Farley
She believes Norsemen traveled to the Americas across the Atlantic, explored up the Mississippi, Arkansas and Poteau Rivers centuries before Columbus, establishing a site near the present-day Oklahoma town.
Farley pushed for the establishment of a state park which came into existence in 1970, and which now protects the site.

Now another theory from another Oklahoman is causing some scholars to reconsider the strange etchings on the monument-like stone....snip

24 posted on 11/16/2003 11:45:43 PM PST by TEXOKIE (Hold fast what thou hast received!)
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To: blam
Here is another page devoted to the North American runestones.
25 posted on 11/16/2003 11:49:47 PM PST by TEXOKIE (Hold fast what thou hast received!)
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To: blam
There was an excellent book written about this a few decades ago. The author was convinced that it was real and it made a a compelling case. It didn't answer a few questions for me, so I decided that it was a draw, at least in my mind. I would like to see this turn out to be authentic. Whether it is or not, I do believe the Vikings were here much longer than widely believed.
26 posted on 11/17/2003 6:40:03 AM PST by twigs
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To: blam
This is part of the "Proof".

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune Oct 29, 2000

Geologist thinks Kensington Runestone not a hoax
Peg Meier / Star Tribune

Q. What's 102 years old, an enduring dispute in Minnesota (and beyond) and
again riling up scholars, scientists and Scandinavians?

A. Yup. The Kensington Runestone controversy.

The runestone

It's back, and it's hot.

So hot that it drew a standing-room-only audience at a recent conference in
St. Paul for archaeologists from about 20 states and three Canadian
provinces. It was there that a Minnesota geologist and a Wisconsin chemist
presented what they say is indisputable evidence that the runestone
inscription is "real" and old, probably from the 1300s.

Most historians, archaeologists and linguists over the decades have said
"nonsense" to the idea that wandering Norsemen in 1362 got to Minnesota and
left a carved stone in memory of slain members of their expedition. They
say the famous (infamous?) stone, weighing a hefty 202 pounds, was carved in
about 1898 by Olof Ohman, a farmer and stone mason near Kensington, Minn.
As did other schoolboys in his native Sweden, Ohman had learned the ancient
symbols called runes. He is said to have wanted to pull a hoax on scholars.

Most scholars are sticking with the assessment of forgery on Ohman's part,
despite new studies on several fronts.

Leading the campaign to lend legitimacy to the runestone is Barry Hanson, a
semi-retired chemist from Maple, Wis. He hired geologist Scott Wolter,
president of American Petrographic Services of St. Paul to investigate the
rock. The two hadn't known each other.

Geologist Scott Wolter examined the Kensington Runestone in his St. Paul
lab. He has come to believe that the stone's legend is real and that it was
carved by Norsemen.

Wolter said he has found a clear pattern of mica degradation on the surface
of what they believe are man-made features of the stone. Mica degradation
of this nature would take "considerable" time to manifest itself and would
require a moist soil environment, they say. That proves, they contend, that
the stone was buried after it was carved into its tombstone size and shape;
the time period was at least 50 years and probably centuries.

That would mean, Hanson said, that "Olof Ohman was telling the truth. He
didn't carve it." Ohman, Hanson said, had farmed on his western Minnesota land for only eight
years when he unearthed the stone. "If he didn't carve it, who did?" Hanson
asked. He thinks it was the Vikings, just as the stone's inscription
indicates. Hanson said, "We're being cautious. This will take quite a while" to prove
fully. But he promises "a lot of interesting things to come," including
linguistic studies that show the runes are those that were used in the
1300s, not the 1800s, as many other linguists contend.

New to him

Wolter, the geologist, has some Norwegian in his ancestry and grew up
mostly in Minnesota, but he said that he'd never even heard of the runestone until
several months ago. That was when Hanson hired him to conduct what they say
is the first laboratory testing ever on the runestone. Among Wolter's
instruments were high-tech, high-power microscopes.

What he found convinces him that the runestone is legitimate. With further
study, he said, he'll be able to better pinpoint the time period that the
carved stone was underground. "But absolutely no way was it carved in
1898," he said. Degradation of mica along one carved side clearly shows the
exposed surface of the graywacke rock was "dressed" (meaning cut to its current
size) at the same time the runes were carved.

He said he went into the work as an impartial scientist.

"I've never had an ax to grind, one way or the other," Wolter said in an
interview. He's being paid about $10,000 by the Runestone Foundation (a
group of believers) but denies that the signer of his paycheck could
influence his research.

His usual work is what he calls "autopsies on concrete" -- determining if
there are flaws in concrete projects and, if so, whose fault they were. He
said that he routinely tells the people who pay his bills, "I may have to
give you bad news. It is what it is."

His company of six employees annually investigates more than 500 projects,
and about five times a year he's an expert witness in court, testifying on
his findings about the cracking or scaling of concrete. He said he's
accustomed to being in the middle of controversy.

The other side

Experts on the runestone -- and many have emerged over time -- urge caution
in rushing to new judgments.

Mike Miklovic, professor of anthropology and earth science at Minnesota
State University, Moorhead, and a firm believer that the runestone is a
fake, said it bothers him that Wolter's research is preliminary.

Said Miklovic, "I'm willing to listen," but he wants solid proof. "He
[Wolter] hasn't published this. We have nothing to review. Maybe we have to
wait until all the publications come out. But the historical evidence is so
overwhelming in opposition that I wonder about the methods. Are his
techniques appropriate for the examination of an artifact of this type?"

Paul Weiblen, a retired University of Minnesota geology professor, said it
will be very difficult to establish through geological methods if the
runestone was carved in 1362. But he added that the head of the
university's geology department in about 1908 looked at the stone and said he doubted it
could have been carved as recently as 1898. Weiblen said he, too, has
eyeballed the runestone and agrees, basing his opinion on the stone's

Joy at the museum

Meanwhile, people at the Kensington Runestone Museum in Alexandria, Minn.
home to the runestone and thousands of runestone souvenirs -- are ecstatic. LuAnn Patton,
museum director and a big believer, called Wolter's work
"wonderful." She said, "In my entire time here, I've heard and seen
naysayers verbally abuse the integrity of the Ohman family, the runestone
and the museum. ... Now perhaps the Kensington Runestone will get its just

She read a scholarly paper by Hanson, written before the geologic studies,
and persuaded museum directors "to back away from fear and check this out."
Wolter asked Patton for permission to take the runestone to his lab and
remove a core sample, a little over an inch in diameter and 2 inches deep,
from the back. (No inscription is there.) She hesitated on both requests.

Patton said she can't have a runestone museum without a runestone, and the
idea of drilling into the very hard stone terrifying: "It was one of the
most nerve-racking days of my life."

But to her, to the many others in the area who believe the inscription is
real and to the 12,000 tourists who visit the museum each year, it's best
to find out. "Let science speak for itself," she said.

Rewriting history?

To Wolter the runestone is "the single most important archeological
artifact in North America -- ever. It flies in the face of theory that Columbus was
the first European over here."

After his science shows the inscription was written in the 1300s, he said,
everything else will have to be rethought -- geology (was North America a
lot wetter in the 1300s, allowing exploration by river and stream?), trade
routes, politics of the day in Scandinavia.

Birgitta Wallace disagrees -- forcefully. Wallace, a Canadian of Swedish
descent who is considered a foremost expert in west Norse archeology, gave
the keynote address at the conference at which Wolter and Hanson presented
their hypothesis. She blasted their views.

She said in an interview that every person who has ever studied the
runestone and dreamed of fame must have had this fleeting thought: "I wish
it were genuine." But every piece of evidence contradicts that, she said.
As for Wolter's geology, she said, "All they've been able to prove is the
stone is old." True, the stone is old, but is the inscription? No, she said

In her mind, the runestone clearly bears a 19th-century inscription.
Neither the runes nor the vocabulary reflect the 1300s, she said. "If you know
Swedish, that is the way my grandfather would write, not my ancestors from
the 1300s."

Also, she said, the idea of Norsemen exploring for the sake of exploration,
as the runic legend suggests, is ridiculous. There were no economic reasons
to go to Minnesota, nor has even one artifact been found that suggests the
Norse were anywhere nearby in the 1300s. She finds the coincidence
"amusing" that Norsemen explored an area more than 600 years before it was heavily
settled by Scandinavians. Plus, geologic studies indicate that a cold
climate prevailed in much of the 1300s, making travel very difficult in

To Wolter, though, there's another reason, a nonscientific reason, to
believe Olof Ohman. Ohman claimed he cleared a field for plowing, pushed
over a tree and found the runestone clasped in its roots. His 10-year-old
son was at his side. If the discovery were only a hoax, Ohman would have
had to tell his son, "You're going to lie about this until the day you die."
Wolter has a 10-year-old son. "A father wouldn't do that," he said.

Peg Meier can be contacted at

27 posted on 11/17/2003 8:05:33 AM PST by shamusotoole
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To: shamusotoole
I assume the runestone is still in Sweden, is that correct?
28 posted on 11/17/2003 9:05:05 AM PST by blam
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To: blam
"I assume the runestone is still in Sweden, is that correct?"

I don't know the answer to that question.

I have a call in to Scott Wolter of American Petrographic Services, who tested the Stone. I hope to find that out and also news about the Swedish results.
29 posted on 11/17/2003 10:30:14 AM PST by shamusotoole
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To: shamusotoole
" I hope to find that out and also news about the Swedish results."

Thanks, anxiously waiting for news.

30 posted on 11/17/2003 10:39:52 AM PST by blam
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To: blam
"Stay tuned. The Vikings were here?"

Viking kitties?

31 posted on 11/17/2003 10:43:29 AM PST by Destructor
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To: shamusotoole
Please let us know. This is really exciting.


32 posted on 11/17/2003 11:07:24 AM PST by Conservative4Ever (Wm. Wallace did not cry 'diversity' while being disemboweled.)
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To: blam; Conservative4Ever
I have just gotten off the phone with Scott Wolter of American Petrographic Services. He was very excited to speak of this study and told me he was giving a presentation soon, and would call me and invite me.

To answer the first question, the Stone is in Sweden at the University of Uppsala and will remain there until sometime in January. The Swedes are duplicating Wolter's experiments as well as other exams, including advanced Linguistics.

Mr. Wolter says that his geological tests are more trustworthy than any other, because they are the most objective.

He gave me more detail on the tests. He said there are four types of Mica in Graywacke. (pron. "gray-waa-kee")
These types weather at different rates on the surface. Wolter chose the type that weathers fastest, therefore more accurate. What he proved is that the runes were carved at the time the stone was dressed and that it had been buried after inscription for a long time, such that the farmer who found it had not inscribed it. If you take the farmer out of the picture, it means that someone many years before had to have come there and carved a stone fake with the date 1362 on it. Either that happened, or the Stone is genuine. Another study was done in 1910, by University Professor of Geology, Dr. Newton Winchell(sp?) that was pooh-poohed, but came to the same conclusion using methods of the day.

Mr. Wolter said that much of the linguistics studies have been done by an interested amateur, a Mr. Richard Nielson.(sp.?) He is a Naval Engineer, by education and has taught 14th Century Runes to Europeon scholars. It looks as though he will be publishing a joint paper with a Professor from the University of Uppsala on the subject. Mr. Wolter predicted we would hear more in about 6 months or so.

Mr. Wolter also said there is still much skepticism about the Stone in Scandinavia, and many scholars are still weighing in regardless of facts in evidence. Up to this point, all the linguistics have not been proven inconsistent with a 14th Century context.

The Stone, I have found, has been travelling alot lately. It has been in Scandinavia at least one additional time in the past two years and the last time I was at the Museum in Alexandria, Minnesota, it was at an exhibit in Austria.

Mr. Wolter has also studied every archive he could find in the Minnesota State Historical Society, including some things that no one now living has ever seen. Everything he has found is consistent with authenticity. There were contrary opinions, to be certain. But in the end, all the facts, pictures, contemporary accounts and scholarship speak for themselves.

All of you will be glad to know that I congratulated Mr. Wolter on being the person who changed the story of Pre- Columbian America. Once again, we who Freep are on the leading edge.
33 posted on 11/17/2003 1:04:42 PM PST by shamusotoole
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To: Destructor
Naw... ancient advertising compaign.

It really says, "Eat at Svens."

Interesting stuff...

34 posted on 11/17/2003 1:16:07 PM PST by Dead Corpse (For an Evil Super Genius, you aren't too bright are you?)
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To: shamusotoole
"All of you will be glad to know that I congratulated Mr. Wolter on being the person who changed the story (history) of Pre- Columbian America. Once again, we who Freep are on the leading edge."

Excellent report, thanks for your time and efforts. This won't get wide circulation until it appears in Discover Magazine or something like that.

Did you invite Mr Wolter to join us at the cutting edge on FR?

Now, I am anxiously awaiting more detail on the 'European DNA' found in the Windover skeletons in Florida.

35 posted on 11/17/2003 3:25:29 PM PST by blam
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To: shamusotoole
Thank you for your fine and exciting report. Nice to know that we here at FR have the most up to date information. Thank you again.


36 posted on 11/18/2003 12:41:17 AM PST by Conservative4Ever (Wm. Wallace did not cry 'diversity' while being disemboweled.)
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To: blam
37 posted on 02/06/2004 4:39:32 PM PST by carpio
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Just updating the GGG information, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list. Thanks.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on or off the
"Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list or GGG weekly digest
-- Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

38 posted on 12/09/2005 11:47:57 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Down with Dhimmicrats! I last updated my FR profile on Wednesday, November 2, 2005.)
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To: blam; farmfriend; shamusotoole
This goes back some years doesn't it ~ 2003?

The Kensington stone sits astride a line that runs through Lake Itasca, Seymour Iowa, and ArrowRock Missouri.

It's the prime meridian drawn by the Spanish in roughly 1600 to 1613 as part of a multi year effort to prepare for the formal division of and development of North America by Spain, France and England.

Check out the date on The Treaty of London which was dictated by Philip III of Spain ~ that's the one that gave France rights, and also allowed England a serious wedge.

The Spanish prepared for the division with at least two baselines I've identified, as well as that prime meridian.

One of the peculiarities of the Kensington stone is it's Northerly location. It's beyond the Mississippi! But, it's perfectly sited so that a magnetic North reading will take you past the French lands around Hudson's Bay to a point at 54 degrees 40 minutes North. That particular line plays a part later on in intersecting the inlet to the Inside Passage on the West Coast of what is now BC and the lower handle of Alaska.

I haven't checked out any Eastern connection but there's probably something darned close to it that allowed Spain to retain control of Labrador ~ on behalf of the Portuguese who had a settlement there in the early 1530s.

The point of intersection in the North has had a name since the days of the early European fur trade ~ but in this case the Iroquois Indians used to travel RT to the site to trade pots, knives and fine cloth to the more primitive Indians in the area in exchange for top quality furs.

Remember, the Iroquois didn't work through European traders ~ they did it themselves. They worked between the routes of the Courier du Bois, and those of the English and Spanish to the South.

I found the Southern Base Line runs from Daniel Boone's settlement in Missouri (where the Santa Fe trail begain) all the way East to the foot of Memorial bridge in Washington DC. That point is, BTW, as far North as you can get on the Potomac in a Spanish Galleon ~ not that that means anything.

The next point West in West Virginia coincides with a Spanish boundary marker for the lines delineating the boundary agreed to with the Brits ~ it runs from peak to peak in the Appalachians. We have another known boundary marker further South in Virginia, and there's one been found in South Carolina. There are undoubtedly more of these things, and once we find the key we can all get busy and go see if we can find them.

This was a HUGE undertaking. It runs to the subarctic in Canada, from Alaska to the Canadian Maritimes, down to the Midwest and from there to the Mid-Atlantic.

It had to be done in a short time frame ~ roughly 1600 to 1615 or thereabouts, and by some really, really, really sturdy fellows.

BTW, I know of other significant points on these lines ~ they relate to some quite early settlement sites made by some of my ancestors in improbably early times ~

I'd like to propose that MY OWN Swedish ancestors were the surveying crew that did the job at least in the North, and their close relatives in Spain and France may also have participated.

The Kensington stone is a MEMORIALIZATION of the terminal end of the prime meridian being drawn by Spain for later use! It's not about people dying at the site ~it's about this being the end of the job done by several men (identified by nationality) for whoever AVM is.

I believe AVM is a shorthand abbreviation for either Philip II or Philip III of Spain. If this thing started before 1598 it's Philip II. If after it's Philip III.

The initials donot stand for Ave Maria, but for Avignon (the family lineage back to Geoffrey du Boulogne who conquered the Holy land and became King of Jerusalem ~ a title both Philips inherited). The V is probably for Venice. Philip II signed a treaty with Venice to form the Holy League. The League, in turn, assembled a large multinational fleet at Mesina and went on to sink the Ottoman fleet at the battle of Lapento!

Hence, AVM, all straight lines, just like the runes, is about the landlord!

Now, knowing the context for placing that stone, it's pretty obvious what the rest of the message says.

I don't know if the survey party went on up to 54 40 in that part of Canada ~ the coldest spot in North America, on average. But they may have ~ if, perhaps, they had a few Iroquois in the company.

Daniel Boone's wife was a Von Beber. So was El Cid. He may well have had MAPS in his possession when he cut "The Wilderness Route".

39 posted on 06/01/2011 7:01:42 PM PDT by muawiyah
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