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The Kensington Runestone; verified as proof of Scandinavians in Minnesota in 1362
Ripsaw News ^
| FR post 07-21-02
| By Jim Richardson and Allen Richardson
Posted on 07/22/2002 2:22:42 PM PDT by vannrox
Subject: The Kensington Runestone; verified as proof of Scandinavians inThe comfortable scientific and scholarly worlds of history, archeology,
Minnesota in 1362
Verified at Last
The Strange and Terrible Story
of the Kensington Runestone
By Jim Richardson and
runology and Scandinavian linguistics have all been rocked by recent
developments surrounding a single stone in west central
The Kensington Runestone, thought for over 100 years to be a hoax, now
stands verified as a genuine artifact commemorating the deaths of 10
medireview Scandinavians in Minnesota in the year 1362.
A recent piece of linguistic scholarship by Dr. Richard Nielsen has hit the
scene, which seems to demonstrate conclusively that the Kensington Runestone
inscription is genuine. Nielsen's 75-page paper
took 12 years of research to write, and was published in the spring 2001
issue of Scandinavian Studies, the peer-reviewed journal of Scandinavian
Nielsen's work has been joined by long-overdue scientific testing on the
surface of the stone, coordinated by chemist and design engineer Barry
Nielsen and Hanson's findings reveal more than just the authenticity of a
runestone, however. Their work points plaintively at 100 years of scientific
incompetence and knee-jerk skepticism regarding
this valuable historic artifact. The shock waves are just beginning to
reverberate through the scientific world.
A Partial Chronology of the Kensington Runestone
1362 The stone is erected by medireview Europeans on an expedition to the
center of North America. The inscription was probably carved by a priest
from the Swedish island of Gotland, who was also
familiar with the law codes of Vastergötland.
1820-1880 Numerous unusual runeforms are discovered and documented by
various linguistic scholars. These same runeforms, when later discovered on
the Kensington Runestone, are declared "impossible" by
various "experts" in their debunking of the stone, even though the discovery
of these runeforms predates the discovery of the Kensington Runestone
November 1898 Olof Ohman and his 10-year-old son Edward are winching over
trees to clear their land in Kensington, Minn. They unearth the stone. It
spends its first couple of months displayed in a
January 1899 A translation is attempted, by Olaus Breda at the University of
Minnesota, from a hand-rendered copy of the inscription. Although he never
sets eyes on the stone, and states that he is
not an expert in runology or the language of Old Norse, Breda yet comes to
the conclusion it is a forgery. He makes his recommendation to the
university: Do not procure the stone for further study. He
is later cited as an expert.
February 1899 The stone is sent to George Curme, professor of Old German at
Northwestern University. Curme and his amateur geologist associate John
Seward study the stone for several weeks. Curme
states that although he is not an expert in the language or the runes, his
opinion is that the stone is a hoax because it contains double dots (similar
to umlauts) over a few of the runes, and the
invention of umlauts came after the date on the stone. Curme is later cited
as an expert. It is eventually discovered that double dots were a medireview
convention indicating vowel lengthening or
insertion of a letter. For his part, Steward observed that the carved-out
features of the Kensington Runestone showed as much age as the weathered
surface of the stone. This is what is expected from a
stone that has been hewn out of a rock and then carved; the rock's surface
and its inscription have been exposed to weathering for the same amount of
time. Steward's observation is ignored by future
March 1899 The stone is returned to Ohman. It languishes in his shed for
August 1907 A University of Wisconsin historian, Hjalmer Holand, becomes
aware of the stone, studies it, and concludes it is a genuine medireview
artifact. Over the years Holand clashes bitterly with
the establishment over the authenticity of the stone.
July 1909 Ohman, his son Edward, and several neighbors all give signed
affidavits stating the circumstances of the stone's discovery, the weathered
and aged appearance of the inscription, and the way
the roots of the tree had grown around the stone "in such a way as to
exactly conform to the outlines of the stone" (affidavit signed by Ohman
neighbor Nils Flaten on July 20, 1909).
1910 The Minnesota Historical Society designates a committee to study the
stone. The committee's study, based on both language and the geological
features of the stone, concludes that the stone is
authentic. However, there is some dissent among the membership and the
trustees over the issue, and prominent members of the Minnesota Historical
Society publicly dismiss the stone many times over the
years, continuing to implicate Ohman in the process.
The Illinois State Historical Society issues a 20-page report claiming the
stone is a "modern inscription." The report stops short of implicating Ohman
as the carver.
Summer 1911 Holand takes the stone to Europe to have it examined by
Scandinavian language experts. Their conclusion: It is a fake. The stone is
also exhibited in several U.S. cities.
1929 Harold S. Langland, president of Stanley Ironworks in Minneapolis and
trained in the physical sciences, studies the stone for two months and
concludes it is authentic because the carved-out parts
are just as weathered as the rest of the surface of the stone.
1935 Olof Ohman dies.
Early 1940s The managing editor of the Minnesota Archeologist, R.H. Landon
Ph.D., has the stone coated with engine oil and scrubbed with a powerful
solvent, in an attempt to "clean" it. No one knows
how much damage this may have caused to the testable features of the stone's
August 1967 The infamous "Gran tape" is made, recording an interview with
Walter Gran, wherein it is alleged by many that Gran claims his father, a
neighbor of the Ohmans, "confessed" on his
"deathbed" that Olof carved the stone. There is no actual confession related
on the tape.
1963 Hjalmar Holand, one of the few lifelong defenders of the stone, dies.
1968 Theodore Blegen, who had initiated the making of the Gran tape above,
publishes a book "debunking" the Kensington Runestone. The book alludes to a
scandalous tale on the Gran tape and helps to
cement Ohman's reputation as an unscrupulous forger.
1973 The BBC films a skeptical Kensington Runestone documentary, which leans
heavily on the bogus Gran tape as its source.
1976 The director of the Minnesota Historical Society, Russell Fridley,
publicizes the Gran tape in his articles in Minnesota History.
2001 After raging for years, the controversy is settled by the linguistic
scholarship of Dr. Richard Nielsen, and simultaneously, by the scientific
studies spearheaded by Barry Hanson, in concert with
American Petrographic Services of St. Paul and scientists at the University
of Minnesota's department of geophysics.
The Story of the Stone
In 1898, just outside of Kensington, Minn., farmer Olof Ohman found an
intensely enigmatic artifact ensnarled in the roots of a tree. It was a
large stone tablet, weighing over 200 pounds, and covered
with medireview Scandinavian runes. The inscription on the stone, which now
resides in a museum in Alexandria, Minn., reads: "Eight Goths and 22
Northmen are on this acquisition expedition from Vinland
far to the West. We had traps by two shelters one day's travel north from
this stone. We were fishing one day. After we came home I found 10 men red
with blood and dead. Avé Maria deliver from evils!
I have 10 men by the inland sea to look after our ship, 14 days' journey
from this island Year 1362."
Many features of the Kensington Runestone were so far outside the experience
of the experts of the day that it was quickly branded a hoax. Ohman's life
was never the same. His reputation was
destroyed, and he and his family endured a virtual reign of terror that,
arguably, helped drive his daughter to suicide. And the stone itself, like
Ohman's reputation, has remained an object of
derision ever since.
The reputation of Ohman (who died in 1935) seems to finally be cleared, but
only after a terrible human cost was exacted upon him and his family. Olof's
last surviving son is quoted by family friends
as saying (in a 1995 interview conducted by Ove Pederson with Ione and Einar
Bakke) that discovering the stone was the worst thing that ever happened to
the Ohman family.
A long line of scholars examined the stone's inscription and saw unfamiliar
runes, grammatical structures and numerical notations, and nearly everyone
loudly pronounced the stone a fake, and a poor
one at that. Such words were impossible for the 14th century, they said.
However, the unknown numbers, letters, words and sentence structures
ascribed to Ohman's criminal genius began to turn up in
authenticated Scandinavian texts almost immediately after the stone's
discovery. Indeed, several "unknown" runes had turned up even before the
stone's discovery, yet went completely unrecognized by
the top scholars of the day.
If the experts had done the proper research at the time, the stone could
have been well on its way to authentication. Ohman's reputation and family
could have been saved. Instead, the story of the
discovery of the Kensington Runestone, America's first known written
document, will go down in the annals of linguistic shame.
How it Happened
Olof Ohman was a man with 36 weeks of education, nine children and a
marginal farm. Hanson wrote in his book The Trail of Olof Ohman, "Olof
Ohman's character, after endless scrutiny by people who were
trying as hard as they could to show the KRS as a modern forgery, survives
unblemished. Every person who knew Ohman said the same thing; he was honest,
he was honorable and he would not or could not
have carved the inscription, nor would he lie to his sons as part of any
conceivable activity he might be engaged in." And yet this unlikely hoaxer
got stuck with the reputation of perpetrating a
brazen fraud. How did it happen? What was the case against Olof Ohman and
the stone, and how did the notion of a hoax falsely perpetuate itself for so
The case against the authenticity of the stone was primarily made using
linguistic arguments. It is not too far off the mark to suggest that the way
the linguists handled the case of the Kensington
Runestone provides a study of how not to approach a scientific anomaly. The
geological analyses of the stone have always supported its medireview
pedigree, with the geologists in question always
adopting a "wait and see" attitude toward the disputed runes. As we now
know, this was apparently the correct approach.
Thirty-two experts in Scandinavian linguistics have declared the Kensington
Runestone inscription fraudulent over the past 100 years. Ten of those
experts actually published papers and/or books about
the stone. One thing that helps explain their stunning collective failure is
that most of them hailed from the small, closed, conservative world of
European linguistics. When seen from this stodgy
milieu, the stone was nothing short of an outrageous affront. In addition,
at the time the stone was found, the linguistic study of medireview runology
was actually a fairly young science, and in many
ways, woefully incomplete. Looking back on it now, this is obvious, as the
past 100 years have seen developments in the field that, perhaps, could not
have been anticipated back then. For instance,
old manuscripts have been continually uncovered, yielding previously
unrecognized medireview runeforms, words and elements of grammatical style.
There are still piles of medireview writings that
present-day scholars have not even been able to get around to studying yet.
However, in 1898, the most accomplished experts of the day were at the
pinnacle of their profession. And no stone from
America could tell them otherwise.
The Kensington Runestone contains 23 different runic letters (or
"runeforms"), which are used to write an inscription of 46 words and 7
numbers. Eleven of the runeforms, and more than a dozen of the
words, were unknown to the experts of 1898. In addition, the numbers on the
stone failed to conform to the proper notation conventions as they were then
known. For these and other reasons, time and
time again, the case was made for fraud. Once the first couple of
investigators had proclaimed the stone to be a forgery (and they weren't
even experts, see p.8 sidebar), it seems as if the taint of
scandal became so intoxicating to the academic community that the stone
simply couldn't get a fair hearing for the hysteria. Once it was "known" to
be a hoax, whole reputations and careers were made
by trashing the stone and its few defenders.
The way the Kensington Runestone, and Olof Ohman, became objects of scorn
says more about the psychological opposition to fresh ideas than about the
proper conduct of science. The way some of the
experts comported themselves, in the face of the unknown, does a disservice
to the ideals of the scientific method. Personal attacks took the place of
data collection. Sloppy scholarship and
unreferenceable claims became the order of the day. Invoking "the experts"
took the place of doing actual research. The general attitude toward the
Kensington Runestone was one of contempt, as
evidenced by Professor Jon Helgason's remark to Kensington Runestone
"debunker" Erik Moltke, which Moltke quoted in a 1951 article for Antiquity
magazine: "In my opinion the inscription on the
Kensington Stone is such that no philologist with any self respect could in
any decency write about it." The stone posed an effrontery to these men's
sense of expertise, and Moltke's contempt for the
stone was as great as Helgason's. But rather than thrusting his nose up in
the air and ignoring it, as Helgason deemed to be the proper response,
Moltke expressed a more aggressive opinion as to how
one should approach the anomaly. "There has been so much fuss made about
this inscription that a stop must be put to it," Moltke wrote.
Sloppiness and hubris pervade the quality of scholarship that the stone has
been subjected to through the years. In his zeal to "put a stop to it,"
Moltke resorted to some extremely heavy-handed
rhetoric, as when he wrote of the stone in 1949, "See what an abortion it
uses as an a-rune." In addition, Moltke claimed that the n-rune had gone out
of use by 1100 and that was reason enough to
declare the Kensington Runestone a forgery. But the n-runeform as shown on
the stone was later discovered to have been in use well into the 14th
century, as documented by various scholars since J.E.
Liljegren found one in 1832. When this information became known, both Moltke
and another skeptic, Sven Birger Frederik Jansson, quietly dropped it from
their list of complaints. As for the a-runeform,
it is found on the Lye Church inscription from medireview times on the island
So many of the runes, flatly declared to be "impossible" in 1898, could have
been found with a little research. The runes in question simply hadn't made
it to the runic dictionaries yet, but they each
existed in referenced works, and in principle, they could have been found.
Simply put, the Kensington Runestone was never seriously studied by those
most qualified to do so. It was merely written off,
when in reality, it had much to teach. It is hardly an exaggeration to
suggest that if the stone had been subjected to serious scrutiny and
authenticated in 1898, it would have advanced our knowledge
by 100 years in the fields of Scandinavian linguistics, runology, history
and the archeology of North America. As it stands, some doors in these
fields are only now beginning to open, but the keys
have been available for four generations.
A case in point: One of the most prominent Scandinavian linguistics texts
cited in the Kensington Runestone controversy was Old Swedish Grammar with
Inclusion of Old Gotlandic, published by Adolf
Noreen in 1904. Moltke, and others, heavily utilized Noreen's text to
"debunk" the stone in a series of articles in various scholarly journals.
However, whereas Noreen's book was "a monumental
achievement for its day," according to Einar Haugen and Thomas L. Markey's
1972 book The Scandinavian Languages: Fifty Years of Linguistic Research
(1918-1968), it "has not been reprinted since it
first appeared and, as many texts not readily accessible to Noreen and his
readers have been published subsequently, it is badly in need of revision."
Of course, in fitting with the overall pattern of the Kensington Runestone
story, Moltke became one of the prime "experts" invoked by others as they
dismissed the stone, even though he had used
Noreen's outdated linguistic text from 1904 as the basis for his own
conclusions made as late as the 1950s. This is currently cause for no small
degree of embarrassment in scientific circles, as all
of those who ever built a house of cards against the Kensington Runestone,
in part by citing Moltke's (and others') "expert" work, now find themselves
on the wrong side of the issue, and their
arguments hopelessly outdated.
Many of the claims made against the inscription on the stone appeared in the
form of unreferenceable claims, which often take the form of something like,
"This word is impossible for the 14th
century." Stated authoritatively by an "expert," this type of claim appeared
to carry weight, and inevitably became cited by others in lieu of citing
actual data. This is why Nielsen's paper is
considered so significant. It represents the only comprehensive paper on the
language of the Kensington Runestone yet published in a serious professional
journal. Each claim is referenced, and each
bit of data has been verified by the reviewers.
When it was discovered that Ohman owned a couple of books that contained
runes, the experts went wild. Here was the clincher for them. The books,
each published in Stockholm in the late 1800s, were
The Well-Informed Schoolmaster by Carl Rosander and Sweden's History From
the Earliest Time to Our Time by Oscar Montelius. It was claimed that Ohman
had used these books as the source material for
his hoax. However, as is the case with so many other arguments leveled at
Ohman and the Kensington Runestone, the accusation that he used these books
was never seriously investigated, but merely
thrown onto the pile of already-existing accusations. If the issue had been
seriously looked into, it could have been easily exposed as an
impossibility. The runes available to Ohman from the Rosander
and Montelius books account for only half of the runes on the stone. And of
the remaining runes, many of them were unknown to anyone in 1898; not just
to the uneducated farmer, but to the most
educated Scandinavian linguists in the world.
Then there is the case of the so-called "deathbed confession." While it has
done much to prejudice the public against the stone's authenticity, it is
quickly revealed to be the only real hoax of the
entire Kensington Runestone saga.
It seems that in the late 1800s there were some neighbors to the north of
the Ohman farm by the name of the Gran family. In 1967, Theodore Blegen, one
of the arch-nemeses of the stone, persuaded a
nephew of Walter Gran to do an audiotaped interview which became known as
the "Gran tape." Gran was 4 years old when the stone was unearthed, so he
didn't remember much about those days. But he did
manage to spin a tale, on the taped interview with his nephew, about how his
father, John Gran, made a "deathbed confession" in 1927 (40 years before the
interview). The "confession" allegedly
concerned Ohman forging the Kensington Runestone.
The story was published in 1976, in a series of articles in Minnesota
History by Russell Fridley, director of the Minnesota Historical Society.
The BBC even got in on the act when it used the
"confession" as part of a documentary about the Kensington Runestone "hoax."
The trouble is, the spectacular "deathbed confession" is neither.
John Gran was not on his deathbed when he allegedly uttered these things.
Walter Gran said that John Gran's deathbed confession happened in 1927, but
John Gran did not actually die until 1933, six
years later. Some deathbed!
There is not even a confession: Walter alleged on the tape that his father
said, "Go ask Ohman," and then when Walter did so, Ohman said essentially
The so-called "Gran tape" contains nothing of scientific value that bears
upon the authenticity of the stone. Somehow the myth of it has grown to
include a deathbed confession, when really there is
Compounding the issue, Walter Gran's very truthfulness was not given glowing
endorsements by his friends and neighbors in subsequent interviews with
them. One of them said in a 1979 interview with Ted
Stoa of Fargo, N.D., "I didn't take too much stock in what Walter said at
times." This same sentiment was echoed by Iona and Einar Bakke in a 1995
interview conducted by Ove Pederson.
The Gran tape struck a particularly unscientific blow against the
authenticity of the stone. As the story blossomed, the unfinished science of
the stone became overshadowed with gossip.
The "unknown" runes, words, grammatical quirks, and numerical notations of
the Kensington Runestone have all since turned up in medireview Scandinavian
texts. What has been needed for some time, in
order to settle the issue, is for someone to put it all in one place for the
world to see. This has finally happened, and all of it has been extensively
documented. Nielsen's article seems to sound
the death-knell on the case against Ohman and the Kensington Runestone.
Hanson also has played no small role in the authentication of the stone,
complementing Nielsen's linguistic work with some impressive scientific
studies. Interestingly, of the scant few in the
Kensington Runestone debate who have come down on the side of the stone's
authenticity, it was mostly those citing geological concerns. The geologists
looked at the stone and said, in effect, "This
thing's ancient! There's no way it could be a modern forgery!" The linguists
never paid them any mind, and if they did it was to ostracize them and to
minimize the geological evidence. Geological
considerations have supported the stone's great antiquity since N.H.
Winchell, state geologist of Minnesota, and others (including the state
geologist for Wisconsin) first examined the stone in the
Since that time, however, the linguists have dominated the debate and
successfully marginalized the issue of the stone's geological features. That
is until Hanson came along and wondered: What has
been discovered upon examining the stone with a microscope? To his
amazement, he learned that no one had ever attempted it. For that matter, no
one had ever so much as recommended that this basic
piece of science be conducted.
Hanson realized that this represented a huge gap in the history of the
Kensington Runestone controversy, and got to work. First, he published his
recommendations for physical testing of the stone in
the winter 2001 issue of the peer-reviewed history periodical Journal of the
West. Then, having been granted exclusive authority by the owners of the
stone to coordinate its scientific testing, Hanson
contacted various people in the fields of geology, chemistry and geophysics.
Work was initiated by Scott Wolter at American Petrographic Services in St.
Paul and continued at the University of
Minnesota Department of Geophysics, where an electron microprobe analysis
was conducted on parts of the surface of the stone. American Petrographic
Services oversaw the conducting of some scanning
electron microscope work at Iowa State University on the same samples. The
investigations are just beginning, but the initial results indicate that the
original geological assessments of the
Kensington Runestone by Newton Winchell in 1909 are correct. In other words,
the stone is authentic, and it had been in the ground many decades before
Olof Ohman moved onto his land near Kensington.
Skeptics Slow to React
Among longtime Kensington Runestone skeptics, the reaction to Nielsen's May
2001 paper (and its supporting evidence from Hanson's testing) has been slow
in coming. There are rumors that some have
started to turn, and a couple of them have dug in their heels, but for the
most part, a great silence wafts over the critical landscape. What are we to
make of this silence?
Hanson is arguably in the best position to understand the skeptical
reaction, since his book, The Trial of Olof Ohman, examines every skeptical
word ever written about the stone. As Hanson sees it,
part of the problem in getting a quick reaction out of the 10 or so most
prominent Kensington Runestone skeptics is that Nielsen's paper went further
in tracking down dozens of medireview source
documents than any scholars had ever done before. These documents include
diplomas, letters, law codes, and various legal and official documents.
Hanson explains, "No one, living or dead, has ever
studied or even is aware of, in most cases, these critical documents.
Without them one has no basis to comment on the KRS language." And
therefore, it seems, no one is.
There is also the matter of the peer-review process, which has taken the
Kensington Runestone controversy to a new level. Much of the controversy has
played out over the years in popular books and
magazine articles, where assertions do not have to be rigorously
double-checked and scrutinized. By publishing in the peer-reviewed
Scandinavian language journal Scandinavian Studies, Nielsen now has
the high ground. Reviewed by, among others, Prof. Michael Barnes of
University College (one of Europe's foremost experts in Medireview
Scandinavian and runology and Secretary of the Viking Society to
boot), Nielsen's paper essentially has the blessing of some of the
establishment. Before Nielsen's paper, it may have been a little easier to
take potshots at the stone and its defenders. But the
playing field has changed, and the skeptics must now find it necessary to go
through a more rigorous process in order to properly attempt an answer to
Nielsen's evidence. No wonder the skeptical
reaction has been muted. Scandinavian Studies has put the paper on its Web
site to elicit discussion.
The Kensington Runestone, ghettoized for so long, is officially playing with
the big boys.
The Tip of the Iceberg
What are the implications of an authenticated Kensington Runestone? What new
avenues of discovery have been blown open by this scientific blockbuster?
Whoever the carver was, he was part of an "acquisition expedition" of eight
Goths and 22 Northmen from the year 1362, smack dab in the middle of the
North American continent. The Goths would have been
from what is now western Sweden, and the Northmen could have been from
anywhere else in Scandinavia.
In his article in the Journal of the West, Hanson, building upon previous
work by Nielsen, speculates that the origin of the expedition may actually
be related to the strange disappearance of a
settlement in Greenland over 600 years ago: "It is known that the Western
settlement in Greenland had a bad series of winters starting in 1308 ... In
1341, the settlement was discovered gone by Ivar
Bardson, the bishop at Gardar in the Eastern settlement. There was no sign
of violence or devastation; there were even some stray cattle roaming
around. Some 1,500 people simply left in their boats,
with many of their possessions. No one knows where they went, but it is
suspected that these same people regularly visited the Ungava Bay area for
wood, caribou and fish. They also probably were
familiar with the Hudson Bay area, because there is evidence that they were
at the Chesterfield inlet for iron and other parts of the Bay for polar
bears and eider down. Based upon the types of fur
they are known to have, it is strongly suspected that these Greenlanders
traded with the natives of the region. ... Travel up the Hayes or Nelson
rivers would be quite possible for the
When asked to speculate further about the people who carved the stone,
Hanson explained that his guess is that "they were from mainland Europe but
associated somehow with the Greenlanders that had
migrated from the abandoned Western colony. ... There most likely was an
existing population of (the Greenlanders) in the area of the stone. Other
artifacts including two boat hulls have been reported
in this area, at approximately the 1,370-foot elevation. ... 1,370 feet is
the same elevation as remnant shore erosion features at KRS hill (water
levels used to be higher in the area and KRS hill
used to be an island). I think they took their time doing the stone. The KRS
hill maybe was the 'home base.'" Hanson thinks that other artifacts will be
found in the vicinity of Kensington Runestone
hill and possibly to the east a few miles.
Is there any other existing evidence to support this new view of early
European penetration into North America? In addition to the reports of
actual ancient boat hulls mentioned above, there is a
plethora of hitherto unacknowledged artifacts that may soon be getting a
second look in the wake of the stunning resolution to the Kensington
For instance, there are the triangular holes of the Whetstone Valley in
South Dakota and many more in western Minnesota. These consist of hundreds
of unexplained triangular holes, 5 to 7 inches deep,
in large rocks all across western Minnesota and northeast South Dakota. They
do not appear to be blasting holes made by pioneers. Could they be mooring
There are also the so-called Chippewa Valley axes, periodically plowed up
out of virgin soil. Mostly in the hands of private collectors, these
ax-heads could represent medireview-era, hand-forged,
precrucible steel, and have no known counterparts in any mainstream American
museum. At any rate, they have never been properly identified or studied.
There are also what appear to be habitation sites, discovered two or three
feet underground via the remote sensing emitted infrared technology
developed by Marion Dahm of Chokio, Minn.
And lastly, of course, there are about half a dozen other runestones. They
are all smaller and less well-known than the Kensington Runestone. But after
what happened to Olof Ohman, is it any wonder
that the discoverers of these other stones might have chosen silence,
instead of scrutiny?
Jim Richardson and Allen Richardson are the brother team behind the RipSaw's
weekly "Gonzo Science" column. Jim lives in Duluth and Allen in Albuquerque,
N.M. Their e-mail address is gonzoscience@
hotmail.com <mailto:gonzoscience@%20hotmail.com> . Richard Nielsen's paper,
Response to Dr. James Knirk's Essay on the Kensington Runestone, is the
first comprehensive treatment of the language of the
stone to be published in a peer-reviewed journal. It may be downloaded as an
Adobe Acrobat Reader file from www.byu.edu/sasslink/pdf/krs.pdf
TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: america; ancientnavigation; archaeology; discovery; education; epigraphyandlanguage; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; history; kensington; minnesota; past; research; runestone; scandinavians; study; thevikings; travel; viking; vikings; vinland
A fun and interesting read.
posted on 07/22/2002 2:22:43 PM PDT
Yeah, a good read, and instructive on how "experts" can throw cold water on important theories. Makes you wonder how much other history has been spiked or ridiculed into silence by experts.
I remember learning about this "hoax" in grade school in Minnesota.
"...a genuine artifact commemorating the deaths of 10 medireview Scandinavians in Minnesota in the year 1362.
I realize that "eval" is a potentially dangerous Java keyword to execute. But, being a reasonably astute programmer, I also realize that "medieval" is not a keyword at all, and need not be filtered by Yahoo's stupid email tool.
This impact of this clunky tool is really becoming an issue, it seems.
You're having quite a day with these posts. Just don't fall in The Medved Zone.
posted on 07/22/2002 2:47:59 PM PDT
Wellnow, the Richardson brothers have been chasing this ghost for some time now - they're not exactly unbiased observers. It's hardly a consensus view that the thing is authentic - the best one can say is that its authenticity remains unresolved for the moment, IMO. There's decent evidence both ways, and no final answer just yet about the Kensington stone...
BUMP! An excellent read!
posted on 07/22/2002 2:51:44 PM PDT
by Paul Ross
Bump for later reading.
posted on 07/22/2002 2:57:02 PM PDT
posted on 07/22/2002 3:00:57 PM PDT
I thought maybe they found lots of coffee grounds, an ancient jello mold, and a recipe for a potato casserole suitable for church potluck dinners. :)
Interesting indeed. When the 2000+ year old copper mines in Minnesota are rigorously investigated, watch out!
"Hotdish"! (not casserole)
Thanks for the post.
Im a native Minnesotan, born and grew up about 10 miles from where the Runestone was "found".
The Runestone would have had to have been carved by a farmer that probably never went to school beyond 6th grade... in order to be a hoax.
If any of you folks get a chance , swing on by and have a few days of fishing and sightseeing, its a good area to visit. And ya might even see a real Live Moose .. No Cheese tho. Thank Goodness!
To: Uff Da
A little research from an amateur sleuth on the Kensington Runestone. The author of this website, Michael Zalar was recently interviewed by Ripsaw News, a weekly newspaper from Duluth, MN. THE KENSINGTON RUNESTONE
Comment #19 Removed by Moderator
"Hotdish"! (not casserole)
My apologies. I'm German and don't know all the lingo. :)
Ping.I thought you'd like to see this.
To: ConCon; RandomUserName
btw, what the Hell is "medireview?"
Fascinating. Thanks for posting.
posted on 07/22/2002 11:58:38 PM PDT
Thanks, Vikingchick, for the 'ping'......I've bookmarked it!
posted on 07/23/2002 6:12:40 AM PDT
by Uff Da
Yeah, but can you really trust scholars with names ending in -sen -son or -san to be unbiased about Viking wanderlust?
Truly, the oceans enabled human intercourse (in every meaning of the word) long before Columbus, and probably even before the Vikings, as each seafaring civilization rose and fell back into it's own dark age.
And so those stone carvings on Rossilyn Chapel in Scotland really are depictions of corn, tobacco, etc. and Titicacans maybe did learn their boat building skills from ancient seafaring Egyptians. Accounts of these travels could very well have gone up in flames along with the great library of Alexandria.
Peri Reis, call your office.
posted on 07/23/2002 6:26:01 AM PDT
by Wm Bach
no final answer just yet about the Kensington stone...
This is fascinating, but I agree with you that it's still a mystery. Hjalmer Holand wrote an excellent book on his research of the Stone. He thoroughly debunked the sloppy reporting that surrounded the stone's discovery. But what was the most important fact of the case that made me believe that the stone could well have been a forgery is something not mentioned in this article. Several friends of Olaf had studied runes before immigrating. Also, a not altogether reliable, but very well educated, minister was involved. So reports that this man possessed just a few weeks of formal education is deceptive. However, I find the geological findings very, very interesting. The jury is not in on this one yet!
posted on 07/23/2002 6:42:24 AM PDT
It's really very interesting. At this point, nobody can really say for sure if it's authentic or not, although I think the general consensus is that it's a forgery. You never know, though - stranger things have happened. It wasn't that long ago that divers found the wreck of a Roman galley off the coast of Brazil, dating to sometime in the 2'nd century AD ;)
I believe that the thread I started last winter, was the first ever posted on FR about this runestone. I think it probably is genuine, though it is still a little hard to figure out where the "island" was that it was supposedly emplaced upon.
If we stop thinking east-west, and turn the map around, we will find that the longitude of the Runestone is the easiest point to cross the American continent north-to-south! Hudson's Bay cuts way in on the north, and that is just the proper longitude to get in to the Mississippi system and float down to New Orleans. No mountains, lots of water, and the only real problem is the portage and dry spell up there in NW Minn/E NDak where they had some troubles...
The Michigan tablets will be the next to be verified, I believe. Thousands of them. Many destroyed because people didn't want a "hoax" around.
Americans were very moralistic a hundred or two years ago, and when "scientists" would come out with their usual denunciation of anything that did not fit existing theories, ordinary people thought "hoax" was like a lie or fraud, a terrible moral failing that ought to be punished by lifetime shunning if not jail.
What this poor family the Ohmans, suffered over the last 104 years is beyond belief, and it is still going on! Look at the posts just this past winter of "Darlene," a local young woman in that area.
I now believe that the lost boatmen were intentionally trying to move ESE into the Mississippi system, and were using the (few) high hills NE of the present village of Kensington as a landmark in the trackless prairie. Runestone Hill, the third and lowest, is where this stone was found.
posted on 07/23/2002 7:24:10 AM PDT
Make that 5000+ years on those mines. More in Michigan than in Minnesota, though.
posted on 07/23/2002 7:25:48 AM PDT
To: Free Trapper
Yes, of course this is a lifetime interest of mine.
Whatever one makes of the Stone itself, it is now generally conceded by neutral observers that Scandinavians had been visting parts of North America for centuries, even millennia, and there was probably an ongoing knowledge of sea routes, currents, etc. handed down among mariners there.
What we NOW need to get admitted and established, is that "Vinland" was not just a name, but an established colony that, like Greenland, lasted some 500 years and had, in its heyday, thousands of inhabitants. Note the comment by Roger Williams that in his view, the inhabitants ("Indians") of Narragansett Bay were "for the most part descended from the Icelanders."
Above all, note that -sett on the end of the name of the bay. Only in SE Mass and Rhode Island, of the whole Atlantic coast, do we get all these place names ending is -sett, which is pure Norse as in our words sett-ler, sett-lement, etc. It means a place SUITABLE FOR HUMAN DWELLING, a place ACTUALLY INHABITED BY civilized=Norse, people. A sett-lement, IOW!
Look at the map of Mass & RE, look at the number of place names. Narra-gan-sett is the real biggie, that bay was their favorite spot, site of the Norse Church whose Newport Tower is still standing. Narra="foolish"; gan="voyage"; sett="settlement, homestead." Apparently someone set out on a voyage considered foolish or dangerous, and discovered this marvelous bay. A large runestone at the entrance to N.B. warns that there is danger from wolves and bears but come on in anyway. Indians are not mentioned.
Anthracite coal from Rhode Island was discovered at the Norse sites in Greenland, btw.
posted on 07/23/2002 7:49:44 AM PDT
To: crystalk; vannrox
True, when confronted with something that doesn't fit the theory, change the facts. (And, as you stated better than I can, destroy the 'hoax'.)
This is what 'Dr.' Eugene DuBois did after he discopvered the Wadjak skulls. They didn't fit with the theory, so he hid them. That way his 'discovery' of Java man could gain ground without being over-shadowed by the discovery of pre-dating skulls of more modern features. Kinda nice that they are so "unbiased" in their studies. Good will be the day when they seriously look at what has been found, as they finally did with this stone.
Vannrox, thanks for putting this up. -Laters, Darksheare
In related news, archeologists announced that they had uncovered evidence of Polish and Lithuanian settlements in the Chicago region dating from the early 12th century. The evidence, said to be a medieval kielbasa, has convinced even the most skeptical critics. Professor Medved, G.D.E, of the DeVry Institute, speculates that the kielbasa may date from a time when the Earth orbited Saturn.
The theory of the late Hjalmar Holand, whose books still should be read [BTW Bronze Age America, by Barry Fell, also is necessary]...was that the explorers having ascended the small but long James River southward from Winnepeg, turned into the Buffalo River and came to grief on the shores of Cormorant Lake, the big one W of Detroit Lakes, MN-- not other smaller lakes of that name.
At that time, the remnants of the party turned southward through a chain of lakes which he felt were higher and more navigable water than now...to reach the runestone site.
He also traced their progress for some 25 miles on eastward, including a spot where they seem to have carved a makeshift altar for the offering of mass (very Catholic, these pilgrims)... leading one to think they may have made it into the Mississippi after all.
If not, the Mandan Indians and a fort just downstream of Pierre, S.D. would indicate two possible ultimate destinations.
BTW the highest hill there at the runestone site is now a ski resort, called "andestowerhills.com" as I recall.
posted on 07/23/2002 1:14:06 PM PDT
You're right. It's been awhile since I read about this in Ancient American. If you are unfamiliar with the magazine, check out their web site at www.ancientamerica.com.
posted on 12/09/2005 11:45:48 PM PST
(Down with Dhimmicrats! I last updated my FR profile on Wednesday, November 2, 2005.)
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