Skip to comments.Geologist says 'Runestone' found in 1898 by Olof Ohman is not hoax; local descendents agree
Posted on 09/23/2005 7:25:11 PM PDT by solitas
The Kensington Runestone, one of Minnesotas most debated artifacts is not a hoax according to geologist Scott Wolter.
Wolter spoke to a Minnesota History class at Anoka Ramsey Community College - Cambridge Campus Monday, Sept. 12.
He has been researching the Runestone for five years along with Richard Nielsen, an engineer from Houston.
Wolter, a geologist by education and profession works for Twin Cities Testing, performing detailed examinations on concrete and rock to determine if there are flaws in concrete projects.
Wolter explained the Runestone was found by Olof Ohman in 1898 while clearing trees off his land in Kensington, west of the Twin cities. When Olof tipped over an aspen/poplar tree estimated to be around 25 to 30 years old, the stone came with it. Wolter said 12 witnesses viewed the event.
What is highly controversial is the authenticity of the Runestone. The Runestone contains runic writing dated 1362 along the face of the stone and along one edge. Skeptics say Olof carved the message into the stone himself to pull a great hoax on scholars.
However, like Wolter, Olofs family believes otherwise. Joining Wolter for the presentation were Darwin Ohman, Olofs grandson who resides in New Brighton and Kari Ohman, Olofs great-granddaughter, who works for Isanti County Probation.
Jeff Edblad, who teaches the Minnesota History class, said he has always approached history from the concept of story telling and felt this was an interesting story that needed to be told.
The Runestone has been such a controversial item for so many years, with the arguments for and against authenticity, I thought it would be a great educational opportunity for my students to hear the story from the position of family members and a geologist, Edblad said.
The Runestone, which is housed at the Kensington Runestone Museum in Alexandria is a tombstone-shaped stone about 36 inches long, 16 inches wide and six inches thick. It contains a message that Wolter believes was carved by Norsemen.
Wolter spoke for about two-hours making many arguments for the authenticity of the Runestone. The Ohman family has shared photos, book collections and documents with Wolter while researching the Runestone.
Wolter has written a book with Nielsen on the authenticity of the Runestone. Their book, The Kensington Runestone: Compelling New Evidence will come out in December.
Wolter said after Olof, who died in 1935, found the Runestone he took the stone back to the family farm and cleaned out the mud with a nail.
Olof tried figuring out what was on the Runestone for a couple of months, Wolter said. He was a very insightful guy. He lived on a farm and wrote back letters to his family wondering how people could survive in the Twin Cities during the Depression . . . Because as a farmer, he could grow his own food, etc.
Even though there were critics of the Runestone, it was displayed at the Smithsonian Institute from 1948-1949 as a genuine artifact.
During his presentation Wolter showed evidence to support his theory the Runestone isnt a hoax. He explained the root leaching on the stone is consistent with the witness accounts of the discovery.
Also, Wolter said retooling has led to confusion and bias about the age of the weathering of the inscription.
Olof didnt scratch out the entire inscription, Wolter said. Some characters on the side were left the way they were found.
Wolter has also done extensive traveling to track down the evidence he needs.
He traveled to Augusta, Maine in March 2003 to do a tombstone study at Hallowell Cemetery because he needed a climate the same as Kensington so it would be comparable.
Wolter determined the mica degradation on the Runestone took longer than 200 years to develop based on the weathering of the tombstone. So, therefore, the Runestone cant be a hoax.
Wolter has photographed each of the 333 characters and word separators, found on the Runestone. He said he took pictures under different angles, taking around two weeks to generate a library.
I found things on the inscription that no one has seen before, Wolter said. In 100 years, Im the first one to document this because everyone else considered it a hoax.
Wolter, who spoke at the Midwest Plains Archaeological Conference in November 2000, said he faced some of his harshest critics at this presentation.
In my world . . . In all the times I have testified as an expert witness in court cases I have never lost, Wolter said. Its not because Im smart, its because I have the evidence.
One aspect Wolter said has been misreported is when the Runestone was found. He said most everything you read said it was found in November, when in fact it was found in September.
Wolter explained Olofs children went to school in District 63, which started Sept. 5. One of Olofs sons Willie said the rock was found one day after school, making it found in September.
Wolter, who has traveled to Sweden five times in the last few years, with the most recent trips in March and May 2005, went to review the Swedish book of Runica-Inscriptions.
He said the dotted R found on the Runestone is also found on Medieval inscriptions. Through a dating code used during that time, Wolter said he feels the Runestone is a land claim. During that time, Wolter said Alexandria had some of the best hunting land, particularly for prized fur beaver. Also, the area served as a gateway to the Missouri, Red and Mississippi Rivers.
Another point Wolter made was there was no weathering ground line on the Runestone. He also said with the help of a professor, they figured out the Runestone is made from a rock indigenous to Minnesota, a rock that comes from the south of the iron Range.
Other arguments Wolter has made for the authenticity of the Runestone and its inscription can be found in his new book.
I dont know how anyone can argue this theory, Wolter said. That concrete happened for a reason and we can prove it, and we have the evidence and facts to support this.
Through the years the Ohman family said peoples claims the Runestone is a hoax has taken its toll on them.
The generation before me was the first generation this really had an effect on, Darwin said. My generation was really sheltered from this and my family really didnt talk a lot about this. My family has never had a doubt about this. Everyone in my family knew this was real and the people in Kensington have known this was real.
Darwin explained, while his family have had their share of calls from people about the Runestone, Scott was the first person who made sense.
From the Ohman family perspective, Scott is a big deal and we like him because he tells us like it is, Darwin said. Dick and Scott are really true investigators . . . Getting the facts and evidence and putting it together. That is what is done to solve a problem. That is what they did and I think its great.
I think the runetone says: "Ole Olson was here!"
Very cool, thanks for posting this. Ya, you betcha.
Isanti County is in Minnesota, not Michigan.
I think the runestone says: "It's George Bush's fault, ya!"
Then we would know it was authentic! </sarc>
> It contains a message that Wolter believes was carved by Norsemen.
Any guesses as to what it says?
GGG PING. (w picture)
Thanks solitas for finding and posting this.
(I am pinging for SunkenCiv for a couple of days)
Ya sure, pong
What happened to the picture? It was a great picture, I saw it a moment ago, now all I get is a red X.
I still state that our ancestors were more advanced then we thought. It's so easy for us today to mock the past be denying evidence...because it's "impossible" for today's technology to have been used in the past.
Batteries in Eqypt
Mechanical clock in Greece
Norsemen in the Midwest
You name it...
On the other hand, just about the only ordinary farmer who would have instantly recognized a runsone for what it was would have had to have been a Scandinavian.
For anyone else it was just a scratched rock.
Another one of the great mysteries of the Midwest is the location of the gold. Most historians believe the indians lied to DeSoto about where Gold could be found. However, you follow the diary all the way through and you discover the Indians very consistently pointed toward what is today South Central, Indiana where, in fact, a serious glacial deposit of gold was found in the 1800s.
Which means, of course, that the Indians in a broad area of North America, in several different cultures, knew where to find gold in the Ohio Valley.
Stories like this NEED a picture.
Here is the clearest - warning! LARGE GIF (2,290,613 bytes)
A serious site on teh Runestone