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Kensington Runestone

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David Greenwich View Drop Down
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    Posted: 30 Jul 2012 at 04:27
Any views on whether the Kensington Runestone is genuine or not.
 
I realise there is a bad tradition of hoaxing in the USA but I feel it has a lot going for it and that there is something implausible about the Norse people just giving up on America. We know in fact that there is evidence of continued contact. Could they have resisted the temptations of attempting to exploit this fecund continent?
What is past is not necessarily settled.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jul 2012 at 07:15
Hello David - and welcome to the forum. Thumbs Up
I've been reading about that stone and can't seem to make up my mind about it.
I find it hard to believe that someone would find any reason to carve such a stone in the 18'th or 19'th century, just to fool someone.... - but I guess it could have happened.
I have read some linguistics reports which concluded that the stone probably wasn't genuine - or wasn't what it pretended to be. They claimed that the choice of words on the stone was too modern.
I guess we will never know for sure. 
 
However, it is perfectly possible that the inhabitans of the western viking settlement on Greenland had to relocate and took the voyage down Hudson Bay and further down south along the rivers.
They suddenly went silent - disappeared without a sign or sound from Greenland.
 
To that end, there seems to be more trustworthy narratives about fair and blue eyed members of certain tribes of native americans - in example the Mandanas.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Styrbiorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jul 2012 at 07:37
I am completely sure there is a thread about this already. Necromancy, anyone?

edit: there was, but it had only one reply. I must have discussed this somewhere else: the conclusion was however, that it's problably a hoax.
edit2: check this thread: http://archive.worldhistoria.com/norse-tech-and-the-settlement-of-the-americas_topic25904_page4.html


Edited by Styrbiorn - 30 Jul 2012 at 07:43
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote David Greenwich Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jul 2012 at 07:52
I was surprised nothing came up when I searched for it...
 
Thanks for the tip but I was looking for something specifically on the stone. A lot hangs on the stone. If you think it was genuine then one sees a certain continuity between the Norse in America and Columbus's voyage for instance, given his reported visit to Iceland and so on.
What is past is not necessarily settled.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote David Greenwich Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jul 2012 at 08:01
I think the suggestion from the pro-hoaxers is that it was a kind of expression of Scandinavian patriotism by Scandinavian immigrants to the states that motivated the hoax.
 
The pro-hoaxers seem to have given up on the idea that the farmer did the hoax himself.
 
The linguistic evidence is far more ambiguous than sometimes presented. For instance the inscription appears to have a dotted R - a rune that was not known to scholars when the stone first emerged.  The language appears modern in some respects but language development is not always straightforward. Context is important.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jul 2012 at 12:26
I think Kensington Runestone is an hoax, made by a Swedish farmer in the last decade of the 19th century, for nationalistic reasons. However, the fact norse where in north America is not an hoax at all. There are archaeological remains in Newfoundland Canada, and the description of the trips are recorder in the Greenlander's Saga. Now, why the Greenlanders had moved to the U.S. I wonder? They came to the Americas looking for rough materials such as wood, and there was plenty of it at a shorter distance in Newfoundland. For them, the main post was Greenland and that was they wanted to preserve, rather than to spread to a dangerous and rather distant unknown world.
The important point, I guess, is that the norse people that came to north America where Greenlanders, settlers of Greenland, and not Swedish.




Edited by pinguin - 30 Jul 2012 at 12:30
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote David Greenwich Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jul 2012 at 12:43
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

I think Kensington Runestone is an hoax, made by a Swedish farmer in the last decade of the 19th century, for nationalistic reasons. However, the fact norse where in north America is not an hoax at all. There are archaeological remains in Newfoundland Canada, and the description of the trips are recorder in the Greenlander's Saga. Now, why the Greenlanders had moved to the U.S. I wonder? They came to the Americas looking for rough materials such as wood, and there was plenty of it at a shorter distance in Newfoundland. For them, the main post was Greenland and that was they wanted to preserve, rather than to spread to a dangerous and rather distant unknown world.
The important point, I guess, is that the norse people that came to north America where Greenlanders, settlers of Greenland, and not Swedish.


 
Hmmm... well there is nothing wrong in what you say. But we do know the Norwegian (I think it was) Crown kept an interest in the area.  So I don't think you can reduce it to a local "Greenland" issue.
 
Also, you seem to be implying that this resourceful people who were happy to go seal hunting and wood collecting on the coast of America, wouldn't ever venture further. I think the mention of grapes in the sagas shows that if the prize was thought to be big enough they would make the effort - plus we know from the butternuts that they did venture much further than north Newfoundland.
 
 
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jul 2012 at 12:51
Why should they? Greenlanders were very few. They acted alone, and without the support of a distant King. Now, the topic of the grapes is interesting, and in fact there are native grapes in north America, but the question is: where they grapes or berries? Or was that detail an artistic addition of late times? If in fact they were grapes, perhaps norse reached as south as the region of New York, but Americans should be more informed than myself in theirs country's geography.
However, the Greenlander sagas are a fascinating topic. I bough a HUGE book, as thick as a telephone book, that contains them all, and it is quite interesting.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote David Greenwich Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jul 2012 at 12:58
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Why should they? Greenlanders were very few. They acted alone, and without the support of a distant King. Now, the topic of the grapes is interesting, and in fact there are native grapes in north America, but the question is: where they grapes or berries? Or was that detail an artistic addition of late times? If in fact they were grapes, perhaps norse reached as south as the region of New York, but Americans should be more informed than myself in theirs country's geography.
However, the Greenlander sagas are a fascinating topic. I bough a HUGE book, as thick as a telephone book, that contains them all, and it is quite interesting.


It's not a question of how the Greenlanders saw themselves, it is a question of how they were seen by Scandinavians and I think I am right in saying they came under the Scandinavian archbishopric, but i will have to look into that.
 
On the grapes v berries. I think it is the saga that emphasises the grapes. The Norse could get berries all over the place, right up to the arctic circle I would say, but grapes were clearly a delicacy/major trading item.  I only read recently that they actually hauled a boatload of grapes back to Greenland. We aren't talking about a handful.
 
Of course we have to factor in climate change - it was a lot warmer then...well almost as warm as we are supposed to be now. :)
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jul 2012 at 13:27
Well, if you see the map of distribution of native north American grapes, it is very likely norse found them. As you can see Vitis Riparia distribution reach quite close to Vinland, and to Greenland as well, and the other wild grapes of north America aren't so far away. The point is, the Greenlanders didn't need to go far south to see wild grapes.




Edited by pinguin - 30 Jul 2012 at 13:28
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jul 2012 at 17:00
Originally posted by David Greenwich David Greenwich wrote:

............
 
Thanks for the tip but I was looking for something specifically on the stone. ...........
 
Yes - but the only people who could have made it (if it isn't a hoax) were the survivers from the western settlement.
Proving that they reached the area in which it was found, would improve the probability for a genuine stone.
 
The western settlement did have contact with the eastern settlement, with Iceland, and the bishop in Norway.
But "the litte iceage" influenced and starved all settlements, not only in Greenland, but also in Iceland where the population decreased to half of what it was before.
When the fjords freeze over, you can't sail anywhere (no contact, no supplies) and when the ground is covered with snow your crops won't grow and no grass for the cattle.
 
I find it very likely, that whoever was left in the western settlement took the last boats and went looking for greener pastures sometime in the 14'th century.
They knew about the less than little success some other vikings had three hundred years earlier at Lance aux Medows, so they went down the Hudson Bay instead.
Only guessing of course Smile
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Styrbiorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jul 2012 at 21:01
Originally posted by Northman Northman wrote:

Originally posted by David Greenwich David Greenwich wrote:

............
 
Thanks for the tip but I was looking for something specifically on the stone. ...........
 
Yes - but the only people who could have made it (if it isn't a hoax) were the survivers from the western settlement.
Proving that they reached the area in which it was found, would improve the probability for a genuine stone.
 

That I believe, can be quite clearly dismissed by reasons of language. The Kensington stones contains a language that could go as mainland Scandinavian (Norwegian or Swedish), but not Icelandic/Greenlandic.

The supposed authors would rather be members of the expedition sent out by king Magnus Eriksson in the mid 14th century. Linguisitic reasons still tend to point to a hoax though.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote David Greenwich Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jul 2012 at 23:29
Thanks for the map Pinguin. I am amazed that (some at least) writers have never picked up on that! I was never aware they grew so far north - what is the mystery about then?  Although the butternuts do suggest journeys further south I believe.
 
It's interesting the grapes are referred to sometimes as the river bank grape.  I am sure the Vikings would initially have been drawn down the St Lawrence.
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Jul 2012 at 00:24
Originally posted by Styrbiorn Styrbiorn wrote:

Originally posted by Northman Northman wrote:

Originally posted by David Greenwich David Greenwich wrote:

............
 
Thanks for the tip but I was looking for something specifically on the stone. ...........
 
Yes - but the only people who could have made it (if it isn't a hoax) were the survivers from the western settlement.
Proving that they reached the area in which it was found, would improve the probability for a genuine stone.
 

That I believe, can be quite clearly dismissed by reasons of language. The Kensington stones contains a language that could go as mainland Scandinavian (Norwegian or Swedish), but not Icelandic/Greenlandic.
I hear you - but can you also dismiss the possibility that a litterate newcomer from Scandinavia joined the party abandoning the western settlement? 
I'm not saying it is so - but we surely cannot rule the possibility out.
 
Quote The supposed authors would rather be members of the expedition sent out by king Magnus Eriksson in the mid 14th century. Linguisitic reasons still tend to point to a hoax though.
Sounds intriguing and possible, but why would the expedition think about going all the way to Minnesota to look for someone, if they never heard of anyone going there?
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Styrbiorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Jul 2012 at 02:57
Originally posted by Northman Northman wrote:

n you also dismiss the possibility that a litterate newcomer from Scandinavia joined the party abandoning the western settlement? 
I'm not saying it is so - but we surely cannot rule the possibility out.
 

Why would individuals of such a group distinguish themselves being Norwegian and "Götar" after centuries of isolation and, presumably, inbreeding?
 
 
 The stone is very intriguing indeed. A fantastic work if it's a hoax, simply fantastic otherwise. 
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Edited by Styrbiorn - 31 Jul 2012 at 02:58
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bavarian Raven Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2012 at 11:17
I was at first leery about the Kensington Runestone but several things have convinced me that it is most likely real. 

Firstly, the Danish King in the 14th century (apparently backed by vatican records too), sent out an expedition to Greenland and the "lands to the west". Both the Northern Kings and vatican knew about North America centuries before Columbus. 

Secondly, the dialect upon the stone (which at first was thought to be fake) has apparently been found in a small corner of the island of Gotland in the Baltic.

Third and finally, the most recent weathering test on the stone showed that the stone was underground ground for at least 200 years since the runes were carved upon it. o.O 

Therefore, imho, I believe the stone to be real.

~

As an aside, that grape map is not very accurate. While wild grapes do grow in Quebec, they do not grow much farther north then the southern most parts of Quebec. That being said, by the time you reach southern Nova Scotia, there are three varieties of wild grapes. LOL Which (as an aside), is the most likely location for the Vinland settlement - the NewFoundLand site being a stop over camp for resource expeditions sent out from Greenland for lumber and hunting and trading...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote David Greenwich Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2012 at 12:14
Originally posted by Bavarian Raven Bavarian Raven wrote:

I was at first leery about the Kensington Runestone but several things have convinced me that it is most likely real. 

Firstly, the Danish King in the 14th century (apparently backed by vatican records too), sent out an expedition to Greenland and the "lands to the west". Both the Northern Kings and vatican knew about North America centuries before Columbus. 

Secondly, the dialect upon the stone (which at first was thought to be fake) has apparently been found in a small corner of the island of Gotland in the Baltic.

Third and finally, the most recent weathering test on the stone showed that the stone was underground ground for at least 200 years since the runes were carved upon it. o.O 

Therefore, imho, I believe the stone to be real.

~

As an aside, that grape map is not very accurate. While wild grapes do grow in Quebec, they do not grow much farther north then the southern most parts of Quebec. That being said, by the time you reach southern Nova Scotia, there are three varieties of wild grapes. LOL Which (as an aside), is the most likely location for the Vinland settlement - the NewFoundLand site being a stop over camp for resource expeditions sent out from Greenland for lumber and hunting and trading...
I've just been watching "The Holy Grail in America" which touches on all those points you mention. It's a somewhat conjectural account that goes sliding off into full blown Templar nonsense at various points but is full of interesting stuff. I'm beginning to think the Newport Tower wasn't a windmill after all!  One to watch... 
 
The hooked X rune is certainly something that deserves attention.
 
I think on balance now, if I had to call it I would also say genuine. It's an extremely odd artefact either way. I think a Minnesota farmer would surely have been more tempted to put in a more obvious Viking link and make it earlier than 1362 and would have made the runes more readable.  Either it's an extremely clever forgery or it's genuine. I don't think it's in any way an amateurish fake.
 
The Narragansett Rune Stone visible at low tide is also quite compelling - again with the hooked X rune.  I haven't yet read any evidence to suggest that is a forgery.
 
Re the grapes, of course the climate was warming around 1000AD and I have never been entirely convinced that there were no grapes on Newfoundland at the time. Perhaps there were just a few vines  in a sheltered spot. There wouldn't necessarily be any evidence in the archaeological record of that.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bavarian Raven Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2012 at 13:11
Quote Re the grapes, of course the climate was warming around 1000AD and I have never been entirely convinced that there were no grapes on Newfoundland at the time. Perhaps there were just a few vines  in a sheltered spot. There wouldn't necessarily be any evidence in the archaeological record of that.

At the risk of going off topic, the reason I believe (and apparently a lot of other researchers as well) believe the Vinland settlement was in southern nova scotia region is because a, the geography of the site on northern newfoundland doesn't match the description of the settlement as depicted in the sages, b, the vinland settlement was surrounded by a palisade wall, and c, in the saga, it gives us a detailed account of the length of daylight during the shortest day of the year (which corresponds to the southern nova scotia region's latitudes). Smile Eitherway, it's an interesting topic. (and personally i don't buy that templar stuff, the truth is much simpler. North America was very profitable for the Northern Kings of Europe - much cheeper to keep the place a secret).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Styrbiorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2012 at 22:01
Originally posted by Bavarian Raven Bavarian Raven wrote:

Firstly, the Danish King in the 14th century (apparently backed by vatican records too), sent out an expedition to Greenland and the "lands to the west". Both the Northern Kings and vatican knew about North America centuries before Columbus. 


Not the Danish king, but king Magnus of Sweden and Norway. They certainly knew about the islands in the west (i.e. modern Baffin island, Newfoundland) and the Labrador coast but not that they were part of a vast continent.

Quote Secondly, the dialect upon the stone (which at first was thought to be fake) has apparently been found in a small corner of the island of Gotland in the Baltic.


Sound strange to me. The language on the stone shows many deviations and pecularities from most 14th century texts, which is the foremost indication of a hoax. On the other hand, the Scandinavian languages were divided into numerous dialects and there was no standard spelling system which, coupled with too few samples, makes it hard to make a clear judgement.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bavarian Raven Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Aug 2012 at 00:11
You are right. Brain fart right there. Embarrassed
Quote but king Magnus of Sweden and Norway.
It sounded strange to me at first too. But it does make sense - there were many dialects and no standard spelling systems as you pointed out, and it does fit in with part of the party being of Gottish (<--is that the word :S ) descent...
Sound strange to me. The language on the stone shows many deviations and pecularities from most 14th century texts, which is the foremost indication of a hoax. On the other hand, the Scandinavian languages were divided into numerous dialects and there was no standard spelling system which, coupled with too few samples, makes it hard to make a clear judgement.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shiloh2013 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Feb 2013 at 22:40
I have a new short story about the origin of the KRS. I think it speaks well to many of the issues raised here. I am looking for a few reader/reviewers as it is still in draft form. It is long at over 12,000 words. If you would be interested, email me at LynnBrant@hotmail.com, and I will send you a pdf version.
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