America Unearthed Vikings in AmericaIt's the morning after and already I'm receiving a flood of emails, including from academics, that it's an outrage the Noman's Land Island Rune Stone is not being rescued. This situation is similar to the Narragansett Rune Stone which is now in a temporary secure location until a permanent structure can be built to preserve and protect the artifact for future study. The same thing needs to happen with the Noman's Land stone. My understanding is an effort was started by residents on Martha's Vineyard, but it was squashed by the current State Archaeologist of Massachusetts, Brona Simon, a known opponent of anything suggesting pre-Columbian contact. Why she would have any objection to preserving what could very likely be a vital artifact of ancient American History is beyond me. The time to get that stone out of the surf and into a secure location is now!
Nancy Millwood's stone is almost certainly genuine, but I don't think it's Viking in age. I suspect it's more likely medieval, probably carved sometime between 1200-1500 A.D. It reminds me of the Kensington and Spirit Pond rune Stones as it is filled with strange characters and numerous dotted runes. Like those inscriptions, the Millwood Rune Stone doesn't fit the standard runic traditions of Scandinavia, so understandably their translation was inconclusive. I was told that whoever tried to translate it (I still do not know who it was) eventually punted and said, "...it was probably modern." Why couldn't they have just said, "I don't know" and left it at that? That's OK too.
It's interesting that the inscription we featured that's certainly genuine, (although I suspect all three are) the Heavener Stone was by far the longest journey for a Norse party to travel. The route I like the best that we didn't suggest, taking the St. Lawrence southwest to the Allegheny River, then west on the Ohio to the Mississippi, would have been the shortest route. Regardless, the Heavener inscription stands as a testament that whatever Norse party carved it obviously got there.
Letter from a fan of America Unearthed:
To Scott Wolter & the America Unearthed team,
"The Viking Episode of America Unearthed was one of your best. I haven't been able to see every episode, but this one and last week's at the wall in Texas were excellent. It's beyond me why scientists could (finally, begrudgingly) accept that Vikings made it as far west as L'ance Aux Meadows, but in no way could have gone from L'ance Aux Meadows down to Northeastern America. As the one gentleman said, they had already travelled 1,300 miles, and getting to Martha's Vineyard from L'ance Aux Meadows is only another 1,200.
My favorite part of this episode of America Unearthed was Birgitta saying directly that L'ance Aux Meadows looked like a staging site for further exploration. Slam dunk.
Also, regarding the Smithsonian Institute not cooperating with anything that looks like ancient navigation to North America, didn't they lose some artifacts from the Bat Creek site in Tennessee?
Scott please keep up the great work on America Unearthed.
Scott and Birgitta inside the sod house at Lance Aux Meadows on June 12, 2013.
Somehow I was able to break off a chuck from this small iceberg for a round of drinks for the crew with special ice that floated all the way from Greenland.
Scott feeling very proud of his million year-old Greenland ice from St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada.