Friday, February 9, 2018

A New Medieval Runic Inscription in North America?

Just this week, I had the privilege to examine yet another, previously unknown runic inscription here in North America.  It is a very short inscription and only had a short time to spend with it, but what I saw during my visit was very interesting indeed!  The short, three-rune inscription was carved into a large glacial erratic boulder of granite gneiss that had a very flat top surface providing a perfect substrate to carve on.  These runes are the largest I've ever seen at approximately six inches in height.  The three runes are well carved and easily read as a bilateral "n" (Meaning the angled bar in the center appears equally on both sides of the vertical line called a "stave."), an open looped "r" (Meaning the lower line of the upper loop angling back to the middle does not touch the vertical stave), and a so-called "thorn" rune.  One other interesting aspect of the "r" rune is the line angling to the lower right forming the top loop does extend and meet the top of the vertical stave.  This is the first time I have ever seen an "r" rune like this after reviewing hundreds of Scandinavian and North American runic inscriptions. 

Putting all the runes together, the inscription appears to spell "Nrth."  However, I will let the runological experts make the call on this one as it is not appropriate for me to portray myself as an expert in this field.  I know enough about runes to be dangerous, but I want to make it clear I am not a qualified expert.  What I am an expert on is commenting on how the runes were carved into rock as hard as granite, which was clearly using metal tools, as I have carved and painted my own rune stone into a granite gneiss boulder myself.

As I carefully examined the carvings, I was shocked to see something I never expected.  At the end of the lower right leg of the "r" rune was an intentionally made, large hole or dot, exactly like the one on line one, in the word "göter", on the Kensington Rune Stone!  This particular anomaly in the KRS inscription was interpreted by Richard Nielsen and myself, to be part of what we called a "Grail Code."  This was because the first four runes that were singled out by the carver on the KRS, with either dots or short strokes, in sequence, spelled, "GRAL" or "Grail."  Whether there is any connection to the KRS, or the Templars/Cistercians who created it, is unknown.

Lastly, I have to say that the carvings did look weathered, but it was a very brief look and it could, in fact, be recently made.  I am reticent to offer any age for the inscription until I am able to spend more time studying it to see if there is a scientific way to determine a relative age.  This is also the reason I am not going to reveal its location to ensure the inscription is not altered in any way by potential vandalism.  Having said that, I would entertain inquires from legitimate scholars that might be interested in seeing the inscription as more work definitely needs to be done.

On February 6, 2018, I had the opportunity to examine a brand new, three-character, runic inscription carved into a large glacial boulder of granite gneiss. 

The three runes that make up the inscription are a bilateral "n", an open looped "r", and a very well carved "thorn" rune, which typically when found at the end of a word typically represents the "th" sound.

This picture was taken at an angle to the inscription that highlights a deep hole the carver made at the end of the lower right leg of the "r" rune.  This feature is exactly the same as the dot the carver made in the same location in the first "r" rune in the word "göter", on line one, in the Kensington Rune Stone inscription. 

There is a clear and distinct intentionally made dot at the end of the lower right leg of the "r" rune in the word "göter", on line one of the Kensington Rune Stone inscription.

A closer view of the man-made dot at the end of the lower right leg of the "r" rune, in the word "göter", on line one of the Kensington Rune Stone inscription.

In May of 2005, it took 40 hours to carve this rune stone commemorating the book I co-authored with Richard Nielsen entitled, "The Kensington Rune Stone: Compelling New Evidence."  

The following photos of the most recent renditions of the ever-evolving translation of the Kensington Rune Stone are posted here in response to a troll's attempt to undermine the legitimacy of numerous intentional punch marks and short strokes added to numerous runes AFTER the inscription was carved.  The troll attempted to post a hastily written, angry rebuttal letter by a scholar who tried to use his perceived authority to play fast and loose with man-made features added by the carver.  This letter came on the heels of a paper I wrote on my microscopic 3D imaging work that documented these features whose impact on the authenticity of the KRS was vitally important.  You can read my paper at the following link: 

What is important to notice here is both Henrik Williams and Richard Nielsen peer-reviewed and endorsed the Dotted R and several of the other dots and short lines as intentional and meaningful aspects of the inscription Nielsen and I published in our 2006 book, The Kensington Rune Stone: Compelling New Evidence.  In some cases they served linguistic purposes, in others they were part of various codes, all reviewed and accepted by both scholars.  However, in 2007, the pair suddenly reversed course and decided the modifications were not the important features we had already published.  The new interpretation was they were "guide marks", "decorations", or in the case of the vitally important Dotted R on line 6, was the result of a "dropped tool mark."  I'm still amazed at how the clumsy carver was skilled enough to accidentally drop his chisel so the point just magically hit the perfect spot to create a dot that proves the authenticity of the KRS all by itself.  What are the odds...?    

The point of posting the two translations is to show how the two scholars played fast and loose with the physical features on the inscription.  In 2010, in the word "death" on line 8, they published two dots in the "thorn" runes and I'm convinced the second dotted "thorn" was going to be the big discovery they planned to make.  Unfortunately, Nielsen was denied access and Williams, reportedly, threw a fit.  Later that evening during his lecture at the Alexandria Community College, we all heard a clearly agitated Williams complain about their treatment at the museum.  I suspect because their plans to discover the Dotted "thorn" together were foiled by the museum, they apparently decided to make the dots in both the Dotted R, and the Dotted "thorn", go away.   This is evidenced by the 2014 translation as seen below.  

The problem with all of this is here we have two scholars, apparently, trying to play with physical aspects of the inscription to serve an agenda.  They certainly have the right to change their mind about interpretations of what these man-made features represent, as long as they provide proper evidence to justify and support the new opinions.  However, they cannot decide what are man-made physical features on the stone and what are not.  It is inappropriate and unethical.  

Sadly, Richard Nielsen passed away in July of 2016, and can no longer comment on the information I have presented.  However, I invite Professor Williams to defend his and Nielsen's actions by responding to my comments on this blog with facts I may not aware of, but I would not hold my breath he will do.  In the end, this type of behavior by scholars hurts not just the Kensington Rune Stone, but all of us who simply want to know the truth.     

This translation of the Kensington Rune Stone inscription was published by Henrik Williams and Richard Nielsen in 2010.

A close-up view of line eight shows a two dotted "thorn" runes in the word "death."

This translation of the Kensington Rune Stone inscription was published by Henrik Williams and Richard Nielsen in 2014.

A close-up view of line eight shows the once present dotted "thorn" runes in the word "death" have been removed.