There has been quite a bit of negative chatter on the Internet lately about the Kensington Rune Stone that frankly, is not worth commenting on. Most of the attacks are aimed at the honesty and integrity on the discoverer of the artifact, Olof Ohman. It's disgusting really, but these people are singularly focused on their "beliefs" and rabid efforts to confirm that faith rather than relying on facts or scientific evidence. It's personally difficult to relive the tough times that ultimately led to this post. However, sharing difficult personal experiences is superseded by the need for transparency in the quest for truth.
In late 2005, Dick Nielsen and I published our collective 574-page book, The Kensington Rune Stone: Compelling New Evidence. It really is an exhaustive work that covers every aspect of the history and controversy of the artifact and the ultimate conclusion the facts overwhelmingly supported was without any doubt, it is authentic. The book was published in December of 2005 and we began selling copies at speaking events. The first event was, appropriately, in Kensington, Minnesota. We sold many copies and happily while signing books, Dick took it upon himself to add a dot in the upper loop of the "R" in his first name. He did this to acknowledge our joint discovery of the all important Dotted R that occurs three times in the inscription. Dick was exceptionally proud of this discovery as in his mind at the time, it proved the medieval origin of the inscription all by itself. Let's go back and give a review:
In 2002, after completing my geological work on the artifact and concluding the weathering was consistent with multiple centuries and therefore proved authenticity, I decide to generate a photo-library of each and every rune, letter, word separator, and number within the inscription under the microscope. I took over 650 photos using low angle and high angle reflected light to bring out the three-dimensionality of every carved character. During this process I noticed numerous strange punch marks and short lines added to some of the characters which I put in a separate folder. Later, Dick went through the folder and noticed shallow punch marks in three of the "R" runes and got very excited. He asked me, "Are you sure those dots are there and man made?" I looked at him and replied, "Absolutely. Why do you ask?" Dick went on to explain how the language was coalescing in the 14th Century and modifications such as punch marks and short lines were added to indicate a change in the way the letter was pronounced. In this case, the dot in the R's indicated something called a palatal R, a different way of saying the R sound.
He then explained this was a recently understood medieval runic feature that was first discovered in 1935 and published in 1938. Dick, then smirked and said, "If the Dotted R was unknown to modern scholars until 1935, how did it get on the Kensington Rune Stone in 1898?" I was confused at first, and then it dawned on me how important these few dots were. These dots were intentionally made by the carver to acknowledge the runic convention of the time. In 1362, not in the late 19th Century as so many skeptics have claimed because it was unknown by anyone at the time. It then occurred to me these tiny dots that, to the best of my knowledge, I was the first ever to document since its discovery in 1898, proved the Kensington inscription was medieval all by itself!
One of the things I am most proud of when it comes to my work on the artifact is the amazing discoveries Dick Nielsen and I made together. It was the close collaboration between us, a geologist and an a runic scholar who was also an engineer, that produced those discoveries.
Unfortunately, something happened to Dick over the course of the next two years. Dick became angry and bitter at the lack of attention he received over his work on the Stone that was encouraged by outside influences. This led to a rift between us and his eventually his going his own way. In 2008, he convinced the Runestone Museum to allow him to perform a low resolution 3D imaging scan of the artifact he then used to write papers attempting to undermine the discoveries we had made and published in our 2005 book. Upon reading his "paper" that tried to wipe away the Dotted R as a "dropped chisel" by the careless carver, I was angry at his betrayal of our work together, to the stone, and to Olof Ohman and his family. But I was also very sad to see Dick try to destroy the good work we had done together in an attempt to resurrect the inscription in his and Henrik Williams' vision. That effort failed of course, and in 2016 Dick passed away a conflicted man.
What is important here is not what happened with Dick after 2007, but to remember the amazing work he did prior to ever meeting me and for the incredible work we did together that is published in our book. I think anyone reading this blog knows that small dot in the R of Dick's first name says everything that he knew in his heart what the truth was. It is that work that Dick should be remembered for and his role as one of the key individuals responsible for getting to the truth about this amazing and vitally important historical artifact.