Kensington Rune Stone Collection
Extent: 1.0 Linear Feet
The Kensington Rune Stone was discovered three miles northeast of Kensington, Douglas County, Minnesota, in the fall of 1898. The Runestone remains controversial to this day.
The controversy centers on the interpretation of the inscription. Translated it reads:
(We are) 8 Goths and 22 Norwegians on (an) exploration-journey from Vinland over the West. We had camp by 2 skerries, one days-journey north from this stone. We were (out) and fished one day. After we come home (we) found 10 (of our) men red with blood and dead. AV(e) M(aria) Save us from evil. (We) have 10 of our party by the sea to look after our ship(s?) 14 days-journey from this island. Year 1362.
Proponents of the Kensington Rune Stone see it as an artifact of great historical significance, as it alleges Norse visits to America a century before the arrival of Columbus. The voyage would also have been 238 years after the last recorded Vinland voyage.
Opponents hold equally strong opinions. They argue it is absurd that thirty Vikings could, in fourteen days, penetrate from Vinland on the Atlantic coast as far west as Douglas County, Minnesota. They also contend that the inscription itself is much younger than the dates of the inscription.
The Kensington Rune Stone is on permanent display at the Runestone Museum in Alexandria, Minnesota.
Access Restrictions: Open for examination according to the rules and regulations of the Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections.
Acquisition Method: The materials in the collection have been donated by various people over many years.
Separated Materials: Also included are two oral history interviews on audio cassette tape from the Minnesota Historical Society. The tapes were separated and placed in the Audio Tape Collection. Tape #2050 is a 1967 interview with (Frank) Walter Gran and Josephine (Gran) Carson. Tape #2051 is a 1970 interview with Walter Gran alone. In the interviews, the Grans report that their father, John Gran, chiseled the stone as a hoax along with Olaf Ohman, on whose property the stone was found. The originals for both tapes are kept by the Minnesota Historical Society.
Related Publications: The Department of Special Collections also has numerous books regarding the Kensington Rune Stone. Please consult ODIN, the library catalog, to search for these titles.
Preferred Citation: (Description of Item). Kensington Rune Stone Collection. OGLMC 1040, Box #, Folder #. Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections, Chester Fritz Library, University of North Dakota.
Finding Aid Revision History: Finding aid migrated to Archon in October 2013.
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