Kensington Rune Stone Collection
Extent: 1.75 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 at various times.
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.
Browse by Box:
- Box 2
- Folder 1: "The Kensington Rune Stone. Preliminary Report to the Minnesota Historical Society by its Museum Committee." Minnesota Historical Society Collections 15 (St. Paul, 1915), 221-286.
- Folder 2: Constant Larson. “The Kensington Rune Stone” n.d. n.p.
- Folder 3: Laurence M. Larson. “The Kensington Rune Stone.” Minnesota History 17 (March 1936), 20-37.
- Folder 4: Laurence M. Larson. “The Kensington Rune Stone.” Wisconsin Magazine of History 4 (June 1921), 382-387.
- Folder 5: Erik Moltke. "The Ghost of the Kensington Stone." Scandinavian Studies 25 (Feb. 1953), 1-14.
- Folder 6: T.J. Oleson. "The Vikings in America, A Critical Bibliography of Works Since 1939." Canadian Historical Review 36 (June, 1955) 166-173.
- Folder 7: T.J. Oleson. "The Vikings in America." Canadian Historical Association. Report of Annual Meeting. 1954.
- Folder 8: Milo M. Quaife. "A Footnote on Fire Steels." Minnesota History 18 (March, 1937), 36-41.
- Folder 9: Milo M. Quaife. "The Myth of the Kensington Rune Stone: The Norse Discovery of Minnesota 1362." The New England Quarterly 7 (December, 1934), 613-645.
- Folder 10: Milo M. Quaife. "The Kensington Myth Once More." Michigan History 31 (June, 1947), 129-161.
- Folder 11: Tryggvi J. Olseson. "The Vikings in America: A Critical Bibliography." Canadian Historical Review 36 (June, 1955), 166-173.
- Folder 12: C. Stewart Peterson. America's Rune Stone of A.D. 1362 Gains Favor. 1946.
- Folder 13: Francis J. Schaefer. "A Bibliography." Catholic Historical Review. 387-391.
- Folder 14: Francis J. Schaefer. “The Kensington Rune Stone.” Catholic Historical Review 6 (October, 1920), 330-334.
- Folder 15: H.A. Schwartz. “Who Discovered Black Heart Malleable.” Foundry 74 (May, 1946), 302-306.
- Folder 16: Lawrence D. Steefel. “The Kensington Rune Stone.” Minnesota Archaeologist 27 (1965), 97-115.
- Folder 17: William C. Thalbitzer. Two Runic Stones from Greenland and Minnesota. Washington: Smithsonian Institution 1951.
- Folder 18: Warren Upham. “The Kensington Rune Stone, Its Discovery, Its Inscriptions and Opinions Concerning Them.” Records of the Past 9 (January-February, 1910) 3-7.
- Folder 19: William S. Wallace. “The Literature Relating to the Norse Voyages to America.” Canadian Historical Review 20 (March, 1939), 8-16.
- Folder 20: M.T.R. Washburn. “Were there Fourteenth Century Christian Europeans in the Land that Became the U.S.?” Journal of American History 26 (1932), 121-145.
- Folder 21: Charles C. Wilson. “A Lawyer's View of the Kensington Rune Stone.” Minnesota History Bulletin 2 (February, 1917), 13-19.
- Folder 22: Darrel Koehler. “The Kensington Stone.” Grand Forks Herald, August 26, 1992, page 1C.
- Folder 23: Runestone souvenir from the Runestone Museum in Alexandria, Minnesota.
- Folder 24: Associated Press article regarding a book which claims that the Kensington Runestone is authentic. Grand Forks Herald, 21 October 1995.
- Folder 25: Theodore Blegen, “Frederick J. Turner and the Kensington Puzzle.” Minnesota History, Winter 1964
- Folder 26: Minnesota Historical Society Oral History Interview Data Sheet for the Gran Tapes: 1967 and 1970
- Folder 27: Erik Wahlgren. “Reflections Around a Rune Stone.” Swedish Pioneer Historical Quarterly, January 1968
- Folder 28: Birgitta Wallace. “Some Points of Controversy,” in The Quest for America. Praeger Publishers, 1971
- Folder 29: “The Case of the Gran Tapes: Further Evidence on the Rune Stone Riddle.” Minnesota History, Winter 1976
- Folder 30: Stephen Williams. Selection from Fantastic Archaeology: The Wild Side of North American Prehistory. University of Pennsylvania Press, 1991
- Folder 31: Erik Drilen, “Maybe the Vikings Made it Norse America,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, 24 May 1992
- Folder 32: Rolf Nilsestuen, “Evidence Shows Kensington Runestone is No Fake,” Minneapolis Star Tribune. 12 July 1992
- Folder 33: Minnesota Historical Society. Roots. “Vikings in Minnesota: A Controversial Legacy.” 1993
- Folder 34: Peg Meier. “Hoax or History?: The Kensington Rune Stone is Minnesota’s Contribution to the Bermuda Triangle of Artifacts Seeking the Stamp of Authenticity.” Minneapolis Star Tribune, 1 March 1995
- Folder 35: Richard Nielsen. “Early Scandinavian Incursions into the Western States.” Journal of the West, January 2000
- Folder 36: Marc Stengel. “The Diffusionists Have Landed.” Atlantic Monthly, January 2000
- Folder 37: Michael Lemonick and Andrea Dorfman. “The Amazing Vikings.” Time, 8 May 2000
- Folder 38: Arne Brekke, “Heyerdahl: The Kensington Rune Stone is Genuine.” 14 November 2000
- Folder 39: Peg Meier. “Geologist Thinks Runestone not a Hoax.” Minneapolis Star Tribune, 29 November 2000
- Folder 40: Handout from the Midwest Archaeology Conference, November 2000
- Folder 41: David Knutson. “Just How Old is the Kensington Runestone?” Grand Forks Herald, 10 December 2000
- Folder 42: Walter Gibbs. “Did the Vikings Stay: Vatican Files May Offer Clues.” New York Times, 19 December 2000
- Folder 43: Barry Hanson. “The Kensington Runestone: Physical Features, Past and Present.” Journal of the West, Winter 2001
- Folder 44: Michael Zalar. “16th Century Cartography, Plat Maps, and the Kensington Rune Stone.” Journal of the West, Winter 2001
- Folder 45: Peg Meier. “2nd Runestone a Hoax, Say Two Who Claim to Have Carved It.” Minneapolis Star Tribune, 6 November 2001
- Folder 46: Minnesota Archaeological Society Newsletter, Fall 2002
- Folder 47: Chuck Haga. “This Time It’s True: Viking Artifacts in Minnesota.” Minneapolis Star Tribune, 18 November 2002
- Folder 48: Peg Meier. “Smithsonian’s 2nd Opinion: Runestone is a Fake.” Minneapolis Star Tribune, 30 November 2002
- Folder 49: Melbourne Christopher and St. John Barrett. Lions of the Sea . 2006
- Lions of the Sea is a novel written by Melbourne Christopher and published in 2006. St. John Barrett is noted as the collaborative author. The novel tells about the voyage of a Swedish landowner named Birger Ulfsson to find lost colonists for the King of Sweden. Ulfsson is given a map of the new world of Vinland by his mother and starts on his voyage. He and his men do not find the colonists in Vinland, Greenland or Nova Scotia so they continue south through Lake Winnipeg and the Red River. While exploring the surrounding area, Pall Knutsson, one of his men revolts and tries to kill Ulfsson but the plan backfires, and Knutsson and ten other men are killed by a local tribe. The story of this massacre is told on the Kensington Runestone. On Ulfsson’s trip home he finds the lost colonists and is named Chancellor of the Realm for King Haakon of Sweden.
- Folder 50: Peg Meier. “Farmer who found Runestone is not a fraud, family says.” Minneapolis Star Tribune, September 6, 2004
- Folder 51: Rhonda Gilman. “The Kensington Runestone: A Century of Controversy.” Journal of the West, Summer 2005
- Folder 52: Peg Meier. “Kensington Runestone looking more like a fake.” Minneapolis Star Tribune, April 8, 2004
- Folder 53: Kensington Runestone Museum Brochure, undated
- Folder 54: “Runestone heads to Sweden to be studied.” Grand Forks Herald , October 5, 2003
- Folder 55: Grand Forks Herald Interview with Scott Wolter, a geologist who has written several books about the Kensington Rune Stone: January 13, 2007
- Folder 56: Scandinavian interview with Scott Wolter: Winter 20008
- Folder 57: Richard Nielsen, "There is No Grail Code on the Kensington Rune Stone." Epigraphic Society Occasional Papers." v27, 2009
- Folder 58: Henrik Williams and Richard Nielsen. "The Stockholm Historical Museum Exhibition on the Kensington Rune Stone."
- Folder 59: "Comments on Scott Wolter's Report on the Kensington Stone, Dated 2003.10.18." Epigraphic Society Occasional Papers." v27, 2009
- Folder 60: Richard Nielsen. "Answers for the Runestone Museum Information." Epigraphic Society Occasional Papers." v27, 2009
- Folder 61: Tryggve Skold, "Edward Larssons Alfabet" and "Edward Larssons Alfabet och Kensingtonstenes," Staffan Lundmark, "Skraddaren Edward Larsson, 1867-1950." Institute for Dialectology, Onomastics, and Folklore Research, Umea, Sweden, 2003.
- Folder 62: "Olof Ohman (1854-1935)." Print out of Kensington Area Historical Society webpage. March 26, 2011
- Folder 63: Scott Wolter. "Peer Review of Richard Nielsen's 'Weathering Ground-line,' 'Grail Prayer,' and 'Dotted R' Papers in ESOP #27." May 21, 2010
- Folder 64: "Expert from Sweden Exposes Mystery of Minnesota's Runestone." Aledo Times Record (Aledo, Illinois). September 28, 2010
- Folder 65: Lennart Regebro. "The Kensington Runestone." Print-out from Regebro's blog. March 4, 2011
- Folder 66: "Edward Larsson's Rune Lists." Print-out from website. Author unattributed.
- Folder 67: John Bengston. "The Kensington Rune Stone: A Study Guide." undated
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