Friday, November 12, 2010

Heavener Runestone

I live not far from the Arkansas-Oklahoma state line - about 15 miles actually. Go another 20 miles and you will be in the town of  Heavener, Oklahoma. The home of the Heavener Runestone.  

Runestone you ask? 
Yes, a Stone with Viking-style Runes carved into it. 

Vikings in Oklahoma??  Yes!

It is believed that Norse explorers crossed the Atlantic and made their first landfall in Greenland. From there it is a short trip to North America. The Norsemen could have continued down the East coast, sailing around the tip of Florida, into the Gulf of Mexico and to the mouth of the Mississippi River. Because Viking ships were capable of negotiating shallow waterways, sailing up the Mississippi and into some of its tributaries, like the Arkansas River or the Poteau River, could very well be plausible.

The first mention of the Heavener Runestone comes from the 1800s when the Choctaw Indians, and later white settlers, thought it was made by earlier Native inhabits. In 1923, Carl Kemmerer of Heavener sent a copy of the glyphs to the Smithsonian Institute who identified them as Norse runes.  The later discoveries of five smaller Runestones in various locations in Oklahoma, all near waterways, supports the theory that the Runestone is truly of Norse origin.

In the late 1980s, Dr.Richard Nielson, who received his doctorate from the University of Denmark, translated the runes to 
G-L-O-M-E-D-A-L.  Meaning Glome's Valley. The Runestone would have thus been a land claim marker. 

The Runes are carved into a slab of rock which measures 12 ft. tall, 10 ft. wide, and 16 inches thick. The hardness of the slab is a 7 on the Moh's Hardness Scale - diamond is a 10 on the scale. Whoever chose to inscribe those glyphs did not want them to wear away.

And whether you choose to believe that they are of Norse origin or not, you will agree that the area where the Runestone is kept is quite picturesque.


Pixie said...

I have always heard of the runestone, but had no idea what it waas all about. It really gets the imagination going doesn't it? What if there are these markers all along the rivers, just waiting to be discovered?

Jeanne said...

Makes one wonder doesn't it?

Robin Larkspur said...

What a story! I love the idea of Vikings in Oklahoma!

Witchy Godmother said...

And of them thinking that they wanted it carved so deep that it would last so very long. Why was that important? Makes the imagination fly. - Hugs and sparkles - WG

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Wow, isn't that neat? I'm reading a book about the Vikings right now. Haven't got to the chapter about their North American travels yet -- perhaps it will discuss the Runestone too?

Sherry Byrum said...

Oh its beautiful Jeanne! We really need to explore your part of Arkansas! Thanks for sharing. Just beautiful.

richies said...

I love to visit the Runestone. It is interesting to imagine who put them there and what the circumstances were. It sure is a beautiful walk down to the Runestone.

An Arkies Musings

Wendy the (Very) Good Witch said...

Wow...fascinating! My ancestors on my Father's side were supposedly Vikings. How neat to think of them exploring here at some point. I choose to believe it...why not!? :o)