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Re: viking runestone in Oklahoma

At 09:16 22/08/99 -0300, you wrote:

        The following appeared on the Halifax Mail Star daily newspaper
editorial page on Friday August 20th, 1999...

by Rowland Nethaway ~ Cox News Service
Poteau Mountain, Okla.

        I am standing in this mountain valley before this huge rock in the
exact same spot where a Norse Viking named Glome stood nearly 1,400
years ago.

        Glome painstakingly etched an inscription on this billboard-sized rock
in Old Norse runes, which are alphabet characters formerly used by
ancient Europeans.

        The eight runes gradually increase in size from six inches on the left
to nine inches on the right. The eight runes, according to Dr. Richard
Nielsen, a runologist who received his doctorate at the University of
Denmark, spell GLOME DAL.

        The carving was painstakingly punched into the exceptionally hard,
fine-grained Savanna sandstone rock that is 12 feet high, 10 feet wide
and 16 inches long. The inscribed stone slab is aligned north and south
and stands in a vertical position where geologists speculate that it
landed after falling eons ago from the 40-foot cliffs that surround the
stela on three sides.

        In the language of early Viking explorers, GLOME DAL means "Valley
owned by Glome".

        A Norseman named Glome pounded out this boundary marker on land he
claimed as his own a half century or so before Christopher Columbus
sailed the ocean blue in 1492 in search of India and became known as the
first European discoverer of America.

        Columbus, who never set foot in North America, has parades in his
honour in American cities while Glome and his pre-columbian Norsemen
buddies were carving "No trespassing" signs on rocks in eastern Oklahoma
hundreds of years before Columbus was born. Some people can't catch a

        The Glome marker now is the centerpiece of Heavener Runestone State
Park on Poteau Mountain on the outskirts of Heavener, Okla., population
about 2,800 and about 10 miles from the Arkansas border.

        The idea of Vikings exploring and temporarily settling along North
America's eastern seaboard hundreds of years before Columbus' birth is
easier to accept than the thought of Norsemen explorer-warriors
establishing land claims in Oklahoma.

        Early Viking exploration spread westward from Europe to Iceland, on to
Greenland and finally to North America. Speculation pushes Norsemen down
the eastern seaboard, around Florida, into the gulf of Mexico and
finally up the mouth of the Mississippi River.

        Exploring the Mississippi River and its tributaries, the Vikings
supposedly ascended the Arkansas River and then proceeded up the Poteau
River to a point merely three miles from Glome's boundary marker here on
Poteau Mountain.

        Other Runestones that indicate boundaries and burial markers were found
within ten miles of the Heavener Runestone. They were also written in
the same Old Norse Alphabet.

        While I can easily imagine a prankster hillbilly carving these rocks
while sucking on a jug of moonshine, no one can imagine any hillbilly or
pioneer settler who happened to be a runologist versed in Old Norse
Futhark and Scandanavian Futhork runes.

        Besides, a Choctaw hunting party is reported to have first discovered
the runestone in the 1830's. It was long called the "Indian Rock" until
experts at the Smithsonian Institution identified the characters as
runic. The first white settlers came into the area in the 1870's. Two
bear hunters reported seeing the stone about that time.

        If some backwoods scholar-prankster pulled this off as a hoax more than
a century ago, my hat's off to him.

        If a Viking named Glome stood here and chipped his land claim into this
rock centuries before Y1K, I'm even more impressed.

                                - 30 -

my comments:

        An interesting article, aside from what it says about current American
journalistic and compostion skills. Is it just me or is this horribly

        The time-line is indistinct. The writer refers to:

        "a spot where Glome stood almost 1,400 years ago"
        "on land he [Glome] claimed as his own a half century or so before
        "exploring...hundreds of years before Columbus birth"
and:    "before Y1K"

        any comments?

        and my parting shot: if only the Nova Scotia Department of Culture
could read...

Never mind whether the Nova Scotian Department of Culture can read or not.

Some people (to quote Mrs Thatcher) are not for turning.  They have entrenched
views which have the consistency of cement.  Church and State alike have a
vested interest in keeping us in everlasting ignorance.

There has been contact between the old World and the new for at least 2,000
years.  The Vikings, who were probably the most intrepid sailors the World has
ever known, only came into the picture about a thousand years ago when they
began their search for new lands to escape from the limitations of their own land
or when they were 'banned' from their own land (like Leif Eriksson) and had no
alternative other than to seek pastures new.

The rune stone in Oklahoma should come as no surprise.  People throughout
the ages have wanted to scratch their graffiti (ancient Rome was awash with it)
and, more recently, we find examples of "Kilroy was here" in every lavatory
or 'bus station in the World.  Trees have suffered as young lovers have scratched
their initials and their troth into the yielding bark.

As for the Vikings their runic inscriptions stretch from Constantinople to
Paraguay where there is an excellent example of slejpner, the eight-legged
horse which carried Odin around the World, carved on a rock-face some 400
miles up-river from the sea.  The Vikings used rivers as we use highways
and were adept at portering their boats from one waterway to the next.

Niven Sinclair

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