Two days ago, Tracy Morris published the article Vikings! In Oklahoma? in Firefox News. This was the first I’d heard of the continuing debate surrounding the origin of the Heavener Runestone, a rune-scribed rectangular megalith near Heavener, Oklahoma.
Locals contend and some historians speculate that between 400 and 1100 A.D., Norsemen traveled south along the Eastern seaboard, through the Gulf of Mexico, up the Mississippi and two of its tributaries to the site where the 12 foot high by 10 foot wide stone stands. Though there’s some disagreement among those in this camp as to exactly what the inscription means – some say it’s a date, others a location marker – the theory that it’s in fact a grave marker seems to be getting some traction.
On the other side, Scandinavian experts insist that although 6 of the 8 runes on the stone are actual Elder Futhark runes (characters of the ancient Viking alphabet – see photo above), it’s historically implausible that they were scribed by Vikings as this alphabet became obsolete in the 700’s A.D. – several hundred years before Leif Erikson first set foot on the North American continent.
Stuntman, actor, historian, and Oklahoma native Jackson Burns apparently filmed a documentary called Hidden Histories: Heavener Runestone last September. I searched that big online book store as well as that big online movie rental place, but couldn’t find it (I’m guessing it’s still in post-production). I’ll be keeping my eyes open for it…
Another article that gives more on the runestone’s background and history can be found here.