The Kensington Runestone: Approaching a Research Question Holistically
In 1898, a farmer in northwestern Minnesota unearthed a large stone engraved with what appeared to be Norse runes carved in 1362. Could medieval Scandinavians have penetrated deep into mainland North America over a century before Columbus discovered the New World? Does the stone provide evidence that forces a rewrite of American history, or was it merely a well-executed hoax? In the absence of written records documenting a Norse expedition into Minnesota, most historians have dismissed the Kensington Runestone as a forgery. However, Kehoe approaches the question holistically. She examines not only historical and literary evidence, but also brings in data from archaeology, geology, linguistics, and biological anthropology. She concludes that the stones authenticity should not be dismissed as readily as it has been so far, even if that means re-thinking deeply ingrained ideas about contact between Europeans and indigenous Americans.