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Kensington Runestone

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Author Topic: Kensington Runestone  (Read 2611 times)
Ratina
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« on: April 25, 2010, 02:43:21 am »

Debate

Holand took the stone to Europe and, while newspapers in Minnesota carried articles hotly debating its authenticity, the stone was quickly dismissed by Swedish linguists.

For the next 40 years, Holand struggled to sway public and scholarly opinion about the Runestone, writing articles and several books. He achieved brief success in 1949, when the stone was put on display at the Smithsonian Institution, and scholars such as William Thalbitzer and S. N. Hagen published papers supporting its authenticity.[32] However, at nearly the same time, Scandinavian linguists Sven Jansson, Erik Moltke, Harry Anderson and K. M. Nielsen, along with a popular book by Erik Wahlgren again questioned the Runestone's authenticity.[4]

Along with Wahlgren, historian Theodore C. Blegen flatly asserted[5] Öhman had carved the artifact as a prank, possibly with help from others in the Kensington area. Further resolution seemed to come with the 1976 published transcript[6] of an audio tape made by Walter Gran several years earlier. In it, Gran said his father John confessed in 1927 that Öhman made the inscription. John Gran's story however was based on second-hand anecdotes he had heard about Öhman, and although it was presented as a dying declaration, Gran lived for several years afterwards saying nothing more about the stone. In 2005 supporters of the runestone's authenticity attempted to explain this with claims that Gran was motivated by jealousy over the attention Öhman had received.

The possibility of a Scandinavian provenance for the Runestone was renewed in 1982 when Robert Hall, an emeritus Professor of Italian Language and Literature at Cornell University published a book (and a follow up in 1994) questioning the methodology of its critics. He asserted that the odd philological problems in the Runestone could be the result of normal dialectal variances in Old Swedish during the purported carving of the Runestone. Further, he contended that critics had failed to consider the physical evidence, which he found leaning heavily in favour of authenticity. Meanwhile in The Vikings and America (1986) former UCLA professor Erik Wahlgren wrote that the text bore linguistic abnormalities and spellings that suggested the Runestone was a forgery.[8]
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