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Breaking News: The Heavener Runestone was not made by Vikings…


It turns out everything we know about our state's history is a fraud. Well, kind of.

Yesterday, The Oklahoman broke the earth-shattering news that the Heavener Runestone was not made by the Vikings. It was apparently made by drunk settlers instead.

The shocking story is part of The Oklahoman's news series "Oklahoma Exposed." Next week, expect a big story explaining that Sequoyah was illiterate.


A Swedish scholar who does not think the Heavener runestone was created by Vikings says the state should nonetheless be proud of being the runestone capitol of the nation.

Henrik Williams, a professor of Scandinavian languages at Uppsala University, discussed whether it is likely ancient seafarers made their way to Oklahoma centuries ago in a presentation last week at the University of Central Oklahoma.

Williams has studied runestones for more than 30 years throughout Europe and the United States. Runes are the letters of ancient alphabets used in northern Europe, first seen about 100 A.D.

“So why does a professor travel all the way from Sweden to Oklahoma? Well there’s a very simple reason, we have runic descriptions all over Sweden and you have them here, too,” Williams said. “It’s fascinating because Oklahoma happens to be the place in the United States with the greatest concentration of runestones, so you should be proud of that.”

Yeah, we're really proud about our runestones. Who doesn't like to cheer on the Oklahoma Runestones at the old ballpark? I say we carve "Oklahoma! The Runestone Capital of the United States!" in Old Norse along the bottom of all "Welcome to Oklahoma" highway border signs.

The story continues...

“This is probably one of the most impressive runic memorials, monuments, in the entire world. I have seen more than a thousand myself, and I would rate this among the top 20 without doubt, the sheer monumentality of this piece is astounding ... this is a 12 foot high rock and more than 12 feet wide,” he said.

The stone, uncharacteristically large for a runestone, has eight runes carved into it. The letters when translated into English read GNOMEDAL or GNLOMEDAL, which have been interpreted to mean Gnome Valley, G. Nomedal, or the phrase Williams prefers, Little Valley.

Gnome Valley? Well, I guess we finally know the real reason Al Eschbach moved to Oklahoma.

Williams said the runes date to those used in the earliest of four runic systems known as the Elder Futhark. The system was used from roughly 100 to 700 A.D., predating the first Vikings by at least 50 years.

“One thing I can tell you for sure, and I’m sorry to say this … but this is not a Viking runestone,” Williams told the audience at UCO. “Whatever it is, it is not a Viking runestone, for the simple reason that there weren’t any Vikings around before 700, and they were there between say 750 and 1,100.”

Someone should have sent the Ogle brothers to talk to this guy while he was in Edmond. Before he could say "Asgard," I bet they would have changed his mind. Viking warriors have lived in Oklahoma for ages... or at least since we've had local tv news.

Anyway, Henrick's assertion that the Heavener Runestone is not a Viking monument has rubbed some people the rub wrong way, particularly those people who benefit from the runestone being a Viking monument:

Heavener’s Chamber of Commerce manager, Melinda Vallantine, has heard Williams speak and did not agree with his findings. She said other people have been coming to study the runestone since the 1950s and think it is from the Viking period.

Vallantine said she was somewhat disappointed with the presentation and thinks Williams should continue researching the stone before saying it was a 19th century creation.

Honestly, I don't think staring at the stone for a few more minutes is really going to change Henrik's mind. Unless, of course, Henrick is tied to a chair and Kevin Ogle is holding the runestone only a few feet over his head. I bet that will

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