By: Alice Beck Kehoe
An excellent pedagogy for critical thinking! 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 what became known as the Kensington Runestone as a hoax. However, Kehoe approaches the question holistically. She examines not only historical and literary evidence, but brings in data from archaeology, geology, linguistics, and biological anthropology. She concludes that the stone’s authenticity should not be dismissed as readily as it has been so far, even if that means rethinking deeply ingrained ideas about contact between Europeans! and indigenous Americans.
- Kensington Runestone Book
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