Top Ten Viking Hoaxes

Viking Ship in Hawaii1. Vinland Map. The so called Vinland Map is a medieval style map of the old world. It is said to date to the 15th century, when it was purportedly redrawn from a 13th century original. In the western Atlantic it has a large island identified as Vinland, which is the name given to an area in North America by Leif Eriksson who discovered it early in the 11th century. The Vinland Map came to light in 1957, when it was offered for sale to the British Museum, which turned it down because of its lack of provenance and non-original binding. Later the Vinland Map was bought by Paul Mellon who donated it to Yale University. In 1996 it was reported that insurers valued the map at $25 million. Even though the authenticity of the Vinland Map has enthusiastic supporters, the most of the researchers believe it to be a modern hoax.

2. Kensington Runestone. The runestone was found in 1898 in the township of Solem, Douglas County, Minnesota, and named after the nearest settlement, Kensington. According to Swedish American farmer Olof Öhman, it was lying face down and tangled in the root system of a stunted poplar tree. The stone is about 30 x 16 x 6 inches and weighs about 200 pounds. It is covered with runes on its face and side. The inscription suggests that the Vikings reached the middle of North America in the 14th century. The Kensington Runestone was repeatedly analysed by runologists and linguists and dismissed as a hoax. It is currently on display at the Runestone Museum in Alexandria, Minnesota.

3. Thorwald’s Rock in Hampton. Near the Tuck Museum on Park Avenue in Hampton, New Hampshire, there is a circular well covered by a metal grate. Inside of the well there is a rather large rock covered with slashes, which is believed to once have marked the grave of Thorvald, brother of Viking explorer Leif Eriksson. The Saga of Erik the Red says that Thorvald Eriksson, during his exploration of Vinland, stopped at a beautiful land. Attacked by Indians, Thorvald was shot through the heart by an arrow and was buried there. In 1902 Hampton district court judge Charles A. Lamprey wrote to the local newspaper claiming that a stone that had been on his family’s land since 1600s marked Thorvald’s death site. Thorwald’s Rock is now considered to be a hoax.

4. Leif Eriksson Runestone from Nomans Land. In November 1926 Joshua Crane, who then owned Nomans Land island, Massachusetts, spotted some lettering on a large rock near the water’s edge. The same inscription was noticed by Captain Wood, who worked as caretaker of the island. It was photographed in 1927 by Edward F. Gray, a writer who researched Norse voyages to North America for a book, which appeared in 1930. Subsequent efforts to decipher the runes concluded that the first two lines read, “Leif Eriksson, 1001.” The inscription has grammatical anomalies and the mixture of runes from different periods. The mixture of runes with Roman numerals seems no less suspect. The consensus is that the stone is actually a hoax.

5. Viking Ship in Hawaii. April 1st, 1936, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin published a story about a Viking ship discovered in Hawaii, accompanied by a photo of the rare find (see above). However, no such thing has ever been discovered there. It is doubtful whether Vikings could in fact reach Hawaii on their longships.

6. Wisconsin Viking Horse Skull. In 1935 during excavations of mounds dating to 500-700 AD near Spencer Lake, in Burnett Country, along with many other finds archeologists discovered a horse skull. This was something unheard of, since horses are not native to this hemisphere. The find was believed to prove that Vikings both discovered North America and settled far inland at a very early date. For many years the find was not challenged. However, in 1962 one of the archeologists, Ralph Linton, published a confession of a certain “Mr. P.” who in 1928, as a teenager, had buried the skull in the mound.

7. Frank Cowan Viking Literary Hoax. In 1867 Frank Cowan, who was once a secretary to U. S. President Andrew Johnson, wrote and published a literary hoax that claimed the discovery of an Icelandic Christian woman, who had died in 1051 AD, below the Great Falls of the Potomac River. The hoax was intended to raise sales of a Georgetown newspaper owned by Cowan’s friend Thomas Birch Florence. It indeed caused the sales to skyrocket.

8. Viking Ship Museum Hoax. April 1st, 2007, the Viking Ship Museum Roskilde published a press release, which stated that Ireland has claimed the handing-over of the wreck of Skuldelev 2, the remains of a Viking ship on display in museum, because of the fact that the ship was built in 1042 AD in Ireland. The press release further stated that after long and secret negotiations the National Museum in Dublin and the Viking Ship Museum reached an agreement: a true copy of Skuldelev 2, Sea Stallion of Glendalough, which was planned to perform a voyage from Roskilde to Dublin in summer of the same year, had to be handed over to Irish authorities. To be sure, Sea Stallion came back to Roskilde safely and it was all a hoax.

9. Oklahoma Runestones. It is a group of stones with runic or rune-like inscriptions including Heavener Runestone, Poteau Runestone, Shawnee Runestone and Spirit Pond Runestone. Heavener inscription, the most notorious of the group, probably has the word GNOMEDAL in the Elder Futhark runes. The problem is that this type of runic writing became obsolete long before the Viking expeditions to North America.

10. CBA Hoax. April 1st, 2009, the Council for British Archeology published an article, which stated that a new find from the far north of Scotland suggests that Vikings did in fact wear horned helmets. Along with a detailed description of the find, the article featured an interview with the excavation director Ren Lögn who said, “It is clear that the helmet was worn with one horn up and one down. Equally important is the fact that it was worn fore and aft not side-to-side.”

72 comments… add one
  • Steinar Skailand

    Bat Creek stone (Grave Creek tablet).
    The engraving is in pure Etruscan. Thus it will be approx. 3000 years old.
    Deciphered by Dr. philos. Kjell Aartun. I have done the translation.
    As the field is a bit strange, my English is far from perfect. If in doubt see the German text.
    That is correct.
    “” “Sexual excited”, o “Sister/Lover”, is the “intimate/reliable Friend”;
    certainly, ready, (o) “Beautiful and Chaste”, is the “Strong One”.
    The “Ardent”, (o) “Mouth/Opening”, (is) really, “in sexual Excitement” brought;
    certainly, the “Ardent” (is) “greedy/horny”, (o) “Beauty”.

    (May) a “flabby Coward”, o “Lover”, the “Greedy/Horny” become;
    (may) (o) Womanly Virtue, the “intimate Friend”, be “destroyed/killed”.
    Mortally ill (is) the “Greedy/Demanding”;
    certainly, “weakened” (is) the “Greedy/Horny”.

    Certainly, the “small Quantity” (is present), (o) “very Long”;
    certainly, the “Desired” (is present), (o) “Emperor”. “”

    This poem is very short. The “first half” seems to be lacking.
    Look for another small stone.

  • Steinar Skailand

    Let us move forward (some hundreds years) to the Spirit Pond (Map Stone) engravings.
    The text consists of approx. 7% Minoan Hieroglyphs, 6% Minoan Linear A, 81% Etruscan
    6% Runes (i.e. approx. 3500 years old).
    Deciphered by Dr. philos. Kjell Aartun. I have done the translation.
    As the field is a bit strange, my English is far from perfect. If in doubt see the German text.
    That is correct.
    “” “Perish” (is) the “very Long”, (o) “beautiful (Youth)”;
    the “very Long” (has) “Hibernated”, o “Sister/Lover”.
    A “Corpse”, (o) “beautiful (Youth)”, (is) the “Listless”;
    o womanly Virtue, “worn-out” (is) the Same.

    Buried (is), (o) Woman, the “Worn-out”;
    buried (is) the “Weak”, (o) “Beautiful and Chaste”.
    Dead (is) the “very Excited”;
    the “Vigorous/Strong” (is) run-down.

    (May) big/tall, (o) “Orifice”, the “Weak/Worn-out” (become);
    (may) long/big the “Worn-out/Weak” (become), (o) “discord Maker”.
    (May) the “Perished” (become) healthy/ strong;
    (may) Vivacious the Same (become).

    (May) the “Hermit” thick/corpulent (become);
    (may) the “Uncerviceable” greedy (become).
    (May) the “Strong”, certainly, (become) very long;
    (may) the “Strong/Corpulent” bended/curved (become).

    Penis (is) greedy, (o) “Glutton”;
    (o) “Cleft”, very long (is) the “Greedy”.
    The “intimate Friend” (is) “bended/curved”, (o) “Cleft”;
    (o) “Sister/Lover” very long (is) “Devoted/Reliable”.

    Long/enormous (is) the “Weakened”;
    restored is the “Enfeebled”.
    The “Circular” “gather”;
    the womanly Virtue “gather”.

    (O) “Ardent”, certainly, (may) the “Water” (be present);
    (may) the “small Quantity” (be present), (o) “Charge planner”.
    The “Union” (take place), (o) “Slit”;
    the “Union” (take place). (o) “Mouth”/”Opening”.

    Disaster (has taken place), (o) “intimate Friend”;
    (o) “intimate Friend”, the “Change” (is completed).
    The “intimate Friend” “perishes”;
    “conquered” (is) the “flabby Coward”.

    Perished (is) the “Vigorous/Strong”;
    “conquered” (is) the “Excited/ Corpulent”.
    Certainly, “mortally ill” (is) the “Long/Big”;
    the “Thick/Huge” (is) “dead”.

    The Semen (is present);
    the “Vomit” (is present).
    “Fleeing”, (o) “Mouth”/”Opening”, (is) the One, “who is in an awful State”;
    definitively running away, o womanly Virtue, (is) the One, “who is in an awful State”.

    The “Ardent”, o womanly Virtue, certainly, (is) buried;
    0 womanly Virtue, buried (is) the “Ardent”.
    “Perished” (is) the “Greedy”, (o) “Ocean abyss/- deep”;
    “perished” (is) the “Huge/Strong”, o “Ocean abyss”.

    The “Corpse” (is), “heading for disaster”, (o) womanly Virtue;
    the “Weak”, (o) Woman, (is) to “Decline exposed”. “”

  • Steinar Skailand

    The vikings reached “America” approx. 1000 AD.
    Let us start with the “Loudon County Stoneinscription”.
    The engravings are in 4 languages “Minoan hieroglyphs, Minnoan Linear A, Etruscan and Runes.
    (Observe: merely 2 Runes.)
    Deciphered by Dr. philos. Kjell Aartun. I have done the translation.
    As the field is a bit strange, my english is far from perfect. If in doubt see the German text. That is correct.
    “” (May) the “Water” (be present), (o) “Sister/Lover”;
    (may ) the “small Quantity” (be present), o “Sister/Lover”.
    The “Wanted”, (o) “Beautiful and Chaste”, (is) portioned;
    the “Desired”, (o) Identical, (has been ) given.

    (O) “Emperor”, certainly, the “Wanted” (is present);
    the “Desired” (is present), (o) “Ardent”.
    Slack/powerless (is) the “intimate Friend”, o “Juicy”;
    powerless/flabby (is) the “(to fight) Armoured”, (o) “Cornucopia”.

    (O) “Crevice”, the “Ardent” (is) destroyed;
    (o) “by Desire Excited”, the “Horny” (is) “doomed to die”.
    The “Faithful/Reliable” (is) “dead”, (o) “Bended/Curved”;
    the “Proud” (is) “in an awful state”, (o) womanly Virtue. “”

    The engraving is approx. 3800 years old.
    Observe further the lack of the first half of the poem.
    There must bee another stone in the vicinity.

  • bruce watson

    Mr. Scott.

    I know where vinland is. Case dated one of the burial mounds in this area 1340
    give or take 20 years. This location has grapes, black walnuts, butternuts and
    salmon. There is also a large mound with a stone shaft 100 feet above the water
    table. I believe the norse knew what lon and lat was. and a days travel for them
    was 50 miles. So Mr. Scott position the sun in the summer. read your stone and
    follow the map. It will take you to Vinland.

  • Tom Thowsen

    I like your attitude, there must be more solid evidence in this issue. There is more work to do – and the first thing we are agreeing on is that: Digging the site is a good start. So this is an aim. But there is more: unifying the people who are interested in the Pre-Columbian Discovery of America by Norsemen. In this matter many have worked isolated. Now we can unify and share our knowledge on this issue.
    I talk to anyone out there who are interested: Please participate in our Facebook site for free. We were established Feb 3, 2010. To day we have already reach 79 members, pr Mars 12. There are people from all over Scandinavia and the United States of America.

    Here is The Kensington Rune Stone International Supporters Club web site:!/group.php?gid=287262734058&ref=mf

  • Steinar Skailand

    The enigmas of the engravings on a significant lot of “American “rune” stones” have been solved by the Norwegian Dr. pilos. Kjell Aartun. The solutions were printed in the book(s) “Studien zur ugatitischen Lexikographie”, published by the well known German “Harrassowitz Verlag”, in 2006.
    The language is German. I have translated some engravings to Norwegian and English.

  • Aaron Beal

    Thanks …I was generalizing when I said Vikings reached the Americas first, I should have said before Columbus to be clear. My mistake.

    Agreed. Digging the site is a good start. In fairness multiple highly experienced archaeologists should supervise a dig, including some of the most hardened skeptics and believers, this would help strengthen the credibility of any finds. Preferably including experts who have experience getting their hands dirty (specifically with Nordic cultural digs). I understand much work has been done to authenticate the stone, but consider that history is being rewritten …facing a huge challenge here… as you know. I believe more convincing forensics is needed on the stone itself since it the only objective evidence that isn’t not buried. Here’s the challenge … indisputable scientific evidence of when the stone was made in needed, and less focus on the improbability of possessing knowledge to fake such a stone, and less on proper characters or translation (something a linguist doesn’t want to here). Only then will the most experienced archaeologist even consider risking his reputation on a dig of this sort. I am by no means a linguist expert, but it seems to me experts are hung up on the proper characters and/or translation of the stone. Even among the experts some of this interpretation is subjective. Where can I acquire written papers of others (outside of the US) who have evaluated this stone?

    • Thane Hildibrand

      Columbus is THE hoax, not our Vinland history. This is so becouse Columbus never actually reached nor landed on “American” soil, he came to the island now known as Cuba. And his Captain, Amerigo Vespucci (who America is named for), MAY have set foot on this land himself. FACTS remain: our Viking Period European ancestors DID land here, DID send scouting parties to LOOK for this country, DID stay here, DID live here, DID respect the Native population, DID explore and wander the far reaches of this land, and DID leave authentic runestones and other dated artifacts. Yet it is o.k. that people believe these to be hoaxes, it gives US, the TRU Finders, time for our own conclusions. And leaves everyone else in the dark, just as they want. This is OUR history: that of the Vinlanders, and will not be cheapened by hoax “theories”. HAIL VINLAND!!!

      • Viking Rune

        Hi Thane. Vikings discovered America long before Columbus. It’s a fact. It is proved by the findings of Dr. Helge Ingstad and Dr. Anne Stine Ingstad at L’Anse Aux Medows and recent findings by Dr. Patricia Sutherland on Baffin Island. Not by the rude hoaxes.

  • Tom Thowsen

    Aron, as far as I can see, there’s little response on Scott Wolters theory about the Templars here in Norway. The few reactions I got when I am mentioning him and his work on the Kensington Rune Stone – had rather been negative. It all depends on his Templars. That’s bad, I think. Because Scott has done so much positive research as a geologist on this Rune Stone. I hope people can see that, and not judging all his work as crap, because of the Templars.
    Well, from my point of view, it’s not really important if they were Templars or not. First of all they were Norsemen. If this Stone is not a hoax, their mission could have been the same as Columbus: searching a seaway to India and China. They might have travelled from the Bay of St Lawrence, up streams to the great lakes. On the west side of Lake Superior they left their ships, and travelled by canoes on the rivers to Minnesota. 21 kilometres pr day, in 14 days; it’s plausible, you know.
    But we need hard evidence… It’s unbelievable! In over hundred 100 years the scholars have fought against each other, and still not solved the riddle. And in that fight they all have forgotten to do their work properly. The finding site has never been under an archaeological search. They still don’t know what’s hidden in the ground at the Ohmans farm. It’s a Shame! Does the answer to the riddle lie there? Will they ever search for it? Or should the debate just go on and on and on…
    No – Let the archaeologists dig!

  • Steinar Skailand

    The Vikings were the 2nd (or third) group of Europeans to reach America.
    The first were the “Prior to the Phoenicians”.
    The Vikings had nothing to do concerning “the American rune stones”.
    Approximate age of the Engraving:
    Loudon County Stone inscription 3800 years
    Heavener “rune” stone 3500 years
    Spirit Pond (map stone) 3500 years
    Grave creek tablet (pure Etruscan) 3200 years
    The Kensington “rune” stone (50/50 Etruscan/runes) 3000 years.

  • Aaron Beal

    Vikings reached the Americas first… no question, but more evidence is needed to persuade me that the Kensington Stone is authentic. I do believe Templar descendants have had business relations with Nords/Vikings but any discussion connecting the rune-stone to the Holy Grail is a stretch of the imagination and in my opinion only lessons the credibility of any argument for the authenticity of the Kensington stone. If authentic… it’s likely the Templars are not connected to the stone, but only related by use of common symbols. This has all good making for another Da Vinci Code sequel.

    Tom, I would like to hear what conversation takes place with Norwegian countrymen experts. You will need to have rock solid reasoning (no pun intended). If the Kensington stone is belonging to Vikings, then I would like to hear reasons from a team of world experts and scholars. Keep me posted… I want to believe. With this said, I don’t believe Templars brought extraordinary religious relicts here to the Americas for safe keeping.

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