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
  • Dave Weber

    About 50 years ago when visiting northern reaches of lake Nipigon Ontario, local legend reported a Norse helmet found in a cave near Beardnore.
    We saw drill holes in rocks in the Rapids in the Wabinosh River between Lake Nipigon and Lake Wabinosh.
    Waterways on maps suggest Wabinosh is one of many that might make travel feasable from Lake Superior to James Bay or western areas.

  • Steve

    In 1577, cartographer Gerardus Mercator wrote a letter containing the only detailed description of the contents of a geographical text about the Arctic region of the Atlantic, possibly written over two centuries earlier by one Jacob Cnoyen. Cnoyen had learned that in 1364, eight men had returned to Norway from the Arctic islands, one of whom, a priest, provided the King of Norway with a great deal of geographical information. Books by scholars such as Carl Christian Rafn early in the 19th century revealed hints of reality behind this tale. A priest named Ivar Bardarsson, who had previously been based in Greenland, did turn up in Norwegian records from 1364 onward and copies of his geographical description of Greenland still survive. Furthermore, in 1354, King Magnus Eriksson of Sweden and Norway had issued a letter appointing a law officer named Paul Knutsson as leader of an expedition to the colony of Greenland, to investigate reports that the population was turning away from Christian culture. Another of the documents reprinted by the 19th century scholars was a scholarly attempt by Icelandic Bishop Gisli Oddsson, in 1637, to compile a history of the Arctic colonies. He dated the Greenlanders’ fall away from Christianity to 1342, and claimed that they had turned instead to America. Supporters of a 14th-century origin for the Kensington runestone argue that Knutson may therefore have travelled beyond Greenland to North America, in search of renegade Greenlanders, most of his expedition being killed in Minnesota and leaving just the eight voyagers to return to Norway.

  • Richard J. Doucette

    This is something which I have much knowledge of, and I would like to not only share my research..but also reveal the exact location of Thorvalds undisturbed burial site..all I want is credit for finding it

  • Mestari

    Number One Viking Hoax:

  • Kenneth Carboni

    I have little doubt that there are errors ,and fakes made in an attempt to promote Viking exploration ideas .That said this artical needs a little guidance.There definitely was a Vinland and the map proved itserlf true. The map showed 51 deg north as its location and thats were Newfoundlands viking sight was dicovered in the 1960 dig ,and the map was part of the evidence that led scientists there.The Kensington stone should stay an off hands topic because the experts are at odds.There are Sestertion order Norse style writings that match the stone ,they are dated, carved and set in stone in Europe but this would force academics to accept adjustments in vowels and letter chronologies they don’t want to make.The expert who worked on the stone chemistry for 911-twin towers sight says the stone and inscription dates are correct for possible Norse exploration era,and states that the farmer who dicovered the stone scrathed dirt from insciptions that already existed ,but the carving date is far earlier.I have been looking at the destruction of pre european native Americans and running into intruiging Norse like stories, images,and DNA facts while doing so. Read the work of Thor Hierdol,it goes further out on a limb than I’m willing,but he has specified on the Norse exploration subject.Saying the vikings colonized the americas – not likely,saying they didn’t set foot on the coast of the mainland now seems just as unlikely to me.

    • Thane Hildibrand

      Thank you Kenneth. You are more enlightened than the “author” of this blog. And it was Thor Heyerdahl, his book is Kon-Tiki. There are other alternative sources as well, not saying authentic, but inspiring. Like Barry Fell’s Bronze Age America. HAIL VINLAND!!!

  • Vermonter

    I know this is old, but I thought I would reply anyhow… The Ulen sword is a 19th century theatrical sword. Check out these links for more information:

    • Viking Rune

      Thanks for the links, Vermonter.

  • Ellen

    While the Kensington Runestone may or may not be a hoax, it is located in a place the Northmen could have gotten to easily. Once you discover Baffin Island (thought to be Helluland) it is easy enough to discover Hudson Bay. From Hudson Bay along the Nelson River gets you to Lake Winnipeg. And Lake Winnipeg is fed by the Red River of the North. Kensington is only fifty miles or so from the headwaters of the Red River.

    No great trek across hundreds of miles of prairie and forest is needed to get to Kensington; it can almost completely be done with a river boat. Mind you, that’s only a plausibility argument — but the Nelson and Red Rivers are major waterways, and Northmen traveled along rivers as a matter of course.

    We are then faced with the question of the horse skull. “This was something unheard of, since horses are not native to this hemisphere.”

    They certainly weren’t native to this hemisphere when Columbus or the Vikings paid a visit. But most of the evolutionary history of the horse took place in North America.

    Strangely, the horse disappeared from North America around 10,000 years ago. But invasive species often cause trouble, and that’s near enough to when humans arrived to make one suspicious.

  • Deb

    What is the deal with this “hooked X” rune? Its not an X – its an X-shaped rune called Gifu and represents the hard “g” sound, not an “a” sound like they claim in that stupid documentary about Templars.
    I do think it very possible that Norsemen – or at least Greenlander Norse – got inland into America.

  • John Sanders

    I find it troubling that the state of Oklahoma will be closing the Heavener Runestone State Park soon. Even more troubling is the fact that with all of the advance science and technology available today, we can’t seem to determine authenticity. I believe that Vikings came up the Mississippi River, then the Arkansas River, and up the Poteau River as far as they could and landed. It is near there where they found a beautiful place! They marked it as a land claim. It could be a hoax and to me that’s sad. We all can still enjoy the beauty of the park until August, 2011.

    • Thane Hildibrand

      John, we CAN seem to determine authenticity, yet there are other, more powerful groups that make this decision, and turns our history into hoaxes. It has been this way since the first artifact was found. And now they want to erase it all. HAIL VINLAND!!!

  • Steinar Skailand

    Moving forward to the “youngest” of the American engraved stones, the Kensington “rune” stone.
    As the readable text consists of 50/50 Etruscan/Runes the newest engraving is 2500-3000 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.
    “” (May) the “Flabby”, (o) “Sister/Lover”, recover;
    (may) (o) “Chaste”, strong (become), ah, the “to Weakness (doomed)”!
    The “Ocean-abyss”, the “Destruction”, (o) “Splitter”, (is) planned;
    certainly, the “Sea-foam”, (o) “Greedy”, (is) in abundance present.

    A narrow Place (is) the “Sea-foam (place)”, (o) “Maker of happy mood”;
    the “Sister/Lover”, (o) “Greedy”, (is) a “beautiful (Youth)”.
    Be ready, (o) “Crevice”;
    and “whip up Foam”, (o) “by Desire excited”!

    See, “crush (the Honour and Rights)” of the “Obedient”, (o) “Sinner/Criminal”,
    and make love to the “by Desire Excited”, (o) “Purposeful”;
    the “womanly Counterpart” “split up”, “torn apart” the “Wrinkled”!
    (O) “Ocean-abyss”, certainly, the “friendly Occupied” “deceived”;
    the “passionate Excited” “seduced”, (o) “womanly Virtue”;
    the “Greedy”, (o) “by Passion Excited”, certainly, (is) deceived!

    Pour out the “small Quantity”, (o) “passionate Excited”;
    (o) “Greedy”, make the “Prized” flowing!
    (May) (o) “Ocean-abyss”, the “Dirt” (be present);
    let the “Thin-flowing” surge up, (o) “by Passion Excited”!

    And the womanly Virtue keep to her (double bottomed) Plan;
    the female Counterpart (is) sneaky.
    (O) “Splitter”, seduce the Woman (as the Object of Affection);
    live, (o) “Apart-tear”, close to the “by Passion Excited”!

    Unscrupulous behaving (is) the “by Passion Excited”;
    see, “fraudulently deceptive” (is) the “Ocean-abyss”.
    Certainly, a “Plough-blade”, o “Sister/Lover”, (is) the “Apart-tear”;
    a “(Plough)handle”, (o) “Shameless”, (is) the male Organ!

    (May) the “Splitter” (become) “mortally ill”, (o) “by Passion Excited”;
    (may) the “very Long”, really, “be brought in disaster”, o “Sister/Lover”!
    “Attach unexpected”, (o) “Ocean-abyss”, the “Splitter”;
    “deceive the One in Distress”, (o) “Ocean-abyss”, the Same!

    (May) the “Self-recovered” stay excited, (o) “Spacious”;
    (may) the “intimate Friend” from all sides be surronded, o “by Passion Excited”!
    And of Passion excited, really, (is) the “Sister/Lover”;
    and in Excitement brought, (is) the “seducing (Person)”, the womanly Virtue.

    Let the “Runaway” “on Departure start”, (o) Woman;
    “the Same, the Hunch-backed”, “bondsman /swindler”, (o) “Sister/Lover”! “”

    “” (O) “Sister/lover”, “deceive”, really, the “Weak”;
    Abandon the Distressed, (o) “Perforated”, the “passionate Excited”!
    See, (o) “Apart-tear”, “light wounded”, see, the Woman!
    (o) “Passionate Excited”, “covet (to Wife)” the One “Burned with Desire”!

    It is moving forward the “Part”, (o) masculine Organ;
    (o) “Passionate Excited”, “what attaches itself”, moves forward unsteadly.
    “What is attached”, moves forward, o “eager Desired”;
    the “slow Floating”, o “Sister/Lover”, is moving toward the Aim.

    My “Departure” (happen), (o) Woman;
    my “Flight” (take place) (o) “by Desire Excited”!
    My “Turn of Fate” (means) Lack of Power, (o) “womanly Counterpart”;
    the “Disaster” (occurs), (o) “by Desire Excited”.

    (O) “Numbness”, ah, “Hyena”, you shall “flee”;
    withdraw, (o) “Flabby Coward”. “”

    Observe: On the lower part of the stone there are very faint engravings in the following languages:
    Minoan hieroglyphs, Minoan Linear A, Trojan and Etruscan. Hence the “writing ” started at the “age”
    of the engravings on Heavener- and Spirit Pond (Map) stones.

    The above four “American rune stones” are significant for all american “rune” stones.
    So flush the Vikings down the drain!

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