Olaf Ohman

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On November 8, 1898, a farmer named Olaf Ohman, several of his sons, and some men from neighboring farms were clearing lumber and pulling stumps in preparation for plowing. Ohman was having considerable difficulty digging one tree, a poplar estimated to be between 10- and 40-years-old, which was on the southern slope of a 50-foot knoll between his farm and that of Nils Flaaten, Ohman's closest neighbor. When the tree was finally uprooted, the cause of Ohman's trouble came into view: Entwined in the roots of the tree was a 200-pound slab of graywacke, the Kensington Runestone. The roots of the tree, especially the largest root, were flattened by contact with the stone, as was noted by several people who were there and by later visitors to the site. The stone was found facedown in the soil, about six inches below ground level. The Kensington Runestone is a slab of Graywacke stone, grey in color, measuring 36 inches long, 16 inches wide, and 6 inches thick. It contains runic writing along the face of the stone and along one edge. The stone was found on the property of a Minnesota farmer named Olaf Ohman in November of 1898. Upon finding the stone, Mr. Ohman and his sons noted the runic letters, but could not decipher them. The stone was thereafter examined by many runic scholars, who discovered that the runes claimed to be an account of Norse explorers in the 14th century. Many scholars who have since examined the stone have claimed it a childish forgery; some have testified to its authenticity. The stone currently resides in the Runestone Museum in Alexandria, Minnesota, the seat of the county in which the stone was found.
~Thomas J. Rosengren, Belgrade, MN


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