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The Long Boats Make a Long Trek

November 14, 2001

Historian's Notes

This edition of the Almanac was a bit of a stretch. The only way I could make the information relevant to any particular week of history was by utilizing a now much doubted interpretation of the runes on Poteau Mountain. I felt that the overall story of the rune stone was interesting enough to take the chance so I went ahead and used it for this particular week. A lot of what I'll call “secret” history lies within the borders of Oklahoma. I think it is really interesting material.


Farley, G. In plain sight: old world records in ancient America. Columbus, GA: Isac Press, 1994.

Almanac Transcript

The longboats make a long trek this week on the Oklahoma Audio Almanac.

Hello, I’m Steven Knoche Kite.

Situated in the middle of what is now the 48 contiguous United States the land that makes up Oklahoma has been crossed and re-crossed by a large number of diverse groups. Perhaps of all the tribes, troops, and various entourages crossing our state none has caused more controversy than the Vikings. Vikings in Oklahoma, is that possible? Some say yes and others no; the argument has raged for decades, possibly centuries. The argument for the existence of Norsemen in Oklahoma rests primarily on various rocks found throughout the state on which are believed to be carved Nordic runes, the alphabet of early Scandinavian cultures.

The argument against the Vikings lays mainly in the kinds of runes carved and the fact that no one can decisively interpret the letters. Rune stones, as they are sometimes called, have been found throughout the eastern half of Oklahoma. There have been two small stones with runic carvings found in southeast Oklahoma, one near Poteau as well as one within the city limits of Shawnee. The most well known of the Oklahoma finds, however, is the Heavener Rune Stone located on Poteau Mountain just north of the town of Heavener. The Heavener rune stone is large and impressive, a sixteen-inch slab of rock standing twelve feet tall, ten feet wide. Inscribed on the stone are eight symbols or runes ranging in height from 9 1/2 to 6 1/2 inches tall. Some language experts have expressed doubt over the authenticity of the runes while others believe them to be proof positive that the Vikings visited Oklahoma.

The connection between the Heavener Stone and this particular week lays in the first official translation of the runes. A cryptographer and runic expert studying the Heavener Rune Stone translated the inscription to read November 11, of the year 1012. Could a Viking explorer have stood on Poteau Mountain this week almost one thousand years ago carving this date? There is little doubt that the symbols are runes, but experts have concerns regarding the date translation. Other linguists have translated the inscription has meaning “to invite barter,” while still others believe the rock is a boundary marker with the inscription reading “Glome’s Valley.”

Cryptic carvings this week on the Almanac.

I'm Steven Knoche Kite.

The Oklahoma Audio Almanac is a joint production of the Oklahoma State University Library and Oklahoma's Public Library.

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