The Runestone Museum in Alexandria MN contains a 200 lb stone with runes (letters in the Runic alphabet). The stone was unearthed in nearby Kensington MN in 1898 when a farmer toppled a beech or aspen tree and found the stone held by its roots. The stone is of a kind found in the area and the lettering has been translated. It tells the story of Vikings exploring the area in 1362! The Wikipedia site about the Kensington Runestone says that Swedish scientists are positive that the stone is a fake and its language is consistent with the 1800s, not the 1300s. A video in the museum makes a strong case that the runestone is genuine and was written in the year 1362.
The museum is housed in a building serving as the Alexandria visitors center and the office of the Chamber of Commerce. The displays inside are also devoted to local Indian tribes, living conditions in the area a century ago, and wildlife of the area. Across the street is the large statue of a Viking.
Here is the stone itself. More lettering is on the left side.
And here is the lettering on the left side.
This brief history of the stone appears on the bronze plaque at its foot.
This display case shows Nordic artifacts found in the area in the last century. They resemble similar implements used in Scandinavia hundreds of years ago. A metallurgical analyses indicates that the iron was a type used over 200 years ago and was formed by simple methods. The wooden handle in the axe on the right has not been carbon dated.
This display shows the most recent line by line translation of the stone into various languages, with the last being English.
This is the translation of the runestone made by the first man to study it extensively, Hjalmer Holland (Holand?).
This image was shown in a 45 minute video about the stone showing the imaging done on it about 2010. The point made from the imaging is that the Rs in the runestone had a dot (depressed area) in the center of the upper part of the R and that style was used in the rune for the letter R in the 1300s.
Is the runestone genuine? If so, the Vikings were in Minnesota long before Columbus’ voyage of 1492!
The video at the museum also made the point that several indications of Viking early presence have been found on America’s east coast.