Mysterious Viking runes found in landlocked US state

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“[Farley] spent most of her adult life searching for the stone,” said Amanda Garcia, director of Heavener Runestone Park. “She traveled all over the United States, went to Egypt, and went to different places to observe different brands.”

Faith Rogers, environmental science intern and volunteer at Heavener Runestone Park, led me down a paved path to one of the biggest attractions in the 55-acre forest – which is also one of the biggest mysteries. histories of the United States. We were deep in the rolling, brushy foothills of the Ouachita Mountains in far eastern Oklahoma, and we were on our way to see a slab of ancient sandstone that still has experts scratching their heads and debating the eight symbols engraved on his face. .

Some believe these cryptic inscriptions are runes (ancient alphabetic characters) carved into the towering stone around 1000 CE by Norse explorers who traveled up the Arkansas River to this remote part of landlocked America.

“Do I think the Vikings carved this? I think so,” Rogers said, as we stood in the protective wood and glass “house” built around the 3m by 3m slab, 6m. “[Local historian] Gloria Farley has spent her whole life researching this, and she has a lot of evidence to back it up.”

Farley – who grew up in the town of Heavener where the runestone was found and who died in 2006 – is a legend in these parts. She first saw the relic while hiking as a young girl in 1928 and was fascinated by it. Two decades later, she returned to study it, as an amateur runologist and self-taught epigraphist.

The first modern knowledge of the runestone dates back to the 1830s, when it was discovered by a group of Choctaw hunters. For years, white Oklahomans called it Indian Rock, mistakenly thinking the carvings were Native American.

“[Farley] spent most of her adult life searching for the stone,” said Amanda Garcia, director of Heavener Runestone Park. “She traveled all over the United States, went to Egypt, and went to different places to observe different brands.”

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