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From: Ross Olson [ross{at}rossolson.org]
Sent: Monday, January 30, 2006 8:59 AM
To: Editor Star Tribune (opinion{at}startribune.com)
Subject: Runestone

Gregory Rodriguez ("So Many Stake Early Claim On America" 1/30) is either fictionalizing in the interest of a good story or he is just a few decades behind the academic curve. Olaf Ohman who found the Kensington Runestone was not a stonecutter but a farmer and his "folk knowledge of runes" is a conjecture of his opponents. Rather, the treatment of this artifact is a tale of academic arrogance and closed-mindedness. Ohman never profited from the discovery and was in fact ostracized for it, yet he stuck by his story. The inscription was rejected because the runes were felt to be wrong for the time period -- an objection now challenged. In addition, it speaks of the hill where the massacre took place as an island, which speaks of a much higher water level and, therefore, easy navigation by Viking ships. This might lead to the conclusion that the ice age was more recent and the recovery slower than usually believed. Academia often tends to ridicule challenges to ruling paradigms.

Ross Olson