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Runestone in limelight

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Echo Press file photo The Kensington Runestone will be inspected by experts.3 / 3

The Kensington Runestone is once again in the limelight.

The controversial stone is part of a discussion in the North American Lecture Tour, which began last week in California and continues this week in Alexandria.

Participating in the tour is Professor Henrik Williams of Uppsala University in Sweden and Dr. Richard Nielsen from Houston, Texas.

Williams and Nielson will tour the town of Kensington along with the Kensington Runestone Park, Kensington Heritage Society and more today, Wednesday, September 29. They will be in Alexandria this evening doing interviews for documentary footage.

Tomorrow, September 30, the two will be inspecting the Runestone and doing more interviews for the documentary.

Nielson and Williams will give a presentation at Alexandria Technical and Community College on Thursday from 3:15 to 5:15 p.m. The event, which is free and open to the public, is part of the regularly scheduled Senior College. It will take place in the Technology Building.

The presentation will be videotaped.

The title of the presentation by Williams and Nielsen is "Messages in Stone: Runes and Runic Inscription."

The presentation will provide a cultural, historical, social and linguistic perspective on runes and runic writing, and their importance to Americans.

Audiences will learn about the history of runes and runic writing, view examples of runic writing from 400 to 1900 and hear how information on runestones and runic inscriptions is being documented and preserved.

The pair will present up-to-date information on the latest credible research regarding runestones, with a focus on the Kensington Runestone, which was discovered more than a century ago.

Results of some of the latest findings using a state of the art 3D imaging process will be shared.

New information and counter evidence will be provided to correct some of the recent unfounded and often sensational claims and unscientific conjecture promoted on television and in print regarding runestones and runic inscriptions found in North America, according to Williams and Nielsen.


•Dr. Richard Nielsen has been researching the Kensington Runestone for the past three decades here and abroad and has been collaborating with Professor Henrik Williams since meeting him in 2002. To further his research on the Kensington Runestone, Nielsen recently initiated a 3D imaging project of the stone using state of the art technology. Evaluation of the results is ongoing with Professor Williams.

•Professor Henrik Williams holds the professorship in Scandinavian Languages at Uppsala University. He is primarily a philologist, teaching and doing research in Runology, Old Swedish and Old Icelandic, but he is also interested in names, both on persons and on places. He has published a book on the language on Swedish runestones from the Viking age, an edition of the Old Swedish romance, Haerra Ivan, and major articles on the conversion of Sweden to Christianity.


For more information about the American Association for Runic Studies (AARS), visit or send your e-mail to