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Digging for what's beneath the surface: Film crew, archaeologists back at Kensington Rune Stone Park

A film crew from Los Angeles was at it once again, filming in Douglas County. This time, they were converging at the Kensington Rune Stone Park. According to producer Nina Lund, they were shooting the second season of the television documentary s...

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As Jammi Ladwig, an archaeologist with Bolton-Menk, does a ground sampling at Kensington Rune Stone Park, actors Elroy Balgaard (left) and Peter Stormare (middle), along with a film crew, watch. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press)
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A film crew from Los Angeles was at it once again, filming in Douglas County. This time, they were converging at the Kensington Rune Stone Park.

According to producer Nina Lund, they were shooting the second season of the television documentary series, "The Kensington Mystery," which at this time only airs in Scandinavia.

Lund said her and co-producer Mando Stathi had crews filming actors Peter Stormare of "Fargo" and "Longmire" fame and Elroy Balgaard, who has family in Ashby, along with two archaeologists from Bolton-Menk and an archaeological geophysicist from Archaeo-Physics.

The two archaeologists and the archaeological geophysicist were performing what Lund called "Phase 1 excavation." In essence, they were doing excavations of objects found from a ground-penetrating radar survey performed last year.

"We are hoping to find something to continue doing research," Lund said on the second day of filming.

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Bolton-Menk, the firm doing most of the digging, had to acquire a permit prior to filming and performing the archaeological excavations. The excavations on Minnesota's non-federal public land can only take place when permitted by the state archaeologist and the Minnesota Historical Society, with coordination from the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council.

The permit was posted at the site where archaeologists Austin Jenkins and Jammi Ladwig from Bolton-Menk, and the archaeological geophysicist, Dave Maki with Archaeo-Physics, were doing the excavations.

Brad Bonk, Douglas County's parks superintendent, said the ground-penetrating radar was performed at Kensington Rune Stone Park, near the site where the Kensington Runestone was reportedly found. Based on the photos produced by the radar, Bonk said some type of metal objects were found below the surface.

"That's what kind of started this process of wanting to see what was down there," said Bonk.

By doing the filming and the excavating, he is hoping to have even more research and information about the runestone, a controversial century-old mystery.

"It's always good to have research," said Bonk. "That can breed even more research and interest and there's nothing wrong with that."

The two film producers, along with Bonk, did not reveal if anything was found at the site.

Lund and Stathi are hoping to find a U.S partner to pick up the show so it can air in this country.

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Celeste Edenloff is the special projects lead and a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. She has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in 2016 to once again report on the community she calls home.
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