Many know of the Dighton Rock. Another popular rock with a rune inscription is called the Narragansett Rock or Pojac Point Rock. It is the second most commonly spoken of landmark in Rhode Island concerning the possible pre-colonial visit by Vikings. The most popular landmark in Rhode Island that is claimed to have been built by Vikings is the Newport tower. What many do not know is that there are many other rocks in Rhode Island that are believed to also have runes inscriptions. Though most are hoaxes, Indian or colonial markings, or just natural features, they are interesting curios of Rhode Island culture and history.
In 2012 the Pojac Point stone appears to have been stolen. With this in mind, we had finally decided to finally begin work on the long overdue project of locating all the runestones in Rhode Island.
In 1778 Ezra Stiles, minister of Newport and later president of Yale, found inscription rocks in five different place in the Narragansett bay region. His drawings and observations were never published, but in 1838 Dr. Thomas H. Webb and John R. Bartlett sought out these rocks and published their works through the Rhode Island historical society. There were over 20 rocks with inscriptions that were suspected to have been left by per-colonial visitors and they were the heart of many different theories as to who.
The first inscribed rock we rediscovered, was one forgotten by most that lies on the shores of Bristol Rhode Island. It was known long ago as the Northernmen’s Rock.
In 1919 the RI historical Society held a ceremony at the rock and christened it with corn, wine and oil. During the ceremony, they renamed it “Leif’s Rock”. This upset Edmund Delabarre, a Brown University psychology professor who believed the evidence suggested the inscription was no older that the 1700s or 1800s. Though a skeptic of the Leif Erickson theory, Edmund would later claim that other petroglyphs in the bay were left by the Portuguese explorer Miguel Corte-Real.
For a long while we knew the general location or the Northern Runestone, but it wasn’t until 2013 that we would finally go out to find it. Locating the rock was not difficult, but it appeared that the natural forces have erased the inscription. all we could find on its surface was graffiti left in the 1920s and vague signs of the inscription in Professor Stile drawings .
When the weather is a little warmer this year, we’ll return to get a closer look at the surface and see if we can coax any sign of the inscription out of it with clever camera techniques. Also, we’ll do a 3D model of the rock and inscription. Well also soon post about other long lost inscribed stones we’ve located. We’re also already putting together the clues and laying out the path to more of the forgotten Runestone hidden in Rhode Island.
Check out the 3D model of the Narragansett Stone we created in 2015.
For More Information on the Northernmen or Narragansett Runstones:
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