24 “runatics” had the opportunity to explore all things Kensington Rune Stone in Alexandria, Minnesota, September 25-27, 2022.
The in-depth exploration of the KRS, the most famous of more than 6,000 runestones, and other North American ruins was initiated by AARS President Loraine Jensen. Unfortunately, Loraine tested positive for Covid just days before the 4th Rune Round. After sequestering for five days with no detrimental effects, Loraine was able to head into her six-week Fulbright Specialist appointment at Uppsala University in Sweden. You can read about her appointment here: https://runicstudies.org/jensen-re-ignites-fulbright-specialist-activities/
Pinch-hitting to coordinate the event headquartered at the Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center in Alexandria were yours truly along with Anne Louise Thompson of Florida, and Thom Bell of Eye Wonder Media in Michigan
Among the highlights:
- Two zooms with Dr. Henrik Williams at Uppsala University in Sweden. Dr. Williams, who is the only Runology Professor world-wide in academia, spoke about his research on the KRS and other North American Runes (110 reported) and devoted 90 minutes to answering questions on his research. Dr. Williams has been a frequent visitor to the United States to conduct field examinations of reported runes.
- A visit on a lovely fall day to the KRS Discovery Site at the Kensington Runestone Park. There the entourage heard a presentation on the site and grounds by Superintendent Brad Bonk, viewed the homestead of the discoverer Olof Ohman, which is undergoing renovations, and visited the marker on the site of where the KRS was found entangled in tree roots as Ohman and his son were clearing land in 1898.
- A visit to the KRS stone and displays in the Runestone Museum in Alexandria, with a side trip to the Legacy of the Lakes Museum.
- Heard a presentation on the Barrett Lake Stone by Patty Benson, Executive Director of the Grant County Historical Society.
- Heard a presentation by Thom Bell on the history of the KRS and the subsequent research of the late Dr. Richard Nielsen. Nielsen’s holdings were bequeathed to AARS President Loraine Jensen. After the indexing of scores of boxes containing research documents and rare manuscripts, they were placed on permanent display in the holdings of the Augustana College Swenson Center for Swedish Immigration Research. Thom’s video on the Augustana permanent display can be found here:
- Heard a presentation by myself on the Heavener Runestone and other runes examined by Dr. Williams in two field trips in 2011 and 2015. You can download a pdf of my presentation here. https://runicstudies.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/Rune-Round-2-notesv4.pdf
- Discussed other future potential North American Rune Round sites.
- Heard from AARS Vice President Sue Carlson, a veteran of all previous Rune Rounds, on a Round planned for Southern Denmark in the late Summer or early Fall of 2023.
It was a marvelous adventure, and my most recent visit since exploring the site over a decade ago. My wife Linda and I are looking forward to the Denmark Rune Round next year.
P.S. An “optional” visit to the Carlos Creek Winery and 22 Norseman Brewing Company in the Alexandria Rune Round was worth the trip. Excellent winery.