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No. 132: NOV-DEC 2000

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The Viking Mooring-Stone Saga Sails On

One of the more fascinating types of North American artifacts is the so-called Viking mooring stone. It has been impossible to ignore them in past issues of this newsletter. (SF#69 and SF#113) The latter issue displays a photograph of three of the unique triangular holes characteristic of the "mooring stones" drilled into a boulder resting in a North Carolina stream bed. North Carolina is hardly Viking country no matter how receptive you are to claims of an early and extensive Norse presence in North America. After all, the interior of North Carolina is hundreds of miles from L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland, and nowhere near the site of the infamous Kensington Stone in Minnesota. Yet, several hundred of these Viking mooring stones have been found all the way from Canada south to Missouri. Most, however, are clustered in Minnesota.

For those unfamiliar with this unusual artifact, it is the curious triangular holes that are diagnostic of the Viking mooring stones. These holes are essentially identical everywhere: an inch across, 4-5 inches deep, triangular in cross section, with neatly rounded corners. The saga is reviewed in our catalog Ancient Infrastructure.

Triangular holes found in boulders
Cross section of one of the strange triangular holes found in boulders. Note the rounded corners. Drillers and purpose are unknown.

Our purpose here is to flag a recent article in Ancient American that tells of the discovery of still more of the Viking mooring stones in Minnesota, especially in Pope County. The most interesting feature of this article is the map of Pope County giving the locations and approximate elevations of more than a score of the stones. All lie between 1,100 and 1,400 feet. While small lakes exist at these elevations, the stones are all more than 500 feet above Lake Superior. If the Vikings did somehow penetrate into the Great Lakes (perhaps via Hudson Bay or the St. Lawrence), how did they ever raise their vessels 500+ feet to levels of the supposed mooring stones?

There must be a better explanation for this ubiquitous phenomenon.(Pederson, Leland; "Viking Mooring Stones in West Central Minnesota," Ancient American, no. 33, p. 25, 2000.)

Comment. Stacked against the Viking-mooring-stone theory are the stones' presence far inland and at high elevations. Yet, the unusual cross sections of the holes, their precision, and standard dimensions militate against the blasting-hole theory proposed by skeptics.

From Science Frontiers #132, NOV-DEC 2000. � 2000 William R. Corliss

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