Subject:      Re: Kensington Stone
From:         yuku@globalserve.net (Yuri Kuchinsky)
Date:         1998/05/22
Message-ID:   <6k4b6h$760$1@titan.globalserve.net>
Newsgroups:   sci.archaeology,soc.history


I will agree with you that there are a number of inconsistencies in
various accounts of the discovery of KRS. This is only to be expected in
such a situation. Full investigations were conducted by the Norwegian
Society of Minneapolis, and then by the Minnesota Historical Society, only
in 1908-9. The affidavits were probably composed even later. So mistakes
in recollections are to be expected.

I think these things are quite comprehensible if you realise that this was
primarily an oral culture down in Kensington. These people didn't keep
diaries or take notes. Many of these farmers were illiterate. What you see
here is an unhappy interface between the lawyers and city sleekers who
descended on Kensington years later, and a bunch of semi-literate farmers
whose memories were fading. This is how mistakes could occur easily.

But may I remind you that if we would blame anyone for such poor
documentation of the find, the blame should certainly attach itself
primarily to the professional scholars who were negligent in not bothering
to investigate the discovery when it was still fresh out of the ground.

And may I remind you also that these contradictory details that you've
been focusing upon are not really significant for the purpose of
concluding if the inscription is genuine or otherwise. Let me explain.

Let's take, for example, the exact location of the spot where KRS was
found. Was it 700 feet from the house? 300 feet from the house? Of course
it would be nice to know for sure. But how would this reflect on the
authenticity of the Stone?

Let's look at this logically. Either KRS is genuine or not -- these are
the two theories under consideration. If a fake, it must have been "found"
in some spot. If authentic, ditto. Therefore, it was most likely found in
one spot -- on either theory. So what is the significance of these
divergent accounts, really? Unless we suppose that the "Conspiracy of
Forgers" first planted KRS in one spot, uncovered it publicly, and then,
dissatisfied with the location of the old spot, reburied it again in a
different spot, and then uncovered it again -- unless we buy this rather
unlikely scenario, the significance of divergences in various accounts of
KRS original location is exactly nil. To the contrary, if there were
indeed a "Conspiracy of Forgers" in Kensington, MN, we would have expected
them to have presented a "scenario of discovery" that had no
inconsistencies whatsoever. Everything in the story would have been
perfectly in harmony. The fact that things are not in harmony -- if
anything -- should tend to indicate that KRS is authentic.

Exactly the same reasoning as above should apply to the discrepancy in
regards to when KRS was found.

I don't think there was anybody else at the site of the discovery except
Ohman and his son Edward when the Stone was unearthed. There was an
incident with an axe that Edward told everybody about for years to come
(when he ruined the blade of the axe by trying to free the Stone from the
roots of the tree while his father went to call Nils Flaten; his father
got terribly mad at him for this) that tends to lend a good element of
verisimilitude to the story.

Of course it is the inscription itself that should be the best proof of
KRS authenticity. In its investigation report, the Committee of the
Minnesota Historical Society concluded:

"1. It [the inscription] cannot be the work of some unlettered amateur of
the present day.  2. It is either the uncritical record of an exploration
of the 14th century, or the fabrication of a _consummate philologist_
familiar with the dialect of Vestgotland in the 14th century." [underline
mine] (MHSC 1915, pp. 266-67, as quoted by Nilsestuen, 1994, p. 21)

No consummate philologists were to be found anywhere in the vicinity of
Kensington, MN for many miles around. May I remind you that this was a
small rural community where everyone was known to everyone else. Thus, KRS
is authentic.

I don't expect that hardworking poor farmers are natural liars by
disposition. My habit generally is to believe people unless I have reason
not to. I don't see "sinister conspiracies" under every tree as a rule.



Yuri Kuchinsky -=O=- [19]http://www.globalserve.net/~yuku  UPDATED

Reality is that which, when you stop believing
in it, doesn't go away -=O=- Philip K. Dick

Click here to go one level up in the directory.