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Vérendrye Runestone: Wikis


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The Vérendrye Runestone was allegedly found on an early expedition into the territory west of the Great Lakes by the French Canadian explorer Pierre Gaultier de Varennes et de la Vérendrye, in the 1730s. It is not mentioned in the official records of La Vérendrye's expeditions,[1] but in 1749 he discussed it with visiting Swedish scientist Pehr Kalm, from whose writings virtually all information about the stone is taken.[2]



According to Kalm, Vérendrye's expedition found the tablet—measuring about 5 inches wide and 13 inches long, and carved on both sides with characters unfamiliar to them—on the top of an upright stone (referred to by some, perhaps incorrectly, as a cairn) in a location which, from the description, may have been near present-day Minot, North Dakota. When asked, natives of the area claimed that the tablet and standing stone had always been there together.

The stone's fate

La Vérendrye told Kalm that the tablet was sent back to Quebec, where Jesuit priests concluded that it was written in "Tatarian" writing. They reportedly then sent it to the French Secretary of State, the Comte de Maurepas. There are no descriptions of the stone after that time, but it has been claimed that it was shipped with other artifacts to a church in Rouen (the Rouen Cathedral?), later to be buried under a pile of rubble when the building which housed it was destroyed during World War II. The Minnesota Historical Society has offered a $1000 reward for the stone's rediscovery.

Speculated origins

Many people, in particular Hjalmar Holand, have speculated that the inscription was in fact in Norse Runes and is potentially related to the Kensington Runestone, allegedly left by a Norse expedition in Minnesota in 1362 (although the validity of the Kensington Runestone has been the subject of much debate). Holand argued that resources depicting "Tatarian" writing (such as the Old Hungarian script and its ancestor the Orkhon script) available to the Jesuit priests in Quebec would have shown examples containing a large percentage of characters which are identical to Norse characters. The scripts are of separate origins, but presumably the similar use (engraving in stone) led to similar structure of many characters.




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