"GLOME DAL" - Viking writing rains on Columbus' parade
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Tue, 28 Sep 99 13:32:07 -0700
Subject: "GLOME DAL" - Viking writing rains on Columbus' parade
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Viking writing rains on Columbus' parade
-- by Rowland Nethaway, August 19, 1999
POTEAU MOUNTAIN, Okla.
I am standing in this mountain valley before this huge rock in the exact
spot where a Norse Viking named Glome stood nearly 1,400 years ago.
Glome painstakingly etched an inscription on this billboard-size rock in
Old Norse runes, which are alphabet characters formerly used by ancient
The eight runes gradually increase in size from 61/2 inches on the left to
91/2 inches on the right. The eight runes, according to Dr. Richard Nielsen,
a runologist who received his doctorate at the University of Denmark, spell
The carving was painstakingly punched into the exceptionally hard,
fine-grained Savanna sandstone rock that is 12 feet high, 10 feet wide and
16 inches thick. The inscribed stone slab is aligned north and south and
stands in a vertical position where geologists speculate that it landed
after falling eons ago from the 40-foot cliffs that surround the stele on
In the language of early Viking explorers, GLOME DAL means "Valley owned by
A Norseman named Glome pounded out this boundary marker on land he claimed
as his own centuries or so before Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue
in 1492 in search of India and became known as the first European discoverer
Columbus, who never set foot in North America, has parades in his honor in
American cities while Glome and his pre-Columbian Norsemen buddies were
carving "No trespassing" signs on rocks in eastern Oklahoma hundreds of
years before Columbus was born. Some people can't catch a break.
The Glome marker now is the centerpiece of Heavener Runestone State Park on
Poteau Mountain on the outskirts of Heavener, Okla., population about 2,800
and about 10 miles from the Arkansas border.
The idea of Vikings exploring and even temporarily settling along North
America's eastern seaboard hundreds of years before Columbus' birth is
easier to accept than the thought of Norsemen explorer-warriors establishing
land claims in Oklahoma.
I thought you might find this interesting:
Early Viking exploration spread westward from Europe to Iceland, on to
Greenland and finally to North America. Speculation pushes Norsemen down
the eastern seaboard, around Florida, into the Gulf of Mexico and finally
up the mouth of the Mississippi River.
Exploring the Mississippi River and its tributaries, the Vikings supposedly
ascended the Arkansas River and then proceeded up the Poteau River to a
point merely three miles from Glome's boundary marker here on Poteau
Other runestones that indicate boundaries and burial markers were found
within 10 miles of the Heavener Runestone. They also were written in the
same Old Norse alphabet.
While I can easily imagine a prankster hillbilly carving these rocks while
sucking on a jug of moonshine, no one can imagine any hillbilly or pioneer
settler who happened to be runologist versed in Old Norse Futhark and
Scandinavian Futhork runes.
Besides, a Choctaw hunting party is reported to have first discovered the
runestone in the 1830s. It was long called "Indian Rock" until experts at
the Smithsonian Institution identified the characters as runic. The first
white settlers came into the area in the 1870s. Two bear hunters reported
seeing the stone about that time.
If some backwoods scholar-prankster pulled this off as a hoax more than a
century ago, my hat's off to him.
If a Viking named Glome stood here and chipped his land claim into this rock
centuries before Y1K, I'm even more impressed.
© 1999 Peter Langston