Kevin Philbrook Smith

Kevin Philbrook Smith

Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, Brown University, Providence, RI

Deputy Director/Chief Curator

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Hello, William. Many thanks for your note and your interest. The Kensington Rune Stone is a fascinating object with an interesting history and interpretive history. However, it's definitely not the earliest reference to Vínland. The Kensington stone's inscription suggests that it was carved in 1362, and Vínland actually appears in documents quite a bit earlier than this. The earliest reference to it, by name, comes from Adam of Bremen's Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum (Deeds of the Bishops of Hamburg), which he wrote sometime between 1069 and his death in 1081. There he wrote, "Moreover, he [King Svein of Denmark] has also reported one island discovered by many in that ocean, which is called Vinland, for the reason that grapevines grow there by themselves, producing the best wine." Vínland also appears in the Greenlanders' Saga and the Saga of Eirik the Red, which were written in Iceland at some point between 1180 and 1300, more likely in the period 1220-1280. Best, Kevin Smith
Apr 09, 2018
Where Was Vínland? Tracking Viking Explorers in the Americas Using Trace Element Analyses
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