Geological and aerial photo studies have shown this large meta-sandstone boulder, with its curious inscription, ended up in the intertidal zone of Narragansett Bay just south of Pojac Point in North Kingstown, at 41°38.90 N and 71°24.48 W most probably as the result of erosion brought about by the fabled 1938 hurricane. The earliest known eyewitness accounts of the inscription dates from 1948, at which time neighborhood children began calling it Indian Rock due to the characters inscribed upon it. This rock, as it was submerged for the majority of daily tidal cycles, was known only to the locals until l984 when a quahogger, working from his skiff, noticed the inscription. He notified researchers interested in Norse runic inscriptions in North America, setting the stage for the numerous attempts at an explanation ever since.
Some believe it is a record of a visit to Narragansett Bay by the Vikings or other Norsemen, or Icelandic explorers/trappers, still others a voyage by the Knights Templar. Some believe it was more likely rendered by immigrants to our area, out of national pride, in the 19th-20th centuries.
The Stone disappeared in 2012. It was recovered by the Criminal Investigation Unit of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management in 2013 and was installed here in Wickford in 2015. Although no one can say with complete certainty exactly by whom or when these intriguing Runic symbols were carved into this stone, it is safe to say, as quoted from Professor Henrik Williams of Uppsala University in Sweden, the rune stone is “of considerable cultural significance to Rhode Island and New England, not the least because of the controversy, mystery, and even intrigue connected with it.”
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Fall - Spring 2023-2024 RHODE ISLAND DIGITAL VISITOR GUIDE