J Henkel wrote:
shawomet wrote:The Narragansett stone was located at a spot difficult to access from land by Joe Citizen...
That is not an argument in either direction. Why would a non-hoaxer put it there? Runestones were made to be seen and read!
Well then, permit me to clarify. If it were a MODERN hoax, it's in an isolated location. But, sea level has risen considerably in the last 700 or so years. If genuine, 600-700 years ago it would have been WELL upon dry land and for a sailor, at one of the widest portion of the bay at the mouth of a major river. It would have been VERY visible at that time. It was the ONLY large rock on that entire section of shore. More so if it were standing upright, which its' form may have allowed. Quite frankly, it would have stood out like a sore thumb on our bay(at that particular location, plenty of rocks on our shores in general)for someone entering at the mouth of Narragansett Bay's West Passage and sailing north. So I think your argument is based on the incorrect assumption that the setting in a potential hoaxer's day is the same setting in say 1400 AD. In addition, it's in a difficult access point from land TODAY due to property ownership. In 1400, it would have been approached and seen from the water. So I don't believe your argument stands up at all once these relevant considerations are included. Besides, diffculty accessing it by land in 2013 has no bearing at all on access centuries ago by land. There is no logistical difficulty getting there, land ownership is a modern era issue.
What makes more sense? An explorer in 1400 leaves a message on a rock located by itself, without large neighboring rocks, at one of the widest points of all of Narragansett Bay, or a hoaxer leaves a message in 1950 on a rock covered by water many hours per day and where few people can access the shore by land at all? And where algae growth will often render the inscription invisible! No algae growth possible on the rock c. 1400 AD. Perhaps a hoaxer remains the path of least resistance still, as an explanation. But the constraints on the setting, in say the past hundred years, is why I believe it would be a clever hoaxer, maybe my kind of hoaxer actually. I would want it to not be too obvious. But to put it in a place where it might never be found in the hoaxer's lifetime, that's a dedicated hoaxer who's willing to not enjoy the laughs most hoaxers would look forward to enjoying I believe. I do believe the degree of weathering of the characters suggest at least several decades prior to discovery, so I suppose a potential hoaxer could be an elderly individual still. Because the hooked X is present, and because its' presence on the Kensington stone had been used to dispute that stones' age, and still is used to dispute the claims of it dating from the 14th century, it seems likely if the Narragansett Stone were a hoax, it would postdate the discovery of the Kennsington stone. I believe the earliest the Narragansett stone might have been hoaxed is in the 1840's, pre-Kensington discovery, when Rafn first popularized the notion of Viking contact in America. A team from the Rhode Island Historical Society were spurred on by communication with Rafn to investigate inscribed rocks in the Narragansett Bay area. They recorded many native petroglyph sites as a result, but not this rock of course. If the rock is modern, the earlier it was made, the less the water encroachment would have been of course. A potential hoaxer in those days might not have realized his creation would one day be completely submerged the majority of the day. And the water rise itself is certainly not proof against it being modern. Even before it's removal, in 2012, a hoaxer would have a couple of hours a day, more at extreme moon low tides.
Simply put, you have failed to take into account how the setting changed over time. The setting itself was nothing short of perfect 600-700 years ago and for a sailor coming up the West Passage of Narragansett Bay, that boulder would have appeared as a large erratic, no other large rocks near it. If it's an early inscription, it's as if the maker picked a point on the bay that offered one of the more expansive views of the bay, and right at the mouth of a navigable river, although it cannot be navigated inland for very far.
I do appreciate you raising that point, Henkel. Perfectly logical observation that required the clarification I hope I have provided you. I'm not here to state a belief in it's authenticity. I have no way of being certain. Nor do I believe anyone else has proven it predates colonial settlement in this region. However, it was a potential treasure which belongs to the citizens of my home Rhode Island. It was well below the mean high tide mark. It belonged to the People. It deserved to be preserved out of the erosive element it was in, and enjoyed and pondered over by future generations. Those plans were in place. I hope those plans are realized one day.
One final observation. The term runestone was applied to the Narragansett Stone not long after it's discovery in 1985. (actually, it was known locally at least as early as 1952, it was not "discovered" in 1985) Maybe that's unfortunate if it automatically makes people draw comparisons with runestones in Scandinavia. All we know is we have/had a stone that may have had characters incised on it by an explorer from Europe in Medieval times. I'm going to just call it the Narragansett Stone from hereon. I always preferred Narragansett Bay Stone, since it was not located in the town of Narragansett, RI.