Narragansett Bay Runestone Vanishes

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Re: Narragansett Bay Runestone Vanishes

Postby shawomet » Wed Mar 13, 2013 3:38 pm

Thank you, J Henkel. You are right of course, the Kensington stone is rejected for linguistic reasons. And I am not qualified to judge those studies. Nor runes for that matter. I'll post a photo here that gives a good idea of the setting in terms of just algae and barnacle coverage of the rock in question. I believe this photo was taken about 15 years ago.

http://www.striped-bass.com/Stripertalk ... -eb_12.jpg

On the day we located the stone, the barnacles only filled the characters themselves, making it appear chalked. A very lucky break. As you can see from the above photo, uncleared who would know it's there?

As far as the shoreline, glacial rebound did cause the land to rise. Narragansett Bay is a drowned river valley. The shoreline was further out the further back in time. Immediate post glacial, it was a river. I'm sorry I do not have handy the figures for exactly the relationship between the rock and the bay through the last 1000 years for example. In the most recent years, it was usually still well in the water at low tide. The top of the rock, as seen above, was above the water only a few hours per day. Yet the day I located it was an extreme moon low tide and it was well out of the water.

It is a double who-done-it. Who carved the inscription and who removed the stone? With all the other questions as well.
State authorities are taking the disappearance seriously. I remain hopeful.



http://www.vinlandsite.com/images/narr% ... loseup.jpg

The 2nd and 3rd photo show before and after theft. The other large rocks in the before and after are all placed in modern times.

https://www.facebook.com/TheNarraganset ... tos_stream
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Re: Narragansett Bay Runestone Vanishes

Postby J Henkel » Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:24 pm

shawomet wrote:... glacial rebound did cause the land to rise. [...] The shoreline was further out the further back in time.

That's what I was after with my question. A situation comparable with the coastlines of Scandinavia where the land-rise displaced the rock-carvings of Bohuslän, originally carved on bedrock by the coast, farther inland, and the coastline farther out. So, those two statements of yours contradict each other. If the land was rising, the shorline should have been further inland back in time! So, if in the 1400s, the stone was already in the place where you found it, it should have been totally under water back then. Or am I missing some more geological facts here?

shawomet wrote:On the day we located the stone, the barnacles only filled the characters themselves, making it appear chalked. A very lucky break. As you can see from the above photo, uncleared who would know it's there?

Same situation with rock-carvings (and runic inscriptions!) in Scandinavia again. And the growth of lichens, mosses and algae goes very fast (c.f. photos no. 2 and 3 at http://www.geschichte-skandinavien.de/d ... ation.html. No. 3 was taken only two years after the rock had been cleaned for documentation. Comparable to the photo with mosses growing in the runic characters of the Narragansett inscription.)

shawomet wrote:State authorities are taking the theft seriously. I remain hopeful.

I understand and share your hopes. My archaeological discoveries are confined to rock-carvings, mainly cupmark-stones, in Denmark and Sweden. For many years the authorities' usual reaction was "Oh, another one..." The situation is slowly changing in recent years, at least with the authorities. People are proud of their cultural monuments, they display the finest and most interesting ones either in situ or at exposed or special places. As for the rest... So the best we can do is to document and register everything we find, for future generations to know.

At least the Narragansett stone is well documented.
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Re: Narragansett Bay Runestone Vanishes

Postby shawomet » Fri Mar 15, 2013 4:47 am

At the time of maximum glacial advance in southern New England, the Atlantic coastline was about 60 miles further south of what is now the mouth of Narragansett Bay.(The Rhode Island Atlantic shore is a south facing shore, and Narragansett Bay is aligned N-S) When the ice retreated, this was still the case and Narragansett Bay was merely a river. Over time, the river was drowned as sea level rose due to the melting ice cap. The basic outline of what is now Narragansett Bay would appear similar to today by about 4000-5000 years ago. I can't yet locate the study that suggested where the shore would have been at various dates in the vicinity of the Narragansett Stone unfortunately, but I have them and will update when I find them. At present time, the water is rising about 1 foot per 100 years, but perhaps climate scientists have revised that.There must be an equation showing the effects of glacial rebound and sea rise over time on the changing shore relative to each of those processes? The net effect on shoreline location at any time, in other words. Rebounding and sea level rise were BOTH occurring here. Apparently, at some point the rise more then offset the rebound so the overall effect since is encroaching water, and the stone would have been on some degree of higher ground in 1400 then in 2000. I would feel more comfortable with this answer if I had the calculated figures for the shoreline in front of me, however, and I'm not a geologist. Thanks for your thought provoking observations J Henkel. Being asked to elaborate and clarify always helps! I appreciate it.

BTW, I have been involved recording rock art sites here as well. I've long been interested in petroglyphs since they are a glimpse into the thoughts of the prehistoric inhabitants of the region. Narragansett Bay had/has quite a few such sites.
Dighton Rock, on the Taunton River, which drains into the bay, is the best known. I have used old maps that recorded sites now buried under sand and mud as a result of storms, uncovered them, and recorded some glyphs in photo for the first time. It is an area where a vocational archaeologist can still contribute to our knowledge and documentation of such sites. I have recorded rock art sites in the American Southwest as well. I commend you on being similarly involved with such research and preservation in Scandinavia, and it's good to hear such sites have gained renewed appreciation among property owners and scientists alike. I believe we have very similar research interests in general, Narragansett Stone quite aside, and it's a pleasure to meet you on this forum!

P.S. I forgot to comment on your link. Thank you, I agree, algae growth, etc. can be quite rapid. Of course any future possibility at dating the lines on the Narragansett Stone simply depends on the stones' return and the development of dating techniques that really don't exist and may never exist. The fact is the stone could be a modern hoax and we may never be certain. It's composition is granitic, so it is a hardstone and would not weather as quickly as the sandstone that is very abundant on the shores of Narragansett Bay. (8-24-13 correction: the stone is in fact sandstone) As a total aside, I've always been curious by how similar the "solar boats" recorded at the Peterborough petroglyph site in Canada are to the boat carvings in Scandinavian rock art. Well, perhaps just a passing similarity and not pertinent to this thread at any rate:

http://www.sacred-destinations.com/cana ... glyphs.htm

http://www.flickr.com/photos/doc_rock/186506129/

http://acqtc.org/Culture/WtpcqSailingPetroglyph
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Re: Narragansett Bay Runestone Vanishes

Postby shawomet » Fri Mar 15, 2013 9:26 am

I see that this thread has received quite a few views. Evidently there is interest in the story. For that reason, I would like to add some observations apart from the meaning or origin of the rock itself. In the book The Hooked X, the exact location of the stone was identified. In the documentary dealing with the American stones that display a Hooked X, "The Holy Grail in America", a map of Rhode Island was briefly shown, and the frame stopped if one wished to study said map. That map showed the exact location of the stone. And that documentary was shown repeatedly on the History Channel, and still is I believe. If a feature is in a position where it cannot be protected from harm, one simply does not publicly reveal it's location. I believe it was the height of irresponsibility to disclose the exact location of this feature. No responsible archaeologist would do so with an archaeological site. No responsible rock art researcher would do so either.
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Re: Narragansett Bay Runestone Vanishes

Postby J Henkel » Sun Mar 17, 2013 8:42 am

shawomet wrote:I believe it was the height of irresponsibility to disclose the exact location of this feature.

I would even take it one step further up the line: The height of irresponsibility begins with publishing books and documentaries like "The Holy Grail in America". Let alone the shaky grounds pseudoscientific constructions like that are built upon, they create an additional religious component which isn't there actually. It just sells like hotcakes and attracts all kinds of religious and esoteric maniacs who in turn will take the disclosure of those features' exact location as an invitation to get active in whichever way they think fits their cause...
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Re: Narragansett Bay Runestone Vanishes

Postby shawomet » Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:56 am

J Henkel wrote:
shawomet wrote:I believe it was the height of irresponsibility to disclose the exact location of this feature.

I would even take it one step further up the line: The height of irresponsibility begins with publishing books and documentaries like "The Holy Grail in America". Let alone the shaky grounds pseudoscientific constructions like that are built upon, they create an additional religious component which isn't there actually. It just sells like hotcakes and attracts all kinds of religious and esoteric maniacs who in turn will take the disclosure of those features' exact location as an invitation to get active in whichever way they think fits their cause...


Joachim, you know there is a vast marketplace of ideas, philosophies, interpretations of reality, etc., etc., in the human realm. I would prefer to not see shoddy research and a lack of experienced discrimination in judging the value of arguments and proposed ideas. But it is not so much a crime to float ideas or promote ideas that are erroneous. One must hone discrimination of intellect to a fine degree to see through as baseless so many claims made in the marketplace of popular opinion. Many people are unable to do so. Thus in the marketplace of ideas that thrive in the popular western cultures of the modern era, all sorts of erroneous perspectives and interpretations of things abound. This will make some of us cringe, no doubt, but I also believe in deconstructing old paradigms, if only as an intellectual exercise, in order to allow new ideas to arise which may actually advance knowledge. So much of the marketplace of popular culture lacks depth, but this is something I can live with, it has always been so I believe. I do not have a problem with the notion of earlier European contact with the Americas. I have a huge problem equating the Hooked X with the secret bloodline of Jesus! If someone wishes to believe that, it's OK with me, but I require actual proof, of which there is absolutely none.

So you will know, Joachim, I am not one who would put science itself on a pedestal, like a secular God. I call such an approach Scientism. I believe there are other methods of extracting information from the real world that does not involve the scientific method. But, in the case of any idea, I must apply a discriminating mind, and this is the standard I use to the best of my limited ability. At any given time, some of the ideas science holds as truths will not be truths. 250 years ago, were a European peasant to tell an educated European that he had seen stones fall from a cloudless sky, he would be ridiculed. And they were ridiculed. After all, what fool believes stones could fall from the sky?!?! By the first quarter of the 19th century, that false assumption crumbled, that aspect of an older scientific paradigm crumbled. Stones do fall from the sky, and when they land, we call them meteorites.

The history of science was one of my focal points as a graduate student many years ago. I think as a result, I'm maybe a bit more forgiving of ideas that appear "crazy" to me. But in general, the truth be told, I still roll my eyes and cringe at ideas that strike me as being promoted for the sole purpose of cashing in on ideas popular at the time. I don't like that, and when it is deliberate, I don't respect it either.
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Re: Narragansett Bay Runestone Vanishes

Postby kbs2244 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 12:21 pm

shawomet wrote:But, sea level has risen considerably in the last 700 or so years.

Has it really? Or was it rather a change in shoreline and ground level due to geological processes?

That is an interesting idea.
What is the local geological condition?

I was surprised to learn that in the northern British Isles the beach level is rising.
Some kind of geological uplift is more that the sea level rise.

Could the same be true at Narragansett Bay.
I know the Great Lakes region is still rising from the lack of the ice weight on it.
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Re: Narragansett Bay Runestone Vanishes

Postby J Henkel » Sun Mar 17, 2013 12:31 pm

shawomet wrote:One must hone discrimination of intellect to a fine degree to see through as baseless so many claims made in the marketplace of popular opinion. Many people are unable to do so.

Isn't that where responsibility kicks in? Publishers and program directors should be able to do so or to have it done at least. Otherwise you will have to accept incidents like the vanishing of the Narragansett Stone as a sacrifice to the marketplace of ideas. Shit happens. Next please.

Disclosure of the exact locations of archaeological features isn't the problem, really. You mentioned rock-carvings. The exact location of every registered and documented rock-carving (and runestone) in Denmark and Sweden is publicly available. Much more damage is done by publicly putting the artifacts and features into false kontexts. That's where information and education should rather go for a sound scientifically acceptable basis instead of a highly speculative and spectacular but commercially promising one.
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Re: Narragansett Bay Runestone Vanishes

Postby uniface » Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:12 pm

Isn't that where responsibility kicks in? Publishers and program directors should be able to do so or to have it done at least.


Publishers are concerned with sales. Period. Program directors are concerned with their profiles in the business-as-usual system.

The Holocaust Channel (a.k.a., "the History Channel") refused every effort the English language publishers of Anatole Fomenko's books on chronological revisionism made to advertise on it outright. And they are about straight History. Capital "H."

But how much of a problem does that same channel, and its ilk, have with "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" type stuff ?

Truth in media is a red-headed stepchild.
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Re: Narragansett Bay Runestone Vanishes

Postby Minimalist » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:50 pm

Publishers are concerned with sales. Period.


For once we agree.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

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Re: Narragansett Bay Runestone Vanishes

Postby Tiompan » Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:07 pm

kbs2244 wrote:
I was surprised to learn that in the northern British Isles the beach level is rising.
Some kind of geological uplift is more that the sea level rise.


That is the case in Shetland but recent studies (from 2004 onwards ) show the contrary to be the case in Orkney where sea levels have risen
partly due to lesser isostatic uplift compared with that experienced further south on the mainland .


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Re: Narragansett Bay Runestone Vanishes

Postby shawomet » Mon Mar 18, 2013 5:04 am

J Henkel wrote:
shawomet wrote:One must hone discrimination of intellect to a fine degree to see through as baseless so many claims made in the marketplace of popular opinion. Many people are unable to do so.

Isn't that where responsibility kicks in? Publishers and program directors should be able to do so or to have it done at least. Otherwise you will have to accept incidents like the vanishing of the Narragansett Stone as a sacrifice to the marketplace of ideas. Shit happens. Next please.

Disclosure of the exact locations of archaeological features isn't the problem, really. You mentioned rock-carvings. The exact location of every registered and documented rock-carving (and runestone) in Denmark and Sweden is publicly available. Much more damage is done by publicly putting the artifacts and features into false kontexts. That's where information and education should rather go for a sound scientifically acceptable basis instead of a highly speculative and spectacular but commercially promising one.


No, sorry, I don't believe in censorship. Disclosure of location is most certainly the greater problem. I have no idea what role, if any role at all, disclosing location may have played here. I am not suggesting it did, only that it just isn't prudent to disclose location when the stone, or any unprotected site, is not yet protected. At least here in the states. I commend the responsible stance of folks from Scandinavia, but I have seen more petroglyph sites vandalized then I can shake a stick at. Yes, attaching a provacative theory may lead more to try and find it, but if is not disclosed, I don't care if I strongly disagree with the theory or not. I don't care how wildly speculative the ideas presented. The ideas can be challenged in normal channels, like papers criticizing those ideas, books with more "rational" explanations, etc. Who is going to make such a determination to publish or not at the publishing house? A peer review journal might reject it. A scientific publishing house certainly. But at a for profit publishing house who decides, or who do they have decide that a particular idea is simply too speculative to be released to the public? There are circumstances of the stones' removal that I can't discuss in a public format, while there is still an ongoing criminal investigation, but the controversial and speculative theory was not a reason. It was not a sacrifice to the marketplace of ideas at all. Look at the Clovis-first paradigm in the Americas. Now it is accepted by most American archaeologists that man was here earlier then the Clovis technology, but anyone who dared suggest otherwise not that many years ago was raked over the coals by their colleagues and their careers threatened. For the crime of having been correct all along. If your suggestion was in place, publishing house "experts" would have seen to it that the public was not exposed to these "speculative" ideas of man being in the Americas far earlier then all the experts insisted that humans could have been. The context(the theory) and the rock are separate. Ideas change through time and censorship simply risks throwing out the baby with the bath water. I don't like the idea of "protecting" people from speculation an expert may strongly disagree with. I don't want my freedom to decide if an idea is valid or not replaced by someone who decides for everyone. The speculation can be addressed in publications critical of the speculation. As strongly as possible, with all the evidence mounted. But by censorship at the very start? That opens the door to a very bad precedent I believe. It's a publishing house, not a scientific peer reviewed journal with strict standards.

My apologies if I misinterpret your position. I do agree that putting a feature that can be visited by the public into a context that suggests, to take a silly example, that it could only have been created by space aliens, might increase visitation to an unacceptable level for various reasons. When the facts of this particular case are finally revealed, I hope the motives will be revealed as well. Also, I don't yet reject the notion it may be an inscription left by early visitors from Europe, so the context into which speculation has placed it may not be 100% incorrect.
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Re: Narragansett Bay Runestone Vanishes

Postby shawomet » Mon Mar 18, 2013 5:37 am

kbs2244 wrote:shawomet wrote:But, sea level has risen considerably in the last 700 or so years.

Has it really? Or was it rather a change in shoreline and ground level due to geological processes?

That is an interesting idea.
What is the local geological condition?

I was surprised to learn that in the northern British Isles the beach level is rising.
Some kind of geological uplift is more that the sea level rise.

Could the same be true at Narragansett Bay.
I know the Great Lakes region is still rising from the lack of the ice weight on it.


Well, as said I'm not a geologist, but it would be nice to have fact based figures for the water level at the Narragansett Stone through time. But I don't know the amount of rise once the bay reached its basic outline by Late Archaic times. It's rising now of course due to global warming. I think there is still glacial rebound here, but even in my own lifetime, our coastline is encroaching inland, with homes falling into the sea on a regular basis on our south facing coasts. My favorite south facing Atlantic Ocean beach in Rhode Island has all but disappeared in a relatively short period of time. We have a series of barrier beaches on our south shore, backed by salt ponds. All those are predicted to be breached and the barrier beaches erased by global warming.

8-24-13 update: State geologist report filed prior to the stone's removal show it was on land as recently as 1939. Oral history places it on the shore by 1952. Report showed heavy erosion from the sea at the location over the past 70+ years.
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Re: Narragansett Bay Runestone Vanishes

Postby shawomet » Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:10 am

Sea-level rise
Sea level has increased by 13 cm from 1931 to 2007 in Narragansett Bay, as recorded in long-term data from NOAA tide gauge stations in Providence (#845400) and Newport (#8452660) (Fig. 3). With so much of the popula- tion living along the coast, this sea-level rise will have potentially large negative economic and ecologic impacts. The observed rate of increase of 0.17 m/century is the same as the observed average global rate (IPCC 2007). Increasing global rates of warming will accelerate rates of sea-level rise globally and locally (Meehl et al. 2007, Overpeck et al. 2006).
In the Narragansett Bay region, isostatic shifting has lead to land subsid- ence of 0.15 m/century (Boothroyd et al. 1998), thus the total elevational shift along the coast of Rhode Island over the past century is about0.29 m/century. This combined shift means that upland lands near lowland tidal areas are being ooded, beach erosion has increased, and barrier islands are migrating at increasing rates (Scavia et al. 2002). Additionally, rising water tables resulting from these factors will cause increased failures in sep- tic and storm drainage systems in more than half of the state’’s coastal areas (Bertness and Ewanchuk 2002, Sea Grant 2004). If the combined rate of sea- level rise and land subsidence exceeds the accretion rate of the salt marsh, salt marshes will be inundated, leading to the destruction of large areas of these critical ecosystems (Donnelly and Bertness 2001). Presently, the accre- tion rate of low- and high-marsh habitats, 0.43 cm per year and 0.24 cm per year, respectively (Bricker-Urso et al. 1989), still exceeds the combined rate of subsidence and sea-level rise in Rhode Island, yet that is not predicted to be the case in the future (Meehl et al. 2007).

The above passage is an excerpt from this study:

http://www.gso.uri.edu/~chrisc/coviatt_ ... 010_NN.pdf

So apparently at the present time, sea level is rising and land is subsiding. I understand it is more relevant to understand where the shore was 600-700 years however, with respect to the stone, but this is the trend in the past 80 years at least.


Glacial origins

Narragansett Bay is a ria that consists of a series of flooded river valleys formed of dropped crustal blocks in a horst and graben system[3] that is slowly subsiding between a still-shifting fault system;[4] however, the estuary system is vast compared to the present flow of the four small rivers that enter the bay, in the northeast, the Taunton River and in the northwest, the Providence and Seekonk Rivers, along with the Pawtuxet River from the west. The present shape of Narragansett Bay is instead the result of the most recent glaciation of New England, under the edges of the Laurentide ice sheet at the Last Glacial Maximum, about 18,000 B.P.[5] Sea level was lowered so much that the continental shelf was exposed, under its weight of ice, and the glacier calved into the Atlantic at its foredge south of Block Island. Glaciers flowing through a geologically old sedimentary basin carved channels through the younger sediments and exposed much older bedrock. North-to-south cuts gouged by the ice can be seen clearly on the map: they form the West Passage that separates Conanicut Island from the western mainland and the East Passage that now separates Conanicut Island from Aquidneck Island.
As the ice stalled, then retreated, the region became ice-free by about 14,000 B.P.[6] A complicated sequence of marine ingression and isostatic rebound flooded and emptied the landscape. A fresh water proglacial lake called by geologists Lake Narragansett formed about 15,500 B.P.,[7] impounded behind terminal moraines:[8] the lake lasted about 500 years, leaving the powerful flow of a post-glacial river running down its north-south axis. Then salt water filled the valley, as rising sea levels permanently flooded the area.

And the above passage is from a Wicopedia entry:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narragansett_Bay
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Re: Narragansett Bay Runestone Vanishes

Postby J Henkel » Mon Mar 18, 2013 12:15 pm

shawomet wrote:No, sorry, I don't believe in censorship. [...] Who is going to make such a determination to publish or not at the publishing house?

Editing is not censoring. It's therefore the position is called "Editor" and not "Censor". The question is not necessarily "to publish or not to publish". There are different ways of selling a car. Some are responsible, others are not.
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