Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Heavener Runestone

The Heavener Runestone is an inscribed stone located in Heavener, Oklahoma. The land on which it sits is now a state park on Poteau Mountain, just outside the town limits. The origin of the stone's runic carvings is disputed.


The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department announced in March 2011 that it would close the Heavener Runestone State Park on August 15 due to budget cuts. However, the City of Heavener agreed to assume ownership and operation of the 55-acre park beginning July 1, 2011.

The inscription has been rejected by Scandinavian philologists and runologists, who consider it most likely modern (19th or early 20th century). The reading of the "Elder Futhark" style runes is probably "GNOMEDAL" (meaning "Gnome Valley", or perhaps a personal name "G. Nomedal").

The difficulty of using the Heavener Runestone to demonstrate Viking exploration of the area is that the Elder Futhark had become obsolete by the 8th century, long before the Viking expeditions to Greenland and Vinland. Also, only six of the eight characters are correct Elder Futhark runes. A transliteration would read "G [rough backwards N] O M E D A [backwards L]."

Alternative hypotheses

Amateur researcher Richard Nielsen proposed that a Viking explorer hastily reversed the last letter and substituted a letter from the then-extinct Gothic alphabet in the second position. According to this interpretation, the inscription reads "GLOME DAL" -- the "Valley of Glome." Unfortunately, this explanation would require the Norse explorer to have known two extinct alphabets. Author Gloria Farley also attributes the inscription to wandering pre-Columbian Norsemen.

Cultural significance

*In 1991, Carl Albert State College in nearby Poteau changed its mascot to a Viking in the stone's honor.

*Don Coldsmith's 1995 novel Runestone, offers a speculative theory about how an 11th century Viking could have made his way to the area of Heavener.

Other local stones

Two other, much smaller inscribed stones have been found near Heavener. In the 1970s scholars translated these stones.

Heavener stone #2 is said to show the letter "R" and a "bind rune". This would be in the Anglo-Saxon character set since in the Norwegian this might be an "M" and a small cross.

Heavener stone #3 is said to show the letters "G", "R" and "T". This could be in the Anglo-Saxon character set since in the Norwegian set this might be an "M", a "T" and the small cross COULD be an "N."

Ostara in Oklahoma - 2011

Here's a glimpse of an Asatru moot at Wister State Park in Oklahoma in celebration of the holiday known as Ostara. The event was hosted by the AFA Folkbuilders for Texas and Oklahoma, and drew together heathens from neighboring states, as well as California, Minnesota, and Florida. A highlight for all was a day trip to the mysterious Heavener Runestone. Enjoy!

For upcoming events in the Oklahoma/Texas region, write to the Tharps at or the Floyds at

Video produced by the Asatru Folk Assembly:


Three other inscriptions in nearby eastern Oklahoma:


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