This page will soon include answers to some of the most frequently-asked questions about the book. Stay tuned for answers to such questions as:

What is a rune stone?

In medieval Scandinavia, rune stones were typically used to honor dead family members. Additionally, they were used to commemorate heroic Vikings who died on excursions abroad. Although the latter use was less common, it was particularly well known among Scandinavian immigrants in the U.S. during the late nineteenth century.

The Kensington Rune Stone inscription has the date 1362. Wasn’t the Viking Age long over by then?

Yes. The Viking Age is generally considered to come to an end in 1066 with the Norman Conquest of England. Yet, the association of Vikings with the imagined creation of the Kensington Rune Stone inscription has persisted in the public imagination. The installation of the “Big Ole” the Viking statue in Alexandria, Minnesota has helped to perpetuate this historically-inaccurate notion.

Did Vikings have horns on their helmets?

No. The association between Vikings and horned or winged helmets did not emerge until the late nineteenth century. The costume designer for the German composer Richard Wagner is credited as the first to popularize horned helmets in the 1876 operatic production Der Ring des Nibelungen. 

What is a skræling?

This is a Norse term used in the Sagas to refer to Native Americans. It is used pejoratively and literally means “wretches” or “people who screech.”