"New Thinking on the "Mooring Stone" Theory
By Judy Rudebusch
Thank-you to Judy M. Johnson for contacting me with an invite to show my findings. As I can not be in attendance, I also thank her for reading this. paper and presenting my book of a Portion of the material, photos and maps that I have accumulated. I have sent contact cards for any who would be interested in contacting me.
First off, I must thank Lee Pennington, Kent Budden, Marion Dahm, Parks Canada, Valdiroar Samuelsson, and Jan Erickson for some of the photos printed in this book. Another person who works endlessly on our mapping is Bruce Kunze.
My research started seven years ago by 'refinding' the Horn Rock (fig. 23) on my Dad's old home-place. Since then, we have also identified a knife rock carving also. This past summer it was molded and a small archaeology dig was done by retired geologist Bob Johnson and Janey Westin.
It soon branched out to seeing my first stoneholes and finding Marion Dahm. His encouragement led me to finding over 70 stones that are now platted in North East South Dakota.
At first, all I wanted to do was find more stones with holes- then it became a passion to find answers. I realized that these stones NEEDED an answer. I read all material - pro and con - on the subJ_ct and soon realized that this had many different extensions coming off from it.
The first contacts I had with the academic field were disheartening. From emails that started "we have already told those people what they have natural made holes in rocks, to get a geologist, to being one of those people. I did get 2 geologists- and they laughed - these were man made holes, they could see that! !
I was told that the collection of data- not just ever changing stories- would be something I could go back to and count on. That has'been _l1}ainstay.
Two years ago, Bruce Kunze and I started mapping out all the stoneholes by means of GPS and mapping ITom the land conservation mapping service.
In some cases, we sent maps to the landowners to mark where the stones were, then Bruce plotted them. We also have photos from most places. The map at the front of my book is of my study area- the North Fork of the Whetstone Valley, Roberts County, South Dakota. This is just one map that we have made from sites in Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Ohio, New York, Tennessee, Georgia, many locations in Canada, Newfoundland, Greenland, Norway, Iceland, Wales and Sweden. (fig. 1-22)
By doing this mapping, it becomes quite clear: we have many different elevations. Could the water have gone up-down up-down, or the land the same? In my study area we have over 100 feet difference in elevation in 7 miles- that made me wonder if all the stoneholes had the same purpose. I had a soils man come out and do coring samples and at 15 feet down we did not show defining horizons in the soil. One should have seen this - had there been an extended time lake in my valley.
I have studied the other ideas for these stoneholes- blasting, stones for foundations, geology testing, surveying in the 1800's- and found ALLwanting in presenting valid conclusions. I interviewed my 'oldsters' in my area who did early blasting. None made a hole. They used a few sticks of dynamite and 'mudpacked' it. I also had a blaster from the quarry to view the stones as to the idea of black powder use. He could not see how at hole approximately 1 inch by 6 inches could hold enough powder, packing, and fuse to do anything to a rock that is mostly in the ground! When our 'oldsters' made rock basements, they made many holes in rock. This was in a straight line to make a straight crack. This makes sense. Most of the rock in my area are glacial granite. Granite minerals go this way and that. One hole in a rock would not make it crack straight- much like when a stone hits your windshield- the crack line goes this way and that. To achieve a straight line, one would need a number of holes in a row and preferably half the depth of the stone to be cut.
Upon studying the 1860, 70, and 80 census, I found no one but a few trappers in the Big Stone Lake area in the 1860's. Settlement did not come into my area until the end of the 1870's.
When I asked Birgitta Wallace for her "systematic surveys" as repgrted by her in the Chicago Symposium- 1982- I received none. She has consistently said that these holes are 'blasting stones for foundation stones'. Our assistant state archaeologist stated that a stone that is blasted is acompromised rock. The concussion makes thousands of tiny fissures that absorb moisture and will become crumbly in a short'time.
1800's surveys for statehood run into another problem- these stoneholes are not on mile or section lines. They do follow the valley and extensions of the valleys in most cases. Surveying markers of the 1800's had an identifying marking on them.
Lightning and its effects on some of our "shattered" looking stones needed to be addressed. I contacted Robert Bednarik who specializes in lightning effects on rock (fig. 41). I sent numerous photos of stones that had a partial visible hole with the radiating lines outblooming from it. He wrote that "these boulders are imbedded in sediment which might get pretty soggy in rain, and thus providing better conductors.. . .the holes holding water during rain with lightning seeking conductivity- were attractive."
Of interest in my area, are the Horn Rock, Knife Rock, Medicine Stone, and the carvings at the Whitmyre farm in the upper Coteau. (fig. 23-27) The Horn Rock is carved deeply into granite- something only hardened iron could produce. The old Scandinavian way was to make use of a horn in ceremonial drinking and in land transactions. The knife, also, as used in land transactions as far back as the 1100' s. * see url http://medievalwriting.50megs.com/samples/knife.htm *The Medicine Stone was kept by the Native Americans near the Missouri River of South Dakota. It had been kept in their possession for many generations. Note the Cross in the indented center and the 'trees'. (fig. 26) Then, please look at Figure 27, and the very same markings closely resemble the runes on a Swedish runestone!Weare now just looking into the carvings at the Whitmyre site by rock carving specialist, Janey Westin.
In the last year, we are addressing holes in a more scientific sense. Cal Coumeya of Alexandria, Minnesota, formerly of 3M company, has developed a way of molding the stoneholes to discern the weathering ratios on the sides and bottom of the holes. Tooling, also, becomes apparent. He has molded the Horn Rock and two other stoneholes in my area (fig. 1,3,40). Used with known dated holed stones, this project should bear reaidating possibilities.
Another project was the coring of a rock that was part of a massive laid- in rock foundation. This foundation was dated fall of 1899. The stones natural flat glaciated surface was used for its inside flat wall- and out of the weather all these years. I dug it out thinking that I now had a dated hole from the1800' s- only to find that the rock was cleaved across the top to make for the next row of rock. I now had my dated 1899 surface- and the stonehole. What would the stonehole show? The same weathering at the cleaved 1899 surface? We took the rock to the quarry to core out the hole intact, core the1899 surface, and the natural glaciated surface. (fig. 42) These were taken to the labs of Scott Wolter in the Twin Cities. He split the cored hole and put the cores under 10 X magnification. His report (fig. 43) states that thetrihole core show more weathering than the 1899 core...... makes one wonder - who, why, when????
We also, as of September 9th-OS, sent iron like substance samples to be tested in Ames, Iowa. Samples sent will discern the components of each. We have samples from a wide spectrum - metal from a ring pin from a Viking harbor used from the 1400's through the 1700's (fig. 44), and a nail from Fort Sisseton, South Dakota dated from a building built in the 1860's. (fig. 53). In between, we have 3 samples of 'unknowns' that came from rock holes here in South Dakota. (fig. 46-52) We will be anxious to see the report and begin balancing it against other artifacts metallurgical tests. I could not have endeavored this without supporters who helped in the financial end of this project.
Now, I come to a totally new thought and aspect for these stoneholes.. This could easily be a 'good marriage' of the stoneholes at lower elevations closer to today's water level and the much higher stoneholes. . .. ... And it could end a century-long fight with geologic studies.
Last winter I found a mountain of material ofHjalmar Holand at the Green Bay Wisconsin repository. Think back- he was the first person to call upon our conscience that these were moorings for boats, such as in Norway and Sweden. In his books, he shows all of his moorings and they are near to today's water levels- for example the Lake Jesse stone is right at the edge of a modem day lake. He classified some of the higher elevation stoneholes as possible blasting or childs play.
Where did this change and ALL stoneholes- regardless of elevation- become moorings for ships?
In the early winter of 2004, I contacted Valdimar Samuelsson ofReyakvik Iceland. Be is a tireless researcher who specializes in cairns. He became interested in the GPS locations I had sent to him.
He asked a very good question- why couldn't some of the lower elevation stoneholes reflect possible moorings - and- what is an age old tradition in his country- boundary, marking and witness stones- possibly be the reason for the higher elevation stones?
The photo (fig. 5) ofa stone found on the lower levels of Big Stone Lake with a hole clear through it so closely resemble ship stones found in Viking Harbors today. (ref. Ludwig Kristjansson)
He sent me a map of where the earliest Icelanders settled. They went up the rivers and streams and settled. It was unlawful for any man to take someone else's land. They had to claim their hunting, fishing, pasture and settlement holdings. The old Icelandic law book "Gragas" tells extensively of early (ca. 900 to 1250) laws concerning land ownership. The marking was to be made by boundary, marking and witness stones.
One line that really stood out for me- if you had trouble with your neighbor over the boundary stones, you were to call the warranty man and he was to meet you at the mooring stakes (fig. 28)!! I had never seen these two words used in a non nautical usage. I also found these stones in older Norwegian law books.
Now, where do we go to find these old land markers? In reading Kirsten Seaver's book "The Frozen Echo" I found references to land given in a marriage dowery in the early 1400's in Greenland. The dowery consisted of land in Greenland and Iceland. (Chapter 6- Diplomataruim Islandicom 3: no. 398). I had Valdimar, who could read the old Icelandic, research the old diplomas concerning land boundaries and their stones markers. He found many references. As to the original wording in Icelandic - festar haell - he looked primarily for this. It seems that the later years of 1390's, they were establishing the "old" boundary markers.
In the Diploma about Einar Thrashi - Book III, letter number 397, dated1392 - reads, "below the farm there is a stake *haell-stake* and-Horn the long pond south" . . ... now this land of total volcanic rock-where else would you put a stake if you meant it to stay there? Jon Dauson's book also tells of this way of marking land, plus a book written after "Gragas", "Jonsbook" tells in its land settlement chapter *pg.153* of these stones, rivers, streams, mountains and other natural setting to be used in land division.
So, how do we frnd these ancient Icelandic marking stones and possibly connect them to our tri-shaped hole stones? Valdimar went walking- but not looking for his cairns- but for these stoneholes. He started by looking for stones used in the old diploma farm sites. Would we find stones with triangular shaped holes- YES. (fig. 29-39) At two different Southwestern Icelandic sites, one ca. 1250-1400, he found them.
As these frnds are just now evolving and being researched (September -05), we are excited by the prospect that these stoneholes we have here in the U.S.- and other places that are clearly high above or away from today's lakes and streams- may be connected. We may be able to show a time honored way of marking ones "spot" in the world by using a very common symbol to the earliest Icelander or Scandinavian explorer- A HOLE IN A ROCK.
Thank-you for listening to this possibility and feel free to contact me with your thoughts.
Respectfully, Judi Rudebusch