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* * * * * * * * Vinland Part 1 - The Leif Eriksson runestone

Leif Eriksson's exploration of North America will be commemorated this year, by the Viking Trail Tourist Association (VTTA) in Newfoundland, Canada. 

VTTA has commissioned a runestone that will be chiseled in Sweden on the island of Adelsö, 50km west of Stockholm in Lake Mälaren. 

On 28 July several Viking ships will sail into the bay where Leif Eriksson is supposed to have landed. On the same day the rune stone will be raised there - to remind future generations of this epic event. 

Leifs rune stone is raised in Newfoundland


The rune stone is a beautiful piece of Vätö granite and weighs nearly two tons. 

The inscription reads:
VTTA and Barbara Genge raised stone to commemorate the exploration 
of North America by Leif Eriksson in year one thousand. Kalle rista.

Kalle in the inscription is Kalle Runristare on Adelsö
His rune stone workshop is located near Adelsö's ancient monument area and Viking period royal residence (Hovgården). This area, together with Birka, the Viking town on the nearby island of Björkö, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Near the workshop is the Adelsö Historical Society's museum and Café Uppgården. 

It's here that Leif Eriksson's rune stone is being chiseled.  
Work started on 20 May and will finish at end of June. You're welcome to come and see how the runic ornamentation and inscription grows out of the hard granite, exactly as stones were created a 1 000 years ago, solely by hammer and chisel.

Follow the work, day by day on this page or picture by picture here >>>
16 May 2000 - looking for the stone

After several hours of searching, Kalle and Thorbjörn (Vätö Stone Quarry) find a stone that looks to be right. BUT, more than half is hidden by other rocks. So Thorbjörn has to lift it up so Kalle can be certain that it will be suitable for use as Leif Eriksson's rune stone.

Once the stone was up, we saw that it was perfect, far better than what we'd dared to expect. The stone has a flat surface for the ornamentation and inscription, the size is right, and it's only one of a kind...that's now being got ready for its journey to Canada.

Här hittas äntligen den rätta stenen.
Lyftet som avslutar sökandet
19 May 2000 - the stone reaches Adelsö

The selected granite block, that will become Leif Eriksson's rune stone, arrives by the Munsö-Adelsö ferry. Before delivery Thorbjörn cleaned the stone and shaped its foot to make it easier to raise it on site in Canada.

Efter 24.00 beställer man färjan på Tfn: 08-560 511 97
It takes all the crane's power to put the 1 700kg granite block in the right place for chiseling. The light rain that's falling gives the stone's red surface an even deeper red tone. Finally in place, and supported on wooden blocks, Kalle and Frey welcome it to the chiseling site; they pour clear and pure well water onto it from their Viking drinking horns. Blöt granit ger mer kontrast Ännu blötare och ännu rödare
22 May 2000 - the first chisel blows
First step is to paint the outside lines of the ornamentation. This done, it's time to get to work with hammer and chisel. Starting as near the stone's edge as possible allows me to adjust the lines should a piece of the edge breakaway. 
But this granite block is a strong one; the edges stay sound despite the chisel blows. When the lines are chiseled, the next step is to paint in the rest of the ornamentation
Ett bra granitblock med starka kanter
26 May 2000 - first details inscribed

When it's only 9C (48F), windy, sunny spells, and showers, there aren't many visitors to Adelsö. So it was possible to concentrate on the first detail to be chiseled. This is the knot that holds the sun compass in place at the top of the stone. This is the thinnest part of the granite, so it's important to keep the hammer blows just right to avoid damage.

The most difficult part is not the actual chiseling, but to get the chiseled groove to follow and enhance the final result. The day the rune stone is finished, it's these lines that will bring life and movement to the inscription and ornamentation. Any chiseling error here could cause the final result to be lifeless. So I'm looking more at the surrounding parts that will later be painted, rather than exactly where I'm chiseling.

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29 May 2000 - the ornamentation take shape
Children from the Birkagården school in Karlskoga, visited Hovgården and Birka today. And saw how Leif Eriksson's rune stone is chiselled and how the ornamentation is applied.

About half of the stone has been chiselled. 
Next step will be to paint in the dragon's head, its three tails, the tail end, and the sun compass in the middle of the cross. Some warmer and less windy weather would be a welcome gift from the Gods!

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1 Jun 2000 - Good friends paid a call
The outline of the Viking ship is finished; chiseling continues with the runes "VTTA" in its hull. The ship is in fact the logotype of the Viking Trail Tourist Association. Some Viking friends pay a call. They look at the stone, like what they see, and then play a merry tune on the Jew's harp.
Besök i runstensverkstaden. Tuija och Börje / Tuija and Börje
4 Jun 2000 - The dragon gets its head
The ornamentation is nearly done, and the dragon's head is painted in. Later this evening the head was cut. The only disappointment of the day was the unsuccessful attempt to raise the 3 ton oak root with its carved figures and newly tarred base.
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10 Jun 2000 - 15 of 110 runic letters cut
The ornamentation is finished and the first runic letters have been cut. They are pretty tight, but there's sufficient space. The huge carved oak trunk is at last in place and provides a magnificent backdrop to the Leif Eriksson stone.
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15 Jun 2000 - 55 of 110 runic letters cut
Cutting the runes at the end of inscription for the TV4 reporter who wanted to get a good picture!  In reality I'm cutting at the top and thinnest part of the stone (at the yellow arrow) where it's necessary to chisel with extreme care. Later on the evening this time-consuming section was finished - and the rest of the chiseling should be straightforward.
50 procent of runic letters
21 Jun - The chiseling finished
Runic letter
R is the last letter to be cut. Known as "Reid" it was Thor's runic letter and, if you believe in magic, means protection. It was chiselled on this midsummer evening and night. At the workshop, on the longest day with the shortest night, we raised a maypole and  celebrated until the sun rose again.
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28 Jun - Rune stone finished

Today Leif Eriksson's commemorative rune stone got its colors. And the result of many months planning and hard work become apparent. Carpenter Uncle Frey has made a special crate for the stone, and late this evening Tord Björk lifted it from the workshop onto the crate's base.

A new rune sees the light of day and starts its journey, first to Canada and then to the future many thousands of years ahead.

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30 Jun 2000 - Journey to Canada starts
Björn Ericsson, Adelsö Egg carefully lifts the rune stone in its crate up onto the lorry that will take it to Stockholm for onward road transport to Gothenburg. I hardly have time to say goodbye to the stone before Uncle Frey nails and screws down the lid.

ASA Transport has never carried a rune stone before, but Rolf is used to unusual loads. In his hands it will safely reach Gothenburg for loading onto the ship to take it across the Atlantic to Vinland (Newfoundland).

After 43 days on Adelsö, the stone is once more back on the ferry and leaves our beautiful island. In the workshop there's now an empty grass-less plot - and everything is quiet and still. What did I do before Leif's rune stone entered my life - and what will happen next?
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29 Jul 2000 - Leif Eriksson runestone stands proud

For a long time it looked as though I couldn't be at L'Anse aux Meadows for the raising and dedication ceremony of the Leif Eriksson stone. But one day there's a call from the Swedish Foreign Office - they want me to go to Canada as a Swedish "ambassador".

Early morning on 26 July, a plane takes-off from Stockholm-Arlanda with a traditionally-clothed Viking onboard. Three days later the nearly two-ton beautifully-inscribed Vätö granite runestone proudly stands on Newfoundland's northern point. A memory from the past, a striking testimony to our belief in the future, and a conviction that there'll be people there at that time.

Stenen är vänd mot havet Intill finns andra minnesstenar från Norge, Island & Grönland Stor och större bild på runstenen - Detaljer.


Go to Canada and see the stone be raised >>>


Finally, a big thank you to all who participated in and around this rune stone

- without your help the Leif Eriksson stone would never have been raised.

* Barbara & Ron Baron for photos, translations, guidance through the
paper jungle, and more - I would never have made it without you.

* Olle Hoffman at Viking Heritage as you had the courage to recommend me as a rune carver.
* Torbjörn Karlsson at Vätö Stone Quarry for your immense patience and beautiful stones.
* Raino Rydelius at
Hovdata for film, pictures, help with the web pages, and all inspiration.
* Handlar´n, our country shop that has everything for a rune carver stomach and tool box.
* Terese & Stellan, how would things have turned out without Stellan - forward boys!
* Helena & Nobbe  for thoughtfulness and patience - shall we have a grill party now?
* Britt Bergwall at
Ekerö Turism AB for all the encouragement and power you give.
* Peter Hobring for all those solutions and the positive energy you spread around.
* Tuija & Börje for help, inspiration, merry evenings, and all that energy you give.
* Ronnie Lindblad and his Happy pigs for all sorts of help and a change of air.
* Rolf Söder at
Asa Transporter for road freight of the stone to Gothenburg.
* Ellinor & Denice because you manage to live with a rune carver like me.
* Björn Ericsson at Adelsö Egg for your speedy help with a heavy lift.
* Tord Björk for powerful help when the stone had to be moved.
*
Mum and Dad for all help and that you believe in me.
* Sister
Carin for translations and belief in her brother.
* Stefan Walner for glorious pictures and support.
* Cary for pictures and support.


Uppdaterad 29 december, 2016 av Kalle Runristare All rights reserved, ©