The Shawnee Runestone: A Sneaky Little Riddle

B.L. Freeborn © January 2023                      (PDF version.)

Photo by Heironymous Rowe at Wikipedia.

The Shawnee Runestone was found in 1969 by three children in Shawnee, Oklahoma. It is on display at Robert S. Kerr Museum near Poteau, Oklahoma.

Arc on Kensington Stone

The shape of this stone alone suggests it might be genuine. It is round oblong and out of the right side there is an ark shaped chip. (Assuming of course that some expert did not chip it away to prove the age of the stone as has been done to the Spirit Pond Stones, the ‘In Camera’ stone (post) and the Kensington Stone which was bored through.)

The shape and ark suggests a Pagan / Baalist origin. The chipped ark shape is seen on the Kensington just below the first line.

The inscription is to the casual observer just five runes. There are two suggested readings: MLDOK and MIDOK.

The present decipherment began with MLDOK. Observe the words: DO ⇒ do, LOK ⇒ look, MK ⇒ make. From previous experience the appearance of ‘look’ suggests a shift cipher which was attempted but was fruitless. So looking again one sees the L might actually be an E or I. It is unusually connected to the first rune and the third. This forms three connected runes followed by two detached runes. This suggests 32 which implies 5.65².✓ This is significant since its validity lies substantially with certain numbers appearing. The reader is directed to Validating North American Runestones (PDF) for a better understanding. In summary of this article, with respect to numbers, 56 and 792 must be present. They are typically found by studying the number values of the runes (gematria). The numbers 76, 51, 90 and 86 are often found as well. If it is of a Norse origin, or most northern people origin, (which means Viking to many) it should also have an Easter Calendar date imbedded (see Landsverk). The true rune master was able to encode his/her name as well. Can these five letters produce? Absolutely!

Alf Mongé felt the I was an E. His decipherment can be found in Syverson (pg. 94). He was primarily interested in dates so his decipherment did not comment on anything else for this stone.

If it is an I, then it is MIDOK. The small words I DO MaKe can be found. If an E, MEDOK, it is ME DO MaKe. If it is an E, another obvious word is formed that is very surprising. Runes are read from both right to left and left to right. Read it from the left and it says ME DO and from the right it says clearly CODE so that it reads: ME DO CODE.

A closer look is now required. Note the top of the O in the photo above is not fully connected. The photo in Syversen actually looks like a complete single rune. (This is probably why Mongé did not see the possibility this is two runes.) As two separate runes it is an X and ∧ which are G and K respectively. This makes the inscription: MEDGK – with K above the G.

This is now 5 runes with a 6th or 56.✓ This confirms this was to be found. KG ⇒ keg is another typical Baalist word. But there is more…

Note that the mysterious second letter is actually an H. It is a bindrune with the D. This makes the inscription: M(HE)DGK and K. Now the words HE ⇒ he, HEM ⇒ hem, and MED ⇒ made, are apparent. Looking further while including the O note KOME ⇒ come.

One should not forget this was found in America and so X is often A with value 10 in the Younger Futhark. If it is an A, it can be verified by converting to numbers at this point. (See charts at end.)

Only the first two have notable sums (✓). It would appear then that A is a possible transliteration of the X. If it is seen as MED(A/G)K then the total sum becomes 86.✓ The word DAG ⇒ ‘day’ or ‘lump of metal’ can be found.

Then in MHDGK/K or 20,9,23,7,6,6 sum from H to end is 51.✓ This is the only 51 found.

As a bindrune HD does not have to appear in that order. It can just as easily be DH but the H is attached to the M. If all three can switch then perhaps it becomes DMHGK/K or numerically:
23,20,9,7,6/6. The three underlined form 7920 in reverse.✓ The sum then becomes 65 / 6 which is very similar to 56.6.✓

Since reversals have been noted, MHDOK sums to 82 or 28 in reverse. (28 x 2 = 56)✓

The only numbers not found yet are the date. To find the date recall ‘day’ was found in the word DAG or (23,10,6). This calls attention to this portion of the inscription. Note that 10 and 6 suggest the year 1006 which is from the same era as other Heavener / Poteau inscriptions and the Byfield, Massachusetts inscription. It should not be surprising then that the name Ago (an old Swedish name) or Gao can be found easily here which is the name found in these as well. It his highly likely the author is the same person since the style and skill level required to formulate this are similar. The date then is here.

If 1006 is the year, then it has Golden Number (GN) 19, Day Letter (DL) 6 and Rati (Line #) 15. (See Easter Table (PDF) and Landsverk below for more information.) The GN is in the KGK arrangement: 6,7,6 is 19. The DL is 6 which is apparent. Where then is the 15? It is found in the original arrangement of 5 runes with the 1 seen above ⇒ 15. The year then is 1006. If it is the same person then he wrote this before the Byfield, Massachusetts rune stone and before going to Oklahoma, unless he traveled back and forth. It is also true that year 1135 can be implied by Rati # 19, GN 15 and DL 6. But 1135 is not supported by the inscription. The final decision lies with the reader.

Mongé obtained the date 24 November 1024 from the inscription. His date of 1024 is easily explained. He also used Day Letter (DL) 6 and Rati (Line #) 15. He saw the O (24) as the year and not as separate runes since in his image it appears joined.

And yet there appears to be more… Notice that the MEH hides another rune. There is a U !! Now the Baalist riddle is complete with a hem, hidden cup, two daggers, X marks the spot and an ark all on a round stone. Surely this cannot have been created by any ‘modern’ person!

It then translates as:

A hem surrounds the hidden cup from the daggers.
The kegs are where it came at the round arcs.
Me, Ago, made this code in 1006.



From Wikipedia


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** For numeric background see:

**Freeborn, B.L., Validating North American Runic Inscriptions,, November 2022.

Freeborn, B.L., Deciphering the Spirit Pond, Nomans Land and Narragansett Runic Inscriptions,, November 2022.

Freeborn, B.L., The Nomans Land – Leif Eriksson Inscription,, December 2022. (An excerpt from the above.)

Freeborn, B.L., Et in Arcadia Ego – OUOSVAVV DM – Deciphered,, December 2022.

Freeborn, B.L., Kensington Rune Stone: A New Translation,, February 2023.

Freeborn, B.L., Lifting the Veil of Time off the Rökstone of Sweden,, April 2023.

Freeborn, B.L., Runic Riddles: Time Capsules,, December 2022.

Freeborn, B.L., The Runic Riddles: Younger Futhork,, December 2022.

Freeborn, B.L., The Narragansett Inscription: A Translation with its Date of Dedication, Author and Inscriber,, October 2022.

Freeborn, B.L., The Newport Tower: Finding the Date of Dedication, its Designer and Builder,, October 2022.

Freeborn, B.L., The Vinland Map – Encoded Riddle,, February 2023.

Freeborn, B.L., Ancient Riddles to Test Our Wits: The Secret Chamber,, January 2016. (Post)


Gordon, Cyrus, Riddles in History, Crown Publishers, Inc. New York, 1974.

Landsverk, O.G., Runic Records of the Norsemen in America, Erik J. Friis, Publisher, Rushford, MN, 1974.

Landsverk, O.G., Ancient Norse Messages, Norseman Press, Glendale, California, 1969.

Mongé, Alf & O.G. Landsverk, Norse Medieval Cryptography in Runic Carving

Syversen, Earl, Norse Runic Inscriptions: with their Long-forgotten Cryptography, The Vine Hill Press, Sebastopol, California, 1979.

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Liestol, Aslak – Derogatory article of Alf Mongé’s work:….
and…. Landsverk responded to these comments in Ancient Norse Messages pg. 126-129; and often in Runic Records of the Norsemen in America.
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