The Nomans Land – Leif Eriksson Inscription

B.L Freeborn © December 2022               (PDF version here.)

(Excerpt from: Deciphering the Spirit Pond, Nomans Land and Narragansett Runic Inscriptions,, PDF here.)

This study would not be complete without some comment on the Leif Erikson inscription found on a rock off the shore of Nomans Land Island, adjacent to Martha’s Vineyard. Photos are scant which severely limits any study. Typically, it is considered a fraud because it contains a letter M or Roman numeral in the date. However, the Spirit Pond SP-3 inscription stone (following post) used the letter M in the final date and it was also used to substitute for a runic M in the center pictogram. Therefore, the use of M1 to suggest a date of 1001 is wholly consistent with it being a valid inscription. The Spirit Pond stones were not found for some 40 years after common knowledge of the Leif inscription so they could not have inspired the M1 date. Furthermore, consider the constraints of using only the runic numbers to indicate a date of 1001 as seen in the SP-2 (following post). There is simply no zero which makes an M very useful. Certainly any educated person of the year 1001 was in the habit of using M1 as a date since Roman numerals were known then throughout Europe. ‘Modern graffiti’ would not use such a strange arrangement. The zero is so common place today it would have been used without a thought. Indeed, it should have been 1003 since that was the date the then current encyclopedias stated Leif discovered Vinland.(Holand, 1944)

Images from Holand, 1944.

The top line of the inscription is straight forward. It consists of four runes spelling out LIIF and eight more spelling out IRIKSSĄN. This is accepted to be Leif Eriksson. The date follows M1 (1001) and then the next line begins clearly with Th I and that is where confusion sets in. The third rune is made to appear as an N in some white marked images. A photo from Holand (1944) has a chalked image which clearly does not show an N. Holand reports that Professor Delabarre in 1935 examined the stone carefully and found no additional markings on the upright staves of the runes after the first Th. He most certainly would have reported an N. Photos however can often reveal more than the eye can see. The first five runes are readable as: Th I ʀ TI. In the enlarged image note the short height of the third line and an arrow shape on top of the fourth can be made out. The remaining group of lines followed by the four on the fourth appear to be just lines or I’s. Holand’s explanation was that Greenlanders often left incomplete runes as part of magical incantations. Mongé and others disagreed.

Erikson is spelled with two S’s in the old Icelandic manner. Each name should be followed by an ʀ but these do not appear. The doubled S and deleted ʀ provides for the correct number of letters and sums as seen below. Other differences and some very good reasons for them are elucidated by Holand. The inscription then reads (retaining letter placement):

There are 12 runes on the first line in 2 groups of 4 and 8. The sum of Leif is 34 while Eriksson equals 63. Their total sum is 97 or 79 in reverse.✓ The second line is 14, 9 = 23; or 14,1 = 15. Finding the difference then 97 – 15 = 82 or 28 in reverse.✓ Then 79 followed by 23 is 7923 or 792.✓ (**See below for more information on numbers and meanings; and Easter Tables.)

Many critics note IRIK is misspelled but by this spelling it gives |5|6 which becomes 56. ✓ The RI pattern was seen on the SP-3 inscription stone which implied 5 + 1 = 6 ⇒ 56. More importantly, it can be seen as far away as Sweden on the famous Rök runestone.
Its double, 112 (56 x 2), is found by adding the sum of the first two lines or 97 and 15 = 112.✓
The S as 11 also supplies 56 since 5+6 = 11. The two S’s are then repeating 56’s.✓
There are 14 I’s in total. Recall 14 doubled is 28 and doubled again is 56.✓

The third line if read: ThI ʀ T I III provides ⇒ 3,9,16,12,9 111 (or 9,9,9).
ThI ʀ: 3,9,16 is 28. T I: is 12,9. If the TI is in the Elder Futhark, it is 17, 11 which sums to 28 as well which was seen in the Kingigtorssuaq and Kensington stones. Three I’s or 9’s suggests 3 x 9 = 27 which supplies all the digits for 792.✓

Typically the TI is in a vertical line. Lying in a nearly perfect vertical line is another I and the runes I M T I. This is 9,14,12,9 or 44…?
The same can be done on the other leg of the M with the R: R M I I or 5,14,9,9 = 37…?
Between them is an I or 9. 44 + 9 + 37 is 90 and 90̊ is the north pole which is portrayed as the center pole of the inscription.

The sum of the vertical lines IMTI, IIII and I between them is 89 and 89 x 89 is 7920.✓
The sum of the entire third line is 3,9,16,12,9,9,9,9 = 76 which was seen above.✓
The sum of the fourth line, if they are all 9’s, is 36 which reminds us there are 360 degrees in a circle.
If it is 9 and then 3 x 9; it is 9 27 or 792 as was seen in the line above.✓

Often a day of dedication is given. After trying many possibilities, the day of dedication appears to be simply stated by the two letter / numbers below the year. The four letters as a group spell TIMI which sounds like time. Let’s take the hint and see that this implies 12 /9 or the 9th of December which is confirmed by the first letter/number of value 15. The 9th is fifteen days before the end of the Norse year. This day also falls on the new moon.

However, this riddle master is much clearer with the latitude. One must know the latitude and longitude to find it in these inscriptions. Noman’s land is at 41.258̊N and 70.815̊W with respect to the Greenwich Meridian. (Its apparent accuracy suggests they were using this meridian as opposed to other available meridians.)

Note the count of the I’s. First line: 4. Second line: 1
Third line from right to left: 4 then 1.
Fourth line total: 4. Then left to right 1 and 3. ⇒⇒ 41.3̊N
Longitude is at 70.815̊and zero’s are difficult to imply. But there are 7 I’s in the vertical line and then left on the third line. There are also 7 I’s in the U shape that included the M. This suggests 7 and implies 0. But then again 7I appears very close to 71. So, the longitude is rounded up.

It is highly likely that the author of this complicated encryption embedded their name in it. Note the M could also be the T and L runes set together which could spell out the word ‘tell’ or ‘let’ – meaning inscribe. The adjoining I would then create : ‘I tell’ or ‘I let.’ There is the beginning of a name on the third line: Th I ʀ. The last symbol, ʀ, typically ends a name, so again it suggests a name is here. It remains elusive until one realizes the whole puzzle lends itself to counting: first line 12 runes, second 2, third 8 and fourth 4. If each of these represent letters, then TUNÆ is found. Interestingly, this is an old Swedish name and short form of ‘Thorniut.’ Looking at the word groups further find 4 and 8 on the first line and 5 and 3 on the third. This gives Æ,N and R, Th. The first is the name of a goddess in the same era as Baal. The latter is two of the missing letters to form Thorniut. Now recall the Th I ʀ. The name is now complete as Thærniutʀ also known as Tunæ, the author.

It would have been more satisfying to find Baal spelled out since An was found. But then again… shift ciphers are sometimes used in runic riddles. If the vertical line I M T I is shifted by one rune over (I ⇒A, M⇒B, etc.) it becomes A B L A or Baal. The right side does not shift but remains as RM III meaning ‘Rim 3.’ For sure, this is another one of those weird Baalist statements that appears to be true once you understand what they are talking about.

This inscription seems to be wholly valid. It certainly fits the riddle pattern of other stones, the date is supported by embedded Easter table values, and the syntax has suffered in favor of the numbers. There is also an embedded author name. It displays typical Baalist numbers and indeed, the name Baal in a classic shift cipher is a bonus. All of this is in common with others seen from the period. Consider that this is very near the southerly most tip of Martha’s Vineyard and once was probably ashore on Noman Island before the coast eroded. As the land washed away it dropped the stone into the ocean as well. As noted by many, Martha’s Vineyard most certainly fits the description of Vinland. Holand (1944) argues other reasons for its validity. One might want to err on the side of caution and retrieve it from the ocean before a possible work of great historical value is lost forever.

Leif Eriksson
9th December 1001
by Thorniutʀ, also known as Tunæ,
at Latitude 41.3̊N, 71̊ W

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Holand, Hjalmar Rued. “The Runic Inscription on No Man’s Land.” The New England Quarterly, vol. 17, no. 1, 1944, pp. 56–70. JSTOR, Accessed 26 Nov. 2022.

Marstrand, Vilhelm. “The Runic Inscription on No Man’s Land.” The New England Quarterly, vol. 22, no. 1, 1949, pp. 85–92. JSTOR, Accessed 26 Nov. 2022.

**Mongé, Alf & O.G. Landsverk, Norse Medieval Cryptography in Runic Carvings, Norseman Press, Glendale, California, 1967.
– – – – –
Liestol, Aslak – Derogatory article on 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.