The Narragansett Inscription: A Translation with its Date of Dedication, Author and Inscriber

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

The Narragansett Runestone is the work of a genius. Besides the initial plain text reading, there are an additional three phrases, the date and even the correct location concealed in the text. This is a lot for nine symbols to convey. The proposed transliteration and subsequent translation of symbols imbedded in the rock once on the shores of Narragansett, Rhode Island are shown below. The proof that the correct symbols are used is very math heavy, so it is at the end for those who are interested. What enables the cipher is that the text is in three alphabets: Younger Futhark, Elder Futhark and Latin. The reader is directed to the charts towards the end for Futhark (runic) alphabets.

The extra letters appear after one notices several other possibilities are present. The S (in Futhark) can be seen as a backwards Latin N. The Æ symbol (in Futhark) can also be seen as an F. The X can be seen as an A in Younger Futhark or a G in the Older. The T in the Younger Futhark is upside down. There is no reason to assume the adjoining M is not also upside down. If it is, it becomes a Y. There is also no reason to assume it is in the Younger Futhark, since the symbol appears in the Elder as does the S and O in the forms shown. This adds Z to its possible transliteration. Indeed, reading the pairs as shown provides AF, GA, FA, LT, TL, ZT, ZL, MT and MZ as easily readable. They suggest Af(ter), Go, Foe, Let, Tell, Set, Zeal, Meet and Maze.

We move on with reading the text. Find the runes: A H R. This is exactly how ‘year’ was written in both the Spirit Pond and Kensington runestones including the rune forms. This confirms these runes are part of or near the date. The date is found in the transliteration proof below.

Studying the inscription further leads to the correct plain text reading. Take the first letter as N and notice that the H looks like two arrowheads coming together. It is followed by RO which seems to reinforce the idea of an arrow. Take the hooked X as a G (in Elder Futhark) and now GÆN can be found. The letters forming ZT (set) were seen in the 5th and 6th runes. See the I erroneously as a T and now one has everything needed to interpret the inscription as:

……. N ……………… ARROW ……………………….. GAN ………………….. ZTT ………………

⇒⇒ Narragansett.

Now in the transliteration find: ÆR HOM LI ………………..Our homes lies…

This suggests the location is also embedded. The longitude and latitude is also deciphered below.

Now find:

AS SHÆ RO YMZ ML TI I – TL – ROZY…………..As she row amaze mill tie eye – tell Rozy
AF HÆ RO YMZ ML TI I – LT – HROM………..After he row amaze mill tie eye – let Hrom

As she rowed to the amazing mill tie eye, Rosy wrote this.
After he rowed to the amazing mill tie eye, Hrom carved this.

OUR HOME LIES ∙ 41.45̊ N 71.45̊ W

Transliteration Proof

The gematria (number) associated with each rune is as found in that alphabet with the exception of the L which uses the value for L from the Younger Futhark. The correctness of the transliteration can be checked but it requires substitution to numbers and summing. Sums found should be typical numbers found in Baalist** encoded inscriptions. They are so noted with a ✓ check mark. The reader is directed to the paper Validating North American Runic Inscriptions (pdf) for further information on this topic since it is a new approach to deciphering runic inscriptions.

Below is the proposed transliteration which includes all three versions of the 5th rune and two provided by the 6th. This positioning at the 5th and 6th eliminates the possibility of the undecipherable rune (?) ever actually being present. If it was, these would shift to 6th and 7th positions. The 7 and 2 pattern provides a required number. (7 + 2 = 9) or 792.✓ The number 28 or its double 56 must be found. The 5th and 6th runes were just discussed. This provides 56.✓ Further still, 3 versions of the ‘M’ and 2 of the ‘L’ suggest 32 which is 5.65².✓ Look at it again and see there is a group of 3 double letters followed by a group of 2 or 32.✓

We have now found four numerical verifications of the stone’s validity. Others are easily found but number substitution is required to see them. (See chart of runes/numbers at end.)

In this case the dot is next to the [Æ, F]. Letter F has value 6. Notice the R of value 5 is just above so that 56 is found.✓

The 7 is followed by 5 and 24 which sum to 29 so that one finds 7, 29 ⇒⇒ 792.✓
The group of four numbers: 8,11,4,6 sum to 29 next to a 7 ⇒⇒ 792.✓
The sum of the five numbers in brackets is 15+14+16+15+12=72. This is followed by 9 or 72,9.✓

Running the sum across the top line (in bold) as written find 86. ✓ (86400 seconds of longitude.)
The sum as typically transliterated (with M, T) is 82 which if read in reverse is 28 or half 56.✓
The sum of A Æ or 10, 4 is 14 which is half of 28.✓

This is a significant number of numerical verifications. The transliteration appears to be correct.

Finding the Date

There is a 10 below the 11. The 7 and 4 sum to 11. The 4 and 6 sum to 10…..1011….1110. This appears to be a date. The Spirit Pond rune stones date themselves to the year 1011. Finding the Golden Number (GN) for both years may settle the matter. GN was commonly used at the time for determining Easter. The GN for 1110 is 9. Its Line # on the table is 18. (See Easter Table here and Mongé,1967) The Day Letter is 2. The two is not found so 1110 is eliminated.✗

The GN for year 1011 is 5. A five is immediately to the right of this group of numbers. More so, the Line # is 15 which appears twice (Z, L).✓ The Day letter is 7. To the left of the five is 7.✓ The implied date is year 1011.✓ Further confirmation for 1011 is found in the number of runes. There are 7 runes on the first line. Day letter = 7.✓ There are 11 runes from the doubled runes. Year is 1011.✓ There are 15 runes in total. The Line # is 15.✓

The numbers 12 and 24 are probably the dedication date. (7+ 5 = 12 and 24.) If the dedication date is 12/24 or December 24 it is zero days until the end of the Norse Year (Christmas). The zero is provided by the undecipherable first rune.✓

Alf Mongé would say the 24 represents the number of days to the end of the year and give a date of 30 November. This would explain the 11’s. While 30 can be found in the sum of 10+11+4+5 or the double 15. The preference here is 24 December since it is more plainly enumerated and explains the ‘zero’ rune. The 24th is certainly a more suitable holiday to commemorate such a work.

The numbers can be played with for some time. Eventually even a novice solver will come to the conclusion there is no mysterious missing rune on the first line as just confirmed by the dedication date. In other rune riddles a missing letter is required to be guessed to solve the riddle. Here it is the opposite. The missing letter was only a ruse.

Finding the Location

It is possible to confirm the latitude and longitude if it is known.
Recall the numbers are:

The full top line of the inscription provides N (7, 5, 24, 14, 12, 9) = N 71.

ZMT (15,14,12) = 41 and MLT (14,15,12) = 41.
ZMY (15,14,16) = 45 and must be used twice.

So that 41.45̊ N, 71.45̊ W is found which is correct with respect to the Greenwich Meridian. (Its apparent accuracy suggests they were using this meridian as opposed to other available meridians.) It is important to note – one must know beforehand the location to find it in the inscription. One cannot just read it out.

OUR HOME LIES ∙ 41.45̊ N, 71.45̊ W

From Wikipedia

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*Easter Table PDF

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** For numeric background see:

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

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*Monge, Alf & O.G. Landsverk, Norse Medieval Cryptography in Runic Carvings, Norseman Press, Glendale, California, 1967.

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.

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

Derogatory article by Aslak Liestol 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.