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Narragansett Rune Stone Returned; To Be Tested

The stone was removed from the waters off Pojac Point last summer; it is now in state custody following a joint investigation by the state Attorney General and DEM.

EAST GREENWICH, RI -- The state Attorney General's office said Friday the so-called Narragansett Rune Stone was returned to state custody April 16, following a joint investigation by that office and the state Department of Environmental Management. 

The discovery and return of the rock was initiated by the Attorney General’s Environmental Unit and DEM’s Criminal Investigation Unit after they were notified by the Coastal Resources Management Council that the rock had been removed from the tidal waters off of Pojac Point in North Kingstown between July and August 2012.  

The rock is a Rhode Island formation meta-sandstone that is 7 feet long, 5 feet high and 2 feet high and is inscribed with two rows of symbols, which some have indicated resemble ancient Runic characters.

The state has asked the University of Rhode Island to assist with further examination and analysis of the rock in order to determine the origin of the inscriptions on it.

Amy Kempe, of the Attorney General's office, said the state would not be bringing any charges in connection with the stone's disappearance. 

"The state felt it was best to have the stone returned versus engaging in a potentially protracted legal battle with an unknown outcome," Kempe said Friday afternoon. "An individual provided assistance in identifying the location and the return of the stone. The location was never disclosed, although the individual facilitated the return of the stone."

The Narragansett Rune Stone – also known as the Quidnessett Rock – was first reported to the Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission (HPHC) in the 1980s, according to the AG's press release. The New England Antiquities Research Association published several articles in the mid 1980s/early 1990s about the rock. According to the HPHC, there are a number of marked or inscribed rocks along the shores of the Narragansett Bay Region, the most famous being Dighton Rock, which have been the object of study and speculation since Colonial times.

The HPHC has been unable to find any mention of the Quidnessett Rock in any previous inventories of the Narragansett Bay but this may be due to the fact that as early as 1939 the rock was located upland and may have been buried. More recently, due to the dramatic erosion of the shoreline at Pojac Point, the rock’s last location prior to its removal was 20 feet from the extreme low tide line making the inscriptions only visible for a short period of time between the shifting tides. Although the rock’s significance as a cultural resource has yet to be resolved, the HPHC recognizes the importance of protecting the rock.    

Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin and DEM Director Janet Coit thanked the many individuals who assisted in the return of the rock to the State, including Detective Captain Jack McIlmail and Detective Sheila Paquette, DEM Criminal Investigative Unit; Special Assistant Attorney General Christian F. Capizzo, Attorney General’s Environmental Unit; Professor Dennis Nixon, Associate Dean and the staff at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography; Janet Freedman, Coastal Geologist and Dave Beutel, Aquaculture Coordinator, the Coastal Resources Management Council, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation; and Fine Arts Express, a private professional rigging company.

The stone is not going to be returned to Pojac Point at this time, but rather to be tested by URI. The AG's Kempe said there are not yet permanent plans for the stone. 

ratcat1 April 26, 2013 at 11:33 PM
I would think the thieves required a heavy duty barge and crane etc..... this rock must be heavy. Hard to imagine no one saw this event.It's actually quite a famous rock, mentioned in a few books and at least one PBS TV show.
randall carey April 27, 2013 at 05:01 PM
Columbus didn't discover the new world people's from other civilations have been coming to the America's for thousands of years time to rewrite the history books.
Charles R. Mercer April 27, 2013 at 09:10 PM
Yes randall your so right ! There probably has been people coming to these shore's & lands for more than 500 yrs before Columbus & maybe longer & the really truth is Columbus Never set foot in main land America ! Archaeologist's are turning there back's & trying hard cover up,debunk any really proof other people's have been here !
Linda Leonard Hughes April 27, 2013 at 09:25 PM
It is about time! You are right people have been here for many hundreds of years befor Columbus and it is time this was accepted!! Now we need to keep this Rune Stone protected so it doesn't disappear again! Linda Leonard Hughes
John Lutz April 28, 2013 at 03:10 AM
Somebody's 't r y i n g' to hide the T R U T H.....
Bill Pett May 02, 2013 at 08:31 PM
I doubt there's any need for conspiracy theories. People just don't like to change their minds about ideas they've grown up with. By the way, not only did Columbus not discover America, neither did the Norsemen or any other Europeans--so far as we know, the first humans in America came over from Asia via the "land bridge" that later became the Aleutian Islands. And even that's not so certain any more--there are ongoing discussions about whether the Clovis people were ancestors of Native Americans or another people altogether. There's no point to being too sure about anything that happened thousands of years before written records.
quiet arrow May 03, 2013 at 11:40 PM
All I have to say is About Time.....
Dan May 06, 2013 at 02:20 AM
Well, DNA evidence has already proven that people from Polynesia made it to the West Coast of South America. If people are still arguing Columbus discovered America, they don't know what they're talking about!
Gary S. Carlson July 16, 2013 at 01:00 PM
Sandstone weighs in at 150# per cubic foot !! 5 x 7 x 2 x 150 = a 10,500 # stone. This was NO high school prank !!! How did they move it ? What was the motivation ?? Where was it going ?? Can we get some details ??? How was it recovered ?? There's a cool story here. Can we get more than: It's missing !! It's recovered !!!
Elizabeth McNamara (Editor) July 16, 2013 at 01:24 PM
Good points.... I'll be working on it. If anyone's got info, please send it my way: elizabeth.mcnamara@patch.com
Stphen Maciel September 27, 2013 at 11:44 PM
Something is very screwy here.
CHRIS January 03, 2014 at 01:53 PM
@BillPett-Th History Chanel had a show on a few years ago about the evidence that Europeans were in N. America thousands of years before the Asians. I think they said the Native people here were the result of Asians and Euro's breeding together. Look it up. Although I have never seen that document re-broadcast. VERY INTERESTING!

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