While Christopher Columbus is often credited with the "discovery" of the Americas in 1492, a mysterious slab of stone that was discovered in the late 19th century has seen some history buffs question if Columbus was really the first one to arrive in the region from Europe, with the new TV series Secrets of the Viking Stone set to get to the bottom of the mystery. The series sees actor Peter Stormare, known from projects like Fargo, Constantine, and John Wick: Chapter 2, diving deep into the mystery with the help of history enthusiast Elroy Balgaard. Secrets of the Viking Stone will debut on the Science Channel on Saturday, January 3rd at 10 p.m. ET.
Per press release, "Were Norsemen the first Europeans to explore the Minnesota-Great Lakes and surrounding area more than a century before Christopher Columbus? Some scholars and fervent theorists believe so and are ready to fortify their beliefs with proof. In an all-new Science Channel series, Secrets of the Viking Stone, actor Peter Stormare, known for his role in Fargo, and history enthusiast Elroy Balgaard set out to solve the mystery of the famed Kensington Runestone – an artifact that, if proven authentic, could rewrite the history of North America.
"Throughout their deeply personal, often humorous journey across the country to uncover the truth about the founding of America through meetings with scholars, skeptics, and sensationalists alike, Stormare and Balgaard dive deep into the story of the Kensington Runestone and its controversial history. Discovered in 1898 by a Swedish-born resident Olof Ohman in Kensington, Minnesota, the Runestone, a large stone slab, was found under the roots of a tree with an inscription in an alphabet unknown to scholars at the time. Its discovery was published in a Swedish-language newspaper in Minneapolis, which quickly launched one of the greatest mysteries in American history.
"With naysayers questioning its authenticity, citing the fabricated inscription and timeline discrepancies, and supporters turning to historical evidence such as possible 14th-century Scandinavian expeditions to North America, the Kensington Runestone has divided many and has remained a source of debate among historians, experts, linguists, conspiracy theorists and scholars since its discovery.
"Meeting with passionate enthusiasts around the country, Stormare and Balgaard leave no stone unturned as they meet with descendants of Ohman to learn more about the family's dark history and the stone's discovery, work alongside leading archaeologists to survey new sites and unearth new evidence, and hear new groundbreaking insights from top forensic geologists who have dedicated their careers to the stone.
"Secrets of the Viking Stone blends truth with fantasy, science with theory, and puts scholars and skeptics together in the same room to determine whether the Kensington Runestone holds the key to rewriting history as we know it."
Tune in to Secrets of the Viking Stone when it debuts on the Science Channel on Saturday, January 3rd at 10 p.m. ET.
Are you looking forward to the new series? Let us know in the comments below!