April 10, 1931: Braxton County Rune Stone Found

Apr 10, 2018

The piece of sandstone—measuring about a square foot—has inscriptions similar to a stone found in the Grave Creek Mound in Moundsville in 1838.
Credit e-WV / WV Humanities Council

The Braxton County Rune Stone—also known as the Wilson Stone and Braxton County Tablet—was found by Blaine Wilson on April 10, 1931, about eight miles west of Gassaway.

The piece of sandstone—measuring about a square foot—has inscriptions similar to a stone found in the Grave Creek Mound in Moundsville in 1838. Nearly a century earlier, the Grave Creek Tablet had become the center of an archaeological controversy, with one eminent ethnographer believing it had been carved by Celts from ancient Spain or Britain, rather than by early Indians.

The inscriptions on both stones feature three horizontal lines dividing three sets of similar characters, with a cross-like symbol at the bottom. The state purchased the Braxton County Rune Stone in 1940 and sent it to an archaeologist at the University of Michigan, who concluded that it was, in all likelihood, a fraud.

Today, most archaeologists consider both the Braxton County and Grave Creek tablets to be frauds. The Braxton County Rune Stone is on display in the West Virginia State Museum. The location of the original Grave Creek Tablet is unknown.