Gordon is the iconoclast archaeologist-cum-philologist who believes that long before Ferdinand and Isabella dispatched Columbus (Before Columbus, 1971) to the Indies abundant trade contacts existed between the civilizations of Europe and Asia and those of Central and South America. His new book, more challenging than the London Times crossword, decodes and deciphers a series of ""cryptograms"" found inscribed on runestones discovered from Brazil to Maine to Minnesota. Gordon argues, somewhat shrilly, for the authenticity of the Paraiba Stone, the Kensington Stone and the Spirit Pond Tablets, denouncing the ""orthodox professional viewpoint"" which falls into ""the non sequitur that skepticism and science are synonymous."" He argues that the existence of the cryptograms, some hidden within the plaintexts, proves the presence of Hebrew, Phoenician, and Norse dialects in the New World at least as far back as the 6th century B.C. When not lashing out at his mulish colleagues Gordon painstakingly unravels the ""acrostic-telestic"" keys to the ancient texts and provides translations. He contends, among other controversial propositions, that the Vinland Map ""bridges the gap between the ancient Near East and Scandinavia, via Latin Christianity."" It's difficult to imagine a layman equipped to pass judgment on this esoteric evidence, but archaeology buffs may enjoy Gordon's opinionated, involuted book anyway.