A Visual Tour of Newark Earthworks

Without commentary….. a video on the Newark Earthworks including the Octagon, Observatory Circle, and Great Circle in Central Ohio.

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Creeping Away with Time

By B.L. Freeborn © 2013

How is that more than one researcher can claim these mounds are precisely laid out yet they are so out of round that they vary in their diameter? The Great Circle varies from 1163 to 1189 feet. The Observatory Circle varies from 1050 to 1058 feet. The Octagon is visibly unsymmetrical. It is wider at the end joining the circle.

Large burial mound overlooking Ohio River. See more images of mounds at http://moundbuilder.blogspot.com/p/27-largest-burial-mounds-in-ohio.html

There are three plausible explanations for these irregularities. The first is the variation was intentional as was suggested in the difference between the sides of Wright Square of 926 and 928 and later numbers will show that this stretching was done to achieve certain distances. The second explanation is that when they were reconstructed by the Ohio National Guard and others (see complete explanation in Hively/Horn) they were altered.

The last explanation is creep. Let us say the mounds are thousands of years old and that the reason they still exist today is that on a regular basis they were maintained. The manner in which this is done can contribute to their movement.

The Miamisburg Mound is burned every other year to keep weeds and trees from overtaking it. Many mounds throughout Ohio are owned by the Ohio Historical Society and they allow massive trees to take root. Over time the roots push out, break down and do their part in returning the mounds to the landscape. In effect the Society is allowing that which they have been charged with preserving to be destroyed. The Newark Octagon is a golf course and is groomed with precision machines. The grass cover keeps the soil in place.

Carbon dating of charcoal at the Alligator Mound tells us it was built about a 1000 BP. Or does this actually tell us the date of a forest fire or a controlled burn to maintain the site?

Trees, erosion and careless reconstruction all contribute to creep but there is another way they creep out of round.  Persons charged with digging the dirt out of the ditch at the Great Circle and putting it back onto the top of the mound year after year work around the circle. Each and every year slight variations are introduced. The change is so incrementally small that it is never noticed until someone comes back a thousand years later and says, “Yo, your circle looks like an oval!” They creep out of shape. What can contribute even faster to creeping is a sloped site. Fortunately, few are on slopes. Numerous reconstructions and rearrangements in areas such as Thornborough indicate that over the centuries different generations have left their mark, so too we must assume this has happened at both Hopewell and Adena sites.

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References/Footnotes:

  1. Hively, Ray, and Horn, Robert, Geometry and Astronomy in Prehistoric Ohio, “Journal for the History of Astronomy, Archaeoastronomy,” Supplement, Vol. 13, p.S1; also Science History Publications, 1982.      See:   http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu
  2. Image of Mound from: http://moundbuilder.blogspot.com/p/27-largest-burial-mounds-in-ohio.html

Perfection Lost, Perfection Found

By B.L. Freeborn © 2013, updated Nov. 2018

Right side of Newark Earthworks from Burks drawing.

Right side of Newark Earthworks from Burks drawing.

The most accurate existing map of the Newark Mounds was made by David Wyrick who found the much debated Holy Stones. It is similar in appearance to a map made by Burks and is found in Alrutz’s book. The most striking difference between the latter two and the Squier-Davis map is in the depiction of the large oval north of Wright Square which appears as a half circle in the Squier image. The structure lay very close to Raccoon Creek which was probably used to fill the oval for ceremonial use during spring festivals when the creek would have been full. The Squier survey gives a cross section of the neck of the oval that projects to the southwest towards the creek. It seems to be constructed in such a manner that water flow could have been restricted. (The east-west straight line is a railroad and the north-south wavy line is the canal built through the structures.)

Detail through neck of Oval at Newark Earthworks from Squier-Davis drawing.

Detail through neck of Oval at Newark Earthworks from Squier-Davis drawing.

The concept that this Oval could have been filled with water would be even more important to the Decalogue Debate if it can be shown to relate to the story of Noah, the ark and the flood as was suggested in the sideways “ark” appearance of the Decalogue Stone.

We leave the oval and notice that the square and oval are connected via mound lined paths to the Octagon very similar to those we saw at Thornborough. Those were about 200 feet across. These are also 200 feet across. The path from the Oval is different in that its middle is raised perhaps to allow foot traffic while the ditch on each side is flooded ceremonially.

new6paths

The paths at Newark Earthworks form angles as they meet at the Octagon. Drawing made from satellite image and blending in missing portions from Squier-Davis Drawing. By B.L. Freeborn.

Having arrived at the Octagon via the path we note that the paths form angles as they converge. They are depicted by each artist in a strikingly similar manner. Their angles and a bit of math is shown in the above image. We find a repeat of the number 56 and the reappearance of 584. The 140 is twice 70 which we have seen before. A new and simple number appears and that is an angle of 50 degrees.

Does 50 have any pertinence to our growing list? Indeed it does! The engineer of the past left no possible element in his design to chance. The sin 50 degrees = .766. We have seen this number in Newark’s distance from the Serpent Mound (76.6 nautical miles). We shall see it again. We might want to pause to note that the square root of 7.66 is 2.76767…. (repeating infinitely) which makes it quite interesting. While the root of 7.7 is a slightly less impressive 2.77 although the 7’s are repeated in the root. From Geller Hill, which sits rather quietly to the southwest of the Earthworks, it is 7.7 miles south to where Wyrick and others found the Decalogue stone at the site where the Great Stone Mound was. In other words, Geller Hill and Great Stone Mound are located 7.7 miles apart. We might want to add that from Grave Creek Mound it is 79.2 miles to Geller Hill, a strikingly important number! We shall look next at what else Romain discovered about this hill.

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The Cross that Tells Us…

By B.L. Freeborn © 2013

Book of Kells, Chi Rho Page. PD.

Book of Kells, Chi Rho Page. Wikipedia. PD.

The Cross amid the art of the Book of Kells symbolizes the cross of Christ. Or does it? Why would a people be led to constantly remember this shape through the retelling of the death of its messiah? A not so simple answer is that once upon a time someone wanted something else entirely remembered and since they were soon to become a conquered people they worked their own beliefs into the newly arrived religion. So we see in this art a beautiful cross and what do we see laid out quite neatly in Newark? Why a cross! And amid the cross is a diagonally placed square just as we see in the Book of Kells!

A  cross imbedded in the layout of Newark Earthworks. Wright Square is similar to the diamond that appears in the Book of Kells Cross.

A cross imbedded in the layout of Newark Earthworks. Wright Square is similar to the diamond that appears in the Book of Kells Cross.

We begin telling the story portrayed in Newark’s layout by examining the square within the cross. This portion of Newark Earthworks called the Wright Square is all but gone. There is a small portion that remains that marks the spot and other than that there are only survey notes. The beautiful Squier-Davis image is known to be incorrect for scaling despite its details. We know from a survey by Thomas in 1894 it was 928 feet by 926 feet. It is assumed by Romain1 2 and others that this is an error from an ideal of 925 feet yet these measures are not too far off for we see 926′ x 928′ gives us an area of 859,328 feet or very nearly 860,000 feet. Hively and Horn report that the east-west axis of the square is 92.8 degrees.3 They felt this was a .8 degree error from the Lunar rise-set point. Yet, one should pause to note the similarity between this number and the size of the square, 928′, which suggests there is no error here.

Going further they report the northwest entrance path runs perfectly straight for 160 m (useless meter!) or 525 feet (or was it 528?) at an azimuth of 306.8 degrees. It then enters the square at an angle.  With a bit of math it is easily determined this is an angle of 56 degrees to the azimuth of the north-south axis. (360 – 306.8 + 2.8 = 56) Furthermore, they were perplexed as to why this avenue did not enter at the center of the side but instead at 30m (useless meters again!) north of the center of the side. We calculate 98.4 feet + 926/2 = 561.4 feet. In other words, the opening breaks the side into two portions: one 561 feet and the other 365 feet. We should immediately recognize the meaning of the latter! This notably repeats the value of the angle of the path at 56 degrees.

Let’s not stop here because the picture is not complete. We have not added them! 926 + 928 = 1854 which is very nearly a number we saw twice at the East Fork. Indeed, 926 and 928 are quite close to 924 and 935 feet we saw there. They were also positioned perpendicularly. Their sum was 1859. Both sets of numbers are portraying not the idea of a simple radius but the idea of an oval, an oblate sphere as we saw in the egg at the Serpent Mound. To do this the values must be similar yet “off.” So they have described quite completely an object with this string of numbers: 365, 926, 928, 1854, 859,000 or at East Fork they used 924, 935, 1859 and 864,000. They threw in two additional reminders of 56 as well.

The square has been discussed first because it seems so insignificant but it appears in all ancient art. It is usually portrayed as the literal seat of all measurement.

Overall, we see in this layout of Newark two structures on the left and three on the right. Two and three create the number 23 or perhaps it is 32 if read right to left. We have seen that the square of 5.656 is 32. Perhaps we should think of it as 23 degrees and 32 minutes and add it to our growing number list.

Does this place with its mounds and ditches speak of the gods? Does it speak of Baal? We note that in Hebrew gematria bet, B, is 2 and lamed, L, is 30. So, the value of the name Baal is 32. The layout then “counts” the name. But if it is 23 then kaph, k, is 20 and gimel, g, is 3. Keg  in Old English is the modern word keg. Might this layout “counted” out mean Baal’s keg? Or Baal’s crater?

What other mysterious coincidences might lie here?

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  1. Romain, William F., Ph.D., Newark Earthwork Cosmology: This Island Earth, “Hopewell Archeology: The Newsletter of Hopewell Archeology in the Ohio River Valley,” Vol.6 (2), March 2005.   See:  http://www.nps.gov/mwac/hopewell/v6n2/one.htm
  2. Romain, William F., Ph.D., Design and Layout of the Newark Earthwork Complex, “Hopewell Archeology: The Newsletter of Hopewell Archeology in the Ohio River Valley,” Vol.6 (2), March 2005.  See:   http://www.nps.gov/mwac/hopewell/v6n2/two.htm
  3. Hively, Ray, and Horn, Robert, Geometry and Astronomy in Prehistoric Ohio, “Journal for the History of Astronomy, Archaeoastronomy,” Supplement, Vol. 13, p.S1; also Science History Publications, 1982.      See:   http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu
  4. Book of Kells Image from Wikipedia. See:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:KellsFol034rChiRhoMonogram.jpg

A Holy Place Lies Here

By B.L. Freeborn © 2013, updated Nov. 2018

Famous drawing of Earthworks in Newark, Ohio by Squier, Davis and Whittlesey, 1837-1847.

Famous drawing of Earthworks in Newark, Ohio by Squier, Davis and Whittlesey, 1837-1847.

Hopewell is a name of coincidence. It is the name given to the mound builders of Ohio. Adena is the other name bestowed on them. Hopewell comes from the name of the man who settled land on which mounds were situated. Adena, similarly, came from the name of a homestead. Neither name has any historic relevance. Yet when these mounds were laid out, did not their designers Well Hope they would last for eons? Would they have situated them where they had the best chance of surviving? If we can figure out how they were placed will that give us a clue to the knowledge within the minds that placed them?

We have noted the importance of 40 in Judaism. What is 40 miles from nowhere on a vast empty continent? Nothing. But line of latitude 40 runs through the middle of this flat, open terrain. In fact, Newark lies only 2 minutes of latitude north of it. J.Q. Jacobs notes that the Serpent Mound lies at longitude 83 degrees 25′ 52″ and the Newark Earthworks lie at 82 degrees 25′ 48″. This is one degree of longitude separation.1 2 The Serpent holds an egg in its mouth and this egg is an oval 120 feet by 70 feet. The inner diameter of this oval is 76 feet across. We have seen this 70 before. We have seen 12 before and we shall soon see many references to 76.

Main layout of Earthworks in Newark, Ohio

Layout of Earthworks in Newark, Ohio created by drawing over satellite image and blending area above Great Circle and paths with those portions from Squier-Davis Drawing. — Drawing by B.L. Freeborn.

Surely, this Serpent has something to do with the placement of Newark or vice versa. The Newark Earthworks lies 76.6 nautical miles or 88.15 miles north of the Serpent. Indeed, from the prominently placed Miamisburg Mound the distance is 87.7 nautical miles or 100.9 miles. But these are two local monuments. Do they align with any other great monument? Why was the Newark complex placed here?

Romain posits that the Newark Octagon and the Great Circle are both placed in reference to Geller Hill at a distance of 7 OCD from each. Geller Hill is located at 40 degrees 2′ 12″ N latitude.  Let’s look at that closer 40, 2 and 12. The numbers sound familiar. But the longitude is 82 degrees 27′ 26″. This is not very pretty at all. However….maybe this spot was chosen for another reason. The distance between the Great Pyramid and this innocuous hill in Ohio is 113 degrees 35′ or 113 degrees and .583 degrees. We can see the 583 reminds us of the 584 we saw at East Fork but that can be purely coincidental ….well… until one adds it to 113 and recall the ancients loved to double. So 113.583 equals 2 x 56.7916. What are the odds that 56 and 7916, nearly 7920, would show up here? Consider further that 113 is 2 x 56.5. Let me throw this additional coincidence out. In the story of Noah it rained for 40 days and Noah lived to the grand toothless age of 950 years. Are we supposed to convert that 950 say from years to months, or inches to feet, to obtain 79.16? What other not so pure coincidences can be found at Newark?

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  1. Jacobs, James Q., “The Great Circle Earthwork, Newark, Ohio,” 2006.  See:  http://www.jqjacobs.net/archaeo/newark.html
  2. Jacobs, James Q., “Newark Octagon, Newark, Ohio,” 2006.  See: http://www.jqjacobs.net/archaeo/octagon.html

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The Clever Artist Knows the Mysteries in his Craft

By B.L. Freeborn © 2013, updated Nov. 2018

Moses and the Ten Commandments bring to mind Noah and the Ark.  Perhaps one can see the resemblance to the ark in this side image of the Decalogue Stone? It had three decks and was covered on top to one cubit.

Side view of Decalogue Stone

Side view of Decalogue Stone

Front Face of Newark Decalogue Stone

Front Face of Newark Decalogue Stone

Baal, a Statue from Ugarit. 14th to 12th BC. Louvre, Wikipedia,

Baal, a Statue from Ugarit. 14th to 12th BC. Louvre, Wikipedia, Jastrow, PD.

Or perhaps one can see in the image of Moses, with his one hand that points up towards his face and the other arm held rigidly at his side, the same posture as this statue betrays from Ugarit. The language of Ugarit is so similar to Hebrew that it is helping scholars define words in the Torah better.

The statue is attributed to worshipers of Baal 14th to 12th century BC which may explain the hat with a ball on top. The ball could be the source of the ritual of placing a stone on the forehead. The suggested use of the Johnson-Bradner stone was as a Jewish ritual stone worn on the forehead (rosh phylactery).

Stones found in skulls, balls on the heads of statues, ritual stones where they ought not be…. do any other oddities surround this mystery? How about one 864,000 square feet in area?

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Images of Stone from:  McCulloch, J. Huston, The Newark, Ohio Decalogue Stone and Keystone.

See:  http://economics.sbs.ohio-state.edu/jhm/arch/decalog.html

Baal:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Baal_Ugarit_Louvre_AO17330.jpg

Hercules:  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hercules_constellation_map.svg

Looking for a Better Explanation

By B.L. Freeborn © 2013, updated Nov. 2018

J. Huston McCulloch’s website, “The Newark Holy Stones,” 1 and his 1992 paper, “An Annotated Transcription of the Ohio Decalogue Stone,” 2 are the most thorough description of the stones to be found. In the latter article he gives all 256 letters plus the 2 unidentified symbols with the matching Hebrew word and its English translation. Clear images are found on the website, as well as a good overview of its history and past debates.

Ohio HebrewThere is something missing in all of the above excellent reports and that is numbers. When studying the Indian mounds of North America or European earthworks the first items noted are lengths, areas, and heights. Numbers are intrinsic to this study. So we begin looking at the numbers related to the stone.

According to Altman this is a ritual artifact in incantation format. If it is real, the numbers should repeat numbers of historical ritual significance. McCulloch states there are 256 letters on the stone. 256 is 16 x 16.  The stone, as measured by it’s copy, measures 6 7/8″ x 1 3/4″ x 2 7/8″ (or 6.875 x 1.75 x 2.875). Its rough volume is then 34.59 cubic inches. Twice this value is 69.18.

1.75 is 2 x .875. From prior work in the subject it can be predicted that the correct value is .864″ which gives a corrected thickness of 1.73″.

Two times 2.875 is 5.75. This can be rounded to 5.8 which indicates the correct measurement is 2.9″.

6.875 can be rounded to 6.9 which is the desired value as well.

Substituting these corrected values for its measurements and determining the volume once again gives us 34.62 cubic inches or virtually the same value. Twice this value is 69.23 cubic inches.

The circumference is then 3.46 inches. Two times this is one-tenth the same value just obtained or 6.92″. The circumference in the opposite direction is 17.26 or 2 x 8.63. This is almost the desired correct value of 8.64.

Why is this all important? How can one know the expected correct values? The expected values are determined by repetition. They appear at ancient sites. Again and again in ancient artifacts they will appear. The measurements will be in English inches. The distances in English feet and miles. If this is a valid ancient object the expected numbers must be present. If it is a forgery, any value can be found. In a similar manner, the New Hampshire Mystery Stone portrays the diameter of the Earth in its circumference.

The numbers do not end here. Hebrew does not have a separate set of signs for numerals. All Hebrew letters double as numbers which makes the Torah a document that is dually written. It is written both in words and in numbers. Each letter on the decalogue equates to a number. This is called gematria. Take for example the three letters over the head of Moses. They convert to 5, 300, 40 which sums to 345 and twice this number is 690 which reminds us of the height of the stone 6.9″. Two further examples are found in numbers we just found on the stone. The gematria of Noah is 58 and that of Elohim (a name of God) is 86.

It was mentioned in the prior post that there were two symbols ignored by Altman. If the symbol at the top center front is an Ayin it is nearly the standard letter. Yet Ayin in the text is depicted by a square. The double depiction then indicates that the one was used to contain the magic of the incantation and the second to depict the meaning of the letter ie. a wye, a junction of lines. Its value is 70 very nearly the value of 69 and if one is talking about 69.2 miles between lines of longitude at the equator then 70 is a good close approximation of the value. All of these lines meet at the pole and wye out from there.

On the back of the stone is a nearly closed circle symbol that could easily be a Hebrew tet. The value of tet is 9. What is important about 9? Consider 9 x 9 = 81, 9 + 9 = 18 (its reverse) and 3 x 3 = 9 and 3 + 3 + 3 = 9. All this makes the number look very magical. But its importance in this position confirms that one of the most important numbers in this ancient secret system is present and prominent, yet hidden. The front symbol ayin, 70, plus the rear symbol tet, 9, creates 79. The diameter of the Earth is 7920 miles and any good navigator or surveyor knows the diameter of the Earth. But where is the 20? Is it here? The symbol for 20 is Kaf in Hebrew and its shape is a half circle, a sideways arch. The arch is the top of the stone. Historically and right up to today the arched tablet carrying a message whether it is the Ten Commandments, church windows, or a headstone is ever present. This completes the number.

The other number that should be present is 56. This number appears in the text of the Decalogue. It appears three times. It appears twice as words noted as being misspelled. See McCulloch’s Transcription in line 5. In this rendition it is het, vav, het, vav or 5656. It should be het, yod, het, yod and means he-shall-be. It is also a misspelled word in line 8 and is situated on the back just above-right of the tet. It is also het, vav, het, vav or 5656. It should be spelled het, vav, het, yod for 5, 6, 5, 10 = 26 or the Hebrew word we know as Yahweh. The third instance is on the front right midway in the line and it is composed of three letters lamed-kaph-vav and means or-anything. This sums to 56.

The number 56 also appears in a second hand manner in the number of letters inscribed on the stone or 256. This method of emphasizing the importance of 56 is still present in modern measures. The length of two miles is 10560 feet or to say it another way, a fifth mile is 1056 feet. (This number will become important later.) And the number of feet in an acre is a very odd value….43,560.

If this was faked then it was well done for there is one more instance of 69 that should be noted. The 5656 that appears above the tet is immediately preceded by the letter aleph or 1. So that the two letters directly above the tet are 1 and 5. 1 + 5 = 6 with tet, 9, creates 6 9 once again. We might say the incantation is sealed front to back by the 69 of 2 x 345 in Moses on the front and this 69.

In summary, in this stone we have these numbers appearing: 56, 5656, 69, 69.2, 70, 79, 864, 58 and 16. The reasons why some of them are important have been discussed. Others will appear in a later posts.

What other things can we see in this stone that help to prove its validity? Well… there are a few things that are quite clever!

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References/Footnotes:

  1. McCulloch, J. Huston, The Newark, Ohio Decalogue Stone and Keystone. See:  http://economics.sbs.ohio-state.edu/jhm/arch/decalog.html
  2. McCulloch, J. Huston, An Annotated Transcription of the Ohio Decalogue Stone, “The Epigraphic Society Occasional Papers,” Vol. 21. See:  http://economics.sbs.ohio-state.edu/jhm/arch/wyrick/transcrpt.pdf
  3. Freeborn, B.L., “The Deep Mystery: The Day the Pole Moved,” Tiw & Elddir, 2013.

Lepper’s One-Way Leap into Oh-Oh

Stela of Ashurnasirpal II from 900 BC. Similarities to the Decalogue Stone are apparent.. From Wikipedia by Geni. CC-BY-SA GFDL

Stela of Ashurnasirpal II from 900 BC. Similarities to the Decalogue Stone are apparent. From Wikipedia by Geni. CC-BY-SA GFDL

By B.L. Freeborn © 2013,

updated Nov. 2018

Bradley T. Lepper, Ph.D. is the most anti-Newark Decalogue Stones voice of our time. He seems to be stuck in 19th century rhetoric and cannot see beyond the limited arguments of the past. Many arguments for/against the authenticity of the stones both then and now bring to light the politics of the era during which they were found. Lepper is stuck in the period and regurgitates the arguments of the past quite thoroughly. If you are looking for a review of past arguments then read his paper published by the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum (present home of the stones)1. His article “The Newark Holy Stones” in Timeline2 is a repetition of these exact same beliefs. Or for no expense at all these articles can be summed up in total as:

They are fake. Proven fakes! Because I said so!

You may see this for yourself at these free sources:

In the second link, pause to look at his sources. Yes, all his sources are himself.

Perhaps it is time to recall a thing or two about archaeology.

The typical way to examine these stones usually contains an overview of the political environment in Ohio during the time period and then it deteriorates into an impossible who-dun-it. Lepper has forever committed himself to this one view. Let us look at another aspect of the historical time period that archaeologists then could not comment on because they did not have a crystal ball to see what was to be unearthed in their own newly developing field.

The Keystone was found in late June 1860 and the Decalogue Stone in November of the same year. The Civil War was just around the corner. What else was happening?

Frenchman Paul Emile Botta on the banks of the Tigris in the area of Mosul discovered Ancient Assyria in 1843 to 1846. He had unearthed a summer palace near the ancient city of Nineveh. Up until this time the oldest civilization known was that of Egypt. The only source of information on the ancient world at that time was the Bible. It was a newspaper sensation! He had happened on a city complete with monuments and written records in undecipherable cuneiform. The discovery of Nineveh would follow. This is a mere fourteen years before the Keystone would be found. It was twelve years after that in 1872 when George Smith labored over cuneiform texts and read the story of Gilgamesh for the first time in modern history. It would be some years before he would find the story of Ut-napishtim, one of the precedent versions of the tale of Noah. It was not until 1880 until the stela of Lagash would be unearthed. It would be some forty years before the Tower of Babel would be discovered.3

It is an image described as being that of Nimrod that Henry Layard discovered a few years prior to the stones’ discovery that Lepper uses in his article to compare to the image on the decalogue. Because they are both Caucasian men in profile under an arch, he concludes it is fake. Pardon me, but if it is authentic would it not show a Caucasian man in profile under an arch just as in the above image?

The Rosetta Stone was discovered in 1799. Thomas Young began to decipher the hieroglyphic version of the stone and published his discoveries in 1816. Jean Francois Champollian continued deciphering hieroglyphic Egyptian and published in 1822 only to be greatly opposed. Indeed as Cyrus Gordon summed it up “As a rule, innovation is welcome only when it is confined to surface details and does not modify the structure as a whole.” 4 Opposition to Champollian’s work did not end until 1866 when he was proven correct by another discovery. This was 34 years after his death and two years after David Wyrick, the discoverer of the Newark stones, took his own life. The Johnson-Bradner stone was discovered a year later. Into this level of archaeological science were these stones brought to the light of day. With this level of knowledge were they judged valid or fake.

Is everything known today about the ancient world so that a true assessment can be made? Of course not! Ugarit would lie beneath the soil undiscovered until 1929. Decipherment of their language moved quickly building on previous work and by 1930 it was solved. Is Ugarit an important language? Yes! It is used today to help define words in its relative language Hebrew. All of this was un-imaginable in 1900 let alone 1860.

An entire empire was rediscovered in the late 1800’s. Excavation began at Bogazköy, Turkey (Hattusa) in 1906. Archaeologist Hugo Winckler found a royal archive with 10,000 tablets.5 These tablets are still being translated. Work on this language continues at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. All of this ongoing work has revealed a vast and powerful empire that reigned for 600 years until its collapse in 1178 BC. It had been forgotten but for a whisper.

It will be sometime before this vast library is completely translated. What is Lepper going to do if one of those documents refers to great earth monuments built on a distant continent in a great valley far to the west in one of their distant colonies? What if another stone in a script similar to the Ohio Hebrew appears in the future at a “legitimate” dig?

If your exclamation is Frank Moore Cross, Harvard University Professor of Near Eastern Languages, is of the opinion that the Decalogue Stone is a “grotesque forgery that cannot be taken seriously.”  Please recall Cyrus Gordon (1908 – 2001) was not so adamant and thought they were Samaritan mezuzah stones (prayer stones that are put over the door) as opposed to phylacteries (prayer stones worn on the arm).

We have also not looked at Altman’s opinion as of yet either. In other words – don’t leap with Lepper just yet. We have a few other opinions to peruse and then those promised numbers ….. !

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Footnotes/References

  1. Lepper, Bradley T., Newark’s Holy Stones: the Resurrection of a Controversy, “Newark “Holy Stones”: Context for Controversy,” Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum, 1999.
  2. Lepper, Bradley T., Gill, Jeff, The Newark Holy Stones, “Timeline,” Ohio Historical Society, Vol. 17 (3), 2000.
  3. Ceram, C.W., “Gods, Graves, and Scholars: The Story of Archaeology,”  New York: Bantam Books, 1951.
  4. Gordon, Cyrus, “Forgotten Scripts,” New York: Dorset Press, 1987.
  5. Wikipedia: Hittites. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hittites
  6. Wikipedia: Ashurnasirpal_II.  See  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ashurnasirpal_II_stela_british_museam.jpg

153 Years and the Debate Still Rages: Newark Mounds and Decalogue Stone

Front Face of Newark Decalogue Stone

Newark Decalogue Stone, photo by J. Huston McCulloch

By B.L. Freeborn © 2013 (updated Nov 2018)

If the Newark Indian Mounds of Newark, Ohio were not large enough to contain a golf course (which they do) they would have been declared a fraud and a hoax. The Decalogue Stone and Keystone, two stones with Hebrew inscriptions found at and near the site have been declared both a fake and real. The debate over the stones has raged 153 years.

Today’s greatest anti-stone debaters are: Kenneth L. Feder, Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology at Central Connecticut State University and Bradley T. Lepper, Ph.D., Affiliated Scholar at Denison University in Granville, Ohio and Archeology Education Coordinator at the Ohio Historical Society.  They are joined by others who parrot their words such as Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews, Archaeology Officer at North Hertfordshire District Council, England, educated at University of Lancaster and Letchworth Grammar School and is a former nightclub DJ who writes “Badarcheaology.”

They are opposed by J. Huston McCulloch, Ph.D., Professor of Economics and Finance at Ohio State University; Rochelle I. Altman, Ph. D. Medieval English Literature, Scotland, a specialist in ancient phonetic-based writing systems; Suzanne O. Carlson, architect and NEARA Board member, James Guthrie, retired industrial chemist and avocational epigrapher, and others.

Some of their arguments are logical. Some of them are not.

Keystone found near Octagon in Newark, Ohio

Keystone found near Octagon in Newark, Ohio,
Photo by J. Huston McCulloch

There is considerably less written on the Newark Mounds since there is just not as much to debate. They exist. They existed prior to European settlement so they are not forged. They have been altered but that work was either done in the interest of preserving them or removing them from existence, which is why three large portions of the mounds are in viewable park-like condition today and the rest has made way for progress. There is serious academic work being done on them with some pretty cool new instruments like LiDAR. William F. Romain, Ph.D. Archaeoastronomy, Research Associate for Newark Earthworks Center, Ohio State University leads in this field by far. He picked up where Ray Hively and Robert Horn of Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana left off in 1982. Joseph M. Knapp has written web-articles “Hopewell Lunar Astronomy: The Octagon Earthworks” and “On the Great Hopewell Road” which begins in Newark. He introduces us to James A. Marshall who has spent many hours actually surveying the mounds and has studied the geometry used in building them. This lovely image of the mounds is from James Q. Jacobs extensive site on the archaeoastronomy of ancient sites.

Newark Earthworks, Link to James Q. Jacobs Site and Photos.

Newark Earthworks, Link to James Q. Jacobs Site and Photos.

No one can say academic archaeologists are ignoring this topic. It is a mainstream debate and the arguments are becoming increasingly scientific … well…. except for Lepper’s and the Dj’s. To add to the topic at this point either good tools and/or observations are required.

There are a few gaffs in the arguments on the Stones on both sides. Perhaps the only way to really resolve the issue is to look at the Mounds themselves. Instead of debating endless rounds of “who is/is not guilty of faking them” perhaps we should change the question entirely. To do so we might have to throw out a lot of what we presume is actual fact. We need to see if there are any circumstances under which it would be appropriate for a “Jewish looking” stone to be found at the mounds pre-Columbus. In my mind their presence can only be logical and legitimate if they can be associated to the mounds themselves.

So we begin looking at the Stones by looking at some of the arguments of the current debaters and then there is a good deal of mathematical information about the mounds to share. The legitimacy of the stones aside, the geometric study proves a great intelligence lies behind the design and layout of the mounds. When done you will have a solid opinion …of some sort.

So we will pick up next with………… “They left no garbage!”

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Footnotes

  1. Newark Decalogue Stone and Keystone photos by J. Huston McCulloch.  http://economics.sbs.ohio-state.edu/jhm/arch/decalog.html
  2. Knapp, Joseph M., “Hopewell Lunar Astronomy: The Octagon Earthworks,” 1998.  http://www.copperas.com/octagon/oindex.html
  3. Knapp, Joseph M., “On the Great Hopewell Road,” 1998.  http://coolohio.com/octagon/onroad.htm
  4. More photos and archaeoastronomy information by J. Q. Jacobs.  http://www.jqjacobs.net/archaeo/octagon.html