Friday, December 2, 2011
PUZZLING "RELICS" DUG UP IN ARIZONA STIR SCIENTISTS
Purport To Chronicle The Arrival Of Roman Jews There In 775 A.D.
[New York Times, December 13, 1925]
TUCSON, Ariz., Dec. 12 -- After investigation by a number of
scientists, first announcement was made here today of the
excavation near Tucson of cast lead swords, crosses and other
objects bearing Latin and Hebrew inscriptions which, taken at
their face value, are held to mean that Roman Jews crossed the
Atlantic in the Dark Ages, penetrated to Arizona and founded a
kingdom which lasted from about 700 A.D. to 900 A.D.
The cast symbols and the engravings on them include crosses, a
crescent, a seven-branched candlestick and certain Masonic-like
Opinions of scientists vary as to the authenticity of the
objects. Neil Merton Judd, curator of American archaeology of the
United States National Museum, said he believed that no hoax or
fraud was involved, but he thought the date later than that of
the Spanish conquest of 1540 A.D.
Dr. Byron Cummings, Professor of Archaeology of the University of
Arizona, vouched for the reliability of the discoverers of the
objects, which, he said, "show Jewish and Christian influence and
bear dates of 700 to 900 A.D."
On the other hand, Dr. Bashford Dean, curator of arms and armor
of the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City, when
consulted about the excavations, branded the objects as crude and
The first object to be found was a large metal cross, which was
discovered by Charles E. Manier of Tucson, embedded in a
limestone formation, five feet five inches below the surface of
the land, near an old lime kiln. Further digging by Mr. Manier
and Thomas W. Best uncovered the other objects. Analysis showed
that they were made with lead mixed with antimony, silver and
rome tin. This was described by Professor Cummings as a natural
-+- Noted Scientists Examine Objects -+-
The objects and site have been examined by Professor A.E.
Douglass, noted astronomer and chronologist of the Lowell
Observatory; Professor Frank H. Fowler of the College of Letters,
Arts and Sciences of the University of Arizona; Dr. C.J. Saria, a
geologist; Professor Cummings, Neil H. Judd and others.
Descriptions of the objects and the texts of the inscriptions
have been sent to scholars in many parts of the country.
The combination of Christian cross, Moslem crescent, Hebraic
seven-branched candlestick and Freemasonry emblems has imposed a
heavy tax on the credulity of investigators, but their appearance
of having been covered and embedded in stone by natural processes
has puzzled skilled archaeologists. Some have arrived at the
opinion that, whatever their origin, the objects lay for
centuries in the earth where they were found.
The inscriptions have been interpreted as describing the
conflicts of the pre-historic Roman-Jewish kingdom in the
Southwest with the Toltec Indians, forerunners of the Aztecs.
From the inscriptions it has been deduced that the mysterious
invaders called their land "Calalus." Using the texts as a basis
for the work, Laura Coleman Ostrander, historian of Tucson, has
sketched the history of rulers of Calalus, her dynasty consisting
of Theodorus, Jacobus, Isreal [sic] the First and Isreal [sic]
Some scholars to whom the materials have been submitted have been
slow to accept the finds as authentic because of the character of
the objects and the frequency of archaeological frauds. The
danger of indorsing another Cardiff [unclear] of a monument of
the "Bil Stumpe His Mark(?)" type has generally caused
investigators to be cautious, but it is alleged that those who
have examined the site have come to the conclusion that the
things were not planted as a hoax, but have been there for a
considerable period of time. They were found in September, 1924,
fifteen months ago -- a longer period than any motion picture
press agent, as a rule, would allow for the incubation of a
-+- Finders' Story of the Case -+-
A statement of the case in favor of the relics, as worked out by
the finders and their co-workers, follows:
"A chance discovery by Charles E. Manier and subsequent
excavation by him and Thomas W. Bent, near Tucson, Ariz., has
brought to light many relics that indicate an expedition of
considerable proportion of Roman Jews in America during the
period from 775 A.D. to 900 A.D."
"The evidence unearthed appears to be the positive data for which
scientists have been searching for many years. It is thought that
these relics definitely establish the fact that European or other
outside influence existed in America before the advent of
Columbus and the Spanish conquerors. This influence was found in
America among the Indians in their rites and ceremonials by the
Spaniards, but until the present find no definite evidence had
appeared to prove this theory."
"The first article, a large metal cross, weighing sixty-five
pounds, was discovered on Sept. 13, 1924, purely by accident. Mr.
Manier and his family were returning from a trip to the historic
Picture Rocks, just north of Tucson, Ariz., and had stopped to
examine an old lime kiln along the road. While doing this, Mr.
J.E. Manier noticed a peculiar object protruding from the bank to
the north of the lime kiln. On examining the object he discovered
it to be of metal, and firmly embedded in the bank, 5 feet 5
inches from the top. Mr. Manier excavated the object and
discovered that it was a large metal cross, consisting of two
parts, that had been placed together and riveted with lead
rivets. Between the two halves had been placed a wax
preservative, and on the inner surface of both halves there was
much Latin inscription. The cross was taken to the University of
Arizona and the Latin translated by Professor Frank H. Fowler of
the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences."
-+- Objects Embedded in Strata -+-
"Since the discovery of the first article in the present time
there have been unearthed five complete crosses and one
unfinished cross, all of which contain much Latin inscription,
many pictures and numerous symbols of both a religious and
historic nature. There has also been unearthed a cross with a
crescent cross-arm, entwined with a serpent, upon which there is
Hebrew script and many religious symbols. Another cross has a
circle of metal, connecting the cross-arms, with a serpent
entwined over all. This cross also contains the Hebrew script and
several religious symbols."
"The remainder of the discovery is made up of swords and spears,
many of which are scarred as a result of having been used in
battle. All the articles are of metal, and of a natural alloy of
lead, silver, gold and antimony, with a trace of tin, and are all
in a perfect state of preservation. None of the inscriptions has
been obliterated and the war implements still retain a sharp
straight edge, and are well balanced."
"The articles have been found at about the same level, that is,
between five and six feet below the surface, and in a well-
cemented stratum of caliche, the caliche, or lime formation,
being so hard that it is necessary to chop each piece out with a
pick. There is no evidence of burial, either in recent or in
historic times; in fact, the articles have been covered by a
natural process of the washing down of the debris from above,
until time has resulted in building up of from five to six feet
"The many scientists who have assisted in the research are
unanimous in the opinion that the covering-over process has taken
many hundreds of years; in fact, their conclusions tend to place
the age of the relics at about the eighth century."
"The placing of the articles in history is being done by Laura
Coleman Ostrander, historian, of Tucson, Ariz. She has, through
the Latin and Hebrew inscriptions and the many interesting
symbols, woven a complete story covering the entire period of
these peoples in America, or 'Calalus Land,' as they called it.
It is a story that covers a period of 125 years, and is replete
with hardships, wars and romance."
PUZZLING "RELICS" DUG UP IN ARIZONA STIR SCIENTISTS
continuity errors|golden rpg|sixpenny|