LONGMONT, Colo. – (March 22, 2018) —Since they came to light nearly a hundred years ago, the Tucson Artifacts have been branded a madman’s forgeries, though no forger has ever been discovered. The University of Arizona issued a damning report in 1929 and refused to accept the hoard of inscribed tablets and ceremonial objects to preserve in the state’s museum.
They went instead to the “cowboy heritage” museum across the street, where they are exhibited as ludicrous curiosities in donated jewelry store cases. To many people, they seem to belong in the same category as a nearby attraction called The Thing, a mummy holding a dead baby in a glass case housed behind a Shell station on Interstate 10.
But the thirty-some metal artifacts are more than oddities, claims Donald N. Yates, a medievalist in Colorado who has spent more than five years studying them. Yates, an expert in Latin scripts, last year published an album of photography with Minneapolis calligrapher Robert C. Hyde. That salvo taking aim at a controversy long thought to have been settled was followed this January by a collection of documents titled Merchant Adventurer Kings of Rhoda: The Lost World of the Tucson Artifacts.
The new book, which contains 350 pages and 30 illustrations, as well as original news reports and ancient texts relating to the artifacts, challenges the received standard version implicitly rather than directly, with a mass of evidence. It links the finds to the region’s early turquoise mining and a joint venture between Toltec Indians called the Precious Stone People originating in Michoacan and Western European Jews who dominated the world’s long-distance trade routes, known as Rhadanites.
The first Western Europeans crossed the Pacific Ocean following an extension of the Spice Trade Route to China in 560. They called the arid parts of Mexico where they landed Calalus, Hebrew for Desert Peoples. “Not for nothing is that the same meaning as Hohokam, the American Southwest’s first civilization with a town life, knowledge of metals and manufactured goods,” notes Yates.
Rhoda, the command center they took over from the conquering Toltec Indians, was “approximately Tucson, with their fortress on Tumamoc Hill,” says Yates. One of their kings, Jacob, who came from Brittany, became fabulously rich from gold mined in the nearby Canada del Oro. A bearded figurine possibly depicting Jacob wearing a Middle Eastern headdress was found in an official excavation of the Hodges Ruin, a stone’s throw away, though such evidence for foreign influences has been overlooked or discounted in published reports, adds Yates.
The existence of a village called Toltec on Hohokam lands and legends about the Red City to the South (Rhoda can mean Red, or Rose), “White Strangers and Papago Gold” and “The Mine with the Iron Door” all hint at the same story of exploitation of mineral riches which the inscriptions on the Tucson Artifacts tell in bold detail and “rather good” ninth-century governmental Latin, according to the new book.
“It’s all rather mind-blowing,” says Yates. “If one-tenth of the history recorded on the artifacts is true—and I think it all is—it completely changes what we thought we knew both about American and Mexican ‘Indians’ and about the role of Jews in world history.”
Merchant Adventurer Kings of Rhoda is widely available in the U.S. and around the world, notably from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and has a list price of $19.95. A Kindle version is sold on Amazon for $9.95. Google Play offers an ebook for $7.96. The author lives in Longmont, Colorado. It is his twenty-second book. For more information, see www.donaldyates.com or visit www.calalus.com.