An April 10 article by Tara MacIsaac in the Epoch Times (“Tucson Artifacts Suggest Romans Made It to New World in 8th Century”) is the latest in an emerging portfolio of proof that the conventional history of the Americas is fundamentally flawed and, well, just wrong. At the center of the case for Old World contact before Columbus is a treasure trove of lead artifacts excavated under the nose of the University of Arizona in the 1920s but largely dismissed as elaborate hoaxes since that time. Known as the Tucson Crosses or Silverbell Artifacts (after the site of an ancient lime kiln on Silverbell Road where they were found), these objects have been in the Arizona Historical Society, Southern Division, museum collection since 1994, when they were donated to the Tucson organization by Thomas W. Bent, Jr., the son of the pioneer figure by the same name who homesteaded the site and devoted his life to preserving the strange “relics.” Thomas W. Bent, Sr. died in 1972, without living to see the artifacts vindicated or even housed in a worthy public institution. He refused to give the artifacts to the University of Arizona or Arizona State Museum because experts such as Emil Haury dismissed them as fakes. A thorough scholarly monograph by Cyclone Covey, a Wake Forest University classics professor, appeared in 1975, but an official reopening of the find site by Wake Forest archeologists was called off at the last moment due to back-channel pressure from University of Arizona officials.
Covey was a professor of classics and history at Wake Forest University who authored a number of erudite works on often-obscure subjects over a long life. Born in rural Oklahoma in 1922, he was educated at Stanford University (Ph.D., 1949), University of Chicago (postgraduate work, 1944-1945) and Harvard University (postdoctoral work, 1953-1954). From 1947 to 1968, Covey taught history and the humanities at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, Oklahoma A & M and Oklahoma State University, Stillwater and McKendree College, Lebanon, Illinois. He was a faculty fellow at Harvard, 1953-1954, and visiting assistant professor of American Studies at Amherst College in Massachusetts, 1956-1957. From 1968 until his retirement as professor emeritus, he taught at Wake Forest in Winston-Salem. He received research grants from the Ford Foundation, Carnegie Institute, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Danforth Foundation. He died November 22, 2013, at the age of 91. Photo: Cyclone Covey, about 2002. Thomas W. Bent Jr. died in 2004 at the age of 82. In 2009, the director emeritus of the Arizona State Museum, Raymond H. Thompson, called the priceless artifacts “invented and manufactured history” in the Journal of the Southwest, vol. 51, no. 1. The entire issue was devoted to a demonstration by non-expert Don Burgess of their being forgeries. And there the matter seemed to rest until medieval scholar Donald N. Yates and photographer Robert C. Hyde published their “study album,” titled The Tucson Artifacts: An Album of Photography with Transcriptions and Translations of the Medieval Latin in early April of this year. Burgess can be forgiven for his mistaken notions, as he was no archeologist, and claimed no scholarly credentials of any sort. He was the retired general manager of Arizona Public Media, the public television station of the University of Arizona. But Stephen Williams at the Peabody Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts, had also been sure the embarrassing artifacts were fraudulent.
His sweeping, entertaining rejection, which appeared in 1991 after six years of writing itself in a popular class by the same name at Harvard, came inFantastic Archaeology: The Wild Side of North American Prehistory (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press), where the Tucson Crosses find their place in Chapter 10, “Across the Sea They Came, Each with a Different Cause.” Today, such dismissals are likely to be seen as comical in an unintended way. Meanwhile, most followers of the topic have chimed in and voted on the issue, including Wikipedia and conspiracy websites.
The Tucson Artifacts are hoaxes, not history. They were perhaps the concoction of a deranged cleric, a group of Masonic cowboys, or …. or. Yet a falsifier responsible for them has never been identified. Can there be a forgery without a forger, or hoax without a hoaxer? Can there be a crime without a perpetrator? Can artifacts so long in the public eye be genuine and suspect at the same time? The verdict of Southwest archeology and Arizona history says yes. One of the frequent objections to the Tucson Artifacts as for other anomalies such as the Bat Creek Stone and Kensington Rune Stone is that they lack an archeological context. However, they did not appear in a void, and they are not bereft of local archeological echoes and confirmation. As shown on the flyleaf of the new study, a letter R in the same Roman capital style appears as a prominent signature on Signal Hill, several miles from the Silverbell lime-kiln. It is reproduced below with two samples from the artifacts for comparison.
Roman letter R on Signal Hill. Its letter-form and ductus (design and direction of letter strokes) are the same as those engraved in lead on the Tucson Artifacts.
Roman letter R on Tucson Artifact 6B, a double engraved cross. To its left is a Mesoamerican glyph of Quetzalcoatl, the culture bearer and figure head for a foreign religious sect in Mexico, and to the right is a Jewish temple with a cancel line or bar through it representing the suppression of the Jewish religion under Christianity, labeled T.O.B., or “the good Name, i.e. David.” In Jewish tradition, and in the chansons de geste of Old French literature such as Aymeri de Narbonne, Beaulande was the home of heroes and foreign brides, i.e. the Holy Land.
Roman R on Tucson Artifacts 7A, the Josephus and Saul Cross. The text reads, “A Roman, Josephus is praised,” and there are trade seals, a ship and a Frankish axe, symbol of nationality, below it. On the other side are an inscription reading “Levites: Josephus and Saul: In Memoriam,” a ritual Jewish spice spoon and other seals and symbols, including the triple tiara of a Levite priest of the Temple in Jerusalem.
Here are some additional signs of the Roman colony in surviving petroglyphs of nearby sites, including their trademark 9-petaled white rose, the mystic rose of the Cabala.
The same Roman R viewed on high at Signal Hill with other writing..
Josephus and Saul memorial cross takes the form of a Latin cross and shows the symbol of Frankish nationality, the axe, at bottom.
Latin crosses at nearby Cocoraque Bluff. .
Two examples of the distinctive 9-petaled rose at Signal Hill. Compare the emblem on the shield of the soldier shown on the Peabody Mimbres bowl above.
9-petaled Rose beside 5 spoked wheel in the Catalinas on Mt. Lemmon outside Tucson..
Petroglyph on top Signal Hill seems to depict soldier with spear and shield standing guard over town or mine.
With all these compelling parallels to the literary evidence staring out from local and regional archeology, it cannot be said that the strange story of a Roman military colony in medieval Arizona lacks context, coherence and credibility. This presentation of the evidence just scratches the surface. Other examples of Roman capitals and the Mystic Rose will undoubtedly come to the attention of those seeking to verify rather than debunk the Tucson Artifacts. But don’t expect the artifacts to be freed from the Book of the Damned too soon. They have languished there for nearly a hundred years.
The Tucson Artifacts
Tucson Artifacts Suggest Romans Made It to New World
What Would It Take?
On the blog theme photo above from a bowl in the Peabody Museum:
The lizard marks it as relating to visitors by sea. We appear to have a depiction of a Toltec warrior of approximately the same period as the Tucson Artifacts. The rose on the shield is similar to the emblem found in petroglyph art near Tucson, apparently standing for Rhoda, the name of the city in the inscriptions. Chansons de geste often describe heroes such as William of Orange bearing a shield with a flower. In later literature it was known as the Mystic Rose. In the tradition of the Cabala the nine petals stand for the nine branches or worlds of the Tree of Life. The white stuff forming the soldier’s tunic or body armor seems to be cotton padding, as Aztec warriors wore when they fought the Spanish. The soldier has greaves like the soldiers in the Utrecht Psalter, and his spears seem to be metal-tipped, but his facial paint is the warpaint of a Native American (falcon’s eye). Grants County, where the bowl originated, was an important mining district some fifty miles from Tucson.