Tucson Artifacts’ Story Verified by Archeology

peabody mimbres pot with byzantineAn 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.
cyclone academician par excellenceCovey 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 R

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 r on 6b 1

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.

Tucson Artifacts

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.

Signal hill roman R

The same Roman R viewed on high at Signal Hill with other writing..

7A Josephus and Saul Cross 2

Josephus and Saul memorial cross takes the form of a Latin cross and shows the symbol of Frankish nationality, the axe, at bottom.

block cross at cocoraque bluff cropped 2

Latin crosses at nearby Cocoraque Bluff. .

9 petaled flower on top of signal hill 3
another 9 petaled rose on signal hill 3Two 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.

1601 Female Anthropomorph and Flowers

9-petaled Rose beside 5 spoked wheel in the Catalinas on Mt. Lemmon outside Tucson..

guard of city on top signal hill cropped
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?
byzantine soldierOn 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.


  Comments: 23

  1. The artifacts are what they present themselves to be. A history of the people of Calalus that was written by 2 scribes in the last days of the Colony. These artifacts point to the most important historical discovery that has ever be made. The Temples on the artifacts represent sites on the Colorado River, the Superstition Mountains and the capital of Rhoda. The mystery they point to will change the history of the world. That mystery begins to unravel when one understands the meaning of the symbol O that appears under each Temple.

    • I didn’t see an O but the word Tob (Hebrew for “good,” “beautiful,” “beloved”). Tob was used to designate the Promised Land, Jerusalem, Judea and lineage of King David, i.e. Jews. During the early medieval period in particular Palestine was called Aretz Ttobi. Thus, the relatives of the heroes of early Old French epic were described as coming from Beauland. Jews descended from King David (like the Machiri and the Kalonymi) were said to carry the Good Name. In English, Goode. French: Bon. German: Gut. Many other examples. Kalonymus, the name of the rabbi brought the Talmud to Italy, then to Germany under Charlemagne and Louis the Pious, means “the good name.” Tob is also the the first appearance of a word beginning with Tet in the Bible (Gen. 1:4), where God says of the separation of the dark from the light “and it was good.” Since the numerological significance of Tet is 9, the numeral 9 becomes a good luck token and, by extension, the sign of the Good Land. The mystic rose shown on a shield in Calalus has 9 petals.

  2. William Payne

    1. In Julius Caesar’s own words in the third book of the Bello Gallico, is his description of the ships used by the coastal Celts that very nearly defeated his navy of triremes and biremes in 55 BC. He states, eloquently, that the construction of those sail powered (only) ships were not bound to the shorelines, but were able to sail “upon the vast, open sea” by means of beaten hide sails, even to his consternation, into the wind.
    2. Many inscriptions within museums, and in the field, throughout the Americas have been clearly translated from their various forms of Celtic Ogam from Gaul and Iberia, and are identifiable by their variants to approximate dates and locations along the Atlantic coasts from Europe to North Africa.
    3. The above two items are unambiguously supported by historic documentation, (not to mention artifacts) yet are not accepted by current archeology trends that seem to support the well invested notion that pre-Columbian transatlantic communication was impossible.
    Within this context it is predictable that such finds as the Tucson Artifacts are generally disenfranchised, even though there is certainly enough reason for further scientific investigation and research into their genesis. Whatever these vested interests are, that attempt to invalidate, rather than investigate so many historic curiosities, they have so far succeeded in depriving the people of the world of their true global social evolution.

  3. Why wouldn’t some Romans have gotten here?

    Shipwrecked? Exploring? Escapees? Lost? Led here by the Hand of God?

    Indications are that people from many nations got here — one way or another.

    Saying it was a hoax, what benefit would anyone have to fake Roman stuff in Southern Arizona?

  4. I’m curious how the lead the objects were made from have a 2-3% antimony content, similar to the content used in battery anodes in the early 20th century. Antimony has been used to create alloys for centuries, but not known to be used in alloys as far back as pre-10th century AD. But caliche can be manufactured easily in a matter of days. Just like to get the science explained.

    • The lead was traced to the Old Yuma Mine. Caliche cannot be manufactured. The 4-6 foot layers of it were certified to be of “about a thousand years” deposition and undisturbed by several eyewitnesses to the discoveries in 1926, including famous dendrochronologist A. E. Douglass (p. 64). The only things being manufactured here are the stories of people who find the truth uncomfortable.

    • where would one take a recently found ancient sword in Arizona to authenticate d
      I am a native from Arizona and have in my possession and sword which appears to be a well preserved ancient relic two-handed sword. I can see inscriptions but can not decipher them and am afraid of cleaning it in case of damaging it. I am willing to take it to any place in Arizona to have someone who is schooled in these things examine it. please point me in the right direction. I have had this in my possession for over
      seven years. Thank you


      • I know of someone.

      • Schana Penrod, your March 2020 post about an ancient sword has generated high interest among my high school history students. We are currently studying the Tucson Artifacts and would be grateful for any updates on the process of authenticating the ancient sword you spoke of in your post.
        Best wishes–
        Lawrence Eyre
        Social Studies Department
        Maharishi School
        Fairfield, Iowa

  5. Albert Magliocco

    I seen a full episode on America Unearthed Where forensic geologist ”Scott Wolter , the host and principal person researched the authenticity Of the TUCSON ARTIFACTS’ …
    His conclusion based on the build up of patina on the artifacts by the minerals that were in the earth where they were found was that the artifacts were indeed authentic and not a hoax .
    Wow I actually found the program of what I speak of …How about that ..It’s not on Youtube ..Link; http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xxs872

    • Hunter Harrell

      Thanks for the link, and yeah I have no idea why people are in denial about the authenticity of these artifacts. The only thing I can think of as to why they would be against it is because it proves not only the dating methods used today are wildly inaccurate but it would also give credibility to the Christian religion and prove so many historians wrong. Most “professor’s” and other college employees are not only devout atheists but also devout evolutionists, and in many ways these artifacts would force them to rethink many of their fundamental assumptions and political ideology.

  6. An article appeared on Page 3, of the Arizona Daily Star, 15-January, 1926 that provides clues as to who made these Roman Replicas.
    Article Title: Sculptor Once Lived on site of Artifacts. A cattleman named Ruiz identifies the sculptor and offered to divulge all he knew to authorities on the subject.

    Respectfully Submitted,
    Robert P.

    • The artifacts were proven by testing that they had been in the ground for hundreds of years. I doubt in 1926 a tucson sculpternhad the vast knowledge of roman/templar information as well as particular lettering and latin. For some reason the schools both college and lower do not want to admit columbus was not the first here. Its taken how long and how much evidence to finally have them acknowledge vikings in Nova Scotia? The Americas had been visited many times by many cultures amd countries. The evidence is too overwhelming to deny.

    • Yeah, that explanation did not hold up for even a week. There have been other desperate explanations. None has every stood up to scrutiny. One explanation pushed for a time by the local savants was that the lead was common typesetter’s lead and the crosses and swords were cooked up on a kitchen stove by merry cowboys hoping to confound the university. They used Gildersleeve’s Latin grammar and the poet Vergil and an almanac to make up the inscriptions. The only part of this theory I accept is that they did manage to confound the university.

      • I am quoting below from Dr. Covey’s own writing. This is from the very end of an article that defends the authenticity of the artifacts, “A Re-Examination of the Bent Artifacts.”

        “It remains unanswerably difficult to explain the coincidences between cross inscriptions and these particular modern books–as on the other hand it remains inexplicable how or why the artifacts should have been planted. If we could prove a hoax, we still substitute one unsolvable mystery for another.
        Many arguments objecting to a medieval origin of the artifacts sounded much more telling in the 1920’s than today[…] But the phrasing correspondences argument clangs as loud today as in 1928.”

        Dr. Covey acknowledged the very close correspondences to the modern editions of those grammars and poetry collections, and was troubled by them, even so recently as 2015. And with good reason. Occam’s Razor suggests that a single person (or very small group) — from modern times — is a preferable explanation to a historical expedition. All that is required is someone who had access to the books.

        If one proposed that they are a modern hoax, Dr. Covey then states that the mystery of the textual correspondence would then be replaced by another “unsolvable mystery” of a reason for hoaxing. But the latter is not so unsolvable, in light of individuals such as Bruno Borges: https://everipedia.org/wiki/lang_en/bruno-borges/

        A skillful person with an obsession will put *all* of their skills to use toward their particular obsession. If the Silverbell Artifacts hoaxer were such a person, then such a scenario would easily explain why the hoaxer has neither come forward nor benefitted. They may not even have considered it a hoax–perhaps a spiritual journey or task, instead.

        Of all evidence for and against authenticity, the textual correspondence is the single most compelling piece.

        • You’re right in your reasoning in a parti pris way, and you have some of the evidence but not all. The text on the artifacts requires a medieval Latinist’s analysis not just a dictionary thumber or casual reader. Finds should be taken at face value like people in a court and presumed innocent until proven guilty. There is nothing in the artifacts that does not ring true for Latin of the ninth century. The vocabulary even adds several medieval Latin words and otherwise unrecorded usages specific to the time and place and subject. Everything is totally solvable; there is no mystery, no hoax, only the ignorance and prejudices and assumptions of modern-day archeologists and journalists. I provided an analysis in two books.

  7. The Viking presence that has been documented is at the L’anse aux Meadows site in Newfoundland. Scholars have accepted the site as authentic from almost the very beginning around 50 years ago. So not a good idea to try to use L’anse aux Meadows as evidence that scholars are close-minded to new findings related to pre-Columbian voyages to North America. They just aren’t all that excited about finds such as the Tucson artifacts that have a lot of red flags popping up in terms of evidence of a hoax.

    • One reason “scholars” are not excited about L’Anse aux Meadows is because it’s in Canada, not the U.S. Another is it was found by a Norwegian couple, and the woman became its primary advocate. The male chauvinist archeological community ridiculed her. It took 50 years of fighting for the truth amidst the pushback of the whole archeological establishment for her evidence to be “confirmed.” The site is still belittled. Rather than authenticate related Norse sites in New England or study the wider phenomenon of colonies from northern Europe they continue to portray L’Anse aux Meadows as a short-lived anomaly with no lasting consequences–a fluke. The Tucson Artifacts occupy a similar position. They really relate more to Mexico than the U.S. A single expert (Cyclone Covey) championed them for 50 years before a non-expert Don Burgess wrote the last word on the supposed hoax in 2009 in the Journal of the Southwest. Cyclone Covey was a professor of classics at Wake Forest University with a brilliant education and long record of publication. Don Burgess was a public television station executive with no academic qualifications. The Tucson Artifacts are also the only body of evidence branded officially by government policy (Arizona, City of Tucson) as “manufactured history,” so their find site, for instance, is being paved over by the widening of Silverbell Road and archeologists are blind to the important surrounding Pioneer Period and later Hohokam sites such as the Hodges Ruins and those in the Canada del Oro. They are classified as “manufactured history” entirely on the word of a single dead archeology professor (Emil Haury), who made up his mind they were hoaxes in the 1920s and never mentioned them in print. Nor was he qualified to even have an informed opinion about them, as he was not an expert in medieval history or Latin epigraphy. Future generations will laugh at the ignorance and prejudices of American archeology, not at the Tucson Artifacts.

      • Arlan Andrews, Sr.

        A similar situation happened at the MacArthur Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas: when I was a young boy about 12, I saw the King Crowley sculpture on display, which appeared to be close to Mayan in appearance. A few years later it was supposedly discredited, sold off, and disappeared. More recent finds in the Mississippi Valley might support its authenticity. A shame it was lost.

        In the mid-1970s, as President of the Greensboro Psychic Forum, I had Dr. Covey come and make a presentation of his book on Calalus.

  8. What museum are these in and when are they displayed. I discovered this story on the H2 channel and have been wanting to see these for ever.

  9. Old book in the KU/Lawrence, KS University library was called THE MYSTERY OF THE CROSSES written and photographed by a couple in the Southwest all about a find of silver crosses with native themes like coffee bean decor as hidden in fake rocks of a man-made zeolite material that, when cracked open, had an aromatic fragrance. One may note that rosins can be added to concrete. The old timers could spot them and said they were pre-Christian and hidden to avoid confiscation by the Spanish friars.

Your feedback