ESOP Volume 19

The Burrows Cave Artifacts

by Charles W. Bailey

Having recently had the opportunity to examine pictures of stone carvings and artifacts alleged to have been found at a place called Burrows Cave in Southern Illinois, I can understand why their authenticity has been questioned. I am familiar with ancient art forms, having done considerable research in this area over the past 30 years. When the collection is viewed as a whole, several things about it send warning signals.

1. There are many faces depicted in both line and relief carvings. When pictures of faces on the tiles are compared, it is evident that they were largely carved by the same person, exhibiting the same "lantern-jawed" profile. They are dressed in armor, clothes and headgear from several different epochs - from 2000 BC to 1000 AD - certainly beyond the time-span of a single artist.

2. The carvings are extremely crude and hastily done. When you look at most art produced by ancient civilizations, the attention to detail and craftsmanship is striking, with a real feel for the medium on the part of the artist. These are crude copies of everything from Egyptian and Babylonian tomb paintings to gargoyles from Notre Dame and dragons from the Book of Kells.

3. Not only is the art work crude, it is also amateurish. Much of the relief carving follows the contours of the stone the carver picked up - lending credence to the suspicion that it was done in a hurry and without any feeling for the religious symbols and figures represented.

4. Many of the objects appear to have no utility other than to represent objects found elsewhere. Arrowheads, spearheads and knives are crude depictions rather than working tools. Plummets are crudely shaped. Lamps are only roughed out. One picture even shows a stone knife blade with a stone handle - anticipating our modern-day table knives by several centuries!

There may be a cave somewhere in Southern Illinois that these objects came from but I strongly doubt it - especially if these pictures show what is supposed to have come out of it. It appears more to me that a prodigious effort has been made to manufacture a bunch of stuff to hoodwink the unwary.

My research has lead me to the conclusion that there were many contacts between the Americas and Europe, Africa and Asia in ancient times and certainly credit the Society for stimulating awareness. Much evidence of these contacts exists and has been documented already. I do not believe that this particular "find" is at all helpful in this regard.

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