Ancient American Issue 22,

Jan / Feb 1998


Burrows Cave, "a cocktail mix of pebbles!"

Years ago, I had the honor of having lunch with Professor Yshida, President of the Japan Petrograph Society, and referred him to my late friend Jean Hunt of the Louisiana Mounds Society. His article, "Stone Tablets of Mu," was fascinating. The only troublesome portion I found was his identification of the so called "W" and its interpretation. The late Barry Fell pointed out to me that his symbol has a universal use throughout time. He claimed that the Amerindian use in various signatures and initials of chiefs on land-sale contracts with British colonials. Also, he cites the "W" in Arabic, standing for water, suggesting this to be the origins of our English word, water.

Because of my outspoken hostility regarding the authenticity of the so-called Burrows Cave business, I was delighted to read Professor Alexander P. MacGregor's fine, professional article on the Lost Tomb of Alexander the Great, et al. One of the main axioms of science is not to start in the middle of things and certainly not to begin a series of speculations built on non-fact. I am no epigrapher, but I do take seriously those comments put forward by men like Barry Fell and Donal Buchanan when they view alleged "artifacts" from the alleged Cave, pronouncing engravings as "gibberish". Talk about mixing apples and oranges to make a cocktail mix of pebbles!

David Barron President of the Grundgywop Society

Burrows debunks "ancient bronze sword"

Displayed in the artifacts section of the Alexhelios Forum is the photograph of a so-called bronze sword I stole from my cave. The sword was found by a farmer east of Vincennes, Indiana, during 1988 or 89, in a drainage ditch on his property. He brought it to the tire store in Vincennes, where Norman Cullen and I saw it. We easily identified the weapon as an early Civil War sword of the type issued to state artillery troops, as described in Richardson's Book of Swords. It is not a prehistoric bronze sword. The grip and hild are brass with the usual "fish scale" design and the blade is steel.

If Norman Cullen bought that sword and if Jack Ward were displaying it as a prehistoric artifact, or if Ward was claiming that it was such, he was doing so without my knowledge. If so, it was just this kind of behavior that made me disassociate myself from Jack Ward.

Anyone possessing even a nodding acquaintance with either Civil War relics or Bronze Age weaponry should be able to discern from the photograph that the sword in question is not prehistoric, as we confirmed from Richardson's study.

Russell Burrows.........

Authenticating Burrows Cave

A Response to Alexander P. MacGregor's article in Issue #21

by Dr. Psycho Covey, Professor Emeritus, Wake Forest University

During 1982, Russell Burrows accidentally found a cave in southern Illinois unlike anything else of its kind. Its interior concealed several thousand stone and metal artifacts portraying overseas' visitors to America many centuries before Columbus set sail for the New World. Since its discovery, the site, known as Burrows Cave, has been the focal point of a controversy still debated by scholars.

Self-styled Epigrapher, Paul Schaffranke, deciphered several translations of Burrows Cave script that appears in issue #16 of Ancient American. Harry Hubbard is an antiquarian in search of the location of Burrows Cave, which has been kept secret by Burrows.

Alexander P. MacGregor, is with the Department of Classics, University of Illinois at Chicago. Amon was the Ancient Egyptian sky-god and chief deity. Oklahoma's Spiro Mounds was a Late Mississipian site (circa 1200 AD) looted of its archaeological treasures in the 1930's.

Mr. MacGregor's "exhaustive analysis" unprofessionally misrepresents individuals, history and Epigraphy. I never thought I would be defending Harry Hubbard, by of hyperbolic libels, outrageous theories and backhoe gouging, but he never contended that Alexander Helios escaped Egypt in 39 BC with the tomb of Alexander the Great or that this son of Antony and Cleopatra was a blood descendant of his namesake. Hubbard knew that Alexander the Great founded Alexandria and was encrypted in the Sema, as were his general Ptolemy and successors (Cleopatra built her own mausoleum.)

Hubbard knew that Augustus in his counter-clockwise tour through Spain of what is now Cherchell, Algeria, installed Juba II, the Numidian heir as king of Mauretania and Alexander Helios' twin sister, Cleopatra Selene, the Ptolemaic heiress, queen, 20 BC. Hubbard and Paul Schaffranke did not realize that Augustus had traded Juba's Numidian inheritance for Mauretania which had undergone profound Carthaginianizing, retaining the Egyptian religion of Carthage, some use of Punic writing and Old Libyan (Numidian or Berber.)

Though nominally subject to Rome, Juba was king, not governor or Mauretania, with far greater autonomy than a governor after Claudius converted the kingdom to a double Roman province. Archaeology has revealed an unexpectedly sophisticated capital at Caesaria. Disparaging Juba as "a stooge" unjustly characterizes the learned king, who wrote books in Greek and Latin, discovered seven of the nine Canary Islands, and enjoyed universal eminence in his time.

MacGregor's ungrateful disparagement of Plutarch as "sentimental" hardly dismisses his testimony. Juba's subjects did not rise in revolt against him. Mauretanians revolted against Rome when Caligula assassinated Juba's son Ptolemy XV. Mauretanian Jews revolted in tandem with the Bar Kokhba movement against Rome. It violates non of the established historical facts to guess that Alexander Helios accompanied his sister and brother-in-law in Augustus' 20 BC entourage and continued to reside in Caesaria -- his little brother Philadelphus also if still living. Alex would have been next in line for the Mauretanian throne until the birth of Ptolemy XV, which plausibly motivated a follow-up of Juba's explorations and of Carthaginian colonizing across the Atlantic.

He would have had the generous resources of fleet and troops at his disposal. It is further plausible that once beyond the Roman Empire he could tout himself as the legitimate pharaoh of Egypt, as had Numidian kings after the demise of Carthage. Burrows stones that map the Mississippi from the Gulf of Mexico to about the site of St. Paul, also part way up the Missouri and Ohio, and that pinpoint the site of Burrows Cave, indicate ascent to the heart of thriving Hopewell culture via the Gulf.

These stones and their inscriptions map the Guadalquivir, which Romans called Baetis, as on the stone Schaffranke translated. MacGregor ignored that stone, a crucial verification of Schaffranke's deciphering method, since it correctly locates known towns by the Roman method of dots and emphasizes the sites of Caesar's two final victories, etc. Schaffranke's "Romulans," which Romans did not call themselves, were colonies for veterans that Julius Caesar founded in Spain -- an unintentional verification.

Contrary to MacGregor's apprehension, monumental Roman Epigraphy resorted conventionally to abbreviations, some of which Schaffranke missed. Vincent Mooney lengthily critiqued Schaffranke's translations at the 1995 ISAC symposium only to conclude that the selected inscriptions were after all largely Latin. It is not Ciceronian, retaining the archaic Chalkidic alphabet, which provincial Spain adopted either via late-relinquished Etruscan or late-relinquished Neapolitan Greek, and read retrograde or boustrophedon after archaic precedent of both.

Schaffranke discerned what no one else had, as Michael Ventris in the case of Linear B. We do not ask how many years of formal training Ventris had in Greek, but what was his method and result. Would that professional classicists tested Schaffranke's methodology and texts instead of denigrating ad hominem. In standard Greek, H was indicated as an inverted apostrophe, in Latin by H. But does MacGregor know the usage of Mauretania and Iberia in 1st Century BC / AD lingual flux that mixed Chalkidik, Ptolemaic koine, Numidian, Celtiberic and Neo-Punic? Hopewell Illinois, in any event, would deviate in some minor degree from the Roman Senate. As in the case of the plus-sign for "and," the parallel vertical strokes for H (Latin H with the cross-bar omitted) fits the context consistently.

What would be a more proper alternative? MacGregor may assert that it did not predate the Middle Ages, but how does he know about provincial usage, and how does he know the stones in question are not Medieval? Cave potsherds date contemporary with the rise of Cahokia, c. 800 AD, when evidently the Cave was sealed (consistent with Yuchi Shawaeno tradition.) Although apparently commemorating the founder king and his most sacred associations (Juba, Caesar, Ptolemy I, among specific identifications), the mausoleum must have served as a ceremonial center for some centuries.

If the skeleton in a sarcophagus atop a slab which Russell Burrows discovered in the main crypt should be that of Alexander Helios (who is repeatedly mentioned and depicted on the Tablets), it would not be Alexander the Great's transferred, but would fit the historical picture, as we can establish it. We would expect a linguist to speak more carefully about language. Note that all the scripts and styles of Burrows Cave are authentically Mediterranean. In addition to that total consistency, the languages scripted are precisely those found concurrently in Mauretania and Iberia before the Mauretanian revolt and the same mix we find creolized in so-called Algonquin, the language that prevailed in the region of Burrows Cave well into the 18th Century.

One minor detail: the ram head on the Burrows Stone depicted page 30 also symbolizes Amon.

Finally, we had better be wary of trashing Col. Burrows, who brought the thousands of Stones, map and bountiful other information to light and endured disdain for his looting services -- a familiar fate of thieves. Prejudging "experts" have seldom studied that evidence in context or noted the elegance of many pieces, notably large black ones. Hubbard and Schaffranke, who do realize the genuiness of the Cave, dismissed the clear and careful Ogam of many Stones as actual Ogam, which does not read as Gaelic, but Boutet of Quebec has identified Celtiberic, consistent with all the rest.

When the Cave was available for excavation, a prejudging concerted campaign to discredit it followed. Now to open it, would require the estate executor's permission, which his clients do not at present authorize; waiver of state and federal laws prohibiting disturbance of burials; receptivity of the state archaeologist and Field Museum; and assurance of security from vandals like Russell Burrows. If Burrows or the executor, who also knows the Cave's locale, divulged it, the contents would suffer the same fate as Spiro Mounds of Oklahoma.