Letters to the Editor

From Ancient American Magazine Issue #4.

Burrows Cave

With absolute interest, I read your article on the Burrows' Cave (1. #2). With sheer horror, I read how the authors claimed the circle-cross was the sign of the Egyptian god Ra. For all I knew and know, his sign was the circle with a central dot. As Atum-Ra (or Atu-Re), his symbol was a step pyramid, also termed "the primordial hill". Nowhere (and I mean books on Egyptian religion, not "second-source" books like the authors used in claiming "the circle-cross equals Ra"), have I been able to find that "circle cross equals Ra". Still, the cross-circle is a hieroglyph, "nu", which means "town" or "city". However, that cross is not directed horizontal-vertical as it is shown on all the photographs of the Burrows' cave artifacts, but "Northwest-Northeast-Southeast-Southwest". As far as I know, the cross-circle as found in the Burrows Cave is not found in anything Egyptian.

Filip Coppens; Sint-Niklaas, Belgium

Burrows Cave

Apropo to your October cover story about Burrows Cave, the Illinois site where were allegedly found Semitic artifacts from the early centuries BC, I since came across the lyrics of a pioneer song known to early 19th Century (AD) settlers in Illinois. The most cogent verse reads, "The Queen of Sheba came here with King Solomon of old, with donkey-loads of diamonds, pomegranates and fine gold. And when she saw this lovely land, her heart was filled with joy. Said she, I sure would like to be a queen in Illinois!" Even in the early 1800s, could pioneers have discovered objects similar or identical to the Burrows Cave finds, which made them wonder if the Queen of Sheba, or some Semitic personage like her, did indeed visit Illinois in the ancient past? After reading you magazine, I wonder too.

Paul Petraitis; University of Illinois-Urbana, Illinois

Burrows Cave

Anyone with the slightest knowledge of art history could tell that this is a fraud by the stylistic anachronisms alone. Take the eyes on the bas reliefs (a bas relief, for those of you who don't know, is a two dimensional sculpture carved or engraved on a wall or stone surface) they are triangular, a naturalistic and accurate portrayal of a profile. Egyptian and Phoenician art, indeed all "western" art produced before the golden age of Greece (after 500 BC) shows eyes facing forward, towards the viewer. Even those paintings and bas reliefs showing the pharaoh or king hunting or concentrating ahead of him the eyelid is an oval facing the viewer head on. The ears are modeled too well. There is no stylization at all. The heads are all extremely well done and on fig. 1, on the other hand, are extremely poor, thereby indicating that the artist was doing it on purpose.

Eric Lurio; New York, New York