Archive for June 30, 2015

West Africans & Navigation


by Harry Bourne


CANOES & NAVIGATION: Oliphantes to Ogowe


This is to be seen as a companion piece for “East Africans & Navigation” that in turn is one of a series of papers discussing aspects of whether Africans ever went to sea or were too much in terror of it to do so. Ivan Van Sertima (They Came Before Columbus 1976) wrote against the latter opinion when saying Africans were not the “boatless” people they are frequently described as. As many of the other negatives of voyaging around African shores are listed in “East Africans & Navigation”, there is little point in repeating this here.

Otherwise we begin here with the dugout-canoe. Such canoes were scarce relative to other types over most of east Africa. They originate the Before Common Era (= BCE) were still around in Common Era days to be reported by the unknown author of the Periplus Maris Erythraei (= PME). An addition to this 1st c. CE reference would be those that James Hornell (Mariner’s Mirror 1948) thought were exampled in Egypt by scenes in the tomb of Queen Tiye. Long journeys by canoes are put forward as having taken the Polynesian ancestors of the Maoris to New Zealand. More canoe-borne migrants are those from the part of east Africa that is now called Tanganyika getting to Fiji according to Fijian tradition cited on the Balson Holdings site (online).

There is general opinion groups going under the several labels of Khoikhoi, Khwe, San, Khoisan, Queyna, Bushmen, Capoids plus umpteen others did not use boats. More of the same comes with a contributor to the New Advent Encyclopaedia confidently saying the Khwe did not fish. Contrary views are not helped by the faults of “Bushman’s Art” by Erik Holm (1987) being pointed out by John Parkington in the South African journal called “The Digging Stick” (1988). These faults are such that Holm’s book has been withdrawn by the publisher.

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The Isle of Frisland on Zeno Map (1380) is Real!

Hi Friends–

Regarding: the so-called “fantasy isle” of Frisland on the Zeno Map of 1380:

Prince Henry Sinclair’s legacy as a New World voyager, savior of 4,000 stranded Greenland farmers, and pirate-fighter has been held hostage by doctrinaire historians who have claimed that the Zeno Narrative and Map are “a Venetian-sponsored hoax.” Academic scholars, loyal to their antiquated Padigm, have insisted for eons that a prominent isle on the map, Frisland, “never existed” – except in the fictional musings of Nicolò Zeno (the Younger – a Venetian Senator) in the 16th century. He has been wrongly accused of inventing the “hoax” – although his reconstruction of events from memory did have some significant “lapses.” These difficulties were augmented with a little “literary license,” in places, that resulted in ultimately compromising the integrity of Gian Ramusio’s publication in Viaggi in 1558.

I noticed that three ancient maps (the Zeno 1380, Catalan 1480, and Prunes 1553) all had similar – but not identical – coastlines for Frisland. On the Catalan and Prunes Maps, the title is spelled Fixland – where the “x” was probably pronounced as “sh.” This would yield an English title of “Fish-land.”

Frisland is Real maps

Newfoundland was known as the principal isle of codfish from the 14th century up to modern times. The Portuguese and Basques called the Island bacalaos – which was the Portuguese-Basque word for “codfish.”

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Review of : BEFORE COLUMBUS : The New History of Celtic, Egyptian, Phoenician, Viking, Black African And Asian Contacts and Impacts in the Americas Before 1492 By Dr. Samuel D. Marble

by Jim Leslie,

Originally published in The Midwestern Epigraphic Journal

BEFORE COLUMBUS, by Dr. Samuel Marble, 1980, A.S. Barnes and Co., Inc., Cranbury, NJ 08512 and Thomas Yoseloff Ltd, Magdalen House, 136-148 Tooley Street, London SE1 2TT, England, ISBN 0-498-02370-2. The subtitle is “The New History of Celtic, Egyptian, Phoenician, Viking, Black African, and Asian Contacts and Impacts in the Americas before 1492”. Be sure to read my short bio of Dr. Marble at the end of this article.

A number of “Before Columbus” books have been written since the cultural ice-breaking books by Barry Fell and others in the sixties and seventies. Each surveyed the then known repositories of pre-Columbian evidence and added the evidence privy to the author, plus their opinion and insight on it all. Dr. Marble’s wonderful book is no less than these others but stands out with his extensive knowledge of Celtic and Christian influences in the new world, especially in the Incan society, and some little known but revealing details of the Columbus voyages and influences of the Egyptians and the Vikings.


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Homer, facts or fiction?

Homer, facts or fiction?

By N.R. De Graaf, The Netherlands

About the naval base of the Faeakedegraffs June 2015





In 1879 mr Cailleux, a Frenchman, advanced the idea that the histories told by Homer had been enacted in the Atlantic zone of Europe. This was some decade after Schliemann told the world that he had found Troy at the west coast of Turkey, and substantiated his find with the gold treasures he had dug up. The question is not yet solved, though most archaeologists now believe that Schliemann’s claim is true. It fits the traditional setting since the Roman Empire.

One of the problems is that the scenery quite often does not fit the Aegean Sea or coast, or even the Mediterranean Sea. This was already marked in Antiquity, and Homer sometimes was put away as a fanciful poet, even more so in our days. Instead of bending Homer’s poems to make them fit the traditional interpretation, it might however be interesting to see if Cailleux might point in the right direction.

One way to do this is not only to analyze the verses philologically but also to inspect the topographical indications we find in the texts. These do often not change so strongly as to become unrecognizable, e.g. in the case of springs, characteristics of capes, mountains, islands, landing beaches and harbours, caves and strong, durable, human-built structures. Distances walked and travelled by ship can be characteristic in combination with other topographical and geographical data.

Many people have already sought for Troy and Ithaka, and mostly they found considerable gaps between the descriptions of Homer and the reality found in the field. The indications given by Cailleux however become more interesting the more one goes into detail by visiting the places suggested by Cailleux. I can testify for that.

The most convincing arguments are the characteristics of the sea, often called the Ocean (Ωκεανος) by Homer. It is grey, or greenish like wine, it has (strong) tidal action, it is very, very large, it has strong currents and the routes of the ships when blown by certain winds and driven by the currents are more plausible for the Atlantic, in direction and length. Indeed more so than it is for the Mediterranean. I would call this hypothesis of Cailleux the Atlantic stage of Homer.

To check this Antlantic stage idea, I have visited various places along the European Atlantic coast. The supposed place of Ithaca, near Cadiz, as hypothesized also by Wilkins and Gideon in their books, was not my first choice, being complicated to examine. It will be done next time. Essential in this research is that one has to make a real visit, or various visits, with some expertise in interpretation of satellite images and topographical descriptions, wide interest in archaeology of the Bronze Age and some knowledge of the fallacies of translating the Greek original text of Homer.

Scheria, the island of the Phaeacians, indicated to be Lanzarote (of the Canaries) by Gideon and Wilkins, was a good option. Descriptions of Homer are broad and specific, it seems a fairyland at first look, which if becoming a true location would be quite convincing proof that Homer did not fancy in his poems. This in accordance with his descriptions and observations of human behaviour, which still makes his work marvellous.

Finds on Lanzarote

What I found on Lanzarote was astonishing. Most, or nearly all, details of Homer’s story are found on Lanzarote, starting with the description of far view of the island, when seen by Odysseus on his raft, as a dried raw hide (rhinos) which word traditionally is translated as a shield. But the hide is a better translation for the profile of a high cliff with two truncated volcanic cones on it. There is no real river on Lanzarote, but a salty river is indeed present, El Rio, the strait at the northwest coast of Lanzarote that has a strong current during heavy weather. The isolated bush where Odysseus hides for the nightly cold still has a realistic equivalent, if not it is the same location even after three thousand years, as it depends on a spring. The washbasins like those in which Nausikaa did the laundry with her maidens, still are seen, though dry nowadays. They are newly built or repaired with mortar now. The description of the beach where Odysseus eloquently pleads for help, after having disturbed the ball game of the maidens, the mule cart road over the plain to the capital with its double harbour and its springs uphill from the old city, the descriptions of the harbour and even the orders of Alkinoos the king, to draw the ship for Odysseus’ return out of the harbour in time to avoid low tide problems in the entrance, it all fits remarkably. Also the threats of Poseidon to petrify the returning ship into what is now the lonely Roque d’Este, and to cover the city with a mountain, it all is fitting in the scenery on Lanzarote.

A bold hypothesis was made that the riches of the Phaeacians are due to trade in expensive metals, copper and silver and gold, originating from mines e.g in the actual USA, Michigan. This trade route is quite feasible to do with rowing ships, as proven by daredevils doing the transatlantic crossing from the same Canary islands to the Caribbean. That Homer describes people with transatlantic trade some three thousands of years before present is not a new idea, but that their naval base might be found now is really something to be further checked.

I would invite people interested in my research to mail me to ask for a copy of my report and many photographs about Lanzarote. email: 

In due time the mentioned report and also next ones, will be available on my website <>

Atlantic currents. From: De Grote Bosatlas 49th edition, Noordhoff Uitgevers, Groningen. Low-resolution

atlantic currentsClick on thumbnail

Recent Scientific Evidence In Light Of Cyrus Gordon’s Theories Of Semitic Inscriptions in America

by Zena Halpern

Originally published in The Midwestern Epigraphic Society Journal, Volume 16

Three sites will be discussed with ancient Semitic inscriptions; two have astronomical evidence validating their authenticity; the three sites are Hidden Mountain in New Mexico, the Bat Creek Stone from Tennessee, and the Newark, Ohio inscriptions.

Hidden Mountain, New Mexico

The Decalogue Stone

At the base of the mountain is the Decalogue Stone in the old Phoenician/Hebrew/Samaritan script. This huge stone sits in a ravine, at the entrance to a path leading to the top of the mountain. There is a striking similarity to the Samaritan Mezzuzot in which ancient Samaritans placed stone plaques inscribed with an abridged version of the Ten Commandments at the doorways to their dwellings. The Israel Museum has two such stone plaques labeled Samaritan Mezzuzot.

The Astronomical Petroglyph

At the rim of the mountain, is a petroglyph with identifiable constellations; Ursa Minor and Ursa Major, Draco, Virgo, etc. Unique aspects of the petroglyph are a solar eclipse between Virgo and Libra (see sketch) and a circles-dot near the constellation of Draco and Lyra. Dr. Louis Winkler, an astronomer analyzed the petroglyph and stated that the two concentric circles with a dot placed at the north ecliptic pole indicated a knowledge of precession.

Dr. Winkler also analyzed the solar eclipse and stated that the depiction of the solar eclipse from Hidden Mountain, New Mexico took place on Sept. 15, 107 BCE (Gregorian) and was at 5:03 PM Local Standard Time at an elevation of 13 degrees above the horizon. Dr. Winkler’s software (Albug) shows the eclipse in Virgo near Libra. Using the Julian calendar, the eclipse is dated to Sept. 18, 107 BCE which correlates remarkably to the Hebrew calendar date of Elul 28, 3654. Elul 28 is the Hebrew month and day preceding the sacred day of Tishri I and the first day of the seventh month (Leviticus 23:24) later observed as the New Year (Rosh Hashanah). (See table of eclipse dates.)

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The remarkable message depicted on a rock on the rum of Hidden Mountain shows a sophisticated understanding of astronomical data and observation of an event at an auspicious time in the year 107 BCE, which marked the eve of the day of an ancient observance of the Hebrew calendar.

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Two Warrens Researching in South America

by, Warren W Dexter

Originally published in The Midwestern Epigraphic Journal


[Editor’s Note: In MEJ 17(1) we celebrated the distin-guished photographic career of Warren W Dexter. I worked on his writeup first because I had the privelage of visiting with him. His earlier work, however, was a team effort with out present honoree Dr Warren L Cook. Despite his ad-vanced age, Mr Dexter was thrilled to contribute this piece remembering their great trip to Ecuador and Peri in 1981. See the article in ESOP 11(2), 216-230 (1983) for Cook’s report (reprinted in this volume). Also, see WW Dexter in ESOP 20, 212-223 (1992).]


After considerable discussion and planning, Dr. Warren L. Cook and Warren W. Dexter took off from the Rutland airport in Vermont on the 13th of June 1981. We were headed for Guadaquil, Ecuador in South America, ostensibly to research an ancient artifact collection accumulated by Father Carlo Crespi and a few other sources.

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Arriving late at Guadaquil, we took a taxi to the Humboldt Hotel where we spent a short night. In the morning our breakfast was in the bar where I discovered a large 8 ft. tall phallic stone upon which were growing several orchids. Across the room was a large earthen ceramic jar in which a mummified figure was incarcerated. I thought it was inter-esting use of symbols for the beginning and the end. Thus started our research trip into the remains of the ancient cultures of Ecuador and Peru.

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