Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Encountering the Ancients

More photos below!

Video at Bottom of post!

Last week, the EIC Crew was invited to go along with Larry Stroud, Associate Editor of The Batesville Daily Guard, on an excursion he had organized to visit the sites of five notable stone inscriptions in Northern Arkansas. The expedition, dubbed "A Trip to FAR" (Five Arkansas Rocks) by author and archeological historian, Myron Paine, first traveled to Powhatan Courthouse in Lawrence County on Thursday to view the Powhatan Runestone. Also with the group was documentary filmmaker, Lee Pennington, of JoLe Productions and area history buffs, Charlie Berry and Steve Cargill. Freda Phillips of our Exploring Stone County site was also with us during the excursion.

The impressive runestone was found in the late 1970s near Lynn, Arkansas in a field above a sizable spring. After discovering the stone, the couple who found it, Cleamon and Elsie Nicholson, sketched the inscriptions and forwarded them to the President of the Epigraphic Society of Arlington, Massachusetts, Mr. Barry Fell, for study. Mr. Fell translated the runic inscriptions as follows:

"This Stone Ari cut for (his) Son Nikolas"

He suggested that the stone was a 500 year-old copy of a much earlier Viking grave stone. Our visit to the site where the runestone was found allowed the EIC Crew to offer a bit of insight that might support Mr. Fell's claim. Rick and I immediately noticed that surrounding the little knoll upon which the stone was discovered, were several ancient thong trees (see video below). Perhaps this was a sacred place revered by ancient Americans who came to honor the resting place of an important ancestor.

On Friday morning, having lost Freda and Steve, we set out to a place along Poke Bayou in Independence County to visit a very exciting site possibly created by a member of Hernando DeSoto's expedition during the 1540s. On a high ridge adjacent to Poke Bayou on a rock shelf, an insceription reads:

Ho dE Soto A D 1541

Note - The red "1" indicates an engraving that has sheered off from the rock face in recent years...possibly as a result of vandalism

The site is very exciting and offers one important piece of evidence to lend credibility to the authenticity of the carving. Another stone nearby has a series of holes drilled into it only a few inches apart. It is known that early Spanish explorers used aligned holes drilled into stones to mark directions or locations.

All of these sites were exciting for us to visit and we hope that our presence with the group helped add a little to the understanding of the study of Pre-Columbian Ancient American History. We encourage you to visit Myron's site as well as that of JoLe Productions to get an understanding of the approach both take to unusual monuments such as those we visited.

"A Trip to FAR" also visited several other sites Friday afternoon and Saturday after Rick and I had left the group. They include two important rock carvings that I hope we will one day get to visit and share with our readers.

Enjoy the photos!

Video Below!

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