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Ancient Revelations:

 The Bat Creek Stone

The inscription of a Judean fleeing the AD70 desolation found in Tennessee?

JIM DAVILA: NEW WORLD HEBREW FORGERIES have been getting some unfortunate media attention lately. For some reason the Los Lunas "Mystery Stone" forgery in New Mexico is given gullible positive coverage by Digital Journal. Also, a visit to the stone is chronicled much more sensibly in Mama Dragon, in which post the burning bush is repeatedly addressed as "dude."*

Note also Glenn Beck's recent foray back into Hebrew studies with a segment on the Bat Creek Stone. The Bat Creek stone inscription was also debunked back in 1993 in the July/August issue of Biblical Archaeology Review by P. Kyle McCarter, supporting earlier conclusions by Frank Moore Cross. (Not online. Sorry.) Cross and McCarter are two of the most distinguished living Northwest Semitic epigraphers. (Full disclosure: Cross supervised my doctoral dissertation.) Both the paleography (letter shapes) of the letters that look like Hebrew and the content (the apparent geographical name Yehud) do not work for Second Temple Hebrew (or, in combination, any other kind).

Beck also mentioned the Newark Stones, which are clearly not actually Second Temple Hebrew inscriptions, although it has been argued that they are medieval Jewish relics that were salted into the digs where they were discovered. At least the residents of Newark were pleased with Beck's mention of the stones:

NEWARK -- The day after the Newark Earthworks were mentioned by television and radio host Glenn Beck on FOX News, there was an increase in visitors at the Great Circle.

"Our phones are ringing off the hook," said Susan Fryer, executive director of the Greater Licking County Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is housed at the Great Circle in Newark.

"So far we've had about 34 visitors today, and about one-third of those are here because they saw it on Glenn Beck," Fryer said mid-afternoon Thursday.

Many of the visitors, Fryer said, were from Ohio and had thought about visiting but never did until they saw the program.

*Via James McGrath on FB.


The Batcreek Stone

Surely Hebrew, but Masonic?

American archaeologists Robert C. Mainfort, Jr., and Mary L. Kwas have recently argued in American Antiquity (2004) that the inscription was copied from an illustration in an 1870 Masonic reference book, and is therefore clearly a nineteenth century forgery that must have been introduced by the Smithsonian field assistant who found it. The entry in question, an 1860s artist's impression of how the Biblical phrase QDSh LYHWH, or "Holy to Yahweh," would have looked in Paleo-Hebrew letters, is reproduced below:

Both inscriptions do contain two words, with the identical string LYHW- beginning the longer second word in both cases. However, the fifth letter of the second word is clearly different in the two cases. The Bat Creek word ends with a daleth, which also happens to be the second letter of the first word in the Masonic illustration, making the Bat Creek word "for Judea." The Masonic word ends with a second he, which makes it "for Yahweh" instead. The Bat Creek word also has the remnant of a sixth letter, presumably mem, that is completely absent from Macoy's illustration.

In fact it is not surprising that two Hebrew inscriptions would both contain the string LYHW-. The common prefix L- simply forms the dative case, indicating for, to, or belonging to the word that follows. The string YHW-, or Yahu-, the first three letters of the name YHWH or Yahweh of the Hebrew God, is a common theophoric component of Hebrew names. Judah or Yehud (YHWD in the Persian era, according to Gordon) is one such "Yahwist" name. A modern example of such a name is that of Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel from 1996-1999.

The January/February 2006 Biblical Archaeology Review happens to contain a photograph of a bulla (seal impression) that was recently excavated from Jersualem's City of David under the supervision of Hebrew University archaeologist Eilat Mazar. The inscription, in Old Hebrew letters closely related to those in the Macoy illustration, begins with the Masonic string LYHW- in the word LYHWKL, or "belonging to Yehucal" (Mazar 2006: 26). The second line actually contains the tell-tale string -YHW again, in the name of Yehucal's father, ShLMYHW or Shelemiyahu. However, the presence of the string LYHW- on both the Yehucal bulla and the Masonic illustration does not prove that the Mazar assistant who supposedly found the new bulla cribbed it from Macoy's book, but merely that this is a common component of Hebrew inscriptions. Likewise, the presence of this string on Bat Creek does not require it to have been copied from Macoy.

The shorter first words of the Bat Creek and Masonic inscriptions are also clearly different, the Bat Creek word having two letters and the Masonic word three. The distinctive W-like shin of the Biblical QDSh (Qedosh) is entirely missing on Bat Creek. The first letters of the two words do have essentially the same form, but are in fact different: In Macoy's illustration, this is clearly meant to be a qoph, but as such is not well made, since in Paleo-Hebrew it should have, in addition to a loop on the right, an arm to the left with an uptick at the end. This arm in fact appears on the second Bat Creek letter, which was consequently identified by Stieglitz as a qoph. Since this alternate form of Q is already present on Bat Creek, the first letter must be something different, and makes most sense as an inverted (rho-wise) resh, as originally proposed by Mertz. The second letter (D) on the Masonic inscription does look a little like the second letter (Q) on Bat Creek, but in fact there is already a D on Bat Creek, at the end of the second word, that looks nothing like the second Bat Creek letter. These are therefore different letters as well.

However, the most telling difference between the Bat Creek and Masonic inscriptions is in the different ways the two words are separated. Macoy's illustrator, who was undoubtedly working from a newly-available dictionary chart of Jewish War coinscript letters to transcribe standard Square Hebrew into the older alphabet, erroneously assumed that the words should be separated by a space, as in English or modern Hebrew. Bat Creek instead correctly uses a word divider. There is no way this subtle detail could have been copied from Macoy's illustration, even if the copyist threw in a few random changes to disguise his or her source.

If nothing else, the Masonic illustration newly discovered by Mainfort and Kwas does show that Bat Creek has an undeniable affinity to Paleo-Hebrew, and that this affinity should have been recognized already in 1889 by any competent student of antiquities. The fact that Thomas and subsequent American archaeologists failed to see this affinity until it was pointed out by Mertz, Ayoob and Gordon demonstrates their incompetence to adequately classify and evaluate ancient material. It does not, however, reflect on the Mound Survey's data-collecting abilities per se.

My reply to the new Mainfort and Kwas article, enumerating these and other considerations, was summarily rejected by American Antiquity as being "far outside the expertise and interests of the readership." It has nevertheless been accepted for publication in Pre-Columbiana, and a PDF of the draft is online at

The Bat Creek Stone

By Lowell Kird

"Old myths die hard."

     Not Long after I first came to Monroe County in 1969 to work at Hiwassee College several  people asked me about the Bat Creek Stone, of which I knew nothing. In 1974 I purchased 12 acres  of land on Bat Creek and built a house about 500 feet from the creek, where I still reside. As a  teacher of history, I have done a great deal of research on the Cherokee Indian. In 1988 I read an  article in the local paper that made a reference to the engraved Bat Creek Stone and Cyrus  Gordon’s theory that the was evidence that Hebrews were in Monroe County almost two thousand  years ago. A few weeks after that, as I was reading Sara Sands’ History of Monroe County, I ran  across the name of Luther Blackman. Blackman was a stone cutter and engraver who operated a  marble quarry and stone monument business on Bat Creek.

     Blackman was also the postmaster at Marble Hill on Bat Creek in 1857!  Suddenly, I made a  connection between the “engraved” Bat Creek Stone and Luther Blackman, the stone “engraver.”  Could there have been some connection between the two, I asked myself.  My first reaction was  that this must just be an interesting coincidence, that most likely Blackman was not around 32  years later when the stone was found.  But out of curiosity, I began to research the Bat Creek  stone.

     The Bat Creek Stone was reported to have been found in February, l889 in an Indian mound  near the mouth of Bat Creek.  John W. Emmert, a Confederate Civil War veteran, working for the  Smithsonian, claimed credit for finding the stone and immediately sent it to the Museum, in the  belief that the seven “letters” on the small stone were in the Cherokee language.  The stone was  catalogued and a picture and small reference to the stone appeared in a publication by Cyrus Thomas by l894.  Thomas, from Bristol, Tennessee, was directing the archeological for the  Smithsonian.  Since l960, Cyrus Gordon, a Hebrew scholar, and several other researchers have  attempted to prove the stone is evidence that Jews were in America almost 2000 years ago.

     My first interest in the story at that point was to prove to myself that the stone “engraver,”  Luther Blackman, could not have engraved that stone and focus my research efforts back to  Cherokee history.  However, I soon learned that Blackman lived in the area until his death in 1919!  My curiosity increased.  I began to consider the possibility that there was a connection between the  Bat Creek “engraved stone” and the Bat Creek stone “engraver.”  For the past ten years I have been on an  intellectual journey that has been intriguing, and absolutely fascinating!  I have come to  know Luther Blackman and his thoughts like an old friend, with much thanks to his  grand-daughter, Mrs. Glen Davis.  I have trudged through valleys and mountains of history that  involve Native Americans, Hebrews, Mormons, Melungeons, and Cherokee.  I have waded through  Civil War and Reconstruction, Mississippean Mound builders, the early history of the Smithsonian  Institute, President Grover Cleveland’s first administration and Benjamin Harrison’s election and  inauguration.  I delved deeply into the national political controversy between the Republican and  Democratic political parties in the late l9th century.  I have become familiar with the great  disruption caused by the Civil War and Reconstruction in East Tennessee and into and lots of Nineteenth Century Monroe County history.  I have uncovered many myths and myth builders,  and myth demolishers.  I followed many dead-end trails, and had to backtrack to the main trail  that led to the solution to the puzzle of the origin of the Bat Creek Stone.  And all along the way I made many new friends and acquaintances.

     The two primary players in this story of intrigue and mystery are Luther Meade Blackman and  John W. Emmert.  Blackman was an absolutely brilliant, highly educated man, Civil War officer  and prominent Republican who was much molded by his hatred of Rebels and Democrats.  Blackman was born in Connecticut and educated in Michigan.  He came to Knoxville 1855 as a  letterer and engraver for a monument company.  In l857 he moved to Bat Creek to operate a  monument business.  In l890, he was still in the monument business as well as being a Federal Claims Commissioner and leader of Monroe County Republicans.

     Emmert was a relatively uneducated, obscure former Confederate Army private from Bristol,  Tennessee and life-long Democrat who was employed in l884 by the Smithsonian to dig in Indian  mounds in what was a successful attempt to prove that the Mound builders were not descendants of  the lost Tribe of Israel.  That theory was the prevailing belief TN the Nineteenth Century.  Old  myths die hard.  There are many, including Mormons, who still cling to it.  Some of these believers  use the Bat Creek Stone to support their belief.

     Those who have believed the Bat Creek Stone to be a forgery of fraud, include Dr. Charles  Faulkner, anthropologist at the University of Tennessee and Jefferson Chapman, Director of the  U.T.  McClung Museum.  They believe that Emmert perpetrated the fraud.  My researches indicate  that Emmert himself, was a victim of the fraud, set up to send in a fraudulent engraved stone so he  would get fired, for the second time.

     Supporting players in my story John Wesley Powell, a key founder of the Smithsonian, and  Cyrus Thomas, who directed the archaeological work.  By l890, Thomas proved that the Mound¬  builders were Native Americans and not the Lost Tribe of Israel.  Like John W. Emmert, Cyrus Thomas was born and raised in Bristol.  Other supporting players include John P. Rogan,  “scoundrel” and cousin of Cyrus Thomas who lost his job with Thomas in l886 and became a  Bristol bookseller.  Others include L.C. Houk, from Sevier County, who controlled the Tennessee  state Republican political machine in the l880s, Grover Cleveland, President of the United States,  who in the spirit of the l883 Pendleton Act, tried to clean up the corruption in the U.S. Postal  Service and Pension Claims offices.  Blackman worked as a Pension Claims Agent from l870 to  l890.  However, President Cleveland allowed most Republican’s who held Federal patronage jobs  in East Tennessee to be replaced by Democrats by l886.  In l889, Republicans in East Tennessee  were out to get all Democrats fired from Federal jobs.

     As I was engaged in my Bat Creek Stone research, always in the back of my mind was the hope  that as I kept  pursuing this “mystery,” that I would find some concrete evidence that Blackman  was not involved, so that I could get my mind and time back on my Cherokee researches.  Not one  single piece of concrete evidence has excluded Blackman as the perpetrator of the Bat Creek Stone;  and virtually every avenue I have pursued has added evidence that Blackman engraved the stone.  He had the knowledge, skill, opportunity and extremely strong motive.  by a letter written by his  own hand, has proven himself to have been on the spot when the deed was done.  He was intimately familiar with the U.S. Department of the Interior, of which the Smithsonian was a part.  The  circumstantial evidence pointing to Blackman is overwhelming.

     The efforts of J. Juston McCulloch as published in a l988 article in the Tennessee  Anthropologist, “The Bat Creek Inscription:  Cherokee or Hebrew?”  includes a large number of  pieces of this puzzle.  But McCulloch has not put all of them together in the right place.  McCulloch is correct that the inscription is composed of ancient ”Hebrew” letters.  But Chapman  and Faulkner are correct in that the inscription is a skillful forgery done in the l9th Century!  McCulloch wrote, “If one insists on making the Bat Creek inscription a forgery, one could easily  find far more plausible culprits than Emmert.”  Although it has not been easy, I have done that!  What I have added to the puzzle is the man, the motive, the opportunity and the broad and  complicated outline or border of the puzzle.  it was the intricate and complicated was of a variety  of nineteenth century developments that make up this border.  When one stands back and looks at  all the center of the puzzle of the Bat Creek Stone.  And at the center is Major Luther Meade  Blackman.

     Blackman set John W. Emmert up to get him fired from his job by sending in a fake stone.  J. Emmert was a Democrat who had been hired after Grover Cleveland and the Democrats took  over the national government in l885.  Emmert was an old acquaintance of Cyrus Thomas.  Both were from Bristol, Tennessee.  emmert’s leg had been badly wounded in the Battle of Drury’s Bluff  in May of l864.  In l885 he was disabled and badly needed a job.  Although Republicans controlled  East Tennessee, Democrats controlled the Federal government and fired most Republicans in Fed¬  eral patronage jobs in East Tennessee after l885.  Emmert worked in Monroe county digging in  Indian mounds in l886-87 along the Little Tennessee River and at Tellico.  He also worked on  mounds at Cog Hill and the Hiwassee River mounds in McMinn County.  In l888 East Tennessee  Republicans got him fired from his job on the Democratic Senator from Tennessee and his  Republican friends in Bristol, President Grover Cleveland himself ordered an investigation in  Washington which cleared Emmert.  Emmert was rehired in January l889 and began digging again  in Monroe County at the mouth of Bat Creek.  During that time he resided in Morganton, just  across the river from the mouth of Bat Creek.

     When Emmert showed up in Luther Blackman’s back yard, Blackman was determined to get  the old Confederate Democrat fired again, this time young local teenage boys that Emmert had  hired to do the actual digging, as he was himself disabled.  They gave it to Emmert, who claimed to  have found it himself.  One of those teenage boys was Jim Lawson, son of Blackman’s neighbor.  I  suspect that Blackman’s own son, who was a blacksmith, also assisted in the l889 dig in the Bat  Creek Mounds.

     Once the engraved stone was in emmert’s hands, local Republicans tried to get Emmert to send  the stone to Knoxville to have it “translated.”  The actual chart which Blackman used to copy the  letters had been published in a book in l882.  According to the chart which Blackman used to carve  the stone, the translation would have read, reading from right to left as Hebrew was, “QM, LIES.”  QM referred to Blackman’s position as Quartermaster of the Fourth Tennessee Union Cavalry in  the Civil War.  Emmert, of course, immediately sent the stone to Cyrus Thomas, never allowing a local "translation".

     In l889 Blackman was the Monroe County leader of the L.C. Houk political machine in East  Tennessee.  The Houk machine controlled all Republican patronage in the First, Second and Third  Tennessee Congressional Districts.  One of the many complications to this puzzle was that the  Republicans in the First District (Chattanooga) were in the process of stripping the Houk political  machine in Knoxville of appointment power in their districts.  The Houk machine was made up of  old “Radicals” who were still engaging in “Bloody-Shirt” politics  and carrying on the political  aims of “Radical Reconstruction” politics.  Those First District Republicans had given support to  help Emmett get his job back after he had been fired in l887.  Blacken, by getting Emmett fired for  sending in a “fraudulent” stone, would also help discredit Hook’s enemies in the republican party  in East Tennessee.  That failed.  By l892, the Hook Machine and the old Radicals and their “Bloody  Shirt” politics were out of power.

     All of this was never exposed at the time for an obvious reason.  The stone was reported found  February l4, l889.  The Republican President Benjamin Harrison was inaugurated president on  March 4.  (Blacken went to the inauguration.)  Harrison immediately began the process of  removing all Democrats from Federal patronage jobs.  So Emmett was removed from his job,  without  the stone.  Syrups Thomas, who knew that stone was a fraud, simply “stonewalled by  putting it in a drawer at the Smithsonian and never mentioning it again.  If Thomas had made an  issue of it, that could have gotten him fired.  And so the stone lay undisturbed in the Smithsonian  until about l960, when Hebrew scholars have attempted to prove it a genuine 2000 year old artifact.

     The full outline of this story simply cannot be told in a short article.  But the primary point to be  remembered here, is that the Bat Creek Stone was a clever forgery, perpetrated for political  reasons.  If there were Hebrews in Monroe county 2000 years ago, they did not engrave the Bat  Creek Stone.  Luther Blackman did it in l889.


Tennessee Anthropologist
Vol. XVI, No. 1, Spring 1991
Robert C. Mainfort, Jr., and Mary L. Kwas
Reproduced with permission from The Tennessee Anthropologist

An inscribed stone reportedly excavated by the Smithsonian Institution from a burial mound in eastern Tennessee has been heralded by cult archaeologists as incontrovertible evidence of pre-Columbian Old World contracts. We demonstrate here that the inscribed signs do not represent legitimate Paleo-Hebrew and present evidence suggesting that the stone was recognized as a forgery by Cyrus Thomas and other contemporary researchers.

Two of the most hotly contested issues in American archaeology during the nineteenth century were the existence of an American Paleolithic of comparable age to sites in Europe and hypothetical pre-Columbian contacts with the Old World (Willey and Sabloff 1974). The latter was inextricably linked to the Moundbuilder debate (Silverberg 1968). Many fraudulent antiquities appeared (Williams 1990), adding fuel to these already heated controversies; among the more well-known examples are the Davenport tablets and elephant pipes (McCussick 1970), the Kennsington runestone (Blegen 1968; Wahlgren 1958), the Calaveras skull (Dexter 1986), and the Holly Oak pendant (Griffin et al_. 1988). Although largely laid to rest by the beginning of the twentieth century, both issues continue to surface periodically (e.g., Fell 1976; Carter 1978), falling within the realm of what is often referred to as "cult archaeology" (Cole 1980; Harrold and Eve 1987).

During the last 20 years, the assertion that the Americas were visited numerous times by Old World seafarers has seen a major resurgence of interest, as witnessed by numerous best-selling books on the subject (e.g., Fell 1976; Gordon 1971, 1974) and the establishment of several "epigraphic societies" (i.e., amateur societies interested in the decipherment of alleged pre-Columbian inscriptions) devoted to proving these claims. Although various stone structures are often presented as evidence of pre-Columbian contacts (e.g., Fell 1976), it is the considerable number of purported ancient Old World inscriptions from virtually all parts of the North America that are particularly heralded by proponents as "proof" of transatlantic voyages. Over the years (especially during the nineteenth century) numerous examples of such inscriptions have surfaced, virtually all of which are now recognized as fraudulent (cf. Peet 1890, 1892, 1895). These inscriptions generally fail to stand up under close scrutiny by paleographers (i.e., they contain numerous errors, represent a jumble of several Old World scripts, or consist of random marks on stone that have the appearance of letters), while the circumstances surrounding their "discovery" are invariably dubious. While few archaeologists would deny a priori the possibility of early voyages to the New World, the simple fact is that, with the exception of the Norse settlement at L'anse Meadows (Ingstad 1964), no convincing evidence for such occurrences has ever been found or recognized by professional researchers.

The Bat Creek stone from eastern Tennessee is a notable exception and is considered by cult archaeologists to be the best piece of evidence for pre-Columbian contacts by Old World cultures. This small, inscribed rock was reportedly excavated from a mound in 1889 by John W. Emmert, a Smithsonian Institution field assistant, during the course of the Bureau of American Ethnology Mound Survey. Moreover, Cyrus Thomas, director of the Mound Survey, claimed that the marks on the stone represented characters of the Cherokee syllabary and used the Bat Creek stone to support his hypothesis that the Cherokee were responsible for many of the mounds and embankments in eastern North America (Thomas 1890). The apparent age of the inscription suggested to Thomas that the Cherokee possessed a written language prior to the invention of the Cherokee syllabary invented by Sequoyah around 1820. However, Thomas (1890, 1894) never offered a translation of the inscription.

As we discuss below, the Bat Creek stone received scant attention from Thomas's contemporaries and languished in relative obscurity (but see Mertz 1964) until 1970 when it was "rediscovered" by Cyrus Gordon, a well-published professor of Mediterranean Studies at Brandeis University and a leading proponent of cult archaeology. Gordon claimed that by inverting the orientation of the stone relative to the published illustrations (i.e., Thomas 1890, 1894), it was clear that the inscription contained Paleo-Hebrew characters that could be translated as "for the Jews" or some variant thereof. Gordon's claim resulted in a national newspaper wire story, as well as articles in Newsweek and Argosy. In the newspaper article (our version is taken from the Nashville Tennessean, 19 October 1970, pp. 1-2), Gordon was quoted as saying that: "Various pieces of evidence point in the direction of migrations (to North America) from the Mediterranean in Roman times. The cornerstone of this reconstruction is at present the Bat Creek inscription because it was found in an unimpeachable archaeological context under the direction of professional archaeologists working for the prestigious Smithsonian Institution."

Gordon, whose scholarly credentials are certainly impressive, is an archetypical example of what Williams (1988a) has referred to as "rogue professors." Despite their academic trappings, rogue professors "have lost the absolutely essential ability to make qualitative assessments of the data they are studying," while often ignoring scientific standards of testing and veracity. Lacking the critical standard of most scholars, rogue professors "have the opportunity to rogue or defraud the public..." (Williams 1988a:20). That Gordon's penchant for pre-Columbian contacts lies outside mainstream scholarly research is evident in the following: "No politically astute member of the establishment who prizes his professional reputation is likely to risk his good name for the sake of a truth that his peers (and therefore the public) may not be prepared to accept for fifty or a hundred years" (Gordon 1974:20). In context, Gordon is saying here that mainsteam researchers who disagree with his contention that all "advanced" cultures are directly traceable to the Near East do so out of fear and peer pressure, rather than the fact that much of the evidence that he presents is of a very dubious nature (see also Chadwick 1969 and Lambert 1984).

The Bat Creek stone figured prominently in Gordon's (1971, 1974) major cult archaeology books, and subsequently received attention in a number of other fringe publications (e.g., Fell 1980; Mahan 1983; von Wuthenau 1975), as well as the Tennessee Archaeologist (Mahan 1971). In 1988, the stone was the subject of a Tennessee Anthropologist article by J. Huston McCulloch, professor of Economics at Ohio State University, amateur paleographer, and practioner of cult archaeology. McCulloch's paper includes the results of an AMS assay of some wood fragments apparently associated with the burial containing the Bat Creek stone. The sample returned a calibrated radiocarbon age of A.D. 32 (427) 769 (McCulloch 1988; the age range was reported at two sigma), which is claimed to "rule out the possibility of modern origin" for the inscription (McCulloch 1988:116).
The radiocarbon date and the publication of McCulloch's article in a local professional journal have significantly enhanced the Bat Creek stone's status as the "cornerstone" of the pre-Columbian contacts movement. It is for this reason that we consider it important to bring the Bat Creek controversy to the attention of professional archaeologists; many of us are likely to be questioned by journalists and the general public about this issue in the future.
The Bat Creek Stone

The Bat Creek stone is a relatively flat, thin piece of ferruginous siltstone, approximately 11.4 cm long and 5.1 cm wide. Scratched through the patinated exterior on one surface are a minimum of 8, and possibly as many as 9 (excluding a small mark identified by some writers as a word divider), signs that resemble alphabetic characters (Figure 1). Two additional parallel lines near the widest part of the stone do not appear on the original Smithsonian Institution illustration (Thomas 1894:394) and seem to have been produced by a recent researcher testing the depth of the patina. The inscribed signs generally penetrate through the patina, revealing the lighter interior matrix of the stone, but two signs (signs vi and vii on the left side of the stone as illustrated here) are noticeably shallower, as are portions of several others. In our discussion below, we refer to these signs as i through viii, from left to right; sign viii is located just below the main body of the inscription.

Context of the Find
The Bat Creek mounds (40LD24) were located near the confluence of Bat Creek and the Little Tennessee River in Loudon County, Tennessee. The largest of these, Mound 1, was located on the east side of the creek. Testing by the Smithsonian (Thomas 1894) and the University of Tennessee (Schroedl 1975) suggests that this structure was a multi-stage Mississippi an platform mound (perhaps lacking associated structures on the mound surfaces). Underlying the earthwork were a number of early Mississippian features. Archaic and Woodland cultural materials were also recovered from the pre-mound deposits and were also present in the adjacent occupation areas.
Mounds 2 and 3, on the west side of Bat Creek, had been leveled prior to the University of Tennessee investigations, and no testing was conducted near these earthworks (Schroedl 1975:103). Mound 2 was a burial mound approximately 3 m tall and 13 m in diameter. The earthwork was reportedly constructed over a limestone slab "vault" containing 16 individuals; a necklace of "many small
shells and large shell beads" was associated with one interment (Thomas 1894). Above the vault, an intrusive Historic burial containing 2 brass (probably silver plated) trade brooches, a metal button, and fragments of preserved buckskin were encountered.

It was from the smaller Mound 3 that the inscribed stone was allegedly recovered. This earthwork "was composed throughout, except about the skeletons at the bottom, of hard red clay, without any indications of stratification." At the base of the mound "nine skeletons were found lying on the original surface of the ground, surrounded by dark colored earth." This description suggests that the mound was constructed on top of an occupation midden or old humus zone. Artifacts were associated with only one of the 9 extended interments. Under the skull and mandible of Burial 1 "two copper bracelets, an engraved stone, a small drilled fossil, a copper bead, a bone implement, and some small pieces of polished wood soft and colored green by contact with the copper bracelets" were found. "The engraved stone lay partially under the back part of the skull..." (Thomas 1894:393).

The Bat Creek stone (Catalogue No. 134902, Department of Anthropology, Smithsonian Institution). Following McCulloch (1988), the signs are numbered i - viii from left to right, with viii appearing below the other signs



The Characters
The potential significance of the Bat Creek stone rests primarily on the decipherment of the 8 characters inscribed upon it. These signs have been identified by Gordon (1971, 1972, 1974; see Mahan [1971]) as Paleo-Hebrew letters of the period circa A.D. 100; McCulloch (1988) suggests the first century A.D. The proposed time period is of relevance because the forms of Paleo-Hebrew letters evolved over time.
We present below an assessment of the individual signs on the stone. Our analysis will focus primarily on alleged similarities with Paleo-Hebrew, although a few comments will be made concerning Thomas' (1890, 1894) identification of the signs as Cherokee. Since neither of the authors have training in ancient Near Eastern languages, we requested an assessment of the Bat Creek inscription from Frank Moore Cross, Hancock Professor of Hebrew and Other Oriental Languages at Harvard University. Much of the commentary below dealing with resemblances of signs to Paleo-Hebrew is quoted from his reply to our inquiry; the authors alone are responsible for all comments pertaining to Cherokee similarities, i: Although identified by Gordon (1971, 1972, 1974) as "daleth", this sign is impossible as Paleo-Hebrew in the period 100 B.C.-A.D. 100, based on shape and stance. There is a vague resemblance to the Cherokee "se", as noted by McCulloch (1988:87).

ii: Identified by Gordon as "waw", this sign is also impossible as Paleo-Hebrew in the period 100 B.C.-A.D. 100, based on shape and stance. McCulloch (1988) identifies sign ii as "waw" based partially on a fourth century B.C. text. Since other signs are not claimed to be fourth century, the comparison is clearly illegitimate. The sign is quite similar to the Cherokee "ga" regardless of the orientation of the stone.

iii: This sign is impossible as Paleo-Hebrew in the period 100 B.C.-A.D. 100 based on the shape and stance; Gordon identifies this sign as "he." If reversed, the sign would represent a passable Cherokee "gun."

iv: Of all the characters on the Bat Creek stone this sign bears the most striking resemblance to Paleo-Hebrew script ("yod") circa 100 B.C.-A.D. 100 (but not the second century of the Christian era).

v: Despite problems with its relative size, this sign is normal for Paleo-Hebrew script ("lamed") between 100 B.C. and A.D. 100, but not for the second century C.E.

vi: We agree with the assessment by Gordon (Mahan 1971:43) that this sign is "not in the Canaanite system." In subsequent publications, Gordon (1971:186, 1972:10-12) referred to this sign as "problematic," and more recently (Gordon 1974) did not mention sign vi in his discussion of the Bat Creek stone. The sign is impossible for Paleo-Hebrew.

vii: Our comments pertaining to sign vi apply in toto here as well. In the illustration orientation, this sign resembles the Cherokee "tlun:; inverted, it is somewhat similar to a reversed "si."

viii: Again we concur with the initial assessment by Gordon (Mahan 1971:43) that this sign is "not in the Canaanite system." The sign is impossible for Paleo-Hebrew. Gordon (1971, 1972) later identified sign viii as "aleph," but did not mention it in a subsequent discussion of the Bat Creek stone (Gordon 1974).

As a strong advocate of pre-Columbian contacts between the Mediterranean region and the New World, Gordon's (1971, 1972, 1974) interpretation of the Bat Creek inscription could justifiably be criticized on the grounds that his zeal to make a case for the radiation of higher culture from a single Near Eastern center caused him to relax the disciplines of historical linguistics, paleography, and historical orthography. Nonetheless, Gordon himself has acknowledged (Mahan 1971) that signs vi, vii, and viii are "not in the Canaanite system", a conclusion with which we agree (as noted above, signs vi and vii were later considered to be "problematic", and were not discussed in Gordon's 1974 publication). Ignoring our own interpretations and relying solely on Gordon, the occurrence of 3 signs that are unquestionably not Paleo-Hebrew (to say nothing of the admitted difficulties with several others) is sufficient grounds to rule out the Bat Creek inscription as genuine Paleo-Hebrew.

Curiously, while urging readers to "seek out the views of qualified... scholars" about the signs on the Bat Creek stone, McCulloch (1988), an amateur epigrapher, offers interpretations of three signs (vi, vii, and viii) that contradict the published assessments of one of the stone's most outspoken proponents (Cyrus Gordon, a published Near Eastern language specialist), implying that despite his own lack of expertise in Paleo-Hebrew, McCulloch considers his own opinion to be as valid as those of specialists in the field.

Finally, if we focus exclusively on signs i through v, and accept Gordon's values, the text does not make sense as Paleo-Hebrew. There may be a broken sign on the left edge of the stone. It cannot be yod (cf. sign iv) or he_ (cf. sign iii), so to read lyhwdh or 1 yhwdym ("for Judea" or "for the Jews"), as advocated by Gordon (1971, 1972, 1974), is impossible (note that Hebrew is read from right to left). To read lyhwdm is also impossible on two grounds. The broken sign cannot be mem in the designated period and even if it could, it would not be the spelling used after the sixth century B.C. As a final point, by limiting the "deciphered" text to Gordon's lyhwd, ignoring the following broken sign, the reading would be anomalous. In Paleo-Hebrew, Judah (Judea) is spelled yhwdh, not yhwd. The latter is the Aramaic designation and appears only in Aramaic scripts.

Although the authors have no formal training in the Cherokee syllabary (nor do cult archaeology writers such as Gordon and McCulloch), it seems necessary to
make a few comments about Cyrus Thomas' (1890:35) claim that "...some of the characters, if not all, are letters of the Cherokee alphabet" and later (1894:393) that "...the engraved characters... are beyond question letters of the Cherokee alphabet..." In the only published analysis of the Bat Creek inscription as Cherokee, McCulloch (1988) makes a reasonable case for his contention that several signs are impossible for Cherokee and that the inscription is not translateable as Cherokee. Since, as discussed below, no contemporary Cherokee authorities seem to have regarded the inscription as genuine, McCulloch's conclusion does not represent a significant new interpretation.

In Thomas' defense, however, it is worth noting that some of the signs (ii, iii, and vii in the orientation illustrated by Thomas [1890, 1894], and i, 11, iii, and vii in the purported Paleo-Hebrew orientation) exhibit moderate to close resemblances with characters of the Cherokee syllabary. Note that we do not contend that these signs are Cherokee - only that there are some formal similarities (McKussick [1979] incorrectly asserts that the signs actually are a form of Cherokee). Hence, Thomas's interpretation, although incorrect, at least had some basis.

The Brass Bracelets
The C-shaped brass bracelets that were apparently found under the skull or mandible of Burial 1 (Thomas 1894:393) have been cited by some cult archaeology writers as additional evidence of pre-Columbian contacts and thus supporting their claims of authenticity for the Bat Creek stone (e.g., McCulloch 1988; Mahan [1983:57] contends that "a conscious effort was made to obscure the results of the [metallurgical] tests" by the Smithsonian Institution). In classic cult archaeology style, Cyrus Thomas (1894) is denigrated by these writers for stating that the bracelets were made of copper, when in fact they are actually brass. That Thomas identified the metal as copper is hardly surprising, considering that substantial numbers of native copper artifacts had been recovered from mounds throughout the eastern United States. Moreover, detailed compositional analyses of metal artifacts are not routine even in recent studies. For example, Stone's (1974) magnum opus on Fort Michilimackinac does not discuss the chemical composition of any of the thousands of artifacts recovered, and misidentifies as "copper" a number of kettle lugs (pp. 172-173) that are in all probability brass (cf. Mainfort 1979:357-359).

Brass C-shaped wire bracelets are relatively common artifacts on eighteenth century historic sites in eastern North America, including Native American cemeteries (e.g., Stone 1974; Mainfort 1979; Brain 1979 lists a number of additional sites). They were typically formed by bending sections of relatively heavy brass wire into a "C" shape. The specimens from Bat Creek (Figure 2), however, exhibit a seam and a hollow core indicating that they were wrought, rather than cut from brass wire. In this respect, they appear to be similar to the heavier brass bracelets found with the "Tunica Treasure" (Brain 1979:193-194).

The brass used to form the bracelets from Bat Creek contains 66.5 - 68.2 percent copper and 26.5 - 27.5 percent zinc. This ratio of copper to zinc is
typical of brasses formed by the cementation process, which was discovered during the last centuries B.C. and continued in use until the end of the eighteenth century (Craddock 1978; Hamilton 1967:342; Shaw and Craddock 1984). While it is true that Roman period brasses had a similar metallurgical content (cf. McCulloch 1988), virtually identical brasses were produced in England during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (Day 1973; Shaw and Craddock 1984).

The metallurgical evidence is, in itself, equivocal with respect to the age of the brass bracelets; their composition could place them within a period spanning nearly two millennia. Specimens similar (albeit not necessarily identical) to the Bat Creek bracelets are we! 1-documented from eighteenth century sites in North America. Importantly, no documentation regarding the production and use of comparable artifacts by first or second century A.D. Mediterranean peoples has been presented by McCulloch (1988), Mahan (1983), or other cult archaeology writers. Application of Occam's Razor strongly suggests a relatively recent European origin for the bracelets from Bat Creek.

The Radiocarbon Date
As noted above, the Bat Creek stone has recently been cast into greater prominence as a result of an AMS radiocarbon determination. A calibrated date of A.D. 32 (427) 769 (1605 ± 170 B.P.) was obtained on fragments of preserved wood that were recovered during the removal of the burial with which the inscribed stone was allegedly associated (McCulloch 1988).

Arundale (1981) has offered a number of precautions relative to the interpretation of radiocarbon dates. Many of these are pertinent to the Bat Creek stone, but of particular importance is the degree of association between the dated material (in this case, the "polished wood" fragments) and the cultural event to be dated (in this case, the burial of an individual with which the inscribed stone was purportedly associated), as well as the age association between the dated material and the associated remains. In the case of the former, the primitive excavation and recording techniques employed render the certainty of association between the wood fragments, the inscribed stone, and the skeletal remains indeterminant (or at best very tenuous). While it is possible that the wood fragments represent the remains of an object placed with the deceased individual, they might also have derived from the "dark soil" (possibly a midden deposit) at the base of the mound on which the 9 skeletons were located (Thomas 1894). Similarly, the age differential class between the wood and the burial (or the stone itself) is not precisely known. Furthermore, in his field notes, John Emmert mentions the presence of "wet and muddy" soil at the base of the mound (the level at which the burials were found), which raises the possibility of contamination from groundwater.

While it is possible that the recent AMS determination accurately dates the burial, McCulloch s claim that the date "rules out the possibility of a modern origin for either the inscription or the bracelets" (1988:116) is not only erroneous, but also represents a characteristic, non-skeptical, cult archaeology assertion about a topic in which he has no expertise. Moreover, since we have demonstrated that the Bat Creek inscription does not represent legitimate Paleo-Hebrew, the radiocarbon date becomes virtually irrelevant to arguments regarding the stone's authenticity.

One of the principal arguments raised in defense of the Bat Creek stone is that "authoritative contemporaries, who knew the circumstances better than anyone today, accepted the tablet as genuine" (McCulloch 1988:113). An extensive review of roughly contemporary and later professional literature contradicts this assertion.

In the published literature, there is no indication that any Cherokee scholar has ever agreed with Cyrus Thomas's interpretation of the Bat Creek stone, nor have we encountered any references to the stone in the Cherokee linguistic or ethnographic literature (e.g., Mooney 1892, as well as examples noted below). Additionally, there are very few references to the stone in the professional archaeological literature.

Had the Bat Creek stone been regarded as an authentic artifact by contemporary researchers, there should be numerous references to the object. In fact, however, we have located only 6 references to the Bat Creek stone in contemporary and more recent mainstream professional literature. Two of these are Thomas's (1890, 1894) own publications, as cited earlier. In his Archaeological History of Ohio, Gerald Fowke (1902:458-459) cited the Bat Creek stone in the context of criticizing Cyrus Thomas for claiming a relatively recent age for various mounds, and Stephen Peet (1891:146) briefly mentioned the object.

Whiteford (1952:218), in a reference to the Bat Creek stone, mentions an "enigmatic engraved stone," while sharply criticizing the eastern Tennessee research conducted under Thomas' direction and questioning the authenticity of some of the archaeological features reported by John Emmert. Finally, McKussick (1970) attempted to rebutt the Paleo-Hebrew claims of Gordon and others, mistakenly asserting that the Bat Creek inscription was, in fact, a form of Cherokee.

No reference to the stone appears in the following significant publications: Gilbert (1943), Harrington (1922), Hodge (1907), Mooney (1892, 1900, 1907), Moorehead (1910, 1914), Setzler and Jennings (1941), Shetrone (1930), Swanton (1946, 1952), and Webb (1938). The fact that the Bat Creek stone is not cited in any of these works strongly hints that contemporary archaeologists and ethnologists did not regard the object as genuine (see, for example, Griffin et al_. 1988).

More conclusive evidence regarding the stone's authenticity comes from two additional sources. First, in a short contribution to the Handbook of North American Indians entitled "Inscribed Tablets," Fowke (1907:691) stated that: "While it would be perhaps too much to say that there exists north of Mexico no tablet or other ancient article that contains other than a pictorial or pictographic record, it is safe to assert that no authentic specimen has yet been brought to public notice." Fowke did not make this statement out of ignorance of the Bat Creek stone's existence, because not only had he extensively studied the lithic material recovered by the mound survey (Fowke 1896), but also mentioned the stone in one of his own publications (1902).

Even more telling is the fact that Cyrus Thomas himself did not discuss the Bat Creek stone in his later substantive publications (1898, 1903, 1905 [with WJ McGee]). Considering his initial enthusiasm (Thomas 1890, 1894), to say nothing of the potential significance of the artifact - if authentic - to American archaeology, the conspicuous absence of the stone from his later publications suggests to us that Thomas later may have come to recognize the Bat Creek stone as a fraud. This possibility is certainly suggested by the following:

"Another fact that should be borne in mind by the student is the danger of basing conclusions on abnormal objects, or on one or two unusual types. Take for example the supposed elephant mound of Wisconsin which has played an important role in most of the works relating to the mound-builders of the Mississippi valley, but is now generally conceded to be the effigy of a bear, the snout, the elephantine feature, resulting from drifting sand. Stones bearing inscriptions in Hebrew or other Old World characters have at last been banished from the list of prehistoric relics. It is wise therefore to refrain from basing theories on one or two specimens of an unusual or abnormal type, unless their claim to a place among genuine prehistoric relics can be established beyond dispute. It is unfortunate that many of the important articles found in the best museums of our country are without a history that will justify their acceptance, without doubt, as genuine antiquities. It is safe therefore to base important conclusions only on monuments in reference to which there is no doubt, and on articles whose history, as regards the finding, is fully known, except where the type is well established from genuine antiquities. One of the best recent works on ancient America is flawed to some extent by want of this precaution. Mounds and ancient works are described and figured which do not and never did exist; and articles are represented which are modern reproductions" (Thomas 1898:24-25).

We believe that the "best recent work" alluded to by Thomas is his own final report on mound explorations (1894), and that the "articles whose history... is fully known" is a reference to the alleged discovery of the Bat Creek stone. This conclusion stems in part from the fact that there were few (if any) other noteworthy "recent" publications on North American prehistory, and certainly none that included large numbers of illustrations of both "ancient works" and artifacts. Moreover, Cyrus Thomas was never shy about naming names, whether by way of praise or criticism. Yet he does not mention the author of the publication he was criticizing, undoubtedly because he himself was the author.

This of course begs the question of why Thomas did not admit to the failings of his magnum opus in a more direct manner. With respect to the Bat Creek stone, which we have now demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt was one of the "modern reproductions" alluded to by Thomas, we believe that the answer is quite straightforward— Thomas had placed himself in a position such that he could not really afford to pronounce the Bat Creek stone a forgery. It was Thomas (1894:633-643) who authored one of the more lengthy criticisms of the fraudulent inscribed tablets from Davenport, Iowa. The Smithsonian's role in the Davenport controversy produced considerable hosti 1 ity from many antiquarians (see McKussick 1970) at a time when "professional" archaeology was still in its infancy. Thomas (1894:642) rightly challenged the authenticity of the Davenport tablets in part

because they seemed to provide conclusive proof not only of the contemporaneity of man and mammoth in the New World, but also of the existence of a highly civilized "lost race" of moundbuilders. Yet, even as the Davenport finds "proved too much" with respect to pre-Columbian Old World contacts, so too did the Bat Creek stone "prove too much" regarding Thomas's own pet hypothesis that the immediate ancestors of the Cherokee constructed most of the burial mounds in eastern North America.
Having presented certain evidence that suggests that not only contemporary archaeologists and anthropologists, but also Cyrus Thomas himself, did not consider the Bat Creek stone to be authentic, we feel compelled to address the question: "Who was the forger and what were his motives?" Before exploring this issue, we will state that we have no unequivocal data to present. That is, we are not aware of written admissions of guilt. Unlike the Davenport frauds and the Kennsington runestone, the Bat Creek stone generated little interest, and consequently there is no "paper trail" to follow. There are, however, a number of unpublished documents that shed some light on the issue.

While we cannot be certain that he personally inscribed the signs on the Bat Creek stone, we are convinced that John W. Emmert was responsible for the forgery. Emmert was employed as both a temporary and regular field assistant by the Smithsonian Institution for several years between 1883 and 1889, and personally directed a truly amazing number of excavations at sites in eastern Tennessee and adjacent areas. Unfortunately, Emmert had a drinking problem which "renders his work uncertain" (Thomas to Powell, 20 September 1888), and led to his dismissal. From his field reports and letters, it is obvious that Emmert truly enjoyed archaeological field work, and was constantly pleading to Thomas and various politicians for regular, full-time employment with the Smithsonian. In a letter to Cyrus Thomas dated 19 December 1888, Emmert stated that "I have kept up a constant study of the mounds and who built them and should I ever have the opportunity of exploring them again I can certainly give you greater satisfaction than I ever did before... I have just received and read your Burial Mounds (i.e., "Burial Mounds in the Northern Sections of the United States" in B.A.E. 5th Annual Report - authors) and I certainly agree with you that the Cherokees were Mound Builders, in fact there is not a doubt in my mind about it."

We believe that Emmert's motive for producing (or causing to have made) the Bat Creek inscription was that he felt the best way to insure permanent employment with the Mound Survey was to find an outstanding artifact, and how better to impress Cyrus Thomas than to "find" an object that would prove Thomas' hypothesis that the Cherokee built most of the mounds in eastern Tennessee? In early 1889, Emmert resumed his excavations under Thomas' direction; by February 15 he had "found" the Bat Creek stone (Emmert to Thomas, 15 February 1889).

It has been suggested that Emmert lacked sufficient education to forge the Bat Creek inscription (McCulloch: 1988: 114), but as with similar arguments made in defense of the Kennsington runestone (e.g., Gordon 1974:30), this assertion is not valid. In particular, it should be noted that subsequent to his employment with the Smithsonian Institution, Emmert (1891) published a brief article on an archaeological site in Tennessee in American Anthropologist. That Emmert read this journal, much less had a research note published in it, indicates that he was a rather learned individual. Also relevant here is the

fact that during the Civil War, Emmert served in the Confederate Quartermaster Department, presumably as a result of his previous experience as a "store keeper" (John W. Emmert, Compiled Service Record, M268/346, National Archives). This again suggests that Emmert was certainly not an ignorant man. As to the specific signs on the Bat Creek stone, several are passable Cherokee, and the inspiration for the remainder could have been any number of published sources, including illustrations of the Grave Creek stone and the Davenport tablets.

McCulloch (1988) also suggests that if Emmert "was not above fabricating evidence" (i.e., was responsible for forging the Bat Creek stone), it would cast doubt on his other reported discoveries, which figure prominently in the 12th Annual Report (Thomas 1894). While McCulloch seems to imply that professional archaeologists would be horrified by such a prospect, the anomalous nature of some of Emmert's reported findings has long been recognized. Whiteford (1952:207-225) summarizes some of these:

"It is impossible to use the data presented by Thomas in the Twelfth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology with any conviction that they present a complete or even, in some cases, an accurate picture of the material which Emmert excavated in the Tennessee Area" (1952:217)...

"Mound No. 3 at Bat Creek is also rather similar (to Woodland mounds -authors) but apparently possessed non-typical traits such as copper ornaments and enigmatic engraved stone" (1952:218)... "The relationships and cultural significance of much of the material excavated by the earlier archaeologists in this area can be explained in light of recent and intensive investigations, but some of the phenomena uncovered by Emmert has never been duplicated. Nothing resembling the mass bundle burials which he found on Long Island in Roane County and on the McGhee Farm in Monroe County has been recovered in more recent work. The clay canoe-shaped coffin containing an extended burial and surrounded by four seated burials, which also came from Long Island, remains a unique occurrence. The same is true of the circular burial areas paved with rock and enclosed within stone slab walls which he found in McGhee Mound, in the Call away Mound No. 2, in the Bat Creek Mound, and on the Blankenship Place."

"Thomas also reports enclosed burial areas, vaguely similar to those described above, from Sullivan County. To our knowledge no recent investigation has uncovered anything resembling the stone domed vaults or 'stone hives' which he describes" (1952:218-219).

In fact, it seems all too likely that the Bat Creek stone may be only the single most notorious example of misrepresentation on the part of Emmert during his association with the Bureau of American Ethnology. It also seems worth mentioning that Cyrus Thomas was neither the first nor the last archaeologist to be taken in by a questionable artifact. For example, Frederic W. Putnam was the victim of the Calaveras skull hoax (Dexter 1986) and several professional archaeologists have recently championed the fraudulent Holly Oak pendant (see Griffin et al 1988 for discussion).


Concluding Remarks
The Bat Creek stone, allegedly found in an undisturbed burial mound by an employee of the Smithsonian Institution, has been heralded by cult archaeologists as proof of pre-Columbian visitations to the New World by Mediterranean peoples. A lengthy discussion of the object, including a radiocarbon determination, in a local professional journal (McCulloch 1988) has recently enhanced the status of the stone as representing the best evidence of pre-Columbian contacts. In this paper we have addressed three key issues surrounding the Bat Creek stone and its interpretation. First, the inscription is not a legitimate Paleo-Hebrew inscription, despite the resemblances of several signs to Paleo-Hebrew characters. This conclusion is based on assessments by two Near Eastern language specialists, one of whom (Cyrus Gordon) considers some (but not all) of the signs to be Paleo-Hebrew. Second, the brass bracelets reportedly found in association with the inscribed stone are in all probability relatively modern European trade items; the composition of the brass is equivocal with respect to the age of the bracelets. Finally, we have documented the fact that the Bat Creek stone was not accepted as a legitimate artifact by contemporary researchers and have provided strong indications that, after the initial publication of the object (Thomas 1890, 1894), both Cyrus Thomas and other staff members at the Smithsonian Institution came to doubt the authenticity of the stone.

Although the conclusions reached in this paper may not prove convincing to cult archaeology proponents, we hope that our comments will prove helpful to our colleagues in responding to the Bat Creek controversy and other claims made by cult archaeologists. Perhaps more important, we hope that our efforts here will influence some of our colleagues to take an active role in countering claims made by cult archaeologists and particularly in providing the general public with accessible information about the remarkable discoveries made by mainstream archaeology (see Williams 1987, 1988a, 1988b).

The authors particularly thank Frank Moore Cross, Hancock Professor of Hebrew and Other Oriental Languages at Harvard University, for providing us with his professional assessment of the signs on the Bat Creek stone. Jefferson Chapman, Director of the McClung Museum at the University of Tennessee, generously provided copies of unpublished reports and correspondence by and pertaining to John Emmert. Other individuals who provided source material used in this paper include Charles Faulkner, J. Houston McCulloch, Joseph B. Mahan, Michael Moore, and Stephen Williams. Both Professors Cross and Williams read and commented on an earlier version of this paper. Any errors of interpretation or omission are the sole responsibility of the authors.


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Date: 21 Jan 2010
Time: 10:17:54

Your Comments:

The enigma of the inscription on the Bat Creek stone has been solved by the Norwegian Dr. philos. Kjell Aartun. See "Studien zur ugaritischen Lexikographie. Mit kultur- und religionsgeschichtlichen Parallelen". Harrassowitz Verlag 2006.
Steinar Skailand, Norwegen

Date: 22 Apr 2010
Time: 10:02:22

Your Comments:

The engraving on the Bat Creek stone (Grave Creek
tablet) is in pure Etruscan, approx. 3000 years old.
"" "Sexual excited", o "Sister/Lover", is the
"intimate/reliable Friend";
certainly, ready, (o) "Beautiful and Chaste", is
the "Strong One".
The "Ardent", (o) "Mouth/Opening", (is) really,
"in sexual Excitement" brought;
certainly, the "Ardent" (is) "greedy/horney", (o)

(May) a "flabby Coward", o "Lover", the
"Greedy/Horny" become;
(may) (o) Womanly Virtue, the "intimate Friend",
be "destroyed/killed".
Mortally ill (is) the "Greedy/Demanding";
certainly, "weakened (is) the "Greedy/Horny".

Certainly, the "small Quantity" (is present), (O)
very Long";
certainly, the "Desired" (is present), (o) "Emperor". ""

This is a very short poem. The "first half" of it
seem to be lacking. Look for another small stone.


The full text of the following stones:
Loudon County
Spirit Pond (Map stone)
Grave creek tablet (Bat creek stone)
Kensington rune stone,
can be read in "Top Ten Viking Hoaxes".
Steinar Skailand

Date:     11 Nov 2010
Time:     15:37:23

Your Comments:

Bat Creek is a Fraud. Blackman did it. No doubt in my mind.

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