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This morning, we ordered 5,500 seeds from cedar trees in Lebanon. During the winter, we will germinate and plant these seeds. Next year we hope to have hundreds, perhaps thousands, of seedlings that will surround the PHOENICIA in Montrose. In six years, we expect that hundreds of small Lebanon cedar trees will be about 4 feet tall and ready for replanting into a forest of more than ten acres. As we read the holy book, we are reminded of what these trees meant to the ancient world. There are 75 references in the Bible to the Cedars of Lebanon. Besides its extensive use in construction, cedars were used in Phoenician ships, Egyptian tombs, and King Solomon’s Temple. Its bark was used to treat leprosy and its heartwood was used to make healing essential oils.

In the next generation, the world’s oldest Phoenician ship replica will be on the west bank of the Mississippi River sorrounded by a forest cedars from Lebanon.

The replica ship of the PHOENICIA is made of wood and weighs approximately 40 tons. The hull of the ship is mostly intact. Last year in Florida tropical storms and electric outages severely damaged the vessel. The bilge pump in the hull did not work due to the outages. Water came in and she went down 8 feet to the bottom of the canal. The replacement of the lost parts for the ship’s deck will now require about 10 tons of newly cut lumber.

It’s clear what we’re going to do. Near to the Phoenicia Ship Museum in Iowa, there will be a large forest of Lebanese Cedars. We look forward to the day when hundreds of thousands of people will walk on the decks of the world’s only ancient Phoenician ship replica near the bank of the Mississippi River. Visitors will be surrounded by the wonderful aromas and meaningful textures of the cedars from Lebanon. The visitors will enjoy the natural beauty and magic of a forest of trees that come directly from the stories that they read in their Bible.

Tomorrow we will start a $10 per month fund raising campaign to pay for the forest of cedar trees in Zarahemla that from the lands of the Bible.

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Extension of Lease Agreement for the PHOENICIA

We signed the lease agreement for the Phoenicia Ship Museum yesterday. We intend to stay in the building for the next six years. As a result of this lease, we will be able to make improvements to the building and the surrounding area.

We are planting cedar seedlings that originate from Lebanon’s great forests. The seedlings will grow and after six years they will be ready to be replanted in a forest that will stand as a living witness to the connection between the old and new worlds.

It is with great joy that we bring back to life the time and place when Mulek’s people founded Zarahemla in a free and bountiful land.

463 11

Yuri and Vera on the PHOENICIA.

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Aug 24

Restoration of the Phoenician Ship in Montrose, Iowa

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HRG History — by Jay Mackley

The Heartland Research Group is a grassroots, boots-on-the-ground organization that believes that the historical narrative of the Book of Mormon took place in the Heartland of North America. The HRG is active in archaeological research and in the acquisition, restoration and display of ancient American artifacts. The HRG is currently preparing an ancient ship replica called the "Phoenicia" for display. The ships construction design is patterned after a shipwreck dating to 600 BC. The Phoenicia ship made modern voyages, first around Africa and then also from the Middle East to Florida in 2019 – proving that voyages around Africa or from Sidon to North America were feasible anciently.

Heartland Research Inc is a 501c3 private operating foundation for archaeological research and to complete preparations for the Phoenicia display. Current plans are for a museum large enough to house the Phoenicia ship and many other ancient artifacts and exhibits from North America. The location of the museum is planned to be in Zarahemla which is Lee County Iowa, near the Mississippi river and east of Nauvoo, Illinois.

Our activities are too many to list, but some recent major expeditions are listed below. Many of these expeditions are open-ended and we expect to continue research in these and other similar activities as time, resources, and volunteers become available. We have dozens of volunteers and hundreds of donors, large and small, but we need many more. Check out the websites listed below for details of Heartland Research Group projects. Our current project is is our biggest yet: to refurbish the Phoenicia ship for display.

Go to the Donation Page

We invite you to support our efforts so we can complete these worthy goals!
If you have skills or knowledge to contribute to our research and discovery projects, please contact us directly to volunteer.

  • What: Sonar scanning of Mississippi between Nauvoo and Keokuk. The purpose of the expedition was to discover a crossing route that ancient people could have taken.
  • Who: Heartland Research Inc volunteers.
  • Where: Between Keokuk and Nauvoo, Iowa.
  • How: Private donations of money, time and equipment.

  • What: Magnetic scanning of 221 acres of farmland near Montrose, Iowa. The purpose of the expedition was the discovery of fire-pits and other evidence of ancient occupation.
  • Who: Members of the Heartland Research Inc, local farmers, volunteers, plus technicians from German company SYNSYS. Signs of habitation were found with magnetometery scanning and then C14 dating.
  • Where: Near Montrose Iowa and between Montrose and Fort Madison Iowa.
  • How: Large and small donations of money, time and equipment.

  • What: A one week seminar in Fort Madison, Iowa with 25+ participants. Included visits to the Putnam museum in Davenport, Iowa. There were twelve presentations on the ancient history and written languages of the upper Mississippi.
  • Who: Members of Heartland Research Inc plus presenters and interested attendees.
  • Where: Fort Madison, Iowa.
  • How: Private donations for space, time and lodging.

  • What: Ground penetrating electrical resistivity scanning for building foundations using electrical resistivity equipment from LandVisor.
  • Who: Members of Heartland Research Inc and volunteers.
  • Where: Zarahemla in Lee County, Iowa.
  • How: Private donations and ground support.

  • What: Metal analysis for alloy content. Ancient arrow and spearhead found in Wisconsin stream of cast bronze.
  • Who: Heartland Research Group
  • Where: Sample found in Wisconsin stream by scuba diver.
  • How: Private donations for lab analysis.

  • What: High resolution LiDAR scanning by supporter Air Data Solutions of 34,000 acres in Lee County, Iowa and also part of Illinois. The focus was to create high quality digital maps showing the terrain of the land, especially in the foothill areas where large earthworks are found. Discovery of 5-10 miles of ancient earthworks from LiDAR using QGIS and ArcGIS visualization software.
  • Who: Members of Heartland Research Inc plus AirData Solutions Inc.
  • Where: Lee County, Iowa and also part of Illinois, covering the much of Nauvoo.
  • How: Private donations for services, data processing, and analysis.

  • What: Commence process of restoring the world's oldest ship replica from 600BC, which has circumnavigated Africa and crossed the Atlantic ocean from the Middle East to America.
  • Who: Members of Heartland Research Inc plus volunteers.
  • Where: Lee County, Iowa between Montrose and Fort Madison.
  • How: Private donations for materials, space, and equipment plus donations in labor.

Mission Statement

The Heartland Research Group researches archaeological evidence of the ancient civilizations of America.
Heartland Research Group activities include:

  • Field Research
    Uses archeological techniques and scanning technologies to reveal the remains of ancient civilizations.
  • Ancient Artifacts
    Encourages and facilitate study of ancient North American artifacts, including tablets, tools, weapons, metal works, and other items.
  • Geography
    Research and develop maps, using scanning technologies and other means, to identify the locations and activities of ancient civilizations.
  • Linguistics
    Analyze and translate ancient writings found in North America, especially those relating to other civilizations world wide.
  • Preservation and Display
    Collect, restore, preserve, catalog and exhibit ancient artifacts and replicas, and make them readily available to researchers and viewable to the public.
  • Archaeology, Geology, and History
    Study and research into all aspects archaeology, geology, and history that shed light on ancient North American peoples and cultures.
  • Promotion and Support
    Raise awareness of our activities. Work directly with and support individuals and groups in activities that share our same goals.
The Heartland Research Group welcomes researchers and interested parties of all backgrounds to share their analysis and findings of ancient American heartland civilizations.

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