Lebanese Embassy and Phoenician Ship Museum (3/8/2023)

Flag of Lebanon.svg

Flag of Lebanon

Phoenician Museum Concept 1A



Yesterday the Honorable Waël Hachem, Chargé d’Affaires a.i., Embassy of Lebanon, Dr. Siham Irahin, President and Founder of The Lebanese Joint Civic Association, and Dr. John Lefgren, President and Founder of Heartland Research Inc., met for many hours in Washington, D.C. to discuss preparations for a Lebanese Reception in July at the Phoenician Ship Museum in Montrose, Iowa.

Here are some notes from that meeting.

The Lebanese people recognize the historic significance of Captain Philip Beale’s expeditions around Africa and across the Atlantic in a faithful replica of the Phoenician seafarers’ 2,600-year-old ship.

The replica of the world’s oldest transatlantic ship is being restored in Montrose, Iowa. All this effort is the result the talents and financing of Americans who appreciate how the replica ship rewrites the history of both Old and New Worlds.

Phoenician history is an important part of Lebanon’s history. In the United States, there are more than 500,000 Lebanese-American descendants. All of them are interested in the history of their ancestors, as well as how the ship replica connects them to ancient America.

The Lebanon Embassy in Washington, D.C. wants to give support to Lebanese history in America.

It is Heartland Research’s goal to let the people of Lebanon know how important the ship’s restoration is. The Embassy of Lebanon appreciates that Heartland Research possesses the largest collection of Cedars of Lebanon in America.

The tree is beloved by millions of people in Lebanon and by hundreds of millions of Bible-believing people around the world. Lebanese Americans want to see how Heartland Research honors the history of their tree.

A reception is now scheduled for Saturday, July 15th, at the Phoenician Ship Museum in the Heartland of America for the Lebanese communities. At the reception, the Lebanese will provide food and entertainment. In support of the people involved with the reconstruction of the 40-ton ship, the Head of the the Embassy of Lebanon will attend the reception. There the Honorable Waël Hachem will be able to meet and greet Americans who esteem the history of his country.

Visitors will have a chance to become acquainted with people who represent thousands of years of religious history as found in the Holy Bible. Lebanese Christians have a continuous history that goes back to the time of Jesus and His Apostles. Jesus and His Holy Mother connect to the forests of Lebanon.

There are no other people who can claim such a clear and continuous connection to the earliest times of the Christian Church as the Lebanese.

The Phoenicians are important in the Old Testament. The Phoenician Ship is an important link between the Bible and revealed scripture. We are happy to work with our friends from Lebanon as we organize a reception where Native Americans and the Lebanese will be able to join together in a reunion of their ancient peoples.

We invite all to come to the Lebanese Reception at the PHOENICIAN SHIP MUSEUM on Saturday, July 15th, in Montrose, Iowa on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River.

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Dr. Siham Irahin, President and Founder of The Lebanese Joint Civic Association, Washington, DC.

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Dr. John Lefgren, President and Founder of Heartland Research Inc.

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Phoenician Ship Museum Booklet in Washington, D.C.

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Cedar of Lebanon on Display in Washington, D.C.


Wael Hachem Chargé d’Affaires ad interim at Embassy of Lebanon in Washington, D.C.


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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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