Stone Analysis (9/19/2023)


Conference at Lehigh University.

Dr. Himanshu Jain and Dr. Masashi Watanabe, in a conference room at Lehigh Microcopy School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on Monday, September 18th, met for one and a half hours with John Lefgren, Boyd Tuttle, and Blaise Colasante to discuss the focus of research for engraved stones that come from the Mississippi River Valley. The scientists are recognized as among the foremost experts in the field of microscopy. Over the last fifty years, Lehigh University has had 7,000 graduates from its research programs. No other school has had such an impact on the ability of modern science to see all kinds of materials under ultra-high magnification. Professors and students from Lehigh have seen more materials under high magnification than any other group of people. With power as high as twenty million times, they view objects at the atomic level.

We gave a slide presentation showing our efforts to restore the world’s oldest ship replica that sailed 33,000 miles around Africa and from Tunisia to Florida.

Connection of Ancient Ship to Engraved Stones.

The first question was how a 2,600-year-old ship replica connects to the stones from the middle of America. We told the scientists that we believed that Phoenician technology made it possible for ancient seamen to come to America 2,000 years before Columbus. We also explained that the Phoenicians came to America with their language and culture. After all, they invented a system of writing that is the origin of our alphabet. We said that the evidence of their presence in America is in these stones.

Dr. Watanabe was quick and direct in his thinking. He asked why we needed the electron microscope to determine the methods and tools for engraving the stones. Dr. Watanabe reminded us that the field of view decreases as we increase the power of magnification. He suggested that our research should start with optical magnification. He said that he has little experience looking at rocks and that we should bring a geologist who knows the crystal structure of the stones into the project. Viruses, molecules, and atoms are beyond the capabilities of compound microscopes and can be viewed only with an electron microscope. But with the power of 2000x, we can see what we seek. At that level of magnification, we will know the fracture mechanics of the engraved portions of the stones. At that level of investigation, we can determine the tools and methods of cutting the stones.

Framework for Moving Forward.

Having received directions from these leading scientists, we suggested a framework for analyzing the engraved stones. We will make a comparative analysis of three objects. The first object is the original stone. The second is a similar stone cut by a jeweler with modern tools. Blaise Colasante would engrave the third stone with tools available in ancient times.

Fortunately, Blaise has twenty-five years of experience working with a large group interested in ancient tools. Blaise explained how he and his colleagues could use a burin of handheld lithic flake with a chisel-like edge to engrave the characters and drawings found in the original stone. Blaise offered to carve the stone with this ancient method of cutting.

On a large screen, we looked at a close-up picture of characters found on Stone 32 from the John White Collection. Blaise identified the fracture mechanics of the stone from the attached photo. He also noted that the cutting of the “O” shows the manufacture of the cut has straight lines from the hand working of the burin. See the photo for details.

Buril diedro

In the field of lithic reduction, a burin /ˈbjuːrɪn/ (from the French burin, meaning “cold chisel” or modern engraving burin) is a type of handheld lithic flake with a chisel-like edge which prehistoric humans used for engraving or for carving wood or bone.

Burin carene

In archaeology, burin use is often associated with “burin spalls”, which are a form of debitage created when toolmakers strike a small flake obliquely from the edge of the burin flake in order to form the graving edge.

330px-Burin 213 5 Global

On a large screen, we looked at a close-up picture of characters found on Stone 32 from the John White Collection. Blaise Colasate identified the fracture mechanics of the stone from the attached photo. He also noted that the cutting of the “O” shows the manufacture of the cut has straight lines from the hand working of the burin.


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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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