Weathering Of Limestone Takes Time (9/30/2023)


Limestone Carbonization is a Measure of Time.

Limestone is a common sedimentary rock composed chiefly of calcium carbonate. It constitutes about 15% of the earth’s sedimentary rocks by volume. John White Collection Stone 32 is limestone. Science can tell us a lot about this limestone rock.

The weathering of carbonate artifacts and monuments influences their geotechnical properties. It constitutes an indicator of the passage of time. The degree of deterioration of ancient artifacts made from limestone provides us with valuable information about their age since the cutting or engraving of the stones by the hand of man.

The John White Collection of Stones from the Mississippi River’s valleys is remarkable for many reasons.

Engraved characters cut into Stone 32 correspond to the Phoenician alphabet commonly used more than 2,000 years ago in the Old World.

Brian Nettles has made the first meaningful translation of Stone 32, which we now call the Scurvy Stone.

The story cut in Stone 32 talks about the mouth, mind, and death. We know that scurvy plagued ancient seafarers. Many Phoenicians died of scurvy on their long voyages. Scurvy first starts in the mouth with bleeding gums. Teeth fall out. The second phase of scurvy is the loss of cognitive power in the mind. After the mind goes, death comes. This is the sequence of events in the story from the stone.

Who among us can take the characters of the ancient Phoenician alphabet and write the words in such a way as to tell the woes of seamen who spent their lives on the high seas worrying about scurvy more than 2,000 years ago?

We are confident that a flint burin was used to engrave the characters into the limestone with a skill commonly found for thousands of years with stone tool-making in most areas of the world.

In the groves of engraved characters, we see the carbonization of the limestone surface, confirming that the age of the stone engraving was well before the arrival of the Europeans to America.

We are now putting these conclusions in front of the world. We welcome any counter-views. Frankly, it is simple. Captain Philip Beale showed how the Phoenicians had the technology to cross the Atlantic 2,000 years before Columbus. Stone 32 from the John White Collection shows that the Phoenicians brought their language and culture to America thousands of years before Columbus. We believe that we are only at the earliest stage of our inquiry and are anxious to bring more minds together as we search for the meaning of what is coming out of the ground.


The carbonization of the surface of John White Collection Stone 32 took time confirming its age since its engraving to be older than the time of European settlement in North America.

Hard as Flint and in America.

We are confident that we have determined how ancient Americans used a flint burin to inscribe the characters and images onto the surface of Stone Number 32 from the John White Collection.

The engravings on Stone 32 have clear connections to the ancient Phoenician alphabet. We are fortunate that Brian Nettles has translated that stone meaningfully. Click here to see the link.

The engravings of Stone 32 are cut in blue limestone. We have access to the location where we will get samples of blue limestone for use in further investigations.

Limestone is a relatively soft stone, rated between a 3 and 4 on the Mohs hardness scale, similar to marble. After today’s tests, we can claim that flint burin tools were used to engrave Phoenician letters in limestone in America thousands of years ago. Flint has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale. That differential in hardness makes it possible for the flint tool to cut into the limestone.

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Cutting Tip of Flint Burin.

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Flint Burin. Stone Tool in Hand of Artisan.

Flint Burin.

Burins are a relatively common stone tool in America, Europe, Western Asia, and Africa. They were usually made by truncating a flake or blade and using the truncated surface to strike one or more flakes down its edge.

This creates a steep and sturdy edge on the end of the burin scar for engraving organic and non-organic materials. The steep lateral edges of the scar are suitably robust and uniform for scraping and cutting. The flake detached from a burin is often called a ‘burin spall’, which may have been used as a tool. Click here to see more information.

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Flint Burin Engraving Limestone Rock.

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Engraved Character After Cutting with Flint Burin.

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Weathering of Limestone Takes Time.

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New Steel Knife Blade.

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Flint Burin Engraving on Steel Knife Blade.

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Srcatches Show that Flint is Harder than Steel.

Flint is Harder than Steel.

The above macro images illustrate how hard the flint burin is.

Today, we compared the hardness of the limestone to flint. First, we tried to mark a new steel blade with limestone. No luck. Then, we took the flint burin and quickly made a mark on the surface of the polished steel blade. Early Americans clearly understood how to use the hardness of a flint tool to engrave letters and images onto limestone.


Phoenician Characters Cut in Stone Meaning Scurvy.

Weathering of Limestone Over Time.

Generally, limestone is durable. It does, however, absorb water, and since it is a carbonate rock, it is highly reactive when exposed to acids or even mildly acidic rainwater, and it can suffer substantial deterioration. The most common effect of weathering and erosion is loss of precise detail.

A process of carbonation chemically weathers limestone. As rainwater absorbs carbon dioxide as it passes through the atmosphere, it becomes a weak carbonic acid. The water and carbon dioxide combine to form a weak carbonic acid.

Stone 32a

John White Collection Stone 32 Shows the Effects of Limestone Weathering.


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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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