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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