Ancient Carthage And Heartland (10/3/2023)



Today, for an hour and a half, we had a video conference to discuss with fourteen colleagues and associates from three countries and eight states the preparation of an application for the U.S. Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation in Tunisia.

Heartland Research is working in close cooperation with Ery’j B.Sassi Trimech, President and Founder of Association Didon de Carthage, قرطاج تونس in Tunisia. By working with this organization, we seek to help Ery’j secure funding for the 3D scanning of stone inscriptions in and around Carthage.

We know that the language and culture of the Phoenicians were cut in stone in North Africa more than 2,000 years ago.

Thousands of artifacts in Tunisia tell of the most important seafarers of the ancient world. Heartland Research owns the world’s oldest ship replica that Captain Philip Beale sailed across the Atlantic Ocean from Carthage, Tunisia, to Miami, Florida.

We want to create a catalog showing the images and locations of hundreds of stone inscriptions in Tunisia. We will bring the computing skills of the modern world to these ancient artifacts. In so doing, we will significantly add to the existing knowledge of the people who, in 600 B.C., had the technology to build ships that could sail from the Old World to America 2,000 years before Columbus.

Jerome Baillargeon, representing SCANTECH Digital Inc., presented the background on his capabilities. He told how digitizing stone inscriptions would allow a more dynamic representation of carved Punic inscriptions. With laser scanning and other techniques, it is possible to create highly detailed virtual models of stone inscriptions. These engraved images will be displayed in various ways, for example, using raking light to accentuate fine features. By uploading models to websites or embedding them in other digital resources, these models can also be manipulated by users, allowing ‘virtual’ interaction with the stones. The 3D digital images will help preserve the cultural heritage of the Punic people.

Our video conference had participants from Iowa, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Idaho, Florida, Oregon, Canada, Brazil, and Tunisia.

Blaise Colasante and Mike Stahlman gave a live report from the Phoenicia Workshop on the banks of the Mississippi in Iowa. Jerome Baillargeon from Quebec City told us that he represents the company with the world’s best technology for scanning significant archeological artifacts.

The primary purpose of the video conference was to determine how Heartland Research can help the Association Didon de Carthage prepare the funding application for the U.S. Ambassador in Tunisia. This application needs to be ready by November.

Ery’j B.Sassi took thirty minutes to tell us how we can help her write the funding application. She will lead as we move forward with the proposed project.


In 600 B.C. Carthage was a major power center in the Ancient World. For centuries the city rivaled Rome. This rivalry culminated in the three Punic Wars, fought between 264 B.C. and 146 B.C., ending with the utter and horrific destruction of both Carthage and its culture.

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Ery’j B.Sassi Trimech, President and Founder of Association Didon de Carthage, قرطاج تونس in Tunisia. She has important contacts at the ministerial level of the Government of Tunisia. She will work with the U.S. Ambassador’s assistant in Tunis to help prepare the application for funding. Heartland Research is grateful to work with many new friends in the ancient City of Carthage.

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Ery’j meeting with Jewish leaders in Tunisia at one of North Africa’s oldest synagogues.


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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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