Ashes! Ashes! We All Fall Down! (10/24/2023)

We All Fall Down
Hans Thoma - Kinderreigen 1872


It is unknown what the earliest wording of the rhyme was or when it began. Many game versions have a group of children form a ring, dance in a circle around a person, and stoop or curtsy with the final line. The slowest child to do so is faced with a penalty or becomes the “Rosie” (literally: rose tree, from the French rosier) and takes their place in the center of the ring.

We find a parallel in the rhyme from Europe to the ancient stone cut in Mississippi Valley Blue Limestone. In both cases, death is certain.

The European nursery rhyme sadly tells the tragic tale of the plagues that devastated the Old World.

The Phoenician stone sadly tells how death from scurvy came to ancient seafarers. It starts in the mouth and goes to the brain. After which they will die.

Death is common to all people regardless of time and place. We see the message of death in our familiar nursery rhyme and in the ancient Phoenician stone from the Heartland of America.

Stone 32a

John White Collection Stone 32

Stone 32b

Phoenician Characters on John White Collection Stone 32.

Stone 32c

Phoenician Characters on John White Collection Stone 32.


We want to highlight the engraved Stone Number 32 from the John White Collection for a fourth time.

We are learning more about how the ancient people engraved the letters of the ancient Phoenician alphabet into the blue limestone of the Mississippi Valley. Click here to see how hard stone cuts soft stone.

Just like our writing of English with the Roman alphabet, the meaning of the letters comes from the words created, and words give the storyline that gives the whole composition its significance. Many distinct steps show the intelligence of the person who engraved John White Collection Stone Number 32.

First, there is the use of the Phoenician alphabet. Anyone using Google Search can easily find the forms for the 22-character alphabet of this ancient writing. Some experts have even created fonts that you can download from the internet. Using Photoshop or another image program, it is easy to overlay the characters of the ancient alphabet onto individual letters found cut in the engraved limestone.

Take a look at the above images. Notice how over 80 percent of the characters on the limestone are mapped to the ancient Phoenician alphabet. Is it not remarkable that we can get so many letters from a stone in the Mississippi Valley to tie to the alphabet from which we get our writing system?

Okay, some may say that any clever person in our modern age could take the ancient Phoenician alphabet and cut copies with marks on limestones. But this would only be the first step. To show the intelligence of the cutting person, the letters have to form meaningful words that put stories together so that they make sense. Coherence and meaning reflect intelligence. This is where the talents of Brian Nettles come into play.

Brian has taken the Phoenician characters to form words, and from the words, he has made a translation that gives meaning to the stone. The purpose of the ancient person who cut the stone is reflected in the storyline of the words.


You’ve got it – everything. It is manifested in your mouth and your cognitive abilities. Count down your time. You have come down with scurvy.

Brian Nettles is pushing on the frontier of knowledge. We are so excited that he is doing what he does. He has finished his first translation of Stone Number 32. Click here for his linguistic analysis of each character cut in the stone. Click here to see the transliteration of the Phoenician writings on Stone 32 to the Hebrew alphabet.

Surely, some codebreakers can devote their considerable talents to a review of what Brian Nettles offers on his internet page for anyone to examine and critique.

First Translation of Stone Number 32

You’ve got it – everything. It is manifested in your mouth and your cognitive abilities. Count down your time. You have come down with scurvy.

Scorbutic gums

Scurvy Affects Teeth and Gums.


Skeletal Remains from Ancient World Showing Effects of Scurvy.


Phoenician Characters Cut in Stone Meaning Scurvy.

Stone Number 32 and Scurvy

Scurvy killed more than a million sailors between Columbus’s transatlantic voyage and the rise of steam engines in the mid-19th century. The problem was so common that shipowners and governments assumed a 50% death rate from scurvy for their sailors on any significant voyage.

Sailors and passengers who sail across the oceans must ensure their diet contains enough Vitamin C to prevent scurvy.

Seafarers have suffered from scurvy for thousands of years. In the 16th and 18th centuries alone, an estimated 2 million sailors died of the disease, decimating entire ship crews. Vitamin C deficiency causes scurvy. Scurvy has dramatic and terrible symptoms. Over the period from 1500 to 1800, scurvy killed more sailors than all other diseases combined.

The Phoenicians were the best mariners in ancient times. It was they who developed the alphabet in our familiar form of A-B-C.

We believe the Phoenicians arrived in America from the Old World in 600 BC. Unsurprisingly, one of the first translations from the ancient Phoenician stones in the Mississippi Valley deals with scurvy.

All scholars worldwide are invited to comment on Brian Nettles’ translation. Stone Number 32 from the John White Collection deserves to be examined as a genuine artifact requiring the best minds of our generation.


Death on Board from Scurvy.


Bristish Naval Doctor Treating Scurvy in 18th Century.


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