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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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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