Club Didon – Heartland Research Agreement (10/9/2023)


Today, we agree with our friends overseas to develop an understanding of how the Old World connected 2,600 years ago to the New World. Here is the text of our agreement.


WHEREAS the undersigned parties desire to develop and execute a historical research project entitled “The Punic Virtual Museum.”

WHEREAS Association Didon de Carthage in Tunisia is organized to preserve the cultural heritage of the ancient City of Carthage and the Punic people.

WHEREAS Heartland Research Inc. is a non-profit corporation registered in America. The corporation owns Captain Philip Beale’s Phoenicia and 9.3 acres of land. The ship replica represents the efforts of thousands of people over the last two decades. The ship sailed on the open oceans for more than 30,000 miles around Africa and across the Atlantic and is now coming together at a museum in Montrose, Iowa, on the west bank of the Upper Mississippi. There is no other artifact in America that so clearly and directly connects to the ancient world of the Punic people.

WHEREAS “The Punic Virtual Museum” will digitize stone engravings, allowing a more dynamic representation of Punic inscriptions. With laser scanning and other techniques, creating highly detailed virtual models of stone artifacts will be possible. These engraved images will be displayed in various ways, for example, using raking light to accentuate fine features. By uploading models to a website 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 and make them available to millions of viewers from the comfort of their homes. This research will preserve the Carthaginian inscriptions for posterity, thus preserving the culture.

WHEREAS Ery’j B. Sassi Trimech is the President and Founder of the Association Didon de Carthage in Tunisia. This association will lead to legal and proper access to the 3D digitization of about 100 significant artifacts 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 Carthage and its culture. We are particularly interested in artifacts with Punic scripts dating from the Sixth to the Fourth Centuries B.C.

WHEREAS John Lefgren and Michael LaFontaine from Heartland Research Inc. on Friday, March 3, 2023, met in Washington, D.C., at the Tunisian Embassy Her Excellency Mrs. Hanene Tajouri Bessassi, Ambassador of the Republic of Tunisia to the United States. The Ambassador expressed her interest in supporting the efforts of Association Didon de Carthage and Heartland Research Inc.’s efforts to bring Tunisia’s rich history to the attention of the American people.

WHEREAS The Republic of Tunisia is one of the leading international tourist destinations in North Africa, which will benefit from “The Punic Virtual Museum,” as it can potentially attract tourists from America and other countries to Tunisia.

Agreed and Signed, Date: October 9, 2023

Ery’j B. Sassi Trimech
President and Founder of
Association Didon de Carthage

John Lefgren, PhD
Heartland Research Inc.

Carthage Room Bardo

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. Carthage Room at the Bardo National Museum in Tunisia.


History’s Oldest Continuously Operating Jewish Synagogue. Founded at the time of Mulek soon after the burning of the Temple of Solomon in 587 B.C.

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World’s oldest ship replica that crossed the Atlantic from Carthage to Florida and is coming together on the west bank of the Mississippi in Montrose, Iowa.

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Ery’j meeting with Jewish leaders in Tunisia.

The ancient El Ghriba Synagogue (Arabic: كنيس الغريبة), also known as the Djerba Synagogue, is located on the Tunisian island of Djerba. It is situated in the Jewish village of Hara Seghira (currently known as er-Riadh), a few miles southwest of Houmt El Souk, the main town of Djerba.


The High Priests carried a door and a stone from the destroyed Temple of Solomon. Thus, the synagogue links the Jewish diaspora to the “sole sanctuary of Judaism.” In modern times, the local Jews are distinguished by their dress, which includes a black band around their pants, which signifies the destruction of the Temple.

We want to understand and appreciate the history of the Bible. We believe that one of the clearest links from the Old World to the New World was when the People of Mulek sailed across the Atlantic to Zarahemla after the horrific burning of the Temple of Solomon.

At the same time as Mulek’s escape, temple high priests also escaped from Jerusalem and founded a synagogue on the Island of Djerba in Tunisia. This synagogue is the oldest continuously operating Jewish center of worship in the history of the world. The synagogue was founded before the founding of Rome. It seems remarkable to think that for 2,600 years, 135,200 weeks, on the Sabbath, Jews have gathered to worship God. May God bless them in their faithfulness.


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