Nauvoo and Heartland (11/15/2023)

Nauvoo Temple


Nauvoo is a small river town on the Mississippi River. It has a population of about 1,000 but is historically significant to 16,000,000 people. Each year, an estimated 350,000 visitors come to Nauvoo during the summer months to find meaning in the history of their faith.

Heartland Research owns America’s oldest ship replica and 9.37 acres of land across the river from Nauvoo on the west bank of America’s most important river. It was when 2,600 years ago, the Prince of Judah, Mulek, came to the River Sidon with his people from Jerusalem. The Prince found refuge and safety in a Land of Promise. At that same time, most other Jews were on the rivers of Babylon in captivity.

The details of the Jewish captivity are found in the Books of the Old Testament. The Jewish Prince’s escape can be found in America’s book of scripture. These historical accounts give meaning to millions and will bring hundreds of thousands to the Phoenicia Ship Replica on the west bank of the River Sidon.

Yesterday, a representative of Heartland Research met the owner of several tourist properties in the Nauvoo Area. The discussions were open and forward-looking. Tourists occupy more than 600 rooms in Nauvoo during the summer, but the rooms are mostly empty during winter.

Plans are underway to use these off-season rooms as dormitories for university students during the half year when there are few tourists. The programs will be for thousands of students to come to Nauvoo to take online courses where they can enjoy and learn the faith-promoting history of their people, who are an essential part of the history of America.

These thousands of university students will undoubtedly be interested in Phoenicia at Zarahemla. We are eager to prepare our properties as a place of learning and a place of faith. We appreciate the support of donors, small and large, as we prepare for a place where all are welcome. We are excited about the prospect of many intelligent university students who will become aware of the ancient connection between the Old and New Worlds.

We read with great interest from 4 Nephi 16 that … surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.

The history of the world is filled with death, destruction, and unhappiness. There are hundreds of kingdoms, thousands of wars, and tens of millions of untimely deaths. Human history is unfortunate.

Christ brought two hundred years of happiness to Zarahemla when He came to America. The ancient people of America lived in harmony and peace because of Christ’s Law. It was a peaceful time without wars or contentions.

Zarahemla is the lost city where history’s happiest people lived. We pray to God that the spirits of those ancient people will soon return so there can be peace on earth and goodwill among men. The promises of God are sure, and we want to be in a place where we can align ourselves with the promises in the Land of Promise.


Beautiful Nauvoo.

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Come and see the ship as she comes together in Zarahemla.

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On the west bank of River Sidon.

Historic Nauvoo
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Phoenicia at Zarahemla.

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Moon Stones on Nauvoo Temple.


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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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