The Written Word

The “Newark Holy Stones“. Artifacts found by David Wyrick in 1860 within a cluster of ancient burial mounds near Newark, Ohio. Wood fragments carbon dated to between 32 to 769 AD.
“Keystone” shaped stone with inscriptions found near the Decalogue Stone. Contains phrases: “Holy of Holies”, “King of the Earth”, “The Law of God”, “The Word of God”
Decalogue Stone. Figure on front is Moses. Summarized Ten Commandments in block (monumental) Hebrew written on top and sides of stone box.

Enos 1
14 For at the present our strugglings were vain in restoring them to the true faith. And they swore in their wrath that, if it were possible, they would destroy our records and us, and also all the traditions of our fathers.

Alma 13
20 Now I need not rehearse the matter; what I have said may suffice. Behold, the scriptures are before you; if ye will wrest them it shall be to your own destruction.

Alma 17
2 Now these sons of Mosiah were with Alma at the time the angel first appeared unto him; therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God.

Alma 18
36 Now when Ammon had said these words, he began at the creation of the world, and also the creation of Adam, and told him all the things concerning the fall of man, and rehearsed and laid before him the records and the holy scriptures of the people, which had been spoken by the prophets, even down to the time that their father, Lehi, left Jerusalem.

Alma 22
12 And it came to pass that when Aaron saw that the king would believe his words, he began from the creation of Adam, reading the scriptures unto the king–how God created man after his own image, and that God gave him commandments, and that because of transgression, man had fallen.
13 And Aaron did expound unto him the scriptures from the creation of Adam, laying the fall of man before him, and their carnal state and also the plan of redemption, which was prepared from the foundation of the world, through Christ, for all whosoever would believe on his name.

The Los Lunas Decalogue stone weighing about 80 tons. Inscribed with the Ten Commandments written in Hebrew. The stone first noticed in the 1880’s and examined by archaeologist Frank Hibbon from the University of New Mexico in 1933. At the time it was covered with lichen and patination and was barely visible.
Engraved copper tablet containing the Ten Commandments. From the Michigan Etzenhouser collection

*Both Michigan Relics and Burrow Cave artifacts are controversial. Some assume they are all forgeries and others believe many pieces are authentic. In the case of the Michigan relics there are many thousands (est. 20,000) of relics from hundreds of people found over many years (since 1865) and in different locations, but mostly in upper Michigan. For Burrows Cave there are fewer relics (est. 3,000 rock carvings and 4,000 tablets) and fewer people involved and just one, undisclosed location, Burrows Cave, located in Illinois. For background information, see the Michigan Relics and Burrows Cave and Burrows Cave Artifacts. See also, The Mystic Symbol: Mark of the Michigan Mound Builders and Henriette Mertz. There is proof that some of the Michigan Relics, especially from the "Soper-Savage" collection were faked by James Scotford. This is enough for some to declare that any and all relics pointing to ancient civilization in America are fake, by definition. This theory is unwarranted. Many of the best relics found have a provenance completely independent of James Scotford and his acquaintances. Therefore each of the 1000s of relics, especially those with writing on them, deserve unbiased consideration without prejudice or animus. In my opinion, many relics have already been shown to be authentic in multiple ways. No proven fake artifacts are presented on this site. Let additional research continue.

. This is one of thousands of copper, slate, and clay tablets found in Upper Michigan from the mid 1800’s to about 1930. Many artifacts were found by farmers plowing their fields and by people excavating the many mounds that were still extent at that time. The writing on this copper tablet has been mostly translated by Brian Nettles. It contains the Ten Commandments.

Alma 30
44 But Alma said unto him: Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.

Alma 33
2 And Alma said unto them: Behold, ye have said that ye could not worship your God because ye are cast out of your synagogues. But behold, I say unto you, if ye suppose that ye cannot worship God, ye do greatly err, and ye ought to search the scriptures; if ye suppose that they have taught you this, ye do not understand them.

Mormon 9
32 And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech.
33 And if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also; and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfection in our record.
34 But the Lord knoweth the things which we have written, and also that none other people knoweth our language; and because that none other people knoweth our language, therefore he hath prepared means for the interpretation thereof.

How to Read the Michigan Tablets, by Brian Nettles
The following video highlights successful attempts at reading parts of Michigan tablet artifacts.

The Bat Creek Stone. Found in a Native American burial mound excavation in Loudon County, Tennessee, in 1889 by the Smithsonian Bureau of Ethnology’s Mound Survey, directed by entomologist Cyrus Thomas. It was carelessly described by the Smithsonian for many years as “Proto-Cherokee” until Henrietta Mertz and Cyrus H Gordon recognized that the inscription was published upside down. When turned right side up it is a form of Paleo Hebrew which says “For the Judeans” or “For the People of God”.
Depicts the events of the flood of Noah and has been translated by Brian Nettles.
Depicts astronomical events that have been dated to July 27, 352 AD, by David Allen Deal.
Translated by Brian Nettles. Depicts Shem, Ham, and Japeth with some of the translated symbols at the bottom.
Creation tablet. The first two lines of writing to the left translated by Brian Nettles as “The Son of God {unknown symbols} on the earth and He said was good”.
Historical “Caractors” document written by John Whitmer. It is read top to bottom, right to left and according to Nephi is “the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians.” Brian Nettles has identified it as Pre-Coptic & Demotic Egyptian.
“Caractors” document translated by Brian Nettles to verses in 1 Nephi 1 & 1 Nephi 2. The Brian Nettles translation is a work in progress.
“Caractors” document translated by Brian Nettles to verses in 1 Nephi 1 & 1 Nephi 2.
“Caractors” document translated by Brian Nettles to verses in 1 Nephi 1 & 1 Nephi 2.
“Caractors” document translated by Brian Nettles to verses in 1 Nephi 1 & 1 Nephi 2.
“Caractors” document translated by Brian Nettles to verses in 1 Nephi 1 & 1 Nephi 2.

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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