The Phoenicia

The Phoenicia

Some background info on the ship named The Phoenicia.

The Phoenician Ship Expedition was a re-creation of a 6th-century BCE Phoenician voyage conceived by Philip Beale and sailed by an international crew. The Phoenicia ship is twenty meters long and was constructed at Arwad Island just off the Syrian coast, by Syrian shipwright Khalid Hammoud. The Phoenicia is an exact replica of a wrecked Phoenician ship found buried in the mud near Marseille France. The Phoenicians, an ancient civilization in the region we now know as Syria, nearly 3,000 years ago, were legendary sailors. The replica ship departed from Syria in August 2008 and sailed through the Suez Canal, around Africa and to returned to Syria. The objective of the expedition was to prove that ships built by the ancient Phoenicians could withstand the conditions around the African coastline. Later the ship departed from Syria September 28, 2019 and crossed the Atlantic in a five-month voyage of over 6,000 miles, arriving in the Dominican Republic on December 31, 2019 and later in Fort Lauderdale, Florida — demonstrating that the ancient Phoenician were capable of traveling to the new world. The Atlantic voyage was made using nothing but wind, current, sail and compass.

After docking in Fort Lauderdale, the plan was to display the Phoenicia in a Museum, however Covid restrictions, shutdowns, and finances prevented finding a home for the Phoenicia and it stayed in dock exposed to weather and sank during a storm. To retrieve the ship it had to be cut into pieces and in 2022 it was purchased by the Heartland Research Group to be reassembled for display.

For the current plans to display the Phoenicia, see this video.

By John Lefgren. Jan 25, 2022

Also, see this video.

By John Lefgren. Apr 11, 2022


By John Lefgren. Apr 11, 2022

By John Lefgren, 10/13/2022

Dateline — Montrose, Iowa, August 13, 2022.

LaFontaine Family, Native Americans, Gather to Build Ancient Ship in Montrose.
LaFontaine family examines the Phoenicia

We need to clean the dirt and grime from the panels of the hull. Captain Philip Beale nearly two decades ago sailed the PHOENICIA around Africa. In 2019 and 2020 he then sailed this ancient ship 6,000 miles from Carthage to Miami proving that the Phoenicians had the naval technology to connect the Old and New Worlds 600 years before Christ.
There is no handbook of instructions for putting back together the world’s oldest ship replica that has crossed the Atlantic. Fortunately, we have the nautical drawings that were made from the 2,600-year-old shipwreck from the low oxygen mud from the ancient port of Marseille. Also, we are lucky that Mike LaFontaine is able to give direction at the restoration site.
Each day we see more progress in the reconstruction of a ship that was capable of crossing the storm-tossed waves of the high seas. In Montrose we are watching how 2,000 years before Columbus the world’s best shipbuilders were able to join together the strong timbers for the making of seaworthy vessels that were capable of crossing the Atlantic.
We are fully committed to this project. We need the help of many people.
Mr. Adam O. Stokes, M.Div, Princeton Theological Seminary, Yale Divinity School, Duke University B.A.

On August 8, 20200, Adam gave a lecture on the 5th Century connections of the Prophet Jeremiah and the Prince of Judah, Mulek, to Phoenician seafarers.We are bringing to the project Adam Stokes who will be a scholar-in-residence. He is an expert on the life and times of Jeremiah from the Old Testament. The Bible tells us that Jeremiah was closely connected to the destruction of the First Temple. We believe that by following the historic figure of Jeremiah from Jerusalem to Egypt and from Egypt to Ireland we will get close to exiles who used Phoenician ships to travel from the Old to the New World.

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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