PUZZLING "RELICS" DUG UP IN ARIZONA STIR SCIENTISTS
Purport To Chronicle The Arrival Of Roman Jews There In 775 A.D.
[New York Times, December 13, 1925]
TUCSON, Ariz., Dec. 12 -- After investigation by a number of
scientists, first announcement was made here today of the
excavation near Tucson of cast lead swords, crosses and other
objects bearing Latin and Hebrew inscriptions which, taken at
their face value, are held to mean that Roman Jews crossed the
Atlantic in the Dark Ages, penetrated to Arizona and founded a
kingdom which lasted from about 700 A.D. to 900 A.D.
The cast symbols and the engravings on them include crosses, a
crescent, a seven-branched candlestick and certain Masonic-like
Opinions of scientists vary as to the authenticity of the
objects. Neil Merton Judd, curator of American archaeology of the
United States National Museum, said he believed that no hoax or
fraud was involved, but he thought the date later than that of
the Spanish conquest of 1540 A.D.
Dr. Byron Cummings, Professor of Archaeology of the University of
Arizona, vouched for the reliability of the discoverers of the
objects, which, he said, "show Jewish and Christian influence and
bear dates of 700 to 900 A.D."
On the other hand, Dr. Bashford Dean, curator of arms and armor
of the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City, when
consulted about the excavations, branded the objects as crude and
The first object to be found was a large metal cross, which was
discovered by Charles E. Manier of Tucson, embedded in a
limestone formation, five feet five inches below the surface of
the land, near an old lime kiln. Further digging by Mr. Manier
and Thomas W. Best uncovered the other objects. Analysis showed
that they were made with lead mixed with antimony, silver and
rome tin. This was described by Professor Cummings as a natural
-+- Noted Scientists Examine Objects -+-
The objects and site have been examined by Professor A.E.
Douglass, noted astronomer and chronologist of the Lowell
Observatory; Professor Frank H. Fowler of the College of Letters,
Arts and Sciences of the University of Arizona; Dr. C.J. Saria, a
geologist; Professor Cummings, Neil H. Judd and others.
Descriptions of the objects and the texts of the inscriptions
have been sent to scholars in many parts of the country.
The combination of Christian cross, Moslem crescent, Hebraic
seven-branched candlestick and Freemasonry emblems has imposed a
heavy tax on the credulity of investigators, but their appearance
of having been covered and embedded in stone by natural processes
has puzzled skilled archaeologists. Some have arrived at the
opinion that, whatever their origin, the objects lay for
centuries in the earth where they were found.
The inscriptions have been interpreted as describing the
conflicts of the pre-historic Roman-Jewish kingdom in the
Southwest with the Toltec Indians, forerunners of the Aztecs.
>From the inscriptions it has been deduced that the mysterious
invaders called their land "Calalus." Using the texts as a basis
for the work, Laura Coleman Ostrander, historian of Tucson, has
sketched the history of rulers of Calalus, her dynasty consisting
of Theodorus, Jacobus, Isreal [sic] the First and Isreal [sic]
Some scholars to whom the materials have been submitted have been
slow to accept the finds as authentic because of the character of
the objects and the frequency of archaeological frauds. The
danger of indorsing another Cardiff [unclear] of a monument of
the "Bil Stumpe His Mark(?)" type has generally caused
investigators to be cautious, but it is alleged that those who
have examined the site have come to the conclusion that the
things were not planted as a hoax, but have been there for a
considerable period of time. They were found in September, 1924,
fifteen months ago -- a longer period than any motion picture
press agent, as a rule, would allow for the incubation of a
-+- Finders' Story of the Case -+-
A statement of the case in favor of the relics, as worked out by
the finders and their co-workers, follows:
"A chance discovery by Charles E. Manier and subsequent
excavation by him and Thomas W. Bent, near Tucson, Ariz., has
brought to light many relics that indicate an expedition of
considerable proportion of Roman Jews in America during the
period from 775 A.D. to 900 A.D."
"The evidence unearthed appears to be the positive data for which
scientists have been searching for many years. It is thought that
these relics definitely establish the fact that European or other
outside influence existed in America before the advent of
Columbus and the Spanish conquerors. This influence was found in
America among the Indians in their rites and ceremonials by the
Spaniards, but until the present find no definite evidence had
appeared to prove this theory."
"The first article, a large metal cross, weighing sixty-five
pounds, was discovered on Sept. 13, 1924, purely by accident. Mr.
Manier and his family were returning from a trip to the historic
Picture Rocks, just north of Tucson, Ariz., and had stopped to
examine an old lime kiln along the road. While doing this, Mr.
J.E. Manier noticed a peculiar object protruding from the bank to
the north of the lime kiln. On examining the object he discovered
it to be of metal, and firmly embedded in the bank, 5 feet 5
inches from the top. Mr. Manier excavated the object and
discovered that it was a large metal cross, consisting of two
parts, that had been placed together and riveted with lead
rivets. Between the two halves had been placed a wax
preservative, and on the inner surface of both halves there was
much Latin inscription. The cross was taken to the University of
Arizona and the Latin translated by Professor Frank H. Fowler of
the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences."
-+- Objects Embedded in Strata -+-
"Since the discovery of the first article in the present time
there have been unearthed five complete crosses and one
unfinished cross, all of which contain much Latin inscription,
many pictures and numerous symbols of both a religious and
historic nature. There has also been unearthed a cross with a
crescent cross-arm, entwined with a serpent, upon which there is
Hebrew script and many religious symbols. Another cross has a
circle of metal, connecting the cross-arms, with a serpent
entwined over all. This cross also contains the Hebrew script and
several religious symbols."
"The remainder of the discovery is made up of swords and spears,
many of which are scarred as a result of having been used in
battle. All the articles are of metal, and of a natural alloy of
lead, silver, gold and antimony, with a trace of tin, and are all
in a perfect state of preservation. None of the inscriptions has
been obliterated and the war implements still retain a sharp
straight edge, and are well balanced."
"The articles have been found at about the same level, that is,
between five and six feet below the surface, and in a well-
cemented stratum of caliche, the caliche, or lime formation,
being so hard that it is necessary to chop each piece out with a
pick. There is no evidence of burial, either in recent or in
historic times; in fact, the articles have been covered by a
natural process of the washing down of the debris from above,
until time has resulted in building up of from five to six feet
"The many scientists who have assisted in the research are
unanimous in the opinion that the covering-over process has taken
many hundreds of years; in fact, their conclusions tend to place
the age of the relics at about the eighth century."
"The placing of the articles in history is being done by Laura
Coleman Ostrander, historian, of Tucson, Ariz. She has, through
the Latin and Hebrew inscriptions and the many interesting
symbols, woven a complete story covering the entire period of
these peoples in America, or 'Calalus Land,' as they called it.
It is a story that covers a period of 125 years, and is replete
with hardships, wars and romance."
-+- Fought the Toltec Indians -+-
"The story commences in A.D. 775 with three people being carried
forth over the sea to Roman Calalus, an unknown land. Here they
found a people whom they called the Toltexus, the scientists
agreeing that the people they found were the Toltec Indians. At
this period Theodorus was the ruler of these European adventurers
and was a brave fighter and a man of courage. He carried on much
warfare with the Toltecs and after ruling for a period of
fourteen years he was succeeded by Jacobus."
"Jacobus ruled the people with a mighty hand and was also a
constructive ruler, since he rebuilt the city of these people
that had been razed during the latter part of the reign of
Theodorus. Jacobus was not king long and was followed by Israel
the First, who reigned for sixty-seven years, who, in turn, was
followed by Israel the Second. He ruled six years. Thus the story
continues on until the year 900 and is chronologically complete
through the entire period of their existence in America."
"The records found by Mr. Manier and Mr. Bent appear to be a last
record of the people, written in haste at the time when the end
was approaching. The record does not make clear just what the end
was, but it has been concluded that these Europeans were
exterminated by the natives, who, it appears, harassed them and
made war upon them from the beginning to the end. This conclusion
has been drawn, since what appears to be the last writing of the
recorder of these ancient deeds states:"
"'The last days have come and the inevitable doom,' and his last
writing is, 'I am present. The Lord be with you.'"
"To this chapter of the story is signed 'O.L.' as well as to all
of the other parts or crosses, the 'O.L.' being not his initials,
but rather an insignia of rank."
-+- Evidence of Authenticity -+-
"The investigation and excavating is only in the embryo stage,
and is to be carried on to completion in the future; however,
much definite information has been brought to light that
establishes these relics as being several hundred years pre-
"C.J. Sarle, Ph.D., one of the eminent geologists of the
Southwest, who has spent much time during the last year in
investigating this find, is of the belief that the articles are
not only genuine but are as old as the dates would indicate. He
has established this belief through the geological facts and
through the location at their respective depths of the numerous
Indian cultures, the oldest being that of the Hohokums, or the
great unknown tribe of Indians that inhabited the Southwest in
prehistoric times. The veneer of the Hohokum culture is a
considerable distance above the level at which these relics are
"Dean Byron Cummings, Curator of the State Museum, archaeologist,
and a member of the Faculty of the University of Arizona, who has
also investigated this problem, is convinced as to the antiquity
of the finds and as to the articles being genuine. He establishes
the age of the relics through the Roman script contained upon
them, which he states has not been in common use since the eighth
century, and through archaeological and geological evidence. In
this he is supported by Professor Frank H. Fowler(?) who has
translated all of the Latin inscriptions on the pieces found to
"Professor Charles T. Vorhies(?), entomologist, who has also
interested himself in this investigation and has assisted with
the photographic record, is firm in his belief that these relics
are not of historic times, are many hundreds years old, that
there has been no burial of them, and there is no evidence of
burial, but that the articles have been covered over to a depth
of between five and six feet by a natural building-up process,
over a long period of time."
"Dean A.E. Douglass of the Steward Observatory and Vice President
of the Historical and Archaeological Society of Arizona is firm
in the belief of the antiquity and the genuineness of the finds.
He has spent much time on the investigation, has taken a complete
photographic record and has himself excavated part of the
-+- Dr. Judd Aids in Excavation -+-
"Dr. Neil Judd of the Smithsonian Institution visited the
excavation and completely excavated two of the articles himself.
He stated that the articles were very old and that there was
absolutely no evidence of disturbance of the earth surrounding
them. He reached this conclusion after chopping these two pieces
loose with a miner's pick."
"All of these men have either excavated some of the finds
themselves or have been present when relics were excavated."
"The time at which the story of these crusaders relates their
history definitely establishes the period during which they
inhabited America, and is supported by the eighth century Latin
script that is used in the inscriptions."
"The place from which they came has been established by Laura
Coleman Ostrander as the Roman Empire, since they call the
unknown land Roman Calalus. They were designated by her as Roman
Jews because of the appearance of the Hebrew script of the early
centuries upon the religious standards, and because of the nature
and significance of drawings and symbols appearing upon them;
also because of the fact that the traders of the Roman Empire
during the first Christian centuries were the Jews."
"The excavation and investigation has been carried on by Messrs.
Charles E. Manier and Thomas W. Bent, with the assistance of John
S. Bent and the support of the University of Arizona, the Tucson
Chamber of Commerce and the City of Tucson. All of the
photography for publication is being done by the Irwin Studios of
"This is an announcement and should not be taken as a conclusion,
since future excavation will no doubt bring to light much more
evidence of startling and interesting nature, and as the new
evidence is brought to light a report of progress will be made."
-+- Translation of Inscriptions -+-
The inscription of a cross designated as 1.A is translated as
A.D. 900(?), Jan. 1
We are carried forth over the sea to Calalus,
an unknown land, to a people ruling widely
The Toltesus, Silvanus were lead over
Theodorus brings up his forces at the City
Rhoda and more than seven hundred are captured
No gold shall be taken from the city
Theodorus, a man of great courage, rules fourteen years
James rules six years
With God's help nothing need be feared
In the name of Israel
-+- Death of Israel in "the War." -+-
The chronology of the supposed dynasties of Calalus is translated
as follows from another Latin inscription:
From the Beginning. A.D. 790 to 900.
Nothing but by the cross, by suffering.
Israel died in the war.
Pray for the soul of Israel.
May God be with us as with our fathers.
May the earth be light unto thee.
Israel, defender of the faith, adds honor to ancestral honor.
Israel reigns 67 years.
Israel II reigns 6 years.
Israel II started to reign when 26 years old.
A war of extermination.
Either to conquer or to die.
He flourished in his ancestral honor from day to day.
Prepare for either event but hope is not yet crushed.
By the grace of God.
Time having elapsed, from adversity comes
the source and origin of our miseries, the
last day comes and the inevitable time.
I am present.
The Lord be with you.
-+- Chronicle is Specific -+-
Another of the texts is translated as follows:
Benjamin was king of the people. They came from Seine to Rome.
The bravest of the Gauls. He came to the assistance of the
people to lay the foundation of the city. He built a wall
around the city to resist the enemy. Benjamin mighty in
strength he filled the multitude with religion. He was slain
by the Thebans. I heard this from my father five hundred years
after, behind the mountain. In memory of his father.
860 A.D. Israel the 3rd was banished since he had liberated
the Toltesus. He first broke the custom. The earth trembled.
Fear overwhelmed the hearts of mortals in the third year after
They betook themselves within the city and kept themselves
within their walls. You shall not bury or burn a dead man in
Before the city extended a plain, hills encompassed the city.
It is a hundred years since Jacobus was king. Jacobus was busy
in the front line. He attended to everything, fought much in
person and often struck down the enemy. Israel gave his
attention to the appointment of priests. Life is to us a
people of extensive sway.
An unknown land A.D. 895. May I be able to accomplish my
endeavors to serve the king. It is uncertain how long life
will continue. There are many things which may be said. While
the war was raging three thousand men were slain, the leaders
with their chiefs were taken, nothing but peace was sought.
God ordains all things.
A brief inscription which bears no signature refers briefly to
the transatlantic voyage of the Dark Age Arizonians as follows:
We are carried over the sea to Roman Calalus, an unknown land.
They came in the year 775. Theodorus ruled the people.