Lincoln Co. Mystery Stone seen in ESOP vol 26
- Hello friends and mischief makers,
From reading the latest ESOP volume 26, 2009, on page 64 is a
challenge to the readers to see what they can make of this
"Lincoln Co., KS stone".
Here is my initial attempt to make a brushing interpretation from the
given photograph. I claim no expertise, just a happy excitement at
tackling a new puzzle. Yet my method follows logical pattern, I hope I’ve
cracked open the case, let others help validate, correct or fill in glaring gaps.
What i did NOT do is ask about the Rock in any way before beginning.
I wanted to see what a totally unbiased, completely naive approach to
it would produce before letting any alternate opinions cause an
unintentional bias, presumption, assumption or mis-direction which might
make me overlook something simple. After personal exploration of
the rock and doing an interp, then i went online to see what was being
said about the stone by others.
I will send a separate, follow-up "P.S." post on the heels of this one for
commentary on what was found online. Also, what those details might
mean to my own interpretation, or reactions to what i found, personally.
In this initial phase, i did not even get so far as to realize the Stone had
more information about it further along in the ESOP 26. You will read,
here, my raw, first thoughts and possible major error in assessing the
round hole i saw in the photo. I leave it in as part of the process we
all go thru, and an example of what too little info can also do to an
attempt at deciphering. A described pick-tool had made some damage
to the face of the inscription, i could tell that much, looking up at the
top of the rectangle. In the article, they call that huge gap "a scratch"(!)
It smashed out the top corner, one cannot assume it mirrored the other
side with an arrow and semi-circle. It might have been a star and sun
for all we know, changing a major piece of info.
The paragraph goes on to say that the 'hole' i see as delicately drilled
and most exactly MISSES the script elements, but seems to actually
include them, was described by historians to be another bash with
the pick. Which is it? has anyone truely looked closely at the frontal hole?
Is it intentional (as my further interp thot it was explaining) by the makers;
or the phenomenally lucky strike of an accidental pick point to not create
any damage to the message? Have the actual truths been lost to assumptions
in the record over 70 yrs of sitting on a shelf?
In skimming my various resources and charts, the seemingly best match
for this stone is north and N.W African Libyan+Maghrib style characters
and ligatures. Any later than that in history, and the Muslim quotient of
Maghreb regions had converted to pure cursive Kufic or Nahski.
Seeing as how the rock was found in KS, it can be guessed
that it was created by immigrants from the south-west Mediterranean.
Whether the stone was carved in Africa and transported, or whether
skilled artisans did it here in America, will have to be settled by a
Geologist who can definitively place the rock for place of origin.
My only charts at the snap moment for Libyan scripts were the ones
included in the back of Gloria Farley's In Plain Sight. Compiled by Fell,
his Maghrib chart did not contain an Ayin (commonly notated 'Gh').
Post interp searches (once i had my independent thots on file) have
not found me a single, simple aleph-bet chart for old Maghreb anywhere
else but Farley's volume. There may be an unforseen gap in my interp
the size of an open hospital gown in my figgerin's, due to lack of
information on Maghrib Ayin lettering.
In context, it must be recognized that the term "Semitic" or "Semite"
is a far more ranging term than simply "Jewish".
From : The Columbia-Viking Desk Encyclopedia, Columbia University,
William Bridgewater, editor in chief
Dell publishing company, 1964
"Semite - originally one believed to be a descendant of Shem, son of Noah.
Today term includes Arabs; Akkadians of ancient Babylon; Assyrians;
Canaanites (Amorites, Moabites, Edomites...etc) and Phoenicians
[Carthegenians]; Aramaean tribes (including Hebrews);
and large part of Ethiopians. "
All grouped under common tongue "Semitic"/"Old Hebrew". Language and genetic roots derive from Arabia, Mesopotamia (Sumer), expanded to east Mediterranean region, Nile Delta, [Egyptian/Coptic] Ethiopia [Geeze, Harari and others], n.Africa/Libya [Hamitic Berber, Tuareg and others] e.Africa [Cushite, Somali, Afar and others].
These were all "Great Mariners", understood each other, captained and crewed with each other on a regular basis.
Also scrapped for turf like street gangs.
The afore mentioned Libyan branch, which was strongly influenced by Egypt,
initially stretched across the southern Med as Numidian script. As the Tuareg of
Algeria digressed slightly and gained dialects the farther they got from
the Nile, they changed the letters slightly to create Tiffineg. The Berber
Tuareg nomads used both Tiffineg and Numidian scripts deep into the Sahara on their annual treks between Niger, Mali, and the northern coast.
These rune-like letters were used in their day-to-day messages between friends and family. It was also called the “women’s” script because it was the one they were allowed to use in sending letters or keeping their own household records. The men, who were considered of higher caste in Muslim religious status than women, used a more formal Arabic cursive style in their official business contracts between other men or when copying passages from the Koran.
With the coming of Islam, Arabian immigrants all across Libya, Algeria,
Morocco and southern Iberia melded with the Libyan branch of scripts to
create varying levels of Mahgrib, a style halfway between the runic-like Saharan scripts and their caligraphic Kufi. In some examples it was purely calligraphic, in some a pigin script of mixed stick-forms and cursive bits (the Lincoln Co. stone falls in this category) and something very akin to it’s ancestral Tifinagh with only
a few modifications. At any rate, most all people, male or female, were literate in
all forms, the women simply were not allowed to use the fully calligraphic style.
Dispite the passionate expanse of this new concept of Islamic thought, brought flooding into the Maghreb district by massive Arabic immigration, many Arabic people, ascribing to being Muslim, retained much of their traditional earth-religion beliefs in polytheism, to hedge their bets on the eternal hereafter. The debate over sustained, metaphored, pagan elements, symbology and practices amongst Muslim communities today is an on going discussion. (No less the same
discussion about how many “Christmas” and Easter themes are blatantly borrowed from Celtic Old Religion.)
Since I'm not studied in Islam, that is not any point being made here. But the
results of the stone's apparent message is very interesting, if not fairly
puzzling to try and decide what kind of people may have written it.
Because the script elements used there contain a balance of Tiffinagh, Numidian and Mahgrib, it might be tentatively placed at about 8th or 9th Cent CE. The people using the stone as a ceremonial place of gathering and celebration would
seem to have originated in the thick of it all, n. Algeria a best speculation.
Then migrated to America, up the Mississippi and into KS... Providing the
stone is genuinely archaic and not a modern folly by 19th cent spiritualists.
(..."Folly" in the way Scot Wolter explains it, a modern-day, possibly sincere
attempt to re-create a neuveaux expression of the past, without intending
to fool or 'hoax' anyone.)
A large chalk mark in the doubtful side of the scoreboard is that the Lincoln Co. Stone is certainly expressing a religious message. But in doing so, it is using the “women’s” secular script. Then again, it is a pagan message and not Islamic. So
all the more confusing as to why these elements come together on this rock.
Never the less, my attempts here try to be unbiased and look at the message with the sincerity and assumption of cold objectivity without asking ‘why’ it is presented in the style it is, just interpret the dang thing, wonder out the weirdness later. Being a pagan expression, perhaps the choice of script is then
logical, since it had nothing to do with Allah or the Book religion.
Since the discussion is hot, in the midwest, about Coptic contact and even possible colonization of the upper Midwest US by Hebraics and early Coptic Xians, it occurred to me straight away to check out those kinds of scripts in
comparison to the Lincoln Co. stone. (This before any translation began) But i am satisfied with what i see in standard scholastic references and the Michigan-style 'tablets' and artifacts to say they do not resemble this stone's offerings. The Coptic gradient was far more Greek based in Old World example, and in the American artifacts, it contains a lot of arcane, Initiate throwback use of cuneiform. (NOT seen on the Lincoln Co. stone.) So Coptic was tossed out.
With the context and background settled, i tackled the script as presented
on the stone. With my own observations of Dr. James Harris's examples of how
people of any era were easily and swiftly "drawn" to use contraction and ligature in familiar forms, I looked at the stone with an eye for overlapping line function.
As an artist, this is a natural brain circuit to warm up and use.
There was immediate, positive results.
For those of you who do not already own a copy of Gloria's In Plain Sight,
(shame on you!) find attached my own hand-copied examples of the
script charts in one composite page. Since the rest of my interp must be
integrated with drawn script example, it is worked in Photoshop with
text and linear combinations presented in .jpg attachments. You should see a Script Page, one main overlaid tracing of the stone straight onto the ESOP page,
5 pages of commentary interpretation and symbols, and one 'composite' page of the stone in repetition, overlaid by script questions.
For those picking up your forum bulletins at the website and not personal
e-mail, the attachments won't show up. So I will put these images into an
album folder at the group website. It is marked "Lincoln Co. KS Interp 1"
as i highly doubt this is a complete translation in any way, and probably
fraught with holes i didn't see in my couple days of scrying. There is
bound to be a second or more variations on the theme by myself or any
other members... make this a group effort! Toss your ideas in the folder
as a growing thing of many perspectives. But this is a starting point.
Perhaps i've whacked a few weeds, several someones can help groom it
into a putting green.