The Mystery of Burrows Cave

Ancient Egyptians in the New World before Columbus? This story is a great read and in my opinion not at all farfetched.

This is the best article on the cave that I have found:

And here's some great pics of many of the artifacts:

Check out the photos in "Warriors". There are two that I think look like ancient Hebrew warriors.

The middle ages was surely a period of regression. For this short period of time, the people thought the world was flat. But if one reads the Book of Enoch, (not to mention many other sources) you find that ancient peoples knew of the orbits of the planets and therefore navigating our own planet by sea would not have been difficult for them.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

From the linked article:

On an early spring aftern- noon in 1982, a man was slowly walking alone through a forsaken cemetery in southern Illinois. In his hands he carried a common metal-detector. He hovered its saucer-like device about six inches above the ground, while watching its dial for the slightest movement, sure sign that something of possible worth lay just beneath the surface.

A resident from a nearby town, he was an avid collector hoping to find the occasional lost coin or even some shiny artifact from the Civil War era. This day, however, his meandering quest among the unvisited tomb- stones failed to elicit any response from the mineral-sensitive instrument until he neared the far end of the burial ground. The metal- detector became increasingly agitated with every footstep, until it led him entirely out of the cemetery, down a shallow ravine and up the side of a steep hill. Its dial oscillated violently, as though the explorer were treading over Fort Knox.

He continued across the desolate country, waiting for the indicator to become still. Walking along the top of the hill, his eyes fixed steadily on the instrument. He suddenly fell into a perfectly vertical pit just wide enough to accommodate his shoul- ders. Shaken but recovering his senses, he realized that he had landed on his feet on a soft, dirt floor some eight feet beneath the surface of the ground. The metal-detector had not followed him down. He remembered the small pocket-flashlight in his jacket. Fetching it out, the narrow but bright beam of light immediately revealed what appeared to be a chamber opening directly in front of him.

He cautiously entered the dank room. He saw stone statues, large urns and edged weapons scattered across the floor. The walls were covered with the sculpted friezes of Egyptian-like scenes. Moving to the far end of the chamber, he found an adjacent room, in which reposed a large sarcophagus of gold gleaming in the steady beam of his flash- light. There were more chambers, but they appeared to have collapsed and become inaccessible.

Returning to the first room, the now amazed explorer filled his pockets with strange, gold coins from small, un- locked caskets. Nearby were stacked enormous piles of roughly hewn black stones, all engraved with the likeness of bizarre- looking men and women accompanied by written scripts of some kind.

His flashlight battery failing, he pushed outward with his hands and feet against the walls of the narrow pit through which he had fallen, and clambered out of the subterranean darkness back into the sunlight. For the next 17 years, he removed thous- ands of artifacts from the underground site. Most of these have been the black stones engraved with singular portraits of largely non-Amerindian persons.

Although he sold them throughout the U.S., his steadfast refusal to reveal their place of origin led many investigators to conclude that they are modern fakes, and not the genuine artifacts of overseas’ visitors to pre-Columbian Illinois. But collect- ors who pay high prices for these peculiar stones insist they are genuine for fundamental reasons. Approx- imately 7,000 examples are known to exist, far too many to have been manufactured by one man, even with assistance. More convincingly, they feature internal evidence in the form of esoteric and even arcane images far beyond the experience of the provincial man to have faked.

After nearly two decades, the controversy may be resolved in the near future, as excavation proceeds at what researchers believe is the prev- iously undisclosed, underground location itself. If and when it is finally opened, the chambers’ bizarre contents may prompt more questions than answers. But so many objects have already been removed and exam- ined, that a credible, even convincing interpretation of the site now seems possible. The chief argument against its authenticity may in fact be the most persuasive evidence on its behalf as a repository for indisputable, abundant, material proof of peoples from the Ancient World in the American Middle West.

That interpretation begins, not in 20th Century Illinois, but on the other side of the globe, in a forgotten kingdom of North Africa once known as Maur- itania. Encompassing the equivalent of today’s Morocco and parts of western Algeria, it was governed by King Juba II, 2,000 years ago. He and his people stemmed from ancient Caucasian stock: the Mauri, who were believed to have migrated from Asia Minor after the fall of Troy in the late 13th Century B.C… They were thus culturally and racially dif- ferent from the dark- skinned inhabitants who presently occupy North Africa.

Juba was a great statesman, who led his country to unprecedented heights of cultural splendor and material prosperity. When neighboring Numidians staged a revol- ution, Juba volunteered his army to defeat the unconventional guerrilla forces that had eluded Roman commanders. In gratitude, the Senate of Rome granted Mauritania virtual independence, the only state to have achieved a free status within the Empire. A cultured monarch more interested in art and science than conquest, Juba was the author of twenty books (all in Greek) on such widely varied subjects as geography, geology, astronomy, mythology, music, dance, painting and sculpture. He built a large library at the nation’s capital, Caesarea (today’s Cherchel, in Algeria), and sponsored several sailing expeditions down the west African coast, even to the Canary Islands.

These voyages of discovery were part of the Phoenician tradition that pervaded Mauritanian life. A few centuries before, Phoenicians from Carthage built important cities at Tangier, Lixus (modern Larache) and Mogador (Essaoira) in what later became Mauritania. Juba also believed in religious freedom, and early Christians flocked to Caesarea. So did many Jews, who brought their wealth with them. But the predominant religion of the Mauri was a synthesis of Phoenician and Egyptian beliefs and practices. Skilled at international diplomacy, Juba established cordial relations with his southern neighbor, the black kingdom of Senegal, well-known for the boat-building abilities of its shipwrights.

When he died an old man in 24 A.D., Juba was succeeded by the Queen, Cleopatra Selene, who maintained his wise policies. She similarly groomed their son, Ptolemy XV, to one day rule his country in the same, enlightened fashion. Meanwhile, Mauritania became a center for great wealth and cultural opulence. Relations with the Empire were exemplary, so much so, prosperous Romans often vacationed in the sun-kissed North African land, and many stayed to form their own community.

But these halcyon days of high civilization were about to come to a catastrophic end. In 40 A.D., the new Emperor, Gaius Caligula, invited Mauritania’s popular leader to a party in Rome. Such an invitation was not to be turned down, so young Ptolemy sailed for Italy. There he was magnificently feted by Caligula, who referred to him as his brother and loaded the Mauritantian monarch down with costly gifts. However, on his way to Ostia, the port of Rome, where a ship was waiting to take him home, Ptolemy was suddenly stabbed to death by members of his own Roman guard. The killers fled, but botched their escape, and were apprehended soon after by centurions. The murderers confessed under interrogation that they had been commissioned by none other than Caligula himself. The Emperor, having drained the imperial purse through his grandiose debaucheries, planned to blame Ptolemy’s death on Numidian assassins, then pose as the avenger of the betrayed king and the protector of his people by occupying Caesarea and seizing its royal treasury. But when the plot was exposed, the Mauri rose in angry revolt against Rome.

Before he could do anything about it, Caligula was himself assassinated. His successor was a sane and liberal-hearted man, Claudius, who wanted to make amends with the Mauritanians and restore them to their previous position of friendly semi-independence within the imperial system. He was unanimously opposed by both the Senate and his generals. They argued that colonized peoples elsewhere would interpret any lenience toward Mauritania as proof of Roman weakness and stage their own revolts. Soon, the whole Empire would be aflame with insurrection. Moreover, the Mauri, in their wrath at the death of Ptolemy, had gone too far, and massacred innocent Romans peacefully residing in their country.

There was another consideration, now more palatable, given the nature of the situation: Claudius had inherited a bankrupt imperial purse, thanks to the profligacy of his lunatic predecessor. Seizing the Mauritanian treasury, as standard practice in any such punitive operation, would have a salubrious impact on the royal household’s financial affairs.

But the Mauri were not some colonial exotics to be pacified by the mere sight of a Roman standard. They operated a large navy whose vessels bested Roman warships in the open seas of the Atlantic Ocean. Their army, trained and equipped by the Romans themselves, had never lost a battle. Claudius was forced to dispatch an entire army to Mauritania in what soon developed into full-scale warfare for seven months, involving 20,000 troops and several corps of chariotry.

Although the Mauri slowed the Roman invasion, they could not stop it. Defeat seemed inevitable to the wealthy men who initially backed the revolt. They were confronted by two alternatives: Await the Romans, who would execute some and over-tax the survivors, or flee. But to where? Rome controlled the world to the north. To the east sprawled the largest desert on Earth, the Sahara. In the south was Senegal, within easy reach of Claudius’ legions. The broad ocean, which the landlubber Romans feared as “the Pasture of Fools,” rolled westward, the Mauritanians’ only escape route. In short, they could only hope to survive as “boat-people.”

Perhaps the scholarly Juba, in his long-since lost geography texts, described distant territories on the other side of the sea-- lands he learned of from the Phoenicians, who used North African ports for their commercially secret, transatlantic voyages. Indeed, the Canary Island Current runs like an underwater conveyor-belt from the Mauritanian shores of North Africa, westward across the Atlantic Ocean, straight into the Gulf of Mexico. It seems unlikely that the scholarly Juba or Phoenicia’s prodigious sea-farers knew nothing of this obvious phenomenon. After all, it was the same current used nearly 1,500 years later by another sailor, Christopher Columbus, as his direct route to America.

Meanwhile, the invading Romans announced their intentions of reducing Mauritania to indentured, colonial status. It was clear, too, that their immediate objective was to seize the Mauritanian treasury. It had been moved from Caesarea, ever further southward, ahead of their advancing columns. The Mauritanian royalty, into whose keeping the treasury had been entrusted, fled toward the Senegalese border.

All the events described up to this point in our narrative comprise the historical record, as documented by several Roman writers, including Plutarch and Dio Cassius. What follows is speculation based on their factual accounts.

Faced with imminent seizure, the supporters of Mauritania’s revolution appealed to their admirals for help. But the navy could spare no ships in its life-and-death struggle against Roman armadas. Instead, the admirals assigned a number of marines, sailors, captains and shipwrights to the Mauri leaders. Perhaps they could induce the boat-builders of neighboring Senegal to construct a make-shift fleet. Continued resistance against the Romans bought time for the Mauri and their commissioned Senegalese laborers, working under the direction of Mauritanian naval architects.

With military catastrophe descending from the north, the just-completed ships were boarded by survivors of the royal family, the aristocracy and inancial backers with their household guards and priests. Senegalese mariners were also on board. Trusting their lives to the open sea rather than facing certain death or slavery on land, they saw the African Continent gradually fade away with every lunge their ships took over the surging waves.

Sailing by the stars and coasting westward in the invisible grip of the Canary Island Current, the refugee fleet of some forty vessels was at sea for perhaps three months. But even if they all succeeded in crossing the Atlantic, landing opportunities in the Americas were more than hazardous. Putting in at somewhere along the coasts of Florida or Cuba. Warring cannibal tribes of the Arawak and Caribb Indians, respectively, made settling there impossible.

Pushing on to Mexico, the Mauritanians would have had to confront native peoples intent on human sacrifice, in which beating hearts were removed with obsidian knives from tens of thousands of victims. Further to the south, in Yucatan, even the Maya (generally characterized as gentle colonizers, until the decipherment of their written language showed them otherwise) were prone to ritual evisceration.

The Mauritanians learned to avoid these bloody native peoples through bitter experience, or were forewarned by information preserved in the annals of previous Phoenician visitors to the Americas. In any case, the only route open to the African refugees was through the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Up it they sailed until they came to the Ohio River. Steering eastward, they traveled the Little Wabash River into the heart of southern Illinois, where the peaceful Illini Indians, after whom the state was later named, welcomed them. Here the Mauritanians excavated a series of subterranean chambers, into which they placed their precious cargoes. A long, arduous quest from the destruction of their homeland and transatlantic crossing culminated in a prehistoric American refuge, around 45 A.D…

The factual story of Mauritania and the undocumented but possible consequences of its defeat are remarkably reflected in the thousands of artifacts found by the man exploring in 1982. The bizarre, apparently contradictory and generally unrecognizable variety of cultures his illustrated stones depict has even led many diffusionists-- expecting evidence of Vikings or Celtic Iberians in pre-Columbian America-- to reject all the items as fakes. The mix of white European, black African and Middle Eastern Semitic faces seems incomprehensible to them. So too the jumble of Egyptian, Jewish and Christian religious imagery.

Yet, these are the very elements unique to the 1st Century A.D. refugees from Mauritania. The Mauri were an Indo-European people heavily influenced by Roman Civilization; hence, the stone portraits of white men and women dressed in Roman and quasi-Roman styles. Their religion was an import from the mystery schools of the Nile Valley, which may explain why persons un-Egyptian in appearance are shown performing arcane Egyptian rituals.

Less frequently represented are Jews and Christians, who were welcomed to Mauritania and established themselves there. The incised stones depict other Semitics-- Phoenicians. They still lived in North Africa and spoke their language as late as the 8th Century A.D… The blacks portrayed on artifacts from the Illinois site often evidence ritual scarification, the same facial mutilation West African Senegalese still practice. Theirs is a living tradition going back to 45 A.D., when their ancestors helped build and sail the ships in which the Mauri leaders sought escape. At least one of the recovered stones shows a black man wearing a sailor’s cap with a ship in the background.

This odd, even disparate collection of peoples and religions depicted on the Illinois stones could only fit Mauritanian events of the early 1st Century, but they comprise a nearly perfect fit. And there is another, although still missing piece of evidence that may some day be the most dramatic confirmation of the Illinois location’s identity as a pre-Columbian site.

Caligula wanted the Mauritanian treasury; that was why he had King Ptolemy assassinated. It became one of the chief objectives of the invasion launched by Claudius shortly thereafter. But the Romans never found it. The Mauri removed their gold reserves from Caesarea ahead of the enemy legions until it disappeared from history.

When ground-penetrating sensors were brought into play at the suspected location of the subterranean chambers last summer they detected an unusually large concentration of gold far beneath the surface. If the instrument readings have been properly interpreted, then the Illinois site may feature not only unquestionable proof of overseas’ visitors to our continent nearly fifteen centuries before Columbus. It might also contain the fabulous Mauritanian treasury, rescued from military disaster in North Africa and brought across the ocean to eternal safekeeping in distant America, almost 2,000 years ago.

Photos from the article:

One of the relatively few marble slabs removed from the Illinois site portrays either a Mauritanian ruler or high priest of the 1st Century A.D.

Mauri 28
An Illinois portrait-stone preserves the image of a Mauritanian soldier.

The profile depicted on this Illinois portrait-stone is identified by a streamer extending from the helmet crest. Such head-gear were were fashionable among cavalry-men of many kingdoms during early Roman imperial times.

Mauri 16
The scarification of this man depicted on an Illinois portrait-stone identifies him as Senegalese.

A Jewish profile depicted on an Illinois portrait-stone. The Jews backed Mauritania’s ill-fated revolt against Rome.

The incised image of a Mauritanian warship (note battering-ram at prow) appears on this stone from the Illinois collection. Such vessels may have accompanied the fleet of refugees from North Africa to America.

Mauri 10
Roman style is repeated in the helmet of another Mauritanian soldier featured on an Illinois portrait-stone.

A Hebrew “prayer stone” found among the Illinois collection. The first line bears the possible translation, “Juda”.

Part of the Mauritanian treasury? Gold coins from Illinois’ subterranean site

Mauri 1269x253Mauri 15270x253
Left: Mauritania’s Queen, Cleopatra Selene, brought Egyptian cultural influences from her Nile Valley homeland, as an example in this Illinois portrait-stone. Right: This Illinois portrait-stone shows a West African man wearing a sailor’s cap with a ship in the distance.