In a World Before Our Own, there existed—


By Brad Steiger

In November, 1829, in a quarry twelve miles northwest of Philadelphia, a block of marble taken from a depth of between sixty and seventy feet was found to bear an indentation containing the raised alphabet characters “I” and “U.” According to a report prepared by J. B. Browne (American Journal of Science Vol. 1, #19, p. 361): "Fortunately several of the most respectable gentlemen residing in Norristown were called upon to witness this remarkable phenomenon, without whose testimony it might have been difficult, if not impossible, to have satisfied the public, that …the letters [had not been made] after the slab was cut off."

In all frankness, Browne does not call the characters "I" and "U"; he calls them simply "characters" and "letters," and the illustration in the American Journal of Science pictures the two raised characters upside down. This also creates an interesting effect. With the "U" resting on its legs instead of on its curve, the character becomes a dolmen (a single chamber megalithic tomb). The "I" becomes a towering monolith to its right. It is almost as if some ancient hand had previously designated that the marble slabs should be used as tombstones or grave markers.

In November, 1832, Charles C. Jones, Jr., discovered two silver crosses in a grave-mound at Coosawattee Old Town in Murray County, Georgia. Native American tribal relics were also found in the burial mound, so those who had disinterred the grave theorized that the crosses had come to the Cherokee nation during the expeditions of Hernando de Soto at Luis de Velasco.

The Spaniards traveled with clerics, Jones reasoned, and those same priests spent a good share of their time trying to convert the tribes whom they encountered along their route of exploration. Therefore it would not be unreasonable to assume that the good fathers handed out a large number of crucifixes along the way.

The crosses are not crucifixes, however. The arms are of equal length, and each arm bears a circular design, some of which remind me of the doodling that I used to do with my compass in geometry class. Nearly all of the designs are at least vaguely crosslike in representation, especially the ones in the center. The backs of the crosses also bear circular designs, but they are all different from the frontal representations, and each design is different from the other. One of the crosses carries two drawings--one on the front, one on the back--that are not simply variations on geo-metric cross designs.

The top representation on one side is of an owl; the other side bears the head of a horse. This convinced Jones that the crosses had to have come from exploring Spaniards, because the horse was unknown to this continent in historic times until the advent of the European. (According to copious fossil evidence, how-ever, the horse was not unknown to this continent in prehistoric times.)

Another argument in support of the proselytizing priests having distributed the crosses is the fact that across the face of one of the crosses is the word/name Iynkicidu, imprinted in the alphabet so familiar to all those who learn to read and write in the Western world. The "c" and the "d" are backward, but this is easily explained, according to Jones, who wrote his report for the Smithsonian Institution. It is obvious that some semiliterate Native American carved the name of his tribe on the face of the cross.

Was there a tribe named the Iynkicidus? If one pronounces the name. INK-a-ci-DOO, he might hear "Kickapoo." However, the Kickapoos were first visited by the French in 1667, and they lived near the portage of the Fox and Wisconsin rivers in Wisconsin.

Spell the name backward--to satisfy those who might be thinking it was meant to be read that way--and we have Udiciknyi, which offers even fewer possibilities. Is iynkicidu a Latin or a Spanish word? It seems unlikely, unless a silversmith or a priest engraved a corruption of the name of a person, place, or thing on the cross.

If the designs on the crosses are reminiscent of any culture, it would be that of the Pennsylvania Dutch, for the encircled geometrical representations resemble hex signs as much as anything else.

But rather than attempting to fit the crosses within the artistic or religious structure of any known culture, should we at least entertain the possibility that they may be artifacts from an unknown civilization that once flourished on the North American continent? A civilization that we might christen "The Lost Nation of Iynkicidu."

On September 13, 1924, near Tucson, Arizona, Charles E. Manier found the first of what would prove to be a series of unusual artifacts inscribed with what very nearly appears to be Latin. Among the 27 artifacts are six crosses, nine swords or sword fragments, a spear-headed serpent cross, and a crescent cross. According to authorities, the language appears to be Latin of a style popular up to C.E. 900, and dates on some of the pieces bear out this supposition. But the Latin inscriptions attempt to record a kind of history of settlement and journal of exploration that makes no sense to contemporary historians. To add confusion, rather than clarification to the mix, a few Hebrew words are thrown in here and there.

Again, we are left speculating in an attempt to explain bizarre hybrid artifacts:

1. A band of explorers, perhaps from the Mediterranean area with a knowledge of Christianity, Latin, and Hebrew, could somehow, circa 800 A.D., have gotten themselves to the American Southwest, established a colony, recorded their history, and then proceeded to pass into obscurity. Some of the Hebrew words found jumbled in with the Latin are "Jehovah," "Peace," and "Mighty Empire." Did the explorers consider themselves part of a mighty empire--or did they find themselves confronted by the representatives of a mighty empire already existing in the American Southwest?

2. The language is not Latin at all, but the language of the "Lost Nation of Iynkicidu," which is composed of the same characters and perhaps has a good many cognates because the civilization that existed hundreds of thousands of years ago on the North American continent was the culture that seeded the Mediterranean.

In a letter dated December 5, 1879, a Mr. Hannibal Fox of Milton, Sullivan County, Missouri, wrote to The American Antiquarian (Vol. 3, p. 336) regarding his discovery of a silver and iron mask, which he had uncovered while plowing a field. The publication commented that "melting iron and silver in a crucible, and preparing a matrix by placing clay over the face after death, and pouring the metal so that the vessel tipped, do not seem to be operations which are usual among the aborigines, or, as far as we know, among the Mound Builders.”

The Scientific American for July 22, 1882, tells of a curious find of "Pre-Indian Relics from Virginia":

The objects [found between the ranges of the Blue and Allegheny mountains, near Mount Pisgah, North Carolina] are said to be of a type absolutely unique, consisting partly of human, partly of animal figures, either in the round or in various degrees of relief. Some are household utensils. They appear to have been sculptured by metal instruments, so perfect is their workmanship.

The correspondent for Scientific American comments further that the human figures were not fashioned in the likenesses of Native Americans, and that the images were fully clothed in tight-fitting garments. Some of the figurines were represented as seated in armchairs; others were astraddle a most remarkable variety of animals--bears, prairie dogs, birds.

It is strange enough that an ancient artist would depict such animals as those mentioned above as bearing unrecognizable riders on their backs, but then comes the zinger: Some of the riders are seated upon two-humped camels, rhinoceroses, and hippopotamuses. Either our unknown artisan observed such African animals for himself, or he saw representations of such animals, or he was more than imaginative--he was a prehistoric Nostradamus.

The Scientific American hazards a theory that "the articles were made by an earlier and more civilized race, subjugated and partially destroyed by the Indians found in Virginia on the arrival of the white men." How-ever, they concluded, the specimens of the Old World animals were "obviously" made by a white man at a later time.

Rather than pursuing the possibility of “an earlier and more civilized race,“ The Scientific American leaves us with an image of some frontiersman discovering a cache of remarkable figurines left hidden in the Allegheny Mountains. He pauses, admires them, then becomes so moved by their craftsmanship that he sits down and uses his hunting knife and axe to chip out his own impres-sions of men riding African creatures. His work done, he adds his own objects d ‘art to the cache, then walks on his way, never to mention to any-one the trove of ancient figurines or his own craftsmanship.

In its June, 1851, issue the Scientific American reprinted an item from the Boston Transcript about a metallic vessel that was blown out of an "immense mass of rock" when workmen were blasting on Meeting House Hill in Dorchester:

On putting the two parts together it formed a bell-shaped vessel, 4 1/2 inches high,6 1/2 inches at the base, 2 1/2 inches at the top, and about an eighth of an inch in thickness. The body of this vessel resembles zinc in color, or a composition metal, in which there is a considerable portion of silver. On the sides there are six figures of a flower, or bouquet, beautifully inlaid with pure silver, and around the lower part of the vessel a vine, or wreath, inlaid also with silver. The chasing, carving, and inlaying are exquisitely done by the art of some cunning workman. This curious and unknown vessel was blown out of the solid pudding stone, fifteen feet below the surface…. Dr. J. V. C. Smith, who has recently travelled in the East, and examined hundreds of curious domestic utensils... has never seen anything resembling this.. . There is no doubt but that this curiosity was blown out of the rock. . . .

In March, 1964, Frank McNamara, Jr., digging in his cellar in South Boston in an earnest attempt to plug a leak, unearthed a sculptured, ten-pound stone head. The artwork shows the hair in short curls; the eyes slant downward and are quite long; there is a rather primitive treatment of the ears.

This strange find in a South Boston basement has baffled some of the best archaeologists and anthropologists at a number of museums and schools. There is a consensus that the artifact is not the work of native tribespeople. But apart from that point of agreement, no one is certain whether the piece should be ascribed to the Near East, Western Asia, or Egypt. One authority ventured his opinion that the style of the primitive head would suggest the Near East of about 700 B.C. E. No one seems inter-ested in speculating just how the artifact came to reside several feet below the earth in South Boston.

The Morrisonville, Illinois, Times, December 24, 1851, reprinted an item from the Springfield Republican titled "A Nut for Geologists":

Hiram de Witt, of this town, who has recently returned from California, brought with him a piece of auriferous quartz rock, of about the size of a man's fist. On Thanksgiving Day it was brought out for exhibition to a friend, when it accidentally dropped upon the floor and split open. Near the center of the mass was discovered, firmly embedded in the quartz and slightly corroded, a cut-iron nail, of the size of a six-penny nail. It was entirely straight and had a perfect head.

On Tuesday, June 9, 1891, Mrs. S. W. Culp broke a lump of coal preparatory to placing it in the scuttle, an act she had performed thou-sands of times. However, the piece of chain that fell out of the lump was most singular.

"At first," according to the Morrisonville, Illinois, Times of June 11, 1891, "Mrs. Culp thought the chain had been dropped accidentally in the coal, but as she undertook to lift the chain up, the idea of its having been recently dropped was at once made fallacious, for as the lump of coal broke, it separated almost in the middle, and the circular position of the chain placed the two ends near to each other; and as the lump sep-arated, the middle of the chain became loosened while each end remained fastened to the coal. This is a study for the students of archaeology who love to puzzle their brains out over the geological construction of the Earth from whose ancient depth the curious is always dropping out."

Coal, of course, dates from the Carboniferous era--when an unknown, unidentified something or someone was leaving tracks in Pennsylvanian sand.

In the Creation Research Society Quarterly (March, 1971), Wilben H. Rusch, Sr., Professor of Biology, Concordia College, Ann Arbor, Michigan, quoted a letter a colleague had received from a Frank J. Kenwood, who said that he had been a fireman in the Municipal Electric Plant in Thomas, Oklahoma, in 1912, when he split a large piece of coal and discovered an iron pot encased within.

"This iron pot fell from the center, leaving the impression or mould of the pot in the piece of coal," Kenwood wrote. "I traced the source of the coal, and found that it came from the Wilburton, Oklahoma, mines."

An estimated 2 million pounds of copper were mined on Isle Royale in Michigan by some unnamed prehistoric mining empire that had the means of transporting the metal out of the immediate area. Several bog--iron smelting furnaces have been found scattered over the southern half of Ohio. Farmers in that state occasionally turn up iron artifacts in their fields. Speculation as to the identity of the ancient workers in iron has included the Vikings, the mysterious Mound Builders, or a long-forgotten civilization that once existed in North America. All that can be said with certainty at this time is that when the early settlers arrived in Ohio in the years 1790 to 1810, they found no less than 100 abandoned hills crowned with stone fortifications, Some of these remain today at Fort Hill, Spruce Hill and Glenford Fort in Perry County. Similar fortified hills may be seen at Hill Fort, Georgia, and Manchester, Tennessee. At the Manchester fort the first settlers found bricks and a short iron sword." In 1820 Caleb Atwater issued a report of a furnace surrounded by bricks in the central mound around which Circleville was built. With the furnace were what appeared to be a dagger and a plate, both of disintegrated iron.

On December 17, 1869, the Los Angeles News printed an account of an inscribed slate wall that had been supplied by a correspondent of the Cleveland Herald, writing from Wellsville, Ohio.

Capt. Lacy of Hammondsville, Ohio, had some men engaged in making an entry into his coal bank when a huge mass of coal fell down, disclosing a large, smooth slate wall, upon the surface of which were plainly carved several lines of hieroglyphics. No one has yet been able to tell in what language the words are written….It is probable that the letters were cut in the coal while in its vegetable state and during its formation into coal.

The men discovered the wall with its undecipherable hieroglyphics about 100 feet below the surface. If the letters were cut into the coal in its "vegetable state," as the anonymous journalist suggests, then we are back in the Carboniferous Systems, approximately 250 mil-lion years ago.

The Scientific American for January 14, 1886, carries a report from the Lexington, Kentucky, Press that tells of a massive stone wall un-earthed by workmen quarrying rock one mile from town on the Frank-fort pike:

It had every appearance of having been built by human hands, the mortar seams and joints being very plain. Above it about ten feet of drift and twenty feet of rock had been removed by the workmen, and on the side exposed the men had advanced fully forty feet from where they first struck rock. Thus it was firmly embedded in a solid limestone quarry which certainly was formed about it since the wall was built. The face of the wall was well dressed, and its massive appearance gave evidence of the skill of hands perished long centuries ago, and could well be envied by the best of the stone masons of today.

On May 20, 2009, I received an email from M.I., who said that his grandfathers, father, and all of his uncles had worked the mines of northeast Pennsylvania. His Uncle Joe had worked in one of the last mines to use mules to haul out the coal--16 tons a day--shoveled by and into mine cars. One day as they were clearing away the coal from a blasted coal face over 300 feet beneath the surface, Joe said, they came across a block wall. Not wishing to create any kind of disturbance that might delay their work or their pay, they simply headed the other direction away from the wall.

In 1953 miners of the Lion coal mine of Wattis, Utah, broke into a network of tunnels between five and six feet in height and width, which contained coal of such vast antiquity that it had become weathered to a state of uselessness for any kind of burning or heat.

A search outside the mountain in direct line with the tunnels revealed no sign of any entrance. Since the tunnels were discovered when the miners were working an eight-foot coal seam at 8,500 feet, the evidence is irrefutable that an undetermined someone had conducted an ambitious mining project so far back in time that all exterior traces have been eroded away.

Professor John E. Willson of the Department of Engineering, University of Utah, was quoted in the February, 1954, issue of Coal Age, as stating: "Without a doubt, both drifts were man-made. Though no evidence was found at the outcrop, the tunnels apparently were driven some 450 feet from the outside to the point where the present workings broke into them. . . . There is no visible basis for dating the tunnels .... "

Jesse D. Jennings, professor of anthropology at the University of Utah, could offer no opinion as to the identity of the ancient miners, but he denied that the vast tunnels and coal mining rooms could have been the work of any Native American people. "In the first place," he commented, "such works would have required immediate and local need for coal. ... because before the white man came, transport was by human cargo carriers. . . . As for local use, there was no reported extensive burning of coal by aboriginals in the region of the Wattis mine."

Although the early Native Americans did not mine nor burn coal, the Lost Nation of Iynkicidu may have had great refineries, steel mills, and millions of homes that required coal for the cold winters. The citizens of the Nation of Iynkicidu may have also have exported their crafts as well as their culture to Mayan or Aztec colonies. The forgotten empire builders of our lost nation may even have established outposts in North Africa and the Middle East. Whoever these people were, they flowered technologically in a lost world before our own.