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Volume 23


Epigraphic Society Occasional Papers

Table of Contents, Volume 23, 1998

Officers of the Society (1 p) The Editors 23-p 2

The officers and Board members of The Epigraphic Society are listed and information is provided about them.

Barry Fell (1 p) Jon Polansky 23-p 4

A short elegy to Dr. Fell (1917-1994), lauding him as a teacher who encouraged independent thought and the pursuit of the scientific method.

Editorial: A Continuing Heritage (1 p) Donal Buchanan 23-p 5

Buchanan explains what Barry meant to him. Fell was important, not because he was always right –he wasn’t; but because he taught one to think.

Editorial: To Members & Subscribers (2 pp) Norman Totten 23-p 5

Totten introduces the first issue of ESOP to be published since Fell’s death. “The same emphasis on creativity will be maintained, with greater emphasis on inter-disciplinary approaches.”

Editorial: On Reading Ancient Scripts (4 pp) George Carter 23-p 6

Carter defends Fell’s record. Critics accused Fell of “forcing” a translation or decipherment and thus often falling into error. Carter points out that decipherment is not an exact science: even the best scholars often come to different translations of the same inscription. He goes on to describe evidence for difussion provided by scholars other than Fell.

Editorial: ESOP 23 and Beyond (4 pp) Jon Polansky 23-p 9

The Chief Editor of ESOP enlarges on his plans and desires for the journal. An interdisciplinary approach to developing methods and data bases for the investigation of cultural diffusions (including the involvement, where applicable, of Amerindian experts), the fostering of exchanges between scholars of differing views, as well as critical evaluation and re-evaluation of the evidence.

Letter: Under Our Noses‑Too Close to See (2 pp) Warren Dexter 23-p 13

Dexter points out that often we miss items of importance that others outside our frame of reference see at once. As an example, he points to an inscribed pillar (possible Ogham) on the Milk River in Canada (photo by Dexter shown).

Letter: Pre‑Columbian Contacts With Native American Cultures (2 pp) Vine Deloria 23-p 14

Deloria points out that besides inscriptions which may have been left by Old World explorers before Columbus, there is evidence from Amerindian sources of pre-Columbian contacts.

Letter: Early African Presence in the New World (4 pp) Richard Ashcroft 23-p 15

The writer sets forth evidence for an early pre-Columbian African presence in the Americas.
Letter: Semitic Inscriptions in the Americas (1 p) James Trimm 23-p 19

A Semiticist expresses his interest in proposed Semitic inscriptions found in the Americas. It is his hope that he can contribute to future investigations of this controversial question.

Letter: The Cree Syllabary and Native American Writing (2 pp) The Editors 23-p 19

An introduction to the next two letters, a correspondence on Cree between two noted scholars with widely differing views.

Letter: Historical Context of the Cree Syllabary (4 pp) Gerald M. Hutchison 23-p 20

Hutchinson sets for the evidence for the creation of the Cree Syllabary by the Rev. James Evans.

Letter: The Cree Syllabary: An Indigenous Writing System (3 pp) Louis Buff Parry 23-p 23

Parry considers that the weight of the evidence clearly shows a pre-Columbian use of the Syllabary by the Cree (a graphic of the Cree Syllabary is provided).

Letter: Kuna Writing/Kogi Mythology (1 p) Daniel Lucas 23-p 26

Draws attention to a Kuna mola (graphic shown) which shows usage of a script similar to the Muisca glyphs known from the Bogota plains area of Colombia which are associated with calendrics (graphic shown).

Letter: Ancient Kuna Writing? (2 p) Tom Strider 23-p 27

Strider points to the strong similarity between Kuna writing as seen in an article by George Carter in volume 20 (graphic shown) and that used in the Wichub Wala document (graphic shown) apparently authored by one Enrique Figueroa (of Wichub Wala in the San Blas Islands where the Kuna lived). Indeed the Wichub Wala graphic appears to be a close duplicate of the first 13 lines shown in Carter’s graphic.

Letter: Walrus Bone Golden Numbers of the Norse (2 pp) Frans H. Dullemond 23-p 28

The author argues that the Walrus Calendar illustrated by Worm in 1643 dates to as early as 1100 AD rather than 1347 AD as suggested by Bugge.

Letter: The Epigraphic Seal (1 p) Bill Rudersdorf & Michael Skupin 23-p 29

Rudersdorf and Skupin commissioned an artist, Tex Welch, to create a steel replica of the Society’s seal for presentation to Dr. Barry Fell on the occasion of his 75th birthday.

Letter: Megalithic Monuments in Connecticut (1 p) E.T. Krumeich 23-p 30

Provides color photos (shown) of a stone chair and a possible dolmen, both located at sites in Connecticut.

Research Report: Old World Sites in the Northeast (3 pp) John A. Williams 23-p 31

One of the earliest members of the Society reflects upon his relationship with Barry Fell in research carried out in New England over a 20 year period (photos of stone chambers in New York and Connecticut shown).

Research Report: Mesoamerican Research: A Comalcalco Update (4 pp) Neil Steede 23-p 33

Steede originallycontacted Barry Fell at the suggestion of Alexander von Wuthenau. His relationship with Fell resulted in useful insights and added a focus and testable hypotheses to the ongoing research at Comalcalco and elsewhere (excellent color photos of the Comalcalco site shown). He discusses progress made since his last report on the site.

Research Report: Ship of Controversy (10 pp) George Carter 23-p 37

Discusses the original ship-glyph used as inspiration for the Society’s seal. He compares the various renditions with other depictions of early ships (numerous graphics).

The Decipherment of East Central Iberic (24 pp) Donal Buchanan 23-p 47

The sound values for the East Central Iberic script are for the most part identical with those for the Southwest Iberic script. While the area where this script is used was at one time known to be heavily Celtic before the arrival of the Romans, the language cloaked by this script is not Celtic, but a form of non-literary Latin or Old Spanish. The inscriptions using the script probably date no earlier than about 180 BC and, in some cases, may be as late as 100-200 AD. Decipherments of a number of inscriptions are given with numerous supporting graphics and a detailed vocabulary: The Abengibre Plates; Lead Laminas from El Llano de Consolacion, La Bastida de les Alcuses (Mogente); the inscribed stone at El Salobral; and the La Sagra Bowl.

A Precise Petroglyph Equinox Marker in Eastern California (15 pp) Alan Gillespie 23-p 71

Petroglyph site INY272 contains a simple pecked marker consisting of six vertical bars that can be used, during the week of the equinox, to predict the time of the equinox, relative to sunset, within 3 hours. The site, which is determined to be at least several hundred years old, reveals a surprising astronomical sophistication on the part of its creator (well illustrated).

The Karanovo Zodiac and Old European linear (7 pp) Richard Flavin 23-p 86

An examination of the origins of writing. Recent work comparing Old European Linear script with Cretan Linear A and Classical Cypriote syllabaries suggests a writing tradition which continued from Neolithic times down to later Mediterranean cultures, challenging earlier theories.

Ancient Linguistic Associations in the Mediterranean (7 pp) N. Falaschi 23-p 93

The author offers decipherments of eight Etruscan and Illyrian inscriptions from Italy and Albania (ancient Illyria), using Albanian as the key language. She also attempts the decipherment of two inscriptions from Southern Portugal. [Buchanan Comment: Unfortunately, the transcriptions she used for the latter two inscriptions were faulty. See my The Decipherment of Southwest Iberic, ESOP volume 20/2, 1991.]

Kenu District Inscriptions: Fr. Japan to the Ancient Orient (11 pp) H. Fukuda 23-p 100

The author, a member of the Japan Petroglyph Society relates the inscriptions to Sumerian mythology and symbols.

A Curious Element in Uto-Aztecan Linguistics (32 pp) Bryan D. Stubbs 23-p 109

A linguist sets forth data for a possible connection between Semitic and Uto-Aztecan.

The Rochester Creek Petroglyphs, Part 1: New Proposals (5 pp) Jon Polansky 23-p 141

Images suggesting the Corona Borealis and Bootes at the Rochester site led to the consideration that other aspects of archaeoastronomy or star lore traditions might also be represented there. Investigation suggested a Milky Way depiction involving recognizable Zodiacal elements. Both Old World and Amerindian elements can be seen.

Interpretations: 6-toed Footprints in Western Petroglyphs (7 pp) Gloria Farley 23-p 146

The author compares 6-toed Footprint petroglyphs in the Southwest with similar depictions in Egypt and Southern Africa.

Kuna Dimensions (13 pp)Norman Totten 23-p 153

Totten picks up the baton dropped by the late Clyde Keeler and expounds on Kuna culture and religious beliefs.

The Quincunx as an Internal/Extemal Orientation Symbol (9 pp) C. Herberger 23-p 166

The Quincunx or quadrilateral with crossed diagonals, like the swastika and the labyrinth, is one of the primordial symbols of untold age and worldwide distribution. It is a symbol of orientation with external and internal implications, referring to the sun’s movement in space as seen from the earth and its marking of cyclical time: a symbol of cosmological unity and wholeness.

Aztec 260 Day Count: Augury Table, not Calendar (12 pp) Terry Stocker 23-p 175

Building upon the author’s previous work, this presentation illustrates that the 260 day calendar has a lunar basis. It is not a calendar, but an augury table.
Forum: The Kensington Runestone --Introduction (1 p) The Editors 23-p 187

The editors introduce the participants, giving biographic information on Richard Nielsen, Robert Hall, and James Knirk.

Forum: Kensington Stone Linguistics (50 pp) Richard Nielsen 23-p 189

This paper concentrates on the non-Runic aspects of the Kensington Runestone and reviews the work of six well-known detractors of its authenticity --three Danes: Harry Andersen, Erik Moltke, and Karl Martin Nielsen; two Swedes: Sven Jansson and Brigitte Wallace; and one American: Erik Wahlgren. Their unsubstantiated assertions are all refuted by new evidence brought forth here.

Forum: Commentary (6 pp) Robert Hall 23-p 238

Says that the “negators” fail to do their ‘homework’ and, in the case of the Kensington Runestone, failed to follow the normal procedures of scholarly investigation. Lauds Nielsen for placing the whole discussion on a new and sounder basis.

Forum: Commentary (4 pp) James Knirk 23-p 244

Knirk presents linguistic difficulties that suggest strongly that the Kensington Runestone could not have been carved at the time suggested, but is a late forgery.

Forum: Responses (18 pp) Richard Nielsen 23-pp 242, 248

Nielsen concurs with Hall’s review and adds highlights with additional examples. He also responds to the specific linguistic criticisms by Knirk.

In Memoriam: Howard Barraclough Fell (1917-1994) (4 pp) René Fell 23-p 266                                                    

Mrs. Fell has written a touching tribute and excellent biography of her husband (good photos available).

In Memoriam: Barry Fell (1 p) Norman Totten 23-p 269

Totten lauds his old friend as a gentle warrior, peeling back the mysteries that time sets before us.

In Memoriam: Clyde Keeler (1900-1994) (2 pp) Gloria Farley 23-p 270

An excellent biography of Clyde (with a photo) by an old friend.

In Memoriam: Joseph Mahan (1921-1995) (1 p) Donal B. Buchanan 23-p 272

Memories of the founder of the Institute for the Study of American Cultures (ISAC) (photo available).

In Memoriam: Alexander Von Withenau (1 p) Neil Steede 23-p 272

Steede remembers him as an inspiring scholar who first suggested that he get in touch with Barry Fell about his Comalcalco site (photo available).

In Memoriam: Roberta C. & Edward A. Smith (1 p) Gloria Farley 23-p 273

Gloria remembers two fine researchers whose lives were snuffed out in a car accident in 1994 (photo available).

In Memoriam: Dr. Albert Gottfried Hahn (1917-1994) (1 p) Paul Chapman 23-p 273

A memory of a gentle scholar who will be sorely missed by his colleagues.
Information for Authors (1 p) 23-p 274

Delineates the Society’s requirements for authors desiring to appear in its publication. The final paragraph sets forth the copyright policy: that material appearing in ESOP may not be reproduced by others without prior written permission of the author(s) and ESOP, in whole or part, electronically or otherwise. Copyrights are retained for the authors who may reproduce their own work as they wish.

On the Cover

A photograph of a relief sculpture of Barry Fell made prior to his death.


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