Cave Discoverer-Author Has West Virginia Roots
A Descendant of Early Calhoun Burrows Family
A Descendant of Early Calhoun Burrows Family
Russell E. Burrows discovered a cave containing countless artifacts while living in Illinois in 1982. This discovery has challenged long-established science & history and has led Russ to co-author two fascinating books on the subject.
Born in Richwood, Nicholas County, West Virginia in 1935, Russ is the son of Earl V. and Amanda Jane (Mullins) Burrows. In 1942, the family moved to Shinnston, Harrison County, before settling a year later in Hoult Town, Marion County, West Virginia, where his father worked at the Owens, Illinois glass plant in nearby Fairmont.
Most of Russ' childhood was spent in Marion County, but his Burrows' roots have thus far been traced to Calhoun County, West Virginia. His great-great grandfather, Archibald Burrows (Burris), is listed in Hardesty's History as one of the first settlers in the area.
Russ lives with his family in Colorado and is researching the family tree when he takes a break from writing his third book about Burrows cave. He has generously provided an "abstract" of his book and it follows this brief genealogy of his Burrows family.
ARCHIBALD Burris (Burrows), early resident of Calhoun Co., WV, m. Mary Holbert.
Children: John, William.
JOHN Burrows, b. Lewis Co., WV, m. Mary (Polly) Robinson?, b. Harrison Co., WV (1860 Census)
Children: (1870 & 1880 Censuses) James, Levi, Sarah, Marion, Andrew, Johnson, Cisco (Black), Licurgus, William, Florence, Harvey, Monterville.
MONTERVILLE, b. 1877, d. 1927; married Emma Harris, b. 1882, d/o Perry (Calhoun Co. Marriages)
Children: Arther (1900 Calhoun Co. Census), Earl V.
EARL V., b. 1903, d. 1976, married Amanda Jane Mullins b. Greenbrier Co., WV 1906; d. 1994.
Children: Russell E., James E., William A., Donald R., Shelvia Jean.
RUSSELL E., b. 1935; married Lila Eyer in 1965, IL.
Children: Amy & Thomas.
Russell E. Burrows
Retired army officer, Fellow of Institute for Study of American Cultures
ISAAC) and Midwest Epigraphic Society (MES)
James P. Scherz, PhD
Professor emeritus, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering,
University of Wisconsin, Madison
In 1982, Russell E. Burrows while living in southern Illinois discovered a remarkable cave, today known as "Burrows Cave". By 1992, two books had been written detailing the discovery and contents of Burrows Cave--"Mystery Cave of Many Faces" and "Rock Art Pieces from Burrows Cave". The cave appears to have been a repository of ancient art and records from people much different than the Hopewell culture of the Ohio Valley and the later Anasazi of the American southwest. Most of the pieces taken from the cave before 1989 and now in private collections are saucer-sized black rocks covered with remarkable art work, portraits, and letters from what was then undeciphered Old World alphabets. But coins and pieces of gold with similar art work and inscriptions also came from the cave. Because of the valuable yellow metal and the very real danger of looting by treasure hunters, the exact location of the cave has been a carefully guarded secret. An Illinois burial law enacted in 1990 prohibits removing such artifacts, and Burrows has not entered the cave since that date.
Official reaction by the academic establishment has been to completely reject Burrows' find with charges of fake and forgery. Thus they dismiss the troubling artifacts from serious study without anything that by modern scientific or legal standards would even approach proof of forgery. And these dismissals are almost always done without examining the real inscribed rocks themselves--photos seem to work just fine. For example, Prof. Barry Fell, after quickly looking at some photos of the Burrows Cave rocks, could not read the script, and declared that they were modern forgeries. He instructed his followers to think likewise, which many of them obediently do.
On the other hand, some artists and scholars of ancient languages, who have dared to assume that the pieces are authentic ancient artifacts, have concluded that they relate to refugees from the Mediterranean who about the time of Julius Caesar fled robbery and enslavement by the Romans. The time would be near the beginning of the Christian era.
Of course, the hundreds of rock pieces that are in private hands could be scientifically examined as one would do with any valuable piece of ancient art work. One examination that could be done is to analyze the weathering of the rocks since the art work and the script was carved, as well as mineral crystals that some people have reported seeing within the inscribed letters.
The "Mystery Cave" described in this paper is also known in the literature and on the internet as Burrows Cave. The cave was discovered in 1982 by Russell E. Burrows, a retired army officer who was then living in the city of Olney in southern Illinois. Although Burrows' formal education was in military science, he immediately recognized the archaeological importance of what he found in that cave. It contained thousands of pieces of carefully made ceremonial or historical artifacts, seemingly not related to our view of pre-Columbian New World peoples as taught in our schools and described in popular books. The pieces in the cave showed obvious knowledge of and influence by ancient Old World cultures. This is evident from the art work and from some of the apparently Phoenician-based alphabets that appear on many of the Burrows Cave inscribed rocks. Figures 1 shows two of the thousands of inscribed rocks that Burrows took from the cave between 1982 and 1989. By 1990, a new Illinois burial law became effective, making it illegal to remove such pieces. Burrows has not entered the cave since 1989.
2.) The Academic Climate that Burrows Found
Burrows was greatly surprised by rejection by archaeological authorities and charges of forgery without proof. Although Burrows was not then aware of the strong academic climate in the field of archaeology and anthropology that would oppose his finds, those who have been following the rather embarrassing status of our overly strong pre-Columbian immigration policy were well aware of the type of reaction that Burrows would find.
2.A) Politically Correct Beliefs
The academic climate that Burrows found is a reflection of a desire of the general public to believe that Columbus and the missionaries who followed him were the first Europeans to come to Central America, and that the puritan Protestants were the first Europeans to have any influence on the cultures of North America. The Indian records and verbal histories speak otherwise, but were conveniently ignored as our accepted histories were created. Most Mexican historical folded paper books (codices) were burned by the missionaries, and Indian verbal histories in the north were ignored or ridiculed, to be kept in secret by the native elder historians.
In Mexico, thousands of Indian books from the archives and temples were burned. Bishop Landa boasted of burning tens of thousands of books in one bonfire. Indian elders who would not renounce their old ways were occasionally also burned or had their hands and feet cut off. Soon the Spanish settlers and the church controlled all the land, except in isolated back waters where the old memories were and are still preserved in secret. The view was that the Indians did not deserve to control the land. The land was taken by the Spanish conquerors. The struggle goes on yet today in certain parts of Mexico and Central America. It was a comfortable belief for conquering Europeans to view the Indians whose land they took as savages without important histories or backgrounds. The recorded and verbal histories of the Indians, which indeed made reference to immigrants from across the sea, were ignored as the Spanish Christians created their own version of the history of Mexico.
In North America, the complete conquest took a few more centuries. In this region, the Catholic French fought the Protest British, and Indian mercenaries were important to both. But the general principles were similar to those in Central America. It was politically expedient to view the Indians as pagan savages who could be conquered and their land taken without the guilt and reluctance one would have in conquering civilized peoples, say as in Europe. But indeed the conquest did proceed and the doctrine of Manifest Destiny (the conquerors had the God-given right to take the land from the pagan Indians) was created. It was a convenient political propaganda tool in the late 1800s in the Indian Wars to win the American West. And as with any cultural clashes and wars, the political dogmas created by a cultural group have a way of perpetuating themselves amongst patriotic people and institutions of that culture.
2.B) The Dogma of Manifest Destiny and the Bering Straits
When we read books written in Europe about the New World before the mid 1800s, it is common to see chapters on people who came to America before Christopher Columbus. The Irish, for example, tell of St. Brandon coming well before the Norse and how he spent years in the land speaking his own language with the natives. And such books say the region was known as Greater Ireland, so well was it known in ancient times. The folded codices of Iceland (the sagas) are family stories preserved for centuries in verbal form before being written down in about AD 1300. They tell of the Norse settlements on the west coast of Greenland (from which one could almost see the eastern coast of North America on clear days) and of voyages of their families to the western lands. The Welsh tell of prince Modoc who immigrated to the western lands with a group of followers. There are also records in Africa of migrations to the land across the western seas. And there are stories in India of traveling to the lands across their eastern seas. The Chinese even have old records of government sponsored Buddhist missionary efforts to this eastern land which they called Fue-Sang. But despite the world evidence to the contrary, sometime about 1870, books written in the United States seem to ignore this data and instead say that all the ancestors of Indians came to the New World only on foot over the Bering Straits, a land mass that was exposed about 13000 BC. Although scoffed at by most Native Americans, this Bering Straits theory was the official version of how all the natives got to America in text books up to the last year.
The Bering Straits theory has recently been challenged by young archaeologists who had found evidence of humans in the New World thousands of years before the Bering Straits became exposed. These scholars had suffered under what they call the "archaeology mafia" who rejected their data of earlier contact because it did not fit the popular theory of the day. But the old dogma is changing as witnessed in the press within the last year. It is now concluded that ancient people also used boats and some must have come to the New World by boats as well as walking over the dry land of the Bering Straits.
The century-long dogma that ancestors of all the American Indians walked to the New world over the Bering Straits came about after the work of Major Powell. After the Civil War, Powell was hired by the Smithsonian Institute (funded by Congress) to settle once and for all the Mound Builder controversy. As European settlers spread into former Indian land in the Ohio valley, they found giant earthworks, some similar to those in Europe. And then there were the light-skinned, blond, and grey-eyed Mandan Indians, and reports of early tribes along the eastern coast who spoke Welsh. "Did a white race build these mounds?" A heated controversy began about the origin of the ancient mound builders. And from the soil where the capital of the Iroquois nation had once been located sprang the new religion of the Mormons. They preached that a group of Hebrews came to the New world, where over the centuries their descendants exterminated their culture in religious civil wars. Prominent ministers were loosing their flocks to the new religion and there was great concern in certain circles.
It was Major Powell who was called upon to settle once and for all the question of the ancient mound builders. Powell and his employees dug into Indian mounds all across the country and came to a conclusion that they were built without European influence. This was later interpreted to mean that there had been no European contact before Columbus. As one can wonder about Kenneth Star (whose father was a fundamental minister) being chosen to head the investigation into the misdeeds of President Clinton--an investigation that recommended his impeachment for sexually misconduct), so also one can wonder about the appointment of Major Powell for his task. Powell's father had been a preacher in Palmyra, New York who lost most of his flock to Mormon missionaries. We could hardly expect that Major Powell would have concluded there had been significant Old World contact, for this would have been seen as aiding the dogma of the Mormons who then were moving and being driven west of the Mississippi along with the Indians.
Powell's politically correct conclusions were that the Indian mounds had not been built with influence from Europe. But in the reports is a photograph of a stone taken from the bottom of a mound which had Phoenician style letters inscribed on it. The out-of-place script was not adequately explained.
If the Indians did not come from Europe by boats, then where did they come from? Some Mormons taught that all the Indians descended from a small band of ancient Hebrews described in their religious stories. Other religious groups claimed that the Indians were the ten lost tribes of Israel. The Bering Straits theory was then proposed and widely accepted. The Indians could have walked to America over the land bridge from Siberia about 13000 BC. This theory was also very politically attractive, for if it were true, then the Indians were not at all closely related to the European settlers who wanted the Indian's land. The theory of Manifest Destiny (political propaganda) followed.
The rest is history. The conquest of the Indian lands continued until the "west was won". The Indian wars came to an end, but the political dogmas that helped make these wars a success, like most politically motivated propaganda, continued to be perpetuated in our institutions of higher learning with all the patriotism many feel when singing the National Anthem (without a thought of where this ritual came from). The Bering Straits theory and the conclusions of Major Powell became articles of belief, which were to be defended by the faithful from offending new data. Like a wall to protect sacred beliefs, American academic authorities created a wall around the borders of the United States over which they would allow no one to cross before Christopher Columbus.
2.C) The Challenging Norwegians
Like any strong belief, not all people fell in line with the new dogmas of the Americans. Germans had long maintained that people came from the Old World before Columbus. It was taught in German schools before their defeat in WWII. Even today, one can obtain books in German on the subject. One has a title which in English translates as "Columbus was a China-man". The author, a professor, argues with sarcasm that since by definition, Columbus was the first Old World sailor to come to America, then he was a China-man for there is so much evidence of ancient contact between China and the New World. But few Americans can read these German books, and far fewer can appreciate the sarcasm that such European scholars direct at the dogmas of the Americans.
The Norwegians (a branch of the Teutonic or Germanic family) have been especially persistent. At the end of the last century, when Americans were celebrating Columbus's discovery of America, some jolly Scandinavians full of the memory of how to build the Viking boats and of their sagas of travel to Vinland, crossed the North Atlantic in a replica of a Viking boat and sailed into Boston Harbor. They were thrown into jail by humorless locals who said they were discrediting Columbus. After being released, they sailed on to Chicago, showing that their ancestors could have also done so, and were there welcomed. Their boat is still preserved in a warehouse of the Chicago Park's Department, but is rotting apparently due to lack of general interest in such things.
"Clever publicity stunts", said many academic officials and certainly no proof that the Norse (Vikings) ever reached North America. And then you could not rely on the Icelandic Sagas; they could be pure myth. When the Kensington Ruin stone was found by a Minnesota farmer near the drainage divide between Hudson Bay and the Atlantic, the find was declared a fake. The poor farmer suffered persecution, and humiliation and one of his children apparently committed suicide because of the ridicule. Other Norse artifacts (many, actually) were also found in the area. "All fakes", said the authorities. Finally a Norwegian sailor on vacation, following the old Icelandic Sagas located a Norse settlement at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River in Canada, at L'anse Aux Meadows, Newfoundland. The Canadians now have a park there. But I have seen little indication that academic scholars in the United States are seriously considering allowing the ancient refugees from Greenland to cross the border into the United States.
Thor Heyerdahl pushed the demonstrations and subtle ridicule even further. Forsaking conventional wooden boats (which during the days of the Phoenicians were much larger than those of Columbus) he sailed the open oceans in a reed raft of the type used many thousands of years ago before wooden ships. He has remarked that it is silly to consider that only Columbus and the Vikings could have come to America--many people could have done so over thousands of years. But defenders of the shores of America from pre-Columbian immigration have called such demonstrations mere publicity stunts. Until the last year, the idea of "Columbus first" was still a very strong belief. It certainly was in the early 1980s when Russell Burrows first presented his stones to public scrutiny.
2.D) The Offensive Newark Holy Stones
When Burrows first made his cave known, he was not aware of what happened to a county surveyor by the name of Wyrick, who reported finding the so called "Newark Holy Stones" under a large rock mound near Newark, Ohio, near the center of the Hopewell culture. Wyrick in the mid 1800s excitedly showed to officials of the Smithsonian Institute a black stone carefully shaped and inscribed with obvious old Hebrew letters (scholars today say that it is an abbreviated version of the Ten Commandments). It would not have been politically correct for officers under Major Powell to take seriously Wyrick's holy stones, which clearly showed old Hebrew letters. The matter was settled by Wyrick being accused of forgery. He was ridiculed, became depressed, and died from an overdose of medicine. It is generally believed he committed suicide. Although Burrows began to be ridiculed by certain academic authorities, he had been trained as a military officer, was not about to go into depression, and still had a great deal of fight left in him.
2.E) European Christian Refugees Near Detroit
And when he found the cave, Burrows was not aware of between 20,000 and 30,000 inscribed black rocks, copper plates and ceramic artifacts taken from Indian burial mounds near Detroit between about 1850 and 1900, some of which had art and inscriptions similar to those on Burrows Cave rocks. These pieces of art and writing are known as the Detroit or Sopher Plates. Like the Newark Holy Stones, the Detroit Plates were rejected by the academic authorities as obvious fakes.
When the first of the Detroit Plates were dug from burials in Michigan, photos were sent to a noted professor of languages and history in an eastern college. He could not read the script in either Latin, Greek, or Hebrew. His conclusion, without examining the rocks themselves, was that they had to be modern fakes, and he wrote a report to the newspapers condemning the finder of trying to perpetuate an evil hoax. Things were quite in Detroit for a while, but local farmers and collectors kept finding more and more of these confounded plates. There were hundreds, thousands, and tens of thousands of the pieces found in a many-county area centering on Detroit. Finally a fellow called Sopher (once Secretary of State for Michigan) said he found some of the plates himself. Using his influence, he called for a serious scientific study of the finds. The professors who had already proclaimed them fake saw this as a direct assault on their academic authority. Their reaction was not unlike that of the Pope and the Vatican astronomers when their "sun around the earth" dogma was challenged by the non-church man Prof. Galileo who maintained that his telescope showed that the earth went around the sun.
Professors and museum directors who where offended by the impudent Sopher formed an official syndicate which had the stated purpose of discrediting Sopher and educating the public that the Detroit Plates were modern forgeries. Their work was done largely in the newspapers, with little thought to examining the real plates themselves. The syndicate was very successful. Sopher was indeed discredited and disgraced. When he died, most of his collection was given to Notre Dame University which classified them as local folk art and eventually got rid of them. Some of the collection is in a warehouse in Utah. Others are in scattered private collections. Most have been destroyed or lost.
Nor was Burrows aware of Henriette Mertz, a Lt. Commander in the Navy in WWII who was also a patent attorney and an internationally known expert in forgery. She had been challenged by a judge from Indiana who had a private collection of the Sopher tablets to prove by the rules of law (relating to forgery) that the Sopher or Detroit Plates were modern forgeries as the academic syndicate had proclaimed in their trial in the newspapers. She labored over the challenge for years and finally concluded that the rules of law fail to prove that the Detroit Plates were modern forgeries. On the contrary, she said, such rules state that the plates are authentic ancient artifacts. She added that the inability of the academics to read the script on the Detroit Plates and their arrogance in defending their unproven charges of forgery created a crime against science and our ability to understand the true history of this land, from which we will never be able to recover. She did not know of the additional several thousand carved and inscribed plates that Burrows was to later make public.
Mertz said that the proof that the academics had used was a legal method called "Ipsi Dicit" which means that the matter was settled by the unproven conclusions by someone in authority, a proclamation of belief which was widely accepted without challenge. She further stated that this affair created a climate in our colleges and classrooms which is still perpetuated; any artifact with apparent Old World script on it is rejected offhand as an obvious fake without further study or real proof of forgery. The Burrows Cave saga proves that Mertz was completely correct in these statements.
Although Mertz did not attempt to translate the ancient script on the Detroit Plates, she concluded from the art work that the plates had been made by a group of refugee Christians who had been outlawed after the Council of Nicaea in about 400 AD. Like the pagans before them, such non-orthodox groups had to change religion or flee from the Mediterranean in order to survive. Artists who have studied the Burrows Cave Rocks have concluded that the people who made these pieces had also been connected to ancient refugees from the Mediterranean. They would have been connected to high cultures that the Romans were beginning to conquer and enslave, and likely fled as refugees. The Burrows Cave art seems to relate best to southern Spain and northern Africa and covers a time about 500 to 300 years before the Detroit Plates.
Many of the Burrows Cave rocks and Detroit Plates (as well as one of the Newark Holy Stones) are black rocks, highly polished with pictures and script on them. Some of the Burrows Cave rocks have religious symbols on them identical to those on most of the Detroit Plates. Another similarity between the Detroit Plates and the Burrows Cave rocks is the way they were dismissed by academic authorities. To many people, the way that our academic experts handled these plates is as intriguing and important as the stones themselves. The way that our academics approach data not found in their traditions and dogmas is a serious matter that must be addressed if we are ever to advance our understandings of the past. Unless the unscientific manner in which the Detroit Plates and the Burrows Plates are exposed and the process corrected, we can expect to see more of the same in future generations as well.
2.F) Examples: Strength of Dogma in the 1980's
The three following examples illustrate how the power of dogma and preconceived beliefs have taken precedence over the scientific method, and the continual sifting and winnowing by which alone the truth can be found in such matters. They represent how strongly ingrained beliefs were used to discard data from serious scientific analysis. These events occurred between 1980 and the present and further illustrate the climate that Burrows found in 1982.
No Need to Radio Carbon Date Farmer's Horse Bones
Civil engineering students and staff were surveying Indian mounds near Aztlan Park in Wisconsin about 1985. A farmer said that archaeologists had excavated a small horse skeleton from one of the mounds the previous summer. The mounds were built about the time that the Norse had their settlement at L'anse Aux Meadows at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River. Water routes connected the St. Lawrence with southern Wisconsin. And Icelandic sagas tell of cattle in their settlements in Vinland. Furthermore, the Norse horses were small ones like the horse that reportedly was taken from the mound. And since other horses had been taken from Indian mounds in Wisconsin (before there was radio carbon dating) there was great interest amongst some people for the report and carbon date of the horse bones at Aztalan. A report was requested from the archaeology professor in Milwaukee. "Oh not much was written about it. A farmer had merely buried a horse in an Indian mound." "Did the farmer say so?" "No, that occurred before the present farmer moved to the farm." "Where did you grow up?" "In New York City", was the reply. "But farmers in Wisconsin either send their dead horses to rendering plants or drag them to the woods. They do not bury them, especially in an Indian mound. How do you know the farmer buried the horse there?" "It must have been a favorite pet pony. The farmer had to have buried it, for the Indians did not have horses at the time the mound was built." "What was the radio carbon date on the horse bones?" The angry and annoyed reply was "Look, the state does not have money to carbon date farmer's horse bones". And this was supposed to be the end of the story, and will be unless interested people raise money and force the horse bones to be carbon dated before they are lost or discarded.
According to the scientific method, it is basic data (the horse bones) properly preserved and analyzed and not preconceived beliefs that will determine the date of their origin. Only from basic data will we be able to know the truth of the past. But as happens time and again, preconceived beliefs are used to filter out the data that gets a fair analysis and even preserved.
The Subject of Your Proposed PhD is Not Acceptable
There was a young professor from Hawaii who told the following story. He was in the graduate study program at the University of Wisconsin in Archaeology and Anthropology. He accumulated a great deal of data on similarities between art from Asia and Mexico (wheeled clay toys, etc.). He proposed a comparison of such art between the New World and the Old as his PhD thesis. He was told that the topic was unacceptable. He argued that it was. He was terminated from further PhD study in that department, but continued in graduate school and got a PhD in a different department on an entirely different subject. He later published the data he proposed to use for his original PhD in several books, popular in circles where people are well aware of the type of data that gets suppressed in our proper academic programs. His name is Gunnar Thompson. One of his more recent books is about a map drawn in the 1300s, which shows the eastern coast of North America as far south as Florida, including the St. Lawrence River. But this map is not found in academic books or journals where articles are judged and censured by esteemed critics with their proper degrees. Gunnar Thompson's books are to be found in the so-called underground groups along with the books of Mertz and those on Burrows Cave.
There Will be no Lecture on Burrows Cave in any State Building
In the fall of 1992 Burrows, Scherz, and a few other colleagues who were familiar with the Burrows Cave story were invited to give a talk in southern Indiana at the Falls of the Ohio museum. The young director (who now has another job) had heard of Burrows' find and wanted to know the story and see some of the Burrows Cave rocks. He had assembled about 40 interested people to hear the story. About an hour before the scheduled presentation, this director got a call from the state archaeologist's office. "There will be no talk about Burrows Cave in any state building". "Why?", the puzzled museum director asked. "Everyone in our field knows that Burrows Cave is a complete fake." "Have you ever seen any of the pieces yourself?" "No, but we know all about them. They have to be fake for nothing like that has ever been found in this country." "Well, that does not sound very scientific to me, and I want to hear the story and see the pieces myself before I make up my mind" The young museum director both frustrated and slightly amused, relayed the story to the group. We then moved to a rented meeting room in a local motel. After the presentation, no one present said they believed Burrows Cave was a fake. But all got a good education about what is passed off as scientific inquiry by officials to whom we entrust our prehistoric heritage.
From such examples we can better understand term "archeology mafia" which appeared in popular magazines in the summer of 1999 when young archaeologists described their struggle to have data on archaeological sites earlier than 13000 BC considered which challenged the century-old myth that ancestors of all Indians walked over the Bering Straits land bridge which became exposed about that time.
3.) Need for The Scientific Method
With the scientific method, a thorough analysis of basic observations and basic data defines what we eventually call truth. If the results of a thorough analysis contradicts our previous beliefs, we are obligated to change our beliefs. That's what Einstein did and came up with his theory of relativity. It is not appropriate to reject the basic data from analysis merely because it contradicts our preconceived beliefs. But that is exactly what has been done with the Newark Holy Stones, Detroit Plates, etc. And the climate is such that the process continues today, and by people who hide under the umbrella of science in our institutes of higher educations, while their actions are completely contrary and offensive to the scientific method.
People trained in the hard sciences (where they are vigorously trained to honor the scientific method and tune our thoughts to be in alignment with that method) can become horrified when they see archaeologists using their preconceived beliefs to determine which data gets analyzed and which gets suppressed from analysis and lost.
But those in the hard sciences should realize that courses in physics and the multiple semesters of calculus (sometimes argued as necessary to get the student to think logically) are not necessarily part of the training to archaeologists in the United States. This should be clear if we examine where archaeology and anthropology departments are located in the curriculum of our colleges and universities. They are in the Humanities and Social Sciences, along with art, and religion. Should we be surprised that people so trained do not necessarily behave according to the standards we would demand from graduates in the hard sciences, where strict adherence to the scientific method and not beliefs is responsible for sending a man to the moon and getting him back safely to earth?
Burrows was trained in military sciences and practical matters of how to get things done, and when he was met with rejection and charges of fraud, it was clear that something was wrong with the academic authorities who masquerade under the umbrella of science but rejected basic data that did not conform with their preconceived beliefs. Henriette Mertz, who viewed the situation from not a scientific but a legal viewpoint described the "logic" used by American archaeologists as the Ipsi Dicit method. This means conclusions were not based on facts and proofs, but on the mere strongly stated dictates of certain people in authority, whose unproven beliefs created what was considered to be truth. This is not the method one would expect in the scientific age, but in the Dark Ages, when the mere beliefs of the Vatical authorities were used to fight the offending data from the telescope of Prof. Galileo. The present situation should be considered intolerable by the taxpayers who pay the salaries of those to whom we entrust the preservation and interpretation of America's prehistoric past. The solution is that archaeologists, like people in the hard sciences, must begin to really use the scientific method in analyzing data. To many people in this field, the proper use of the scientific method would be a completely new science.
4.) Publicity of Burrows Cave
It was believed by Burrows and his colleagues that in the Scientific Age, Burrows Cave would eventually get a fair analysis if the story of its discovery and some of the basic data were somehow preserved and not allowed to sink into oblivion as had happened with the Detroit or Sopher Plates. In 1992, two books were produced detailing the discovery of the cave and showing photos of over 100 of the thousands of pieces from the cave. Naturally, these two books were privately published. They are: (1) "The Mystery Cave of Many Faces" by Russell Burrows and Fred Rydholm, and (2) "Rock Art Pieces from Burrows Cave" by Russell Burrows and James Scherz.
These books made their way into hands of people in America and abroad who were specifically interested in the overlooked data of pre-Columbian contact. They were distributed through various amateur organizations devoted to these topics and were also sold by the "Ancient American Magazine". This magazine and its web site is the best and most accessible source for information on Burrows Cave for someone not yet familiar with it.
5.) Amateur Interdisciplinary Organizations
There were two amateur organizations devoted to study of pre-Columbian contact that should be mentioned here. One is the Epigraphic Society started by Prof. Barry Fell, which documented and attempted to decipher what appears to be ancient Old World script found in the New World. Most of Fells published translations related to Celtic and Iberian people (southern spain) and those from northern Africa. Fell who had suffered from rejection by his academic colleagues, also dramatically demonstrated that he had not mastered the scientific method. When he was sent photos of some of the rock pieces from Burrows Cave, he could not read the script and immediately declared the cave a fake. He could do this merely from photographs without examination of the basic rocks themselves. His reaction to the rocks from Burrows Cave was almost identical to the professor who a century before had glanced at photos of the Detroit Plates, could not read them and declared them fake. As with this earlier professor, Fell told his followers to consider the Burrows Cave rocks modern forgeries (using the method of Ipsi Dicit). Many obeyed, some did not.
The Midwest chapter of the Epigraphic Society, with active members including a retired Phd physicist, a patent attorney born in Russia, and an impressive group of artists and other inquiring minds from various fields, would not follow Fells' off-hand proclamation of forgery with out proof. This group has doggedly continued to collect and preserve many of the Burrows Cave stones and have studied the art work and script. They are serving the role one would normally expect a museum or university to serve in such a case. They are archiving as many of the Burrows Cave rocks as possible as well compiling an excellent catalog of all known photographs of the pieces. The Midwest Chapter of the Epigraphic Society (MES) is based in Columbus, Ohio.
Another amateur organization that was key in the early history of the Burrows Cave saga was the Institute for Study of American Cultures (ISAC) from Columbus, Georgia. It was founded by Dr. Joseph Mahan, who had close connections with the American Yuche Indians, originally from that area. They claimed to have come to this land from across the sea, and Mahan believed their roots were with the Yuechee tribes of Asia, who during the Dark Ages controlled the Silk Routes between China and Europe (as well as the four seas, as is evident by their histories and double masted seagoing ships on their coins from that period). The American Yuches knew about treasure caves before Burrows made his discovery. After viewing some of the Burrows Cave rocks, the Yuches said they related to their ancient Sun Kings. (Ancient Sun Kings or Sons of the Sun were common themes amongst many peoples of the New World).
Although Dr. Mahan was absolutely convinced that Burrows Cave was authentic and extremely important, about half of the members of ISAC followed Dr. Fell and considered the cave a giant modern hoax. A sort of battle of beliefs erupted within ISAC over Burrows Cave, and after Mahan died, the policy was that there would be no more formal talks or papers about Burrows Cave. Their annual meetings which numbered three to four hundred in the early 1990's, with international audiences, still continue with about 1/10 of this number. Some of the early conferences which featured Burrows Cave were put on video tape supposedly for later purchase by interested people.
6.) Position of Academic and State Authorities
People of a profession, (except for the mavericks) can be expected to ban together on a subject like Burrows Cave. Officially they must consider it unproven until one of their members has actually entered the cave and verified it according to their own standards. The State Archaeologist of Illinois, in a meeting a few years ago with Burrows, Scherz, and representatives from the Winnebago (Hochunk) Indian tribe, said he did not believe in Burrows Cave. But he listened and has a file on the cave and would enact state law to protect its contents if it were verified according to "scientific" archaeology standards.
7.) Amateur Fame Seekers and Treasure Hunters
The Burrows Cave Saga became very exciting in 1992 when a brilliant young man (reportedly born in Spain and whose grandfather had worked on deciphering the pre-Roman Etruscan script) said he could read the text on the Burrows Cave stones. He teamed up with Harry Hubbard, a young entrepreneur from Florida. They proclaimed that the script and portraits on the rocks related to the last of the Ptolemy dynasty from days when it was conquered by the Romans. They believed that the cave contained the treasures and records of this line and even the body of Alexander the Great. Of course, they needed to enter the cave to obtain proof of their beliefs. They raised considerable money to find and excavate the cave (including some apparently from Dr. Joseph Mahan). Burrows would not disclose the location of the cave, so they searched for it on their own, finding a piece of property they believed to be the location. They leased the land and spent a few years in futile digging. As the money began to run out, attempts were made to extort the location from Burrows and they broke the copyright on the book "Rock Art Pieces from Burrows Cave" by xeroxing the entire book and putting their names on front of it, apparently trying to get a rise out of Dr. Scherz who they suspected might know the location and would have to disclose it in a lawsuit. But at the present time, all is quite on this front. The present excitement is with Ralph Walok and his crew who are, like Hubbard are searching for the cave.
Ralph Walok has passed himself off as head of Fox Publications, with offices in Escondito and Tulare, California. He claims to be a producer of documentary movies and wants to do one on the Burrows Cave story. Fox Publications is not listed in either the phone books of Escondito or Tulare, and no one in the movie business in the region could be found who knew of this gentleman. But he and his crew, like Hubbard and crew have obtained a search permit from a local landowner and with backhoe and shovel are presently searching for Burrows Cave.
8.) Conclusions and Recommendations
Burrows Cave, like the Newark Holy Stones and the Detroit Plates of the last century, shows clear pre-Columbian connection with the Old World. The several thousand carved rocks from Burrows Cave, like the 20,000 to 30,000 carved and inscribed Detroit Plates have been rejected by academic authorities as obvious forgeries without proof of forgery. The techniques used to declare the Detroit Plates fake is described by a noted lawyer as Ipsi Dicit, which means someone in authority states his off-hand opinion, and this is taken by others in the profession as the truth, with no further proof. The process of Ipsi Dicit was also used with the Burrows Cave stones. This process is what one would expect in the Dark Ages, but not our modern scientific age, where what we call truth comes from a fair examination of basic data.
In the hard sciences, when the results of a fair analysis of the data does not align with our preconceived beliefs, we are obligated to change our beliefs. But we also see people to whom we entrust the prehistory of this land using a different method. That method is essentially this. When the data does not align to our preconceived beliefs, we discard the data, often with unfounded charges of fake and forgery without proof of forgery. It can be demonstrated that archaeologists in the United States (trained in schools of Humanities along topics such as religion) are not using the scientific method (at least with the Detroit Plates and the Burrows Cave rocks). They should be better trained in logical thinking and use of the scientific method. If they began to properly use the scientific method on evidence indicating pre-Columbian contact with the Old World, it would be like a powerful new science to them.
The autographed book is available for $23 from:
Russ Burrows, 117 Chestnut Street, Windsor, Colorado 80550.
For additional information, visit the BURROWS CAVE website.