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For teaching purposes only;

[ References for this review may be found at <Fell> ]

 

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School Lessons.

 

†††††† Any literate community has to provide a means of instructing the young in the arts of reading and writing; otherwise the skills would die out.it appears that in Bronze Age times the schoolmasters used much the same kind of didactic material for their lessons as did teachers in later ages.The subject matter ranges from simple identifications of depictions of objects of daily life to more sophisticated proverbs and adages, each illustrated by appropriate pictorial carvings.

 

†††††† Fig 8illustrates two inscribed petroglyphs from the Bohuslšn district that suggest that they were intended for younger readers.The first imparts a moral lesson on cooperation; the second is of the familiar grade-school type, in which people are related to their daily environment, in this case two fishermen who are "on the water."Fig. 9 shows more of the same type of illustrated statement, in which a warrior holds his buckler in such a manner as to show how the word is spelled; a bull and a cow are introduced, each illustrating how its name is spelled; and the sun god carries the image of the sun, thus showing how the letter s(for sol, sun) originated.

 

†††††† Fig. 10 could also be used in teaching youngsters, though the context from which these ship details are taken suggests that it is a record of a naval episode.The ships' names are given, sometimes (as in the upper example) with a helpful hieroglyph added-- the vessel is called the Serpent, and a serpent is shown between the letters that spell the word.

 

Prayers for Ships at Sea.

 

†††††† Fig. 11 shows part of an inscription at VanlŲs, Bohuslšn, in which a winding strand of Tifinag letters weaves through a series of carvings of Bronze Age ships.The decipherment, as given in the caption, shows that the work was intended as some kind of charm to enable seagoing cogs to remain together, with a fair wind, and to arrive at their destination all at the same time.Fig. 12 shows two charms or prayer inscriptions intended to cause fish to take the hook.The upper illustration has the Tifinag letters laid out in a vertical column; it is a rebus simulating a fishing line with a hook at the lower end.Analogous inscriptions in Irish (noted as Celtic) dialects commonly form rebus arrangements of ogam letters, so we must conclude that texts of this type were part of the whole Norsemen culture during the Bronze Age and were by no means confined to Scandinavia.

 

Religious Festivals.

 

†††††† Figs. 13, 14, 15 & 16 illustrate a portion of a series of petroglyphs that occur on one rock face at Fossum, Bohuslšn, all depicting various aspects of the events that occurred during the celebration of the Thorri festival, held during January and February.Fig. 13 shows the symbol of the festival, a sign made up of reduplicated letters of the name Thorri, resembling a thunderbolt symbol.There follows a scene in which the trumpeters, the lur-blowers, hold these curved instruments to their mouths, and an appropriate text tells us that this began the day's ceremonies.Below, in Fig. 13 we see a scene from what appears to be a hockey game appropriately labeled "ball game."Dueling with maces is the subject of Fig. 14, the competitors each wearing a sword, all as usual in this period displaying their phalluses.Fig. 15 shows petroglyphs of sorcerers performing feats of juggling, the balls that they throw into the air being the letters of the inscription itself.Fig. 16 depicts hunting with the bow and arrow and an archery contest held in connection with the Thorri festival.Notable in these texts is the use of ship symbols to provide punning words that suggest the actual word intended by the consonants or even that replace spelled-out words.The captions to these figures explain the points of interest.

 

†††††† With these introductory examples, it is now appropriate to leave the Swedish scene, where our readers have perhaps some questions to pose to the archaeologists of Stockholm.As for us here in the Americas, we too have matters to settle with our own archaeologists.

 

†††††† But the epigraphers, who study ancient inscriptions, have some explaining to do.How is it that a Berber alphabet can occur in Scandinavian Bronze Age contexts?Why does an Irish (noted as Celtic) script also occur there?Why do both scripts (and may others) occur as rock-cut inscriptions in the Americas?These are matters that have been the topic of Fellís earlier books and research papers.A few brief answers may be inserted here, for readers new to the subject.

 

†††††† In regard to ogam, it is easy to demonstrate the untruth of the claim mentioned above that it is a local London invention dating only from the fourth century AD.If those who make this claim (British archaeologists) should take the time to visit the numismatic department of the British Museum they would see examples of the silver coinage of the Aquitanian Gauls, struck in the second century BC and lettered in ogam consaine.They would also see Iberian and Basque imitations of these, lettered in ogam.If they should look at the artifacts excavated from the Windmill Hill site occupied around 2000 BC by the builders of Stonehenge, they would see ogam consaine engraved on these, too.

 

†††††† As regards the Tifinag alphabet of the Berbers, ..... Fellís thesis was that Tifinag is in fact an Ancient Norse script, and that it was taken to North Africa, probably in the twelfth century BC, when the pharaoh Ramesses III repelled an attack by sea peoples who appear (in his bas-reliefs) to be Norsemen.The invaders took refuge in Libya, and it is suspected that the Old Norse runes went with them, and survived as the Tifinag.During Fellís work in North Africa he met Berbers who had no tradition of the origin but who were obviously Europoid, with fair hair, blue, gray, or hazel eyes, and typical European features.

 

†††††† And as for how European skippers could have reached the Americas in the early Bronze Age, their own spokesman, King Woden-lithi himself, may be left to handle that question.he does so in the words he had inscribedon limestone in Canada 3,500 years ago, during the five months he spent in Ontario.And so for why Europe chose to forget about America, that is a matter primarily for European historians to explain, but it should be pointed out that the earth's climate became colder at the end of the Bronze Age, when the north polar icecap came into being [see Climate].Sailing westward by the northern route became hazardous until the amelioration of climate that took place just before the onset of the Viking period.

 

†††††† Perhaps, when the study of rock inscriptions in Scandinavia is pursued more widely, new evidence may be discovered that could help to fill in some of the missing pieces of the record of humans upon the high seas.The increasing frigidity of the North Atlantic as the warm Bronze Age came to an end would not have been the only factor that might have tended to discourage transatlantic trading.

 

†††††† There were also changes occurring in the pattern of commerce in Europe, as the Bronze Age advanced, and these, combined with gradual exhaustion of available upper-level deposits of metallic copper in Canada, probably turned the attention of Scandinavian skippers more to the south and less to the remote lands across the Atlantic.

 

†††††† By 1200 BC, when the Scandinavian Bronze Age was reaching its peak, traders from the Carthaginian settlements in Spain and Tunisia were reaching the Baltic lands.They brought with them another alphabet, the Iberian, itself a development of the Phoenician way of writing......Scandinavian inscriptions now assume the character of commercial documents, engraved on small pieces of bone, written in the Iberian script, and recording business transactions.It was probably at this epoch that Scandinavian leaders decided that the time had come to discard the old Tifinag letters of King Woden-lithi's day and to modernize their business records by adopting the new Iberian script.So only the religious inscriptions preserved the Tifinag in the northern lands.On the southern shores of the Mediterranean, roving Norsemen raiders also preserved their Tifinag, which ultimately became the inheritance of the Berber peoples.

 

†††††† The alphabet may not have been the only bequest these Norsemen made to their successors who settled in the Atlas Mountains.When Fell was working in Libya he noticed among Berbers some words still in sue that had familiar Norse sound, made even more recognizable now that we can see how King Woden-lithi would have written these same words."(see Table I for examples).

 

A Royal Visitor.

 

†††††† On the basis of evidence gained from translations of ogam script in North America, Fell (1982) proposed the following hypothesis: "Some seventeen centuries before the time of Christ a Norsemen king named Woden-lithi sailed across the Atlantic and entered the St. Lawrence River.He reached the neighborhood of where Toronto now stands, and established a trading colony with a religious and commercial center at the place that is now known as Petroglyphs Park, at Peterborough.His homeland was Norway, his capital at Ringerike, west of the head of Oslo Fjord.He remained in Canada for five months, from April to September, trading his cargo of woven material for copper ingots obtained from the local Algonquians (whom he called Wal, a word cognate with Wales and Welsh and meaning "foreigners.").He left behind an inscription that records his visits, his religious beliefs, a standard of measures for cloth and cordage, and an astronomical observatory for determining the Norsemen calendar year, which began in march, and for determining the dates of the Yule and pagan Easter festivals.having provided his colonists with these essentials, he sailed back to Scandinavia and thereafter disappears into the limbo of unwritten Bronze Age history.The king's inscription gives his Scandinavian title only and makes no claim to the discovery of the Americas nor to conquest of territory.Clearly he was not the first visitor to the Americas from Europe, for he found that the Ojibwa Algonquians were already acquainted with the ancient Basque syllabary, and when Woden-lithi set sail for home, an Ojibwa scribe cut a short comment into the rock at the site, using the ancient Basque script and a form of Algonquian still comprehensible today, despite the lapse of time.

 

†††††† Fell (1982) then continued with evidence supporting such sweeping claims.He suggested, "The primary physical evidence comprises a series of inscriptions cut in the Tifinag and ogam consaine alphabets, using an early form of the Norse tongue, scattered around the outer margins of the petroglyph site at Peterborough [Ontario, Canada] (Fig. 18 & Fig 19).Except for the central sun god and moon-goddess figures and certain astronomical axes cut across the site, the numerous inscriptions are the work of later Algonquian artists, who used King Woden-lithi's inscription as a model for their own, more conspicuous, carvings.The site has been since 1972 under official government protection, and instructions for reaching it are given by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources in various guide booklets and pamphlets available to the general public.Readers of this book will find most helpful the ministry's book Petroglyphs Provincial Park, Master Plan; also valuable for its treatment of the Algonquian art at the site is the work by Joan M. and Romas K. Vastokas entitled Sacred Art of the Algonkians (Mansard Press, 1973).The latter work is meticulous in the accurate portrayal of the inscriptions, in their present eroded state, though the authors did not then recognize the inscribed alphabets or record them as such.The important fact is that professional anthropologists such as the Vastokas team found and recorded the inscriptions and reported that they must date back to a period before the historical occupation of the region by the Hurons and later by Iroquois; in other words, the inscriptions could not be modern features, and must date back to the era of Algonquian occupation, which came to an en some five centuries ago.

 

†††††† Joan and Romas Vastokas recognized apparent Scandinavian and Bronze Age features in the art style.They pointed out that the ships depicted in the inscription are shown in the European manner, with animal figure heads and stern tailpieces, features totally unknown to Algonquian, or indeed in any American Indian, art.They, and other archaeologists, noticed the strange similarities of the central sun-god figure. and associated motifs to corresponding solar deities of Europe, especially the Bronze Age petroglyphs of Scandinavia.Other characteristic Scandinavian features that their photographs and drawings record are such elements of Norsemen mythology as the maiming of the god of war by the Fenrir wolf....., the conspicuous short-handled hammer, Mjolnir, of Thunor (Thor of the Norsemen), and Gungnir, the spear of Woden....., both of which were imitated many times over by the Algonquian artists who later occupied the site.Thus, the purely objective reports made by the Vastokases who sought only to record what they discovered, without attaching any interpretation other than that appropriate for Algonquian art, have an added value and importance for us now, for they observed the material as it was uncovered from the soil and placed it on permanent record in their photographs, charts, and descriptions.As a result of the initial discoveries, the whole site was set aside as a public part and protected by an enclosure.

 

†††††† Thus, the primary evidence still exists and is open for public inspection under circumstances that prevent the possible vandalization of the site.The only disturbing feature is that, since the inscriptions were exposed to the air, after removal of the covering soil that had protected them, the action of frost and acid rain has caused a gradual deterioration of the surface of the limestone.Unless steps are taken to impregnate the bedrock with a stabilizer, such as silicone, the precious record may soon melt away into unreadable markings, as part indeed already had before the site had been found.

 

†††††† The actual discovery should be noted here.It occurred on May 12, 1954, and was made by three geologists, Ernest Craig, Charles Phipps, and Everitt Davis, in the course of fieldwork on mining claims.The following day, "Nick" Nickels, a photographer-journalist of the Peterborough Examiner, visited the site, and so began the first modern records of it.Paul Sweetman of the University of Toronto undertook the first research at the site in July 1954, recording nearly a hundred petroglyphs.Sweetman's report indicated a possible age as great as 3,500 years or as young as 400 years.His upper limit, 3,500 years, is in agreement with the epigraphic evidence as given in this book.Tens of thousands of visitors now come to the site each year, using the access road and other facilities that have been erected for their benefit.it has become a major center of archaeological interest for the whole of North America, and all Americans are grateful to the Canadian authorities for having seen to it that the ancient petroglyphs are protected yet open to all visitors.

 

†††††† The Vastokases, like most archaeologists in North America, felt obliged to explain all American petroglyphs as being the work of native Amerindian artists.Despite their, and others' perception of the similarities to Scandinavian petro9glyphs of the Bronze Age, the idea that any connection might have existed between North America and Scandinavia in the Bronze Age, some 3,500 years ago, seemed preposterous.So they were faced with remarkable parallels, yet they elected to explain them as no more than chance similarities brought about by a shamanistic view of the sky as a kind of sea on which the sun and the moon sailed their ships to cross the heavens each day.

 

†††††† In treating the inscriptions in this way, they were following the example of other distinguished anthropologists and archaeologists who had investigated North American petroglyphs.The leading researcher during the last several decades had been Professor Robert Heizer of the University of California.hew was vehement in his rejection of all theories that America had been visited in pre-Columbian times by voyagers from Europe, Africa, or elsewhere, and he chose to view all American petroglyphs as the products of Amerindians.He did take account of age-determination techniques, such as those dependent on carbon-dating of materials found in caves where petroglyphs occur and the evidence provided by the oxidation of rocks, especially in dry climates such as eastern California, Nevada, and Arizona.These methods enabled Heizer to set dates of up to five thousand years ago for some petroglyphs.As for me, at the time when the Ontario petroglyphs were discovered, Fell had just completed a comprehensive Scandinavian journey and had visited many of the famous inscriptions of Sweden and Denmark, though he was still a long way from recognizing the Tifinag alphabet at any Bronze Age petroglyph site beyond the shores of North Africa.

 

†††††† Fellís subsequent work on Tifinag led to the gradual decipherment of the ancient language of Libya and, after various Libyan scholars visited me at Harvard, Fell was invited to lecture on the Tifinag inscriptions at the universities of Tripoli and Benghazi.Just before leaving for North Africa in 1977, Fell had received from Otto Devitt the first of what were to be a continuing series of photographs he made for me of the petroglyphs at Peterborough.Although he could see that the site included Tifinag letters, the words they formed seemed to have no discernible connection with the language of ancient Libya, and he was forced to put the slides aside while undertaking other assignments.

 

†††††† In the interim Fell read some of Heizer's reports on the petroglyphs of eastern California and Nevada, and recognized that they included Tifinag and Kufi (early Arabic).A particularly striking case is the petroglyph in Owens Valley, California, that depicts the entire zodiac, in the form it had before the third century BC, together with a Kufi inscription explaining that the New Year is determined at the time of the vernal equinox, when the sun enters the constellation of the Ram.One of Dr. Fellísformer Harvard students, Dr. Jon Polansky, was now doing research at Berkeley, and he made the acquaintance of Professor Heizer and showed him the decipherment Fell had done on his Owens Valley petroglyphs.As a consequence Professor Heizer invited me to visit him; this came about in May 1979.We became friends and, putting aside his former opposition to the notion of pre-Columbian visitors, Bob Heizer now carefully checked each element of the decipherment and confirmed that Fell had rendered his original published diagrams correctly tin the version in which In inserted the sound values of the Kufi signs.We planned a joint publication, but illness prevented him from accompanying me into the desert that year.Instead, he arranged for one of his former Berkeley students, Dr. Christopher Corson, to take me to some of the inscription areas.Dr. Corson, an archaeologist in the Bureau of Land Management, ahs the best knowledge of petroglyph sites in northern California and northwest Nevada.He led a party that included John Williams, Jon Polansky, and me, together with Wayne and Betty Struble and their son Peter.Bob Heizer planned to take part in Fellís next field trip, but to his great regret he passed away, struck down by the illness that had already prevented his participation in the 1979 fieldwork.Fell was obliged to publish the Owens Valley zodiac without the benefit of his contribution, though the illustrations of the paper had been checked by him for accuracy and had his approval.

 

†††††† Dr. Heizer's contribution to American petroglyph studies had been immense, and Fellís colleagues and he knew that a significant point had been reached when Heizer recognized the true nature of the Owens Valley zodiac and opened his mind to a new view of American prehistory in which pre-Columbian visitors and colonists would now play a role.Heizer, an archeologist and anthropologist, filled an intermediate position between those archeologists who devote their research to excavation of ancient sites and epigraphers, those linguists who give their energies to the decipherment of ancient inscriptions.

 

†††††† By 1979, the same season in which Heizer and Fell had begun to influence each other, the epigraphers of Europe had already begun to analyze by work on ancient inscriptions in America, and soon authoritative publications began to appear, giving strong support and conformation.Professor Pennar Davies, a leading Welsh scholar, and in America, Professor Sanford Etheridge, editor of Gaeltacht (an Irish-language publication), had both written in support of Fellís finding ogam inscriptions in America.In Spain, the leading Basque scholar, Dr. Imanol Agiŕe, advised me that he too confirmed Fellís reports on Basque inscriptions in Pennsylvania, dating from about the ninth century before Christ.In 1980 the volume he contributed to the Gran Enciclopedia Vasca (Great Basque Encyclopedia) contained letter-by-letter analyses of Fellís papers, and in a technical paper published in 1982 AgŪre acknowledged that his decipherment of the ancient Basque syllabary was correct.These and other published papers, such as those of the Swiss linguist Professor Linus Brunner, provided competent scholarly approval of our American studies on the alphabets and syllabaries that are represented at the site in Peterborough.Their opinions, therefore, together with the detailed analyses that they have published, must be taken into account when some archaeologists, both in America and Britain, attempt to discredit the research on American inscriptions.The claims of the latter that epigraphers in America are deluded by forgeries, or even forge the alleged inscriptions themselves, have to be dismissed as ignorant remarks made without personal knowledge of the scripts or the language involved, and generally without any knowledge of the sites at which the inscriptions occur.

 

†††††† From the information given herein it is obvious that the petroglyphs at Peterborough cannot be forgeries, and that they are ancient.From the information given previously and those that follow, it is easy for any person who so desires to check the statements and conclusions, and as in previous books that Fell has written.Only by such methods can we eventually persuade Americans to realize that American history extends far into the past, and that America and Europe interacted through trade and cultural contact for over three thousand years before Columbus made his first voyage.

 

†††††† Since Fellís first book on ancient voyages to America, some important advances have been made to archaeological research bearing out that topic.In New England James P. Whittall and members of the Early Sites Research Society have discovered and excavated a site (a disk barrow) that was first occupied seven thousand years ago.Some of the skeletons show the characteristics of Europeans, yet their age by carbon dating is at least 1,600 years.One of the skulls matches closely the skulls of the ancient Irish.These facts have been determined by an anthropologist, Professor Albert Casey, whose research has been devoted to skull and bone characteristics of Old World peoples.His computer is programmed to recognize Old World characteristics in New World skulls not being discovered.The tumuli of northeastern America show great similarities to those of Europe.The radiocarbon dates indicate similar ranges to time.The artifacts excavated from American burial sites, sometimes in actual contact with the skeletons of their presumed former owners, have been discovered in some cases to have inscriptions carved upon them, in ogam and Basque script; to Dr. William P. Grigsby we owe this observation, based on his own extensive collections of artifacts from the southeastern states.

 

†††††† We are faced, therefore, with what amounts to conclusive evidence that the artifacts (including written inscriptions) of European peoples of the Bronze Age are found at American archaeological sites, and with these artifacts skeletons are occasionally found that conform to Europoid criteria.The recognition and confirmation of the inscriptions are due to epigraphers who have published their findings and who, in most cases, teach courses in linguistics or epigraphy at reputable universities.Thus, whether or not we can comprehend the sailing techniques of Bronze Age peoples, the fact seems inescapable that Bronze Age Europeans reached North America.Fellís personal view was that the mild climate of the Bronze Age permitted navigation to take advantage of the westward-flowing currents and westward-blowing winds of the polar regions, and thus made the natural northern route to North America much easier to use than is the case today, when polar ice intrudes and savage weather occurs [see Climate] .Fell had sailed that route and appreciated its discomforts.They would have been much less severe in the Bronze Age, while the attraction of North America for Scandinavian skippers would have been much enhanced by the availability of copper in metallic form, at a time when Europe was demanding copper for bronze alloys on a larger scale than ever before or since......

 

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