A Message From “Afar”: Marked Rock From Wisconsin”
By Steven & Evan Strong
Special Thanks to Ros and Thomas J. French
From the first time Evan showed me some pictures of the marked rock from Wisconsin, I made a concerted effort to walk away and look elsewhere. Found so far away on the opposite side of the planet within a tribal estate of which we know nothing, the rock was for sale but priced well outside our financial comfort zone. As attractive the images and intriguing the markings, there were too many reasons to be pragmatic and move on to greener less expensive pastures.
As we did. Close to three months passed as all recollection of the rock found at Wisconsin submerged under the tide of local artefacts and promising sites. When Ros rang to explain why she was seriously considering purchasing this rock, the stumbling block was never a matter of deciding whether the money would be well spent, which it undeniably is, but trying to put a face to the rock was beyond the reach of my repressed memory.
A Post Code From the Past
Being a relatively small rock yet replete with a variety of puzzling elements, the photographs posted on the web fell well short of the mark. There is so much going on, and a lot of the action is so small and requires a camera of high resolution. Not only are the markings on this rock very geometric and precise demanding technology that supposedly is very recent, the accompanying paperwork gave an account of what happened since it was found and contained two observations that sounded so reminiscent, and so Australian.
Soon after being found by a gentleman by the name of Thomas French, he made contact with some accredited experts with the hope of gaining some insights into its makers and heritage. Of the three academics who were quoted one observation immediately struck a chord and went a considerable way towards moderating our apprehension in relation to researching an artefact that is so distant from Australia. A fundamental commonality of the rocks in the Ros’ Rock series (and guests) is the top coating of chert, and because of the identification by “a geologist in Minnesota by the name of Scott Walters”(1) who “identified the stone as chert”(2) this must increase the chances that the Wisconsin rock is not just a local curio, but part of a global package.
What is even more compelling evidence of a shared inspiration that transcends the seas, is that according to Thomas “two first nation men have said that the artifact is a healing stone.”(3) According to many Original Elders and Custodians of Lore, all the sacred rocks of the Ros’ Rocks collection are sacred, powerful and possess a positive healing energy. And in every case, irrespective of location, the rock is overlaid with a thin crust of chert.
The closer we looked and compared this American artefact to Ros’ Rock 1, the more we realised we had to broaden our ancient horizons and think globally. Having previously established a match-up of over 90% between the lines and angles geography on Ros’ Rock 1 to ancient marked rocks found in Bosnia and Calgary (Canada), it should be expected that the Wisconsin rock would also share many features and markings with its Australian counterpart.
“It is Very Little.”(4)
When Ros first received the sachet from abroad she rang to not only announce its arrival, but give some perspective to this artefact in adding that “it is very little.”(5) I suspect it was smaller than Ros expected as she did sound a touch disappointed, but I was immediately buoyed by this diminutive news. There was so much detail, 21 separate lines by our count, to be confined within such a small space highlights the need for tools of high strength yet delicate enough to cut into a very hard surface without any deviation in line or pressure applied. We are struggling today to nominate any store-bought tool capable of cutting such fine lines so consistently into such a hard rock.
Ros mailed the rock to us the day after she received it, but it was not unescorted and was accompanied by an extremely intriguing Australian marked rock that will be the subject of our next article. Upon the first inspection of the much smaller Wisconsin rock it was obvious we were both right, even before about one quarter of the rock was broken off it still was a very small piece of rock, but has an incredibly large story to tell. All we have to do is read the lines and spaces in between.
In interpreting this engraved cryptic story we have to first factor in the lost chapter in the form of a missing piece of rock measuring something like 180mmx140mm. The missing section is located at the bottom right edge, which has lost the first three layers of rock (it is made up of 7-8 discrete horizontal layers of rock) and all that remains from the upper portion are two percussion bulbs. They are set one above the other in a step-like formation at 45 degrees and this suggests whatever hit did not fall from above, but came at an angle from the side. Despite the damage and loss of a portion of the script, it is possible to reconstruct with some degree of confidence a reasonably close rendition of what this ancient engraved script looked like before breakage.
Having put together that which was broken off and the lineage which creates this ancient narrative, there is a need to look more closely within these long thin lines engraved into the smooth hard chert, as did geologist Scot Wolters. With the assistance of a high powered microscope they “were able to look at the lines under a microscope and see striations indicating carving instead of stamping or pressing.”(6)
There is a need to pause and ponder, the term Wolters chose, “striation,”(6) is a very uneasy fit if relying upon conventional historical models. In the Macquarie Dictionary their definition of striation refers to its base “stria,”(7) which cites the “scratches or tiny grooves on the surface of a rock.”(8) No problem there, we are in full agreement, but past that point it goes off into a tangent that has nothing to do with this human artefact in explaining these scratches are due to “the moving action of moving ice, as of a glacier.”(9) There is no glacier anywhere on this planet, or any other planet elsewhere in the Cosmos, that could possibly create nine parallel lines, another six positioned at exactly ninety degrees to the dominant lines of the rock, throw in two identical shafts and then complete this ensemble with a very small yet perfect rectangle.
Just as important a consideration is what tool was responsible? What we can be certain of is that we can rule out the chisel and any device that stamps or presses. If these are a form of “scratches”(10) which cannot be due to natural processes and is obviously the result of a human hand, what tool can scratch into a rock? If it was a soft rock, clay or cast in a semi liquid state, the obvious response is a sharpened blade or shell edge. But of course this is chert and there is no hand held garden variety knife of today that is up to that task. Whatever ancient implement ‘striated’ into that rock it has to be remembered the resultant 21 separate lines bear the same consistency in width, depth, trueness of line and clarity of cut.
Crossing the Continental Divide
What some may have noticed in this report is our unsubstantiated repeated use of the term “ancient”(11) when discussing the merits and ancestry of this marked rock. To begin with all we have to prove is that this American rock is more than two hundred years old to be outside the embrace of any recent human tool or hand, or at least that is what some books allege, and this timing must give rise to earlier civilisations of considerable refinement with advanced technology in a country that was entirely non-metallic until the invasion from Europe. Because it was literally picked up as “a surface find”(12) on the shores of “the Mississippi River in Wisconsin between Prescott and Diamond Bluff,”(13) it would seem as it wasn’t discovered in situ being absolute about anything is nigh on impossible. It is remotely possible, verging on ludicrous, that this was made as fake recently and lost on the shores upstream then washed downstream in flood and thus the worse for wear and rapids.
In what seems to only add to this difficulties in ascribing certainty is the perceived lack of precedents. During the eight years Thomas has cared for this precious artefact he made many attempts to seek official guidance and ran into the same impotence we face whenever a response to Ros Rock 1 is begrudging given. His plight was no different that of Ros when chasing up reluctant experts for any comment for nigh on 20 years. Although in this case there is one major difference, the best we can get is a forced glance and refusal to be quoted, all credit to Thomas for his perseverance and choice of experts. He “loaned it to Guy Gibbon, University of Minnesota Archaeology dept, he had the opportunity to study it for six weeks and said he had not seen anything like it and asked me to donate it to the Universities collection.”(14)
To which it would find an appropriate drawer and never see the light of any day for some time. Pardon our cynicism, but personal experience and French’s actions in declining this kind offer to file and forget leaves us inclined to be suspicious of offers to freely donate. Despite the inability to add anything more than secrecy and no parallel, French persevered in his quest to establish the rock’s pedigree. Undeterred, in 2007 he sought out another academic of high standing. “I took the artifact to the Minnesota Historical Society to have Scott Anfinson look at it. Scott is an archaeologist and currently the State of Minnesota Archaeologist. Scott being an expert on Indian cultures of the Upper Mississippi River Valley said he has never seen anything like it and “it would be on display in the museum had an archaeologist found it in context” and asked me to donate it to their collection.”(15)
In both cases Thomas asked for an explanation and got none, but did receive a request to relinquish and donate, but was lacking in a precedent to compare against or an explanation as to how this all came to be. That mantra of absolution, ‘we have never seen anything like it,’ is something we have encountered ad nausea when trying to make mainstream look at the Ros’ Rock series. It is as if once conceding there is no base to compare or reservoir to consult, it must be dismissively discredited for daring to break the mould no matter what the credentials.
But in one respect alone both academics were correct, then, for in 2007 they did not have a photograph of Ros’ Rock 1 to compare against. The many photographs of this rock we have freely published gives a far better chance to see how much they share. The only thing that could be better is to actually have both rocks in hand to compare and contrast, as we do. In fact, at this stage of proceedings having both rocks in our possession, there is no-one else but us who can make a meaningful comparison.
And this brings us back, in my typically convoluted way, to explaining why we believe the Minnesota rock is so old. It is through these rocks standing side by side, with the assistance of other Australian marked rocks, both a shared ancient message emerges and a date running into the tens of thousands becomes a real possibility. It comes down to what we feel is a logical end result when comparing the Minnesota rock and Ros’ Rock 1. If they read the same, are made the same way, were melted the same way, cut the same way and the message is engraved on the same type of rock, it seems more than reasonable to put these two rocks in the ‘same basket.’
Two Chert Rocks of Different Size and Location, but the Same in Nearly Every way
Photo by Samarah Wood
Although separated by oceans and history books that deny an ancient contact between Australia and America, it is not only the chert veneer or similarity of the structure and construction of these fine straight lines, there is so much more that binds these rocks into one cohesive global unit and so little that separates. When cut both rocks reveal a very light undercoat, and although the infills of Ros’ Rock 1 are larger it is undeniable the reddish colour in the larger infill of Ros’ Rock 1 is the same colour as the infill found in the fourth layer of the Minnesota rock.
In fact we can only find one point of difference in our comparison, both rocks contain fine straight lines, a variety of angles and shapes, sets of parallel lines and it is only when comparing the abundance of intersection points on the Australian rock can we detect one solitary point of difference. Confident that Ros’ Rock 1 is no less than 5,000 years old and most likely much older, the chances are high that with so much shared between these two marked rocks they are contemporaneous in age.
For any still harbouring doubt, who feel inclined to highlight that the only area of difference through the absence of intersection points as a seminal flaw in our comparison, we would advise caution. Having already establishing a 93% match up rate of angled lines between the Australian rock and an ancient marked rock found at the Bosnian Pyramid, it needs to be appreciated that this rock also exhibits the same variation in setting, which is primarily a set of lines and angles that do not intersect. With the only missing ingredient found in Bosnia, it then becomes obvious as long as our vision remains global all that of these ancient messages on rock are entirely interconnected.
If ever there was a better, but undeniably totally subjective, assessment of how closely these rocks are aligned it has to be through a double serving of my clumsiness. Way back when one our trusted geological advisers first laid hands on Ros Rock 1 he went to get lengths in explaining how hard the outer rock coating was, assuring us that no store bought chisel could crack or pierce the surface. I do remember at the time passing a sadly prophetic inquiry as to whether dropping the rock on concrete would leave a mark. The guarantee of no impact mark, crack or chip was indeed quite an impressive claim we never forgot.
Never did I ever intend to take his guarantee literally, but within a month while examining Ros Rock 1, I did actually drop the rock on the concrete garage floor. Closing my eyes and cringing made no difference, but fortunately the concrete was just as ineffective. There was not a mark, dent, impression or the need to doubt our geological expert. I still cannot believe I did it again, the Minnesota rock is claimed to be chert and without doubt if the geologist is right such a collision of chert on concrete will not be an issue or concern, and nor was it. My only issue is what happens if I get a non-chert artefact in my hand, as my previous form with rocks in hand augurs poorly. But never one to allow obstacles to dominate, we intend to conduct all further outside examinations on the grass or any other forgiving surface, and are hopeful any further collateral damage will be minimised.
One Name, Two Shafts and Fifteen White Dots
Enough of establishing global precedents that were missing barely a decade ago, we now return to the specific rock at hand and deal firstly with a matter of semantics and consistency. Even though its ancestry is very ancient American it also belongs to the Ros’ Rock ensemble, but to call this small marked rock the Wisconsin rock fails at two levels. Found near the river bank and severely damaged possibly through turbulence during transportation as a result of flooding, it may not have even originated in Wisconsin. Equally, all the rocks in our growing collection are named after the people who found or acquired them. We have another Australian marked rock we are co-researching that was found by an Australian lady and we intend to use her name as the title. No different here, it was found by Thomas and we propose it should be called Thomas’ Rock 9.
A subject of great interest and even more curiosity is the appearance of 15 white dots of which we have no explanation. Never seen anything like it before, all the dots with one exception are quite small and in one position, which was created after the impact, there is a line of seven small white dots in a line. It is not mould or algae, feels quite hard and cannot be removed. The dots are spread throughout the seven layers and this bizarre addition adds a little more weight to our belief there is something decidedly artificial about this rock construction.
Of all the markings on Thomas’ Rock 9, there are two that are quite ornate and different from all other lines. The two short vertical lines measure 80mms and 70mms and both have an identically shaped triangular wedge attached at the bottom. What is fascinating is that the imprint is deep, but does not break the surface and expose the lighter undercoat. This imprinting, which we believe was stamped into the next layer of rock beneath the chert before it was coated, is a common feature that appears on nearly all the rocks in the Ros’ Rocks series.
Quite a few Birds and one Moose?
We cannot be sure about whether the markings beneath the section of rock missing is actually the outcome of a deft hand and almost microscopic blade or merely a series of random markings that by pure coincidence resemble some of the local fauna.
However, being found on a marked rock that has been privy to a number of advanced implements with fine points and sharp edges, the chances that is human-made do increase. We are quite open to the rebuttal of the repeated bird figure in flight claiming it could also be natural, but the problem arises when trying to dismiss the credentials of the running moose/deer. It is very easy to see two horns equally spaced on a head attached to the form of a deer’s body in profile with the back legs extended and front legs coiled. All of the limbs, torso, head and horns are in correct proportion and leaves nothing to the imagination.
The silhouette is of an animal, that is unquestionable, whether a billion to one chance it was due to combination of natural forces or the result of human input and metal tools, is the only question to be resolved.
On the Flip Side
As it is with the spread of white dots, we are not sure what to make of the scribblings and cracks on the bottom layer. A much lighter colour, a creamy soft brown is the closest we can get, what is intriguing is the lustre, it seems to have been polished. What is on show looks incomplete, and it is our combined guess the small splits running across the face may have occurred during the initial stage and lead to the abandoning of this project.
There are four lines and three wedges that look suspiciously artificial and there is the possibility of a series of imprints being part of what was engraved. With three fracture lines running across the face, if taking place during the cut would call a cease to any further operations. Or it is possible, the splitting was a later event and this shorter script was sufficient to meet the requirements of the author?
Eight Layers-a Natural Item or Manufactured Product?
There are many features associated with this small rock that are extremely unusual and none more so than the rock itself. With the exception of the top thin layer of darker chert, the stacked tiers below alternate between a thicker darker rock and the thinner lighter grain. Upon closer inspection in becomes clearer that the fifth layer is of a much darker colour verging on purple, and of an entirely different make. My first reaction was what is this import it doing there?
Looking even closer it become apparent the fifth layer of purple is the point where the missing section of rock finishes, this 25mm horizontal layer of shiny purple rock took the brunt of the impact and protected the layers below. Evidently not only is the fifth layer of a different colour there is a very high probability it is much harder than the rock above and below. My second reaction is still what purpose does this decidedly exotic layer of rock serve? And we will add, to that how did it get there?
A few Tentative Opinions, it’s a bit too Early for Conclusions
We are strongly of the opinion Side 3 of Ros’ Rock 1 is a star map, and we are nearly as equally convinced that what remains on Thomas’ Rock 9 is part of a star map. In the case of Ros Rock 1 that belief is supported by Original Custodians of the Old Way testimonies and Dreaming Stories. Whereas when dealing with the smaller American rock, outside its healing qualities, we have no Indigenous guidance to draw upon and are left to our own devices and deductions. Nevertheless, Thomas’ Rock 9 was without contemporaries to compare and contrast against in 2006 and 2007, but not anymore, and that is the essential difference.
Now part of a greater family, trying to make sense in deciphering the lines and patterns no longer becomes restricted to one rock, it is one of many found not only in Australia, but throughout the world. What really helps is the brilliant research of Frederic Slater (President Australian Archaeological Society) in decoding the Standing Stones arrangement in NSW (Australia). A rock arrangement of 188 stones set to prescribed markings and angles that constitute a small part of the Original First Language, we believe that this small piece of marked rock is part of the first formal language that become the inspiration for all tongues now spoken on the planet.
Slater’s readings are as unchallenged as they are sensational, even more so when factoring in the date he made these interpretations, 1939. Any talk of “man came to Earth”(16) through space coming from a “light far off, “(17) is suggestive of contact with beings from other constellations at the least, but when coupled with “man came to Earth with his seven sense fully developed,”(18) it becomes obvious Slater’s report is meant to be as literal as it is interstellar.
Which all comes back to the tiny rock with 21 lines and a star chart, or maybe it is something much more mundane. The real joy of this research is that we can be utterly mistaken and it makes no difference because of one saving grace. Both in Australia and North America it is mistakenly assumed that before the invasion by Europeans there was never any technology that exceeded the needs of a hunter-gatherer society with a sprinkling of rudimentary farming, thus limiting the Indigenous peoples of both continents to a stick, stone and bone technology. We know as an absolute fact that all of the rocks in the Ros’ Rock series are Original and were made well before the British Invasion of 1788, and suspect the chances are very high that this American rock is also an ancient part of a script that was used throughout the world engraved with tools and techniques which would be regarded as modern by today’s standards.
That reality alone is sufficient to rewrite huge slabs of the current version of humanities’ ancient past and heritage. The infill, very unusual fifth layer, possible micro-animals and even the repeated exclusivity in preferring chert here and abroad, are all secondary considerations to yet another real and present display of very ancient tools and technology that has to be modern, but it isn’t. Everything revolves around that disturbing truth, it may well be inconvenient and distinctly open-ended in implications, but the science, spread of geography and archaeology leave no other options available.
While deposited well outside any mainstream comfort zone and allowing ourselves the luxury of being indulgent in offering opinions without the need of rigour, we would like to point out as it is with all of these rocks, the engraved information on top is captured on chert. Perhaps this is not all there is, chert is a silicate and silicon is the mineral used in making computer chips. Is it possible there is also wisdom stored within the chert awaiting the right access code through song, sounds created by yidaki (didjeridoo), whir of the bull-roarer, etc?
This rock is a most worthy inclusion and despite my initial reservations of it being found on the opposite side of the planet, it really does belong here and certainly belongs back there. This ancient rock is part of a global package that is very much a work in progress, as is this preliminary introduction. The next step is obligatory and the only way forward, we need to be guided by American Indigenous Custodians versed in the Old Ways. We have no doubt such keepers of the secrets exist, but as to whether contact will be made, well as hopeful as we are that is in the laps of the Spirits.
An Imported Rock, an Imported Conclusion
It is our intention to return all of the sacred rocks Ros purchased to the appropriate Original keepers of the Old Ways, we are merely temporary custodians. The same rules apply here, being twice recognised as a “healing rock”(19) from America, there is no other alternative.
In the meantime, all we know for sure is that the lines are too straight, uniform in width and depth to be anything other than due to the presence of a human hand holding nothing less than a metal blade. If it is ancient as we strongly suspect, this artefact was found in a place that was populated by people who relied on a stone, stick and bone technology, or so we are told.
End of story. But it isn’t, it is the same story here, and the same contradiction keeps reappearing and directly undermines the foundations of all accepted versions of human ascension and evolution. The sophisticated technology present and accounted for in America, as it is throughout Australia, are real facts, everything else about this rock past these inconvenient certainties is still to be determined. The trick is ‘all bets are off’ and it is now a clean slate. The endorsed pre-history and its content have to be rewritten and we have no doubt whatsoever that much earlier very advanced civilisations will feature prominently in whatever narrative evolves out of the new edition.
(1) Thomas J. French, 2015, Indian Inscribed Artifact Wisconsin/Mississippi River Find, (Listing Description).
(4) Ros, May 2015 , Personal Communication.
(6) French, 2015, Indian Inscribed Artifact…
(7) Macquarie Dictionary.
(11) French, 2015, Indian Inscribed Artifact…
(16) Frederic Slater, Personal Notes.
(19) French, 2015, Indian Inscribed Artifact…