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No. 78: Nov-Dec 1991

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Curious Silver Crosses From A Georgia Mound

Silver cross extracted from an Indian mound in Murray County, Georgia
In November of 1832, two silver crosses were extracted from an Indian mound in Murray County, Georgia, along with more usual Indian relics. The crosses are exquisitely wrought and were most likely brought to the Americas by the expedition of Hernando de Soto. Some of de Soto's men, under Adelantado, ventured into what is now Georgia trying, among other things, to Christianize the Indian.

The puzzle of the silver crosses is not in their source but in the crude figures and inscription added to one of them. The cross shown in the figure depicts a horse on one side and an owl on the other. The inscription (too small to be read on the figure) is withing the central ring and states: IYNKICIDU, which makes no sense in any known language.

This minor mystery was first revealed in the 1881 Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution. Charles Fort took note of it in his Book of the Damned, where he pointed out that the letters C. D, and K are turned the wrong way in the inscription and, further, that the crosses, having equal arms, are not conventional crucifixes. (Pontolillo, James; "The Silver Indian Crosses of Murray County, Georgia," INFO Journal, no. 63, p. 26, June 1991.)

From Science Frontiers #78, NOV-DEC 1991. 1991-2000 William R. Corliss