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No. 98: Mar-Apr 1995

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Translating The Grand Traverse Stone

The Grand Traverse Stone was plowed up about 1877 on a farm in Grand Traverse County, Michigan. A small boy following his father and plow picked it up. The stone is slate, ½-inch thick, and 2½ inches on each side. The symbols on the Stone are similar to those in the Pan-Mediterranean alphabet in use about the time of Christ

Inscription on the Grand Traverse Stone
D.B. Buchanan, an American epigrapher, recently undertook the task of translating the Stone. Buchanan has built up an inscription data base containing the variants of symbols used in the Pan-Mediterranean alphabet. He found that most of the characters on the Stone could be found in his data base. Buchanan then converted the Stone's symbols to Roman equivalents and tested sound values in Greek and other Mediterranean languages. He concluded that the Stone used a late form of Vulgar Latin. His translation:

"(I am) carrying (in accounts), 10 talents. To 10 (add) 1 voided (or useless). I am collecting (or sending) 11 only, 10 (of which) I can confirm. Transaction (is) 11 in all (or total)."

The Grand Traverse Stone therefore seems to be a financial document of some kind. Buchanan dates it between 100 BC and 100 AD.

(Buchanan, Donal B.; "Some Remarks on an Inscribed Stone from Grand Traverse Country, Michigan" NEARA Journal, 28:100, 1994. NEARA = New England Antiquities Research Association.)

Comment. The Grand Traverse Stone is just one of hundreds of tablets, coins, and inscriptions on stone walls that suggest European contacts with the New World in ancient times. Of course, mainstream archeologists dismiss all as deliberate frauds or objects imported and dropped accidentally by post-Columbian settlers. The Grand Traverse Stone suggesting organized trade with the New World 2,000 years ago is particularly anomalous.

From Science Frontiers #98, MAR-APR 1995. 1995-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987