Home Page Science Frontiers

No. 98: Mar-Apr 1995

Issue Contents

Other pages











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