"Newark" Ritual Artifacts

"First, …recognize that it's a penny": Report on the "Newark" Ritual Artifacts

"If you found a US penny in a trench at a dig that was assumed to contain only ancient items, you wouldn't claim the penny to be a forgery when you saw it. First, however, you would have to recognize that it's a penny. Anon.

By Rochelle I. Altman
January 2004


The photograph of an unfamiliar inscribed artifact appeared in the mail one day. The sender had only one question: what was the date of the artifact? The object itself was shaped like an ancient arch-topped tablet of "The" Law. In the center nested a bas-relief sculpture, with clear late-medieval attributes, enclosed in yet another Hammurabi-Jerusalemite arch-topped shape of "The" Law. Running down the sides of the object, between the inset sculpture and the outer edge, was an inscription expertly executed in a consolidated, sans-serif script design based on a Late-Medieval Hebrew font. Incorporated into the consolidated font were Sinaitic, Hebraeo-Phoenician, and Nabatean graphs. The object bore unmistakable evidence that it had been produced during the Late-Medieval period and was a product of probably France or Spain. A short summary report as to date and probable place of manufacture was duly supplied along with the very obvious markers as to both time and place. Upon reading this summary, the correspondent supplied more data.

Combined amazement and dismay are not the usual response to reading about an artifact. It was amazing that the clear evidence of medieval manufacture was not recognized and that this artifact and its companion pieces had been branded a 19th-century forgery -- simply because it was assumed that the items had to be 1300 years old and, quite obviously, they were not that old. It was dismaying to learn that, because the objects had been found in the United States, this artifact, along with the rest of the set, had been annexed to support the dubious claims of an ancient Israelite presence in pre-Columbian America. This connection was murky enough; worse was to come.

It was disturbing to learn later that the artifact with the shape of "The" Law had been correctly identified as medieval and European in 1861 by Dr. Arnold Fischel.[1] It was disgraceful to learn that the Report, issued in 1863 by the committee appointed by the Ethnological Society which stated that they accepted Dr. Fischel's assessment and could not label the items as "fakes,"[2] was ignored. Investigation into why the correct identification had been literally swept under the rug only made matters worse.

Why was the identification ignored? Because neither the committee's report nor Fischel's identification fit the two models erected with regard to these artifacts. On one side, we had a group who maintained that the artifacts were evidence of the presence of the ten lost tribes of Israel in "Ancient America." On the other side, we had a school who declared the artifacts were "modern forgeries." David Wyrick, who found two of the artifacts in 1860, including the one in the shape of the "Law" (now called "the decalog"), was "convicted" by rumor-consensus of forgery. Both Wyrick's reputation and finances were ruined; he committed suicide in 1864. In 1872, Charles Whittlesey published his Archaeological Frauds: Inscriptions Attributed to the Mound Builders. Three Remarkable Forgeries.[3] These authentic artifacts were featured as one of the three forgeries. And there matters rested until 1980.

In 1980, Robert Alrutz carefully investigated the available data and re-opened the subject with his article, "The Newark Holy Stones: The History of an Archaeological Tragedy."[4] In 1982, in his Mysteries of the Holy Stones, (Pheasant Run Publications, St. Louis), Joseph Schenck cleared Wyrick of the forgery charges. Between Alrutz and Schenck, the slightly revised position -- now stated as "the artifacts are evidence of an Israelite presence in pre-Columbian America" -- came back to life. The artifacts have been the subject of dispute between the two extremes ever since.

In 1991, Stephen Williams included these artifacts in his Fantastic Archaeology and still treats the artifacts as forgeries.[5] In 2000, Bradley T. Lepper and Jeff Gill, in an article entitled "The Newark Holy Stones," decided that the artifact in the shape of "The" Law is a forgery made for political purposes by someone else they name.[6]

In the meantime, the other side was gathering forces. Cyrus Gordon entered the fray in 1995; in spite of the fact that the artifact has a handle and there are no holes with which to mount it, he decided that the "decalog" was a Samaritan mezzuzah.[7] In 1996, David A. Deal, published his article, "The Ohio Decalog: A Case of Fraudulent Archaeology," in Ancient American, a magazine title that clearly states Deal's position.[8] J. Huston McCulloch opened a web site devoted to proving that the artifacts are pre-Colombian.[9] Although Alrutz specifically mentions both Fischel's and the Committee's reports, both sides treat Fischel and Committee as if neither existed. The penny had been identified; but the identification was, and still is, ignored.

Fischel assumed that the artifacts had been stolen from a European settler and that they had been "planted."[10] The artifacts were not "planted," but, writing in 1861, Fischel lacked key information supplied in 1867. He was, however, right about the theft from a European settler in the United States and the medieval and European origins of the artifacts. The amount of information revealed by the artifacts, particularly with regard to the antiquity of certain Jewish traditions and their continued use many centuries after their presumed proscription in 200 CE, is stunning.

The evidence of continuity with the ancient wide-spread use of "magic letters" is substantial. These aspects demand that this particular penny be made known and recognized for what it is.


There are five pieces, four of which compose a set of ritual artifacts of two types. The fifth item is a case, made-to-order, to house one of the ritual artifacts. The two types are intended for different purposes.

Type one consists of head ("rosh") and hand ("yad") phylacteries (tefillin), made of black limestone (black is required for phylacteries).[11] The hand phylactery is 6-7/8" in length by 2-7/8" in width by 1-3/4" in thickness.[12]

A typical Semitic-style profile pose of Moses in bas-relief is on the front (Figure 1).

Fig. 1: The front of the hand phylactery (photo, J. Huston McCulloch)
Fig. 1: The front of
the hand
phylactery (photo,
J. Huston

The artifact is inscribed in the incantation format and displays a variant of a known condensed version of the "decalogue," with abbreviations and composite graphs, that dates to before the second century BCE.[13] The head phylactery, inscribed with two of the four excerpts of Exodus required by halacha (Laws), is also written in the spirals of an incantation format and is also made of black limestone. Now only a lithograph of the head piece remains.[14] The phylactery was approximately 3" long by 1-3/4" in thickness and tapered from approximately 1" at the top to a rounded "point" at the bottom (Figure 2).

Fig. 2: The lithograph of the head phylactery (photo, J. Huston McCulloch)
Fig. 2: The lithograph of the head
phylactery (photo, J. Huston McCulloch)

Type two, made of novaculite, a very hard fine-grained rock, consists of a flow detector, for determining whether water is stagnant or flowing (thus pure), and a bowl for containing the water for ritual purification prior to donning the phylacteries. The flow detector is four-sided and approximately 6" in length by 1-5/8 in thickness and bears a resemblance to a rounded "plumb bob" (Figure 3).[15]

Fig. 3: One side of the flow detector (photo, J. Huston McCulloch)
Fig. 3: One side of the flow
detector (photo, J. Huston

Each side of the flow detector is inscribed in a Hebrew Square Script. The four inscriptions read as follows: D'var YHVH, (Saying/Word/Speech of [the] Lord);[16] Torat YHVH (Instructions of [the] Lord);[17] Qodesh Qadashim (Most pure/Most Sanctified/Most Sacred/Most Clean)[18] and Melekh Aretz (King of Earth).[19] Both the "mem" in "Melekh" and the "Aleph" in "Aretz" are expanded to indicate extra duration on "Mel" and "Ar."

The durational notation on this last inscription shows us how the flow detector was used. The detector was inserted into whatever outdoor water source was available, and the inscriptions were recited in the above order (D, , Q, M) ending with a resounding "ME-lekh AR-etz."

The use of durational notation to expand the "mem" in "melekh" and the "aleph" in "aretz" places the inscriptions, at the latest, to the 13th century when durational and stress notation were still in use on parts of the Continent.[20] The bowl was professionally shaped on a stone lathe, undoubtedly pedal- or hand-powered. The washing bowl is the "size of a teacup."[21]

Four of the artifacts are in the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum in Coshocton, Ohio: the hand phylactery, its made-to-order case, the bowl, and the flow detector. The case is made of the same material as the flow detector and bowl.

A copy of the lithograph of the head phylactery is on hand. The set was meant for use when traveling; this is clear from the flow detector, bowl, and the protective case.[22] One does not need to check whether the water is free-flowing in one's own home, nor does one need to carry around a matching bowl for washing. One does, however, have to assure that the water for washing is pure and a stone container is an ideal material for such a purpose.[23] Purity would also affect the choice of stone for the two phylacteries. Whatever else the traveler would be exposed to, stone would ensure that the ritual set would remain undefiled. The head phylactery probably had a case as well, but we shall never know.

That the artifacts were found more than 4,000 miles in distance and 400 to 600 years after their manufacture at a site in Ohio is completely irrelevant to an analysis of the artifacts themselves. Nevertheless, their disposition when found is relevant and is linked to how they got there. The evidence of "how" is stark and clear and, incidentally, answers "when." We will now dispose of this side issue and then be free to concentrate on the artifacts themselves.[24]


The town of Newark, Ohio was founded in 1802 on a branch of the Licking River in one of the areas that had been filled with "great stone works" and Indian burial mounds covered with loose stone "stacks." The burial mounds were located 10 miles to the south and east of Newark in an area that had never been inhabited but had long been dug into and pillaged.

The flow detector was found in June of 1860 about a mile from Newark in a pit at the edge of the nearby "great stone works." The artifact was encased in a spherical "clay" ball typical of finds in the Indian mounds.[25] The hand phylactery, nestling in its case, and the water bowl were found in close proximity to each other in one of many Indian burial mounds on November 1, 1860. Also found were two small objects.[26] A branch of the river passed near by the mound. The burial mounds were under what had been reputed to be a "stone stack" 40 feet in height. "Reputed" is the key word; the site of the finds was hardly undisturbed.

The entire area of the "stone stack" and burial mounds had been thoroughly dug over during the early 1800's in a search for the treasure of the notorious pirate, Captain Kidd. Then, in 1831-32, after the "pirate treasure hunt" had already erased evidence of the original state of the site and "stone stack," the stones had been removed in their entirety to build the retaining wall around what is now called "Buckeye Lake." The "stack" was neither described before the treasure hunt nor before it was destroyed; neither was the specific mound where the artifacts were found. Evidence that the site was continuously disturbed comes in 1850 when some farmers spent part of one day in excavating and turned up a small wooden "coffin" embedded in the clay about 2-3 feet beneath the surface of one mound. The wooden coffin was not excavated until July, 1860.[27]

The hand phylactery and bowl were found in this same mound in November 1860. Further, in November, when digging around where the "coffin" had been excavated in July, water seeped in at the head end where it had been. In digging, the texture of the wet clay has been described as comparable to "cutting through cheese."[28]

Thus the site had continuously been disturbed, the soil was easily dug into, and we know nothing at all about the actual state of the site. In spite of the mass of evidence to the contrary, the site was (and still is) treated as if it were in a "virginal" state as left by the Indians 1300 years before. The head phylactery, with its matching spiraled inscription and black limestone material, was found in 1867 in the same mound and in the same area of the mound in which were found the hand phylactery and the bowl.

With the finding of the head phylactery, we are told when and how this set of late-medieval ritual artifacts found their way to these sites. The head phylactery was found by David M. Johnson (Banker) and N. Roe Bradner (MD), or rather skulls and other human bones and remains of "a burning place," containing charcoal and ashes, and "other relics" were found by Johnson in what was a shallow grave twelve to fourteen inches in depth.[29] The skulls were encased in clay. The pirate's treasure hunt, 50 to 75 workmen digging around and carting off the stones, and other numerous disturbances to the site across at least 60 years were completely ignored. As a result, the raised "burning place" (composed of rocks and clay and quite necessary to making any kind of "fireplace" in that soil at any period), skulls, and skeletal remains of humans were automatically assigned to "Ancient America" without further ado.

A number of skulls found in the dig were lifted out by banker Johnson and some of these were later handed to MD Bradner to be packed and shipped to Philadelphia. One particular "fragile skull," with its damaged condition "tolerably well preserved," was held together by the wet clay in which it was found. When Bradner lifted out the clay encased skull to examine it, the now dried-out clay fell apart, the skull disintegrated, and the head phylactery was revealed.[30]

Unlike the other pieces, the head phylactery is damaged. The damage to the "tolerably well preserved" skull showed that the person had been hit with force on the back of the head with the traditional "blunt instrument." We know that the owner was wearing the head phylactery from its disposition when found: glued in place by the clay to the front of the "fragile" skull. We also know he was wearing the head phylactery from the condition of the artifact itself.

Chips of stone are knocked off both the lid and the matching place on the side of the "box" precisely where they should be if the owner were wearing it and had been struck from behind with force enough to pitch the person forward and hit stony ground directly in front of him. We also know that the hand phylactery was still in its case; therefore, the owner was killed after he had donned the head phylactery but was probably in the process of purifying himself before opening the case to don the hand phylactery.

That the skull and other skeletal remains were found in a shallow grave tells us that the area was no longer an empty wilderness in a climax forest. The only reason for a body to be hidden is because the area was now populated and the site regularly visited by local farmers and by people from the already founded Newark, Ohio -- not to mention treasure hunters.

The flow detector was taken away while the other artifacts were buried with the deceased owner. We know that the owner had used the flow detector and the bowl because the head phylactery was on his head and he had, necessarily, washed before donning the phylactery. Therefore, he had recited the formula inscribed on the flow detector out loud and drawn attention to himself and what he was doing in a place he had chosen for privacy while performing the ritual.

One plausible reason for the removal of the flow detector comes to mind: after all, people have been killed for a pair of roller skates and the flow detector is a neat device for checking a water supply. Whatever the reason for carrying off the flow detector, the killer headed north and east to Newark and finally threw the item, with its Hebrew writing and evidence of mayhem, into the "bone-pit" where it acquired its "clay ball" and was found around 25-40 years later in 1860.

D. Francis Bacon, in 1860, acidly commented on the flow detector: "no stone, whether novaculite or any thing else (even granite), can be buried in that soil for so much as half a century without becoming covered by a calcareous incrustation, . . . or acquiring a ferruginous or other stain from the earth which encloses it. And yet this Newark Holy Stone comes up from its entombment of some thousand some hundreds and some odd years as clean and bright and slick as a new whistle!"[31]

It is hardly surprising that the stone came up "clean as a new whistle": it had not been buried there long enough to acquire "a calcareous incrustation." The evidence is quite clear: the artifacts were indeed stolen from a European settler, as Fischel surmised, and deposited at these sites earlier in the nineteenth century

That the head phylactery was bound in place on the owner's head and the hand phylactery still in its case is relevant to an analysis of the artifacts.



We cannot emphasize often enough that a writing system is an integral part of cultural identity.[32] Prior to the first half of the 17th century, everything on a document had meaning: size, shape, color, format, script, material -- literally everything. All these elements are sub-systems in a culture's writing system. All of the sub-systems had to be correct for a given class of document and within a given culture for a document to be accepted as authentic. We cannot ignore any part of a culture's writing system. To rephrase this, we must examine the whole elephant, or we are in danger of coming to conclusions based on a trunk or a tail.


The word "phylactery" is Greek and means "to guard against evil": in other words, a protective "amulet." The term is never used in the Masoretic Text [MT] or Rabbinic discussions and is mentioned only once in the Old Greek [OG] in Matthew 25:3. Nevertheless, "phylactery" was picked up and became the standard term of reference.

Phylacteries (tefillin) are square boxes made of black leather and contain the four Biblical passages (Exodus 13:9, 13:16; Deuteronomy 6:8, 6:18) that relate to the wearing of a sign [OTT] on the hand, to remind the wearer of the instructions of the Lord [Torat IHVH], and on the forehead, to keep the words of the Lord in mind. Since the second century CE, the four verses are written on one piece of parchment placed in the hand piece. The same four verses are written on four separate pieces of parchment and placed in four compartments in the head piece. Referred to as "halacha mosheh misinai" [laws given to Moses at Sinai], the wearing of phylacteries are derived from these four verses; however, there were disputes about the order in which the verses should be placed in the compartments. With the finding of one head piece at Qumran that still contained its parchments, these disputes, once thought to be medieval, were shown to date from at least the first century CE.

As far back as 1927, J. Mann maintained that the contents were not always limited to these four verses.[33] He pointed out that a ruling in Mishna Sanhedrin 11.3 specifically forbids the use of five instead of four verses. Mann claimed that the forbidden fifth verse was the decalogue itself. In the late 4th century CE, Jerome mentions that the phylacteries also contained the decalogue;[34] Jerome was considered in error; everyone "knew" that the decalogue had been forbidden.

Although long assumed to be only used in Samaritan ritual, evidence that the decalogue was recited daily in the temple along with Deut 6:4-9 and 11:13-21 comes from Mishna Tamid 5:1 and is also indicated in the Nash papyri from Fayyum (second century BCE). Finds at Qumran show that Mann was correct and so was Jerome: the decalogue was indeed used in phylacteries during the second-temple period. As of the second century CE, the practice of reciting the fifth part (the decalogue) was forbidden, so was its inclusion in the phylacteries.

Mann notes that the argument forbidding the inclusion of the decalogue is an interpretation that assigns the reciting of the decalogue only to Moses.[35] In current use, the hand piece is donned first; the head piece second. Yet, the Talmud generally places the head piece first because, unlike the hand piece, the head one was always visible and permitted a Jew to be recognized as one under the protection of the name of God. The placing of the hand piece first seems to date to the Talmudic period and has been assumed to have supplanted the older order.

The Rabbis held that the general law was figurative and expressed in the Bible; the application and amplification of these verses were matters of tradition and inference.[36] In addition to the evidence that among diverse Jewish groups a hand phylactery certainly could have the decalogue written on it, research has shown that the four Biblical passages may very well have been meant literally.[37]

While the specialized terminology of "magic" (divination, protection, placation, influencing of the supernatural, and so forth) appears throughout the MT, the terms are clustered in legal materials. The appearance of "magic" terminology in Exodus 22:18 (22:17 in the English texts) and Deuteronomy 18:10-11 would appear relevant to the discussion of the wearing of the phylacteries.

The custom appears related to the known ancient practice of wearing "magic" charms and protective amulets inscribed with the name of, or symbol for, a deity, or inscribed on hand and head denoting clan membership. Arguments on this subject abound and have since the late 19th century.[38] Even the supporters of the figurative interpretation admit that the language used in the text is borrowed from known, ancient customs connected with magic charms and with regard to amulets and incised or tattooed signs in use in the Ancient Near East. Among the suggestive passages are Gen 4:15; I Kings 20:41; and Ezekiel 9:4-6.

The four passages contained in the phylacteries themselves are ambiguous. There is also Isaiah 56:5, with the inexplicable combination of "yad v'shem" [hand and name] -- unless the association is meant as a literal reference to the practice of placing a sign upon the hand. There is also the point that, although worn on the left arm (nearest the heart), the Hebrew name for the piece is “yad” (hand). Whether protective amulets or not, the wearing of the phylacteries and their contents are prescribed.


Everyone is familiar with the "block" format; today we call this format "justified text." The primary purpose of the block, or justified, format is to prevent the insertion of words not put there by the author.[39]

There are, however, other formats; each format had a special purpose. The "incantation format" was reserved for incantations or charms. The purpose of this format is to "freeze" the text to ensure that the words are said exactly as written. Incantation documents are instantly recognizable by the way they are written: the text is written in a spiral or circling manner.

Fig. 4: Texts in the Incantation format: (a) Cretan Linear A; (b) Etruscan; (c) Roman (to Juno); (d) Greek: from Thera; (e) (f) from Athens; (g) Babylonian in ca, 8th-century CE Aramaic; (h) Portugal, 8th BCE
Fig. 4: Texts in the Incantation format: (a) Cretan
Linear A; (b) Etruscan; (c) Roman (to Juno); (d)
Greek: from Thera; (e) (f) from Athens; (g)
Babylonian in ca, 8th-century CE Aramaic; (h)
Portugal, 8th BCE

Many examples of such incantation texts have been found. Incantations texts appear from Portugal of the 8th century BCE to Babylon in the 8th century CE; from Etruscan lead tablets to Roman dedications to Juno; from early Greek inscriptions from Thera to Ionic votive inscriptions to Apollo. They even appear written in Cretan Linear A. (Figure 4). From the number of texts written in boustrophedon (writing back and forth like an ox plowing) that appear at ancient Greek sacred sites, e.g., a wall block from Temple of Apollo Pythas (7th BCE), sacred laws from Magnesia, grave pillars, and other ritual inscriptions, we may have to re-assess the purpose of the technique. It appears to be another way of writing incantations in a "spiral."

An inscription that is written in a spiral or circularly is an incantation text.

Limits are the framework of a writing system and enclose the writing zone Our modern writing limits are Quattro linear, that is, four lines, with the outer limits marking the upper limit for ascenders (e.g., "h") and lower limit for descenders (e.g., "y"). Graphs are written between the limits. Quattro linear limit systems are tri linear limit systems moved down one limit-line to accommodate ascenders. Writing systems on the eastern side of the Ancient Near East used tri linear limit systems. Tri linear limits are dynamic; graphs are written within the limits and permit the graphs to move up and down and from side to side in imitation of words as-spoken. Bilinear scripts and fonts fill the entire space between the upper and lower limits. Because the graphs fill the writing zone, bilinear limit systems are static. The main purpose of bilinear limit systems is to "freeze" the written words into an unchanging form to preserve the "magic" power of speech. Bilinear limit systems are favored by religio-mystico societies.

Any document written using bilinear limits indicates that the text is meant to be "frozen" and said exactly as written.


A script design is a closed system that functions as an independent and coherent whole within the complete writing system. Consolidated fonts are the exact opposite of conglomerate fonts. While both scripts use graphs from other script designs, they share no other features. Conglomerate fonts make no attempt to merge two or more different designs into a coherent whole. Instead, a conglomerate font displays a haphazard assortment of graphs from different designs within one word or phrase.[41]

As xenographic exchange[41] depends upon the strict adherence to a coherent font within the body of a text, conglomerate fonts are a meaningless mixture of graphs and are a definitive sign of a forgery.

Consolidated fonts are designed to merge graphs from different designs to create a coherent whole. These fonts are difficult to design because the final sub-system must frequently incorporate graphs from far different script systems. All consolidated designs start from a base script, that is, an existing script design is used as the base and the graphs from the other script systems are modified to match and merge with the existing base.

While not as common as single script designs, consolidated fonts are not rare and already appear under Sargon I of Sumer and Akkad. Among the Dead Sea Scrolls, 11QPs, the large Psalm scroll from Cave 11 in the general vicinity of Khirbet Qumran, is written in a consolidated Paleo-Square Script design. Paleo-Hebraic does not have serifs. This font incorporates features of Monumental Paleo-Hebraic and formal Square Script designs to make a formal sans-serif font. The base script is the Monumental Paleo-Hebraic. The font is carefully designed to use Monumental Paleo-Hebraic in xenographic exchange.

The graphs from the square script have been modified to match the base-script. The left leg of the "shin/sin," for example, imitates the exact angle of the uprights of monumental Paleo, as do the uprights on the "ayin." The right-hand angles imitate exactly the down-strokes, as on the Paleo-Hebraic "heh" (Figure 5).[42]

Fig. 5: The consolidated font of 11QPs
Fig. 5: The consolidated font of 11QPs

Constantine's Uncial script is a consolidated font intended to unite the Greco-Roman Empire by creating a new official script design that incorporates graphs from both Latin and Greek script systems into one matching whole.

Consolidated fonts are used as "standard" fonts; thus, the fact that a document is written in a consolidated font does not tell us anything about the status of the document as genuine or fake. On the other hand, close examination of the elements used in a consolidated font frequently yields otherwise inaccessible data.


A "grid" font is geometrically based. A grid of squares, all of the same size, is laid out, then the graphs, always starting with the "A" (or "aleph") of the base-script, are squared off to outline a given "box" on the grid.

Each graph is then modified to approximate the desired appropriate symbol but filling the limits of a square. Grid fonts frequently result in the distortion of standard graphs to meet the coherence required in a font design. Nevertheless, grid fonts are useful when the consolidated font must combine graphs from many areas or ages and must be written without descenders or ascenders.

Grid fonts frequently are used with the incantation format.


The shape of the Mosaic, or arch-topped, tablet derives directly, and practically unchanged down the millennia, from the shape associated with the architecture of Mesopotamian "House of God" buildings.[43] While the interpretation of the arch is dependent upon a culture (high and rounded, flattened and broad, "cloud," or pointed), the arch always is a symbol that whatever is presented under the arch is backed by the word of a god. Today the shape is frequently referred to as the shape of a "tombstone." This is backwards: the tombstone is shaped to imitate the narrow high arch associated with the Mosaic code; the shape symbolizes that the deceased has been entrusted to God. This use dates back to the earliest Christian grave markers and is used with the same symbolism on Moslem graves.[45]

Any article in the shape of a Mosaic tablet should contain a law or imply the law code handed down "at Sinai" by God.


While most people are aware that the color (or lack of color really) white indicates purity, not many are aware that, in antiquity, the color of the law was black. In fact, the color of the law is black to this day.

Because the contents of the phylacteries represent laws on wearing signs on hand and head, phylacteries are required by religious law to be black.


A symposium on the artifacts was held on Nov. 6, 1999. At the request of Patti Malenke, curator of the museum, Kenneth Bork and David Hawkins of Denison University examined the stone on which the "decalogue" is inscribed (and from the lithograph and description also the lost companion piece) and found it to be a black limestone in which "a fossil crinoid stem is visible on the surface.[45] "The "stems" (or "tests") of the marine creatures (both extinct and living) are "limy" and white.[46] The flow detector, cup, and case for the "yad" piece are made of novaculite.

An article made of stone is necessarily pure according to Rabbinic halachic rules.


The figure on the bas-relief sculpture, enclosed within the shape of "The" Law, is the classic Semitic profile pose that, when a ruler or member of the elite is portrayed, is usually enclosed within an arch. The Semitic pose is quite distinct from the classic Egyptian pose, which combines a frontal body with a profile head.[47] In the Semitic pose, the entire body is portrayed in profile. This pose dates back to the oldest surviving stele from Akkad (ca. 2371-ca. 2255 BCE); the profile pose enclosed in an arch reappears down the millennia. In the classic Semitic pose, the figure is in profile, one hand is raised or the arm is bent forward pointing at something or holding something.

A sculpture in this classic pose indicates a Semitic model.



The two phylacteries are made of black material, which is in accord with the rabbinical law that phylacteries must be black in color. Although contrary to Palestinian and Babylonian rabbinic rulings in the second century CE, the use of a condensed "decalogue" is in accord with a known prior tradition. That other traditions continued to exist alongside the Palestinian and Babylonian tradition is known from the Dead Sea Scrolls, papyri from Egypt, and was also was mentioned by Jerome.



The two phylacteries are written in the incantation format (Figure 6). As they are, in fact, incantation texts meant to be recited exactly as written, the format matches the text -- and the purpose of the artifact.

Fig. 6: The incantation format on the back of the hand phylactery: (photo, J. Huston McCulloch)




The texts on the two phylacteries are written between bilinear limits, that is, the text is "frozen." Incantation texts are intended to be frozen and are written between bilinear limits The limit system is in accord with the incantation format used on the two artifacts.



The font used on these two phylacteries is a consolidated grid font. The base script is a Late-Medieval Hebrew "squared" font where the "aleph" is a three-sided "box" open at the bottom. Of the 21 symbols ("tet" is not used), 12 graphs are directly from the base-script: aleph, bet, dalet, heh, chet, khaf, nun, samech, peh, resh, shin, and taf. The shin and bet are squared off standard graphs from the base script. The "yod" is a single line that runs full height of the square; full height yods have been used in various Hebrew script systems since the late BCE period. Qof has a descender and caused a problem in this design. The designer used the top part of the qof and incorporated the descender into a tail that wraps around the bottom of the grid square.

Incorporated into the font are one cuneiform-type composite graph (ca. 16th BCE) that appears to have been the model for numerous descendants both in North and South Semitic script systems; one South-Sinaitic graph (ca. 16th-15th BCE), two South-Semitic graphs, one Nabatean graph; one Neo-Sinaitic graph, and one Hebraeo-Phoenician graph that dates to ca. 10th BCE (Figure 7).

Fig. 7:(a) Modern Hebrew -- Formal typeface and cursive;(b) The Late-Medieval Hebrew Base-script;(c) The Consolidated Grid font on the phylacteries;(d) South Sinaitic;(e) Nabatean;(f) South-Semitic;(g) Neo-Sinaitic;(h) Hebraeo-Phoenician

  (click on image for larger view)


As there can be neither ascenders or descenders in this design (or the graphs will not fit between the limits and will intrude on the incantation spiral), the designer created a variant form to indicate a final (sofit) graph on the "khaf" by leaving a space. Variant forms are also used to distinguish "shin" from "sin" and "taf" from "dhaf."

We should also note that the ancients were "thrifty." Graphs were used not only as themselves, but to indicate special purpose. Xenographic exchange is one example of multiple use; variant forms are another. Just as Phoenician territorial scripts used variant forms of "aleph" to indicate which vowel phone was attached to the consonant, this design includes four variant forms of "aleph." Each variant form has a different "vowel" attached to the specific location and shape of the left-hand leg of the "aleph." The technique of denoting instructions on the left-hand leg of an "aleph" or an "A is well attested.[48]

Multiple use is also seen in the tzadik. The tzadik is a cuneiform-type composite and appears to be the class model for both North and South Sinaitic graphs. As the mutations of this graph are found in both branches of Semitic script systems, the composite graph antedates the earliest descendants and is from ca. 16th or 15th centuries BCE.[49] The "V"of the tzadik appears in Aramaic and Hebrew Square Script systems from at least the fifth century BCE onwards and can be seen in the Medieval Hebrew base-script [b]); the "V" on the "tzadik" is still used in the modern formal typeface [a]. In South-Semitic scripts systems [e, f, g], the tzadik appears with a rounded upper graph along with a second form that indicates a "tzadik sofit." The "mem" is a squared off South Sinaitic graph, as old as the tzadik. These two graphs may be "magic" letters, for the designer did not include final forms of either the "tzadik" or "mem." Whether "magic" or not, it is clear that these graphs were to be copied without change -- which they were.

We should note that somewhere down the fifteen centuries or more of copying this decalogue text, the "vav" and "zayin" became interchanged. What is placed in the "vav" position is a South Semitic "zayin"; in the "zayin" position is the third form of Hebraeo-Phoenician "vav." While the two graphs were interchanged, again, it is clear that the "vav" was to be copied without change.

The lamed is a Nabatean graph that was the model for the Neo-Sinaitic, and later, the Kufic scripts.50 Two forms of "taf" ("t" and "dh") are also used in Nabatean and appear as variant forms in the Nabatean script systems. The "crossed" gimel is Neo-Sinaitic. The "ayin" is a South Semitic graph that dates to ca. 10th-century BCE. (The North Semitic "ayin" at this date is a circle, i.e., "o [h].) The symbol at the center and front of the inscription may be some type of religious emblem or it may be an identification of sect affiliation. We cannot, at this juncture, know its purpose.

The text is written in a consolidated grid font, which is what we would expect for use in an incantation format.



The hand phylactery is the shape of a Mosaic tablet and it does indeed contain a "law" code. In fact, it contains a condensed version of "The" Law code.



Phylacteries are black under the "halacha mosheh misinai" [laws given to Moses at Sinai].



Stone as the materials used for the set follows rabbinic halachic rules on purity. Both the black stone for the phylacteries and a different stone for the purification ritual of washing are in accord with these rulings.



The pose on the sculpture is the classic Semitic pose.

In 1861, the appearance of the bas-relief on the hand phylactery led Rabbi Lederer, editor of the "Israelite," to class the artifact as "not Jewish" because the making of images of anything in the sky, on the earth, or in the sea contravenes Exodus 20: 4.51 Exodus 20: 5, however, is the second half of the injunction in Exodus 20:4 and explicitly states that such images should not be worshipped as gods. This further statement can be interpreted as not applicable to anything that is not worshipped as a god. It is rather apparent that the second half in Exodus 20:5 was so interpreted in some communities. There is nothing "god-like" in this "portrait" of Moses.

The word "Moses" (Moshe) is inscribed above the head of the figure, which is just as well or we would not know who was depicted. In medieval Christian art, Moses is rendered with a stern expression; a long, flowing beard and hair; and voluminous sweeping robes that descend from the shoulders and also from which depend wide flowing sleeves. Moses is always depicted as holding tablets with the high rounded-arch shape of "The" Law. This Moses, however, wears a benign expression; his hair is completely covered, his beard is the neatly trimmed beard of late medieval portraits, his robe is loose, but not flowing, and he is wearing a short tunic with close fitting sleeves. Tucked under his arm is a tablet in the triangle "arch" shape of "The" Law used by the North Central and Northwest Semitic peoples in the Dan-Edom area.52

More specifically, Moses' clothing consists of a robe, a short tunic, a hat with a tight band, and a girdle. From the bulk at the shoulders, he may also be wearing an ephod.53 This ensemble, of course, is the description in Exodus 28 of the priestly garments to be made for Aaron. All in all, his clothing most closely resembles Josephus' word picture in Ant. III, vi, 3. We should note that the entire ensemble has been depicted with a decided South Semitic bent.

The "hat" may originally have been an interpretation of the "priestly" headwear;54 but here it more closely resembles the identifying hat of an Arabic Ollamh, a professor of the law.55 Similarly, the robe worn by the figure of Moses may have been an interpretation of the priestly garments described in Exodus.56 Again, in this sculpture, we find the type of robe worn by "teachers of the law" in the Moslem world. The neatly trimmed beard, in direct contrast to the usual flowing beard on Moses in other medieval portraits is a mark of late-medieval provenance. The sculpture bears all the signs of a late-medieval interpretation of a Semitic profile portrait. The workmanship is more likely to be Spanish than French because of the decided Arabic influences, although we cannot rule out the possibility that a Spanish artisan worked in France. There is little doubt as to the ca. 11th-13th centuries date of this sculpture. The workmanship and style date the sculpture to the same period as the late-medieval base-script used for the consolidated font.



The artifacts could not possibly have been created in the nineteenth century; nobody had the knowledge necessary to do so. Indeed, nobody who previously examined these artifacts has recognized that two of the artifacts are inscribed in the ancient incantation format. Nor has anyone previously realized that the "peculiar" font is a consolidated design or that it is a grid font typical of scripts and fonts used with incantation formats. It is rather clear that no one until today has recognized the Late-Medieval Hebrew script that is the base-script of this consolidated grid font.

The inclusion of ancient Sinaitic graphs in the consolidated grid font is an indication that these particular "letters" were considered "magic" and had to be copied exactly. Nor could they be modified much to suit the script design. There are other indications that the tzadik is a "magic" graph. As has been noted, the tzadik is a cuneiform-type composite -- a graph of which mutations were incorporated into both North and South Semitic script systems adapted for dry surface writing. There are many abbreviations in the text. In accord with the typical practice of multiple use, this composite stands as both a "tzadik" and as the symbol for "Sinai."

The first words running down the left hand side of the artifact are not the "decalogue": they are a condensation of Exodus 20:2, which reads: "asher hotzetecha m'eretz mitzrai'im" (confirm [that I] brought you from the land of Egypt). The first three letters of "Hotzetecha" are "heh-vav-tzadik;" but that is not what is written on the artifact. What is written on the artifact is "heh-resh[half grid space] tzadik/Sinai." "Heh-resh" is "har and means "mount." The line reads: "asher har Sinai/tzetecha m'eretz[sinai] mitz[sinai]rai'im." (Confirm [that I] [at] mount Sinai brought you [at Sinai] out of the land of Egypt [at Sinai].)

Perhaps it should be explained that, when asked what script would have been used for the tablets described in Exodus 32:15, more than one expert on ancient Semitic scripts will reply that an educated guess would be Sinaitic. The preservation of one Sinaitic graph in the symbol-set used on the hand phylactery, as well as the preservation of the "V" of the composite "tzadik" in Hebrew script systems down the millennia, is the first tiny bit of concrete evidence that the description of the Mosaic code as inscribed on tablets, no matter how many embellishments accrued, is based in fact.

The preservation of one Hebraeo-Phoenician graph suggests that this graph was considered another "magic" letter that had to be copied exactly for the incantation to work. It also represents a small piece of evidence that the texts of the first four books of the Pentateuch were written down early in the Monarchial period in the 10th century BCE.

The large number of South-Semitic graphs (six out of twenty-one) are strong evidence that the older tradition of including the decalogue in the phylacteries was continued among a group of religious Jews living in South Semitic countries long after the tradition was forbidden by the Palestinian and Babylonian Rabbis in the second century CE. Equally strong as evidence is the sculpture with its distinctly Semitic pose and Islamic-influenced clothing. These aspects that show clear South Semitic influence indicate that the set was commissioned by a Sephardic Jew and, as the set is clearly intended for use when traveling, probably by a merchant-trader. From details on the sculpture, the most likely site for the place of production is Spain. If at the earliest range for the date (11th CE), the set may have been produced in Catalonia. If the later date range (13th CE), the set was possibly produced in Cordoba or Toledo during the time of Alfonso X of Castille. Nor can we ignore the possibility that the set was produced in France; Sephardic Jews handled the trade between the Holy Roman Empire and the Moslem world.

While the words in the phylacteries are linked to both identification and protection, there is no direct evidence that the words were linked to magic. On the other hand, evidence that certain graphs were linked to "magic" signs can be seen in the format and symbol-set used on the late-medieval hand phylactery inscribed with the "forbidden" condensed decalogue. The inclusion of "antique" graphs in the consolidated script design tends to support the school that maintains that the texts of Exodus and Deuteronomy which refer to the wearing of signs on hand and on forehead may have been meant literally. These graphs also link phylacteries with the ancient "magic" letter/signs inscribed on protective charms and amulets -- and, possibly, literally inscribed on the skin of the left hand and the forehead.

The fact that the hand piece was still in its case, while the bowl, flow detector, and head piece were not, gives us further information. The head piece clearly was bound to the skull; thus, we know that the flow detector and bowl had been used. We now also have evidence that the older tradition of donning the head piece first was carried on among some Jewish communities for many centuries after the Rabbinical ruling that the hand piece be placed first.

The use of the condensed decalogue on the hand phylactery gives us concrete evidence that, although as of the second century CE, the decalogue was forbidden to use in the Palestinian and Babylonian traditions, the older tradition of a "fifth" text, the decalogue itself, was alive and well among other Jewish communities. We do have some indications as to the age of this older tradition. The finds at Qumran, the Nash Papyri, and this hand phylactery, make it clear that the condensed "decalogue" was not a Samaritan concept as had been previously assumed. Samaritans do not use phylacteries, although a similar condensed version appears on Samaritan stone mezzuzahs. The use by Samaritans of a similar condensed "decalogue" indicates that the tradition of this condensed "decalogue" dates to before the rift between the Samaritan and Jerusalem communities, which may be as early as the 7th-6th BCE.57 The rift certainly was indicated by the fifth century BCE in a letter from Elephantine.

We have, however, further indications as to the antiquity of the tradition of reciting this condensed decalogue, which pushes the probable date back to the 9th century BCE. Although the hand phylactery is shaped as the familiar high-rounded arch of the Jerusalemite tradition and although the sculpture is encased in another Jerusalemite arch, the tablet that Moses is holding is not the high rounded-arch of the Southern Kingdom. The tablet is the shape used in the Phoenicianized northwest and north central corner of the area in that period. The tablet, in fact, is the same shape as the "Beit David"stele found at the Tel Dan archaeological site (Figure 8).58

Fig. 8:(a) Shape of the tablet tucked under the arm of Moses 

 Fig. 8:(b) Shape of the "Beit David" stele found at Tel Dan
 Fig. 8:(b) Shape of
the "Beit David"
stele found at Tel

We will never be able to date this "portrait" of Moses: the shape of the tablet he is holding indicates a very ancient tradition in the Northern Kingdom with regard to interpretations of the instructions in Exodus. On the other hand, with the evidence of the "Newark" hand phylactery, we can now state with confidence that an older tradition of reciting the decalogue daily continued for at least another 1100 years among some Sephardic Jewish communities.59 It also seems that a compromise on the contested point was arrived at, albeit many centuries before the question was even raised: a condensed version of the decalogue avoids the exact repetition of the words said by Moses. Indeed, the bas-relief of a benign Moses would appear to lend his countenance to the saying of the condensed decalogue.

The Newark Ritual artifacts date to the Late Medieval period, as is made clear from stylistic features on the bas-relief sculpture on one of the artifacts and the Late Medieval Hebrew base-script used for the consolidated grid font that appears in the inscriptions on two of the artifacts. The artifacts are authentic, if not what they were thought to be in the 19th century, and, unfortunately, even today.60

Claims of modern forgery based on the "peculiar" script, or "spelling" errors (of which there is precisely one after 1500 years or more of copying the text),61 or the pose of the figure on the bas-relief are equally erroneous and have no basis in actuality. The fact that black limestone with crinoid stems can be found in Ohio also has been claimed as evidence that the artifacts are forgeries. Black limestone containing crinoid stems, however, is available throughout the world. The material may be found, for example, in Belgium, England, France, Hungary and Spain. It may also be found in Idaho and the Dakotas as well as in Mercer and Muskingum Counties Ohio.62 The artifacts pass all visual forensic analysis tests. They also pass the materials examination as far as the availability of the material at the probable site(s) of manufacture. That black limestone can also be found in Ohio is irrelevant.

Archaeology as a soundly based field only came into being in the 1880's. That in the 1860's claims that the artifacts were forgeries, although the evidence at the site and expert opinion was against this, can be excused. Claims today that these artifacts are forgeries and not "old" enough for where they were found are unacceptable; such claims ignore both basic archaeological standards and the evidence. We can never know whether the artifacts were deposited during the "pirate treasure hunt" phase or sometime shortly after 1832 when the workmen removed 144,000 cartloads of stones from all the stacks at the site. There is, though, little doubt: this set of ritual artifacts was deposited at the two sites during the early part of the nineteenth century. As Dr. Fischel pointed out in 1861, these artifacts are medieval and European and had been stolen from a European settler.

The "Newark" Ritual artifacts are neither forgeries nor relics of "Ancient America." They are, however, very important concrete evidence of Ancient and Medieval Israelite practices. The ancient graphs included in the consolidated script on these phylacteries are also our first small pieces of concrete evidence that a factual basis underlies Exodus 32:15. The shape of the tablet held by Moses as well as the condensed "decalogue" inscribed on the hand phylactery is concrete evidence of the types of authoritative and theological disputes that divided the Northern and Southern Kingdoms. In addition, these artifacts also give us some hints as to the continuation of Jewish traditions among the peoples displaced after the Northern Kingdom was destroyed. This particular penny is far too important to leave in the obscurity of a wrangle between two extremist sides, both of whom ignore the evidence.

If an American penny finds its way onto the Acropolis in Athens or the Colosseum in Rome, we dismiss the question of how it got there as too obvious to be worth asking. This set of late-medieval ritual artifacts found their way to these sites in the United States because they were brought there, as so many family heirlooms were, by a settler from Europe searching for a new home in the new world.

Many thanks to Scott E. Meyer of Northwestern University for supplying me with the Alrutz article (which I could not acquire for myself) and then for digging out further information on Dr. Arnold Fischel after the provocative (and incomplete) reference in the Alrutz article. My gratitude must also be expressed to Herb Basser of Queens University for his erudite comments on Hebrew and Mishnaic sources. Obviously, any errors that may remain are mine.


[1] Dr. Arnold Fischel, lecturer at the Sephardic synagogue in New York (founded in 1654, thus with a Sephardic-Dutch connection), a noted scholar and authority, had written a paper, "The Hebrew Inscribed Stones Found in Ohio," delivered in June of 1861 to The American Ethnological Society. In this paper, he stated he was convinced of the authenticity of the artifact and ascribed it to "medieval and European origins." (See Alrutz, "The Newark Holy Stones: The History of an Archaeological Tragedy," Journal of the Scientific Laboratories, Denison University, 1980, 57: 1-57.) In Fischel's paper, he commented that he had nothing with which to compare these artifacts (Alrutz 44), yet accustomed to Medieval Sephardic styles, if not this precise object, he would certainly have noted the obvious medieval and Sephardic attributes of the artifact.

[2] The Report from the committee appointed by the society was issued in 1863. (See, Alrutz, 44).

[3] Whittlesey, Western Reserve Historical Society Historical & Archaeological Tract #9.

[4] Alrutz, "Tragedy" 1-57.

[5] Williams, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1991, 167-75.

[6] Lepper and Gill, TIMELINE: A Publication of the Ohio Historical Society, 2000, 17-25.

[7] Cyrus H. Gordon, "Diffusion of Near East Culture in Antiquity and in Byzantine Times," Orient, vol. 30-31 (1995): 69-81. Gordon was not familiar with late-medieval scripts and artifacts.

[8] Deal, Ancient American, Issue # 11 [Jan/Feb 1996], pp. 10- 19.

[9] McCulloch's site is at http://www.econ.ohio-state.edu/jhm/arch/. McCulloch includes other items, such as the Los Lunas inscription (an obvious fake) and the Bat Creek inscription, which appears to be an authentic souvenir" of Judea, as it states. (Another European family heirloom displayed whenever the words, "Next Year in Jerusalem," were uttered?) McCulloch as also written numerous articles on the artifacts.

[10] See, Jonathan Waxman, "Arnold Fischel: 'Unsung Hero' in American Israel," American Jewish Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, No. 4, June 1971.

[11] The tefillin were the subject of much debate for centuries. The color, however, has never been debated as, from the time of Sumer and Akkad on down through the centuries, black is the color of the Law. This is why the robe of a judge is black to this day.

[12] The item is referred to as a "yad" (hand) tefilla by Rabbinical sources and, even though worn on the arm in more modern use, it is still referred to as the "yad" tefilla.

[13] Similar condensed "decalogues" (with abbreviations and composite graphs) appear in Samaritan documents and among the Dead Sea Scrolls. References in the 2nd century CE to not using the "decalogue" indicate that the text dates earlier. Curiously enough, these condensed versions have points in common with the condensed decalogue in Josephus, Ant. III, vi, 3.

[14] In 1996, David A. Deal and James S. Trimm came to the conclusion that the "decalogue" was a phylactery. ("Ohio Decalog is Ancient Arm Phylactery," Ancient American, Vol. 3, Issue 13: May/June 1996, 25-27) Deal and Trim are correct, if off by 800 odd years on the dating. In 2002, Myron Paine of Martinez, California suggested that the other piece was a head phylactery. It is. (see: The Newark, Ohio Decalogue Stone and Keystone)

[15] The flow detector has been named the "Keystone" because of its shape. It was also stated to be a "Masonic" device in 1860.

[16] The data has been biased by more than ignoring Fischel and the Committee Report. The bias extends to the mistransliterations and mistranslations of the Hebrew texts. The tetragrammaton (YHVH) translates into English as "Lord." El or Elohim (plural) translates as "God."

[17] "Torah" means "instruction" or "direction," not "law."

[18] The translation of QDS as "Holy" is a King James-ism and there is also a semantic shift in meaning to complicate matters. QDS may be translated as to sanctify, to purify, to cleanse, to hallow, to make sacred --depending upon context. The inscription has been mistranscribed and mistranslated as "Holy of Holies." (A closer translation would be Sanctity of Sanctities/Sacred of Sacreds.) Even using the translation terms of the KJV, "Holy of Holies" would be transliterated as "Qodesh Haqadashim." The definite article "ha" (the) is not written on the flow detector; it does not translate as "Holy of Holies." What is written is idiomatic; in context the translation would be "Most Pure"; but other possibilities have been given as well.

[19] This was mistransliterated as "Melek Eretz," "King of the Earth." Eretz translates into English as "land," as in "Eretz Israel," land of Israel; "Eretz Mitzrai'im," Land of Egypt." Aretz is translated as the equivalent of "Earth." The definite article, "ha" is missing; the text does not read "the Earth" but is more encompassing.

[20] Durational and stress notation dates back to Sumer. They were in continuous use for nearly 4,000 years. The notations appear on items as diverse as the Yadi and Roman Imperial stelae; the Dead Sea Scrolls and Anglo-Saxon Chronicle A. Their use on the Continent tapered off slowly, depending upon location. By the 12th century, they were no longer in use to the north. Their use in the south lasted for another century. In England, durational notation was still in use in the Age of Elizabeth I. (See, Altman, "Some Aspects of Older Writing Systems: With Focus on the DSS." Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Jerusalem., 1999; Altman, "Writing Systems and Manuscripts." Guest Lecture: St. Mary's School of Divinity, University of St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland, 1999. For Elizabethan use, see Altman, Absent Voices: The Story of Writing Systems in the West. Newcastle, DE: forthcoming.

[21] The "size of a teacup" accords with the size of the water vessel per rabbinic halakha.

[22] Tefillin are kept in a special "phylactery" bag. Whether this ritual set had a special bag cannot be ascertained.

[23] As Hanan Eshel noted in his paper, given at the 3rd symposium on the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1998, with respect to the stone vessels found at Qumran: "In the late Second Temple period, from the first century BCE to the second century CE, we find a stone vessel industry in the Jerusalem region whose products were used for storage and measurement. These stone vessels were made for observant Jews who observed the laws of purity strictly, since according to rabbinic halakha, stone vessels always stay pure." Eshel cites the following sources on the ruling: M[ishna] Kelim 10:1; M. Oholot 5:5, 6:1; M. Para 5:5; M. Miqwa'ot 4:1; M. Yadayim 1:2. (see: Stone Vessels Found at Qumran).

[24] One need not be a police forensic detective to reconstruct events. Historians are detectives and are accustomed to evaluating and reconstructing evidence from textual sources. With these artifacts, we have unambiguous physical evidence in addition to textual evidence. The artifacts were deposited after 1802. For a thorough discussion of the events surrounding the finding of the artifacts, see, Alrutz, "Newark Holy Stones."

[25] Any hard object thrown into river-bed clay of this type, if the clay is moist, will quickly accumulate a spherical mass around it. When the soil dries out, it will leave behind such hard clay balls.

[26] The two small objects, square in shape, are now missing. Two other artifacts were found in another mound some distance away. One was a carved head with Hebrew writing in Square script on it. The other is said to be some sort of "talisman" with intertwined human and animal heads, also with a few letters of Hebrew writing in Square script on it. The Corresponding Secretary of the Ethnological Society, Theodore Dwight, Jr. (1796-1866), sent a copy of the drawing of the incised head to Dr. Fischel in Amsterdam in 1865. Fischel was reluctant to trust a drawing but did state: "These stones as described in your letter could never have been the work of a Jew." The drawing may not be accurate, but that this item is a fake is patent. A photograph of the "talisman" exists: it is an intriguing object, but the reproduction of photograph is quite poor. From what can be seen, however, the object would appear to be an authentic artifact that was defaced by scribbling a few Hebrew graphs on it. Like the "inscribed head," this object "could never have been the work of a Jew." (Fischel-Dwight correspondence; National Anthropological Archives at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.).

[27] The site was described for the first time in 1852, two years after the "coffin" was found. For specifics, see Alrutz.

[28] For specifics and cites, see Alrutz.

[29] For a partial description of the find, see Alrutz, 36; Bradner, 1873. For further information on the depth at which the hand phylactery and the bowl were found. (See: The Newark, Ohio Decalogue Stone and Keystone)

[30] Bradner assumed that the skulls "powdered" because of "great age." The rate of disintegration of bone depends entirely on the ph of the soil. In some soils, such as this river-bed clay, disintegration is very rapid. The powdering was due to the soil, not "great age." (See Alrutz)

[31] See Alrutz, 42, for more details and cites.

[32] See Altman, “Report on the Temple Tablet,” Altman, Absent Voices.

[33] J. Mann. "Changes in the Divine Service of the Synagogue due to Religious Persecution," Cincinnati, Ohio: Hebrew Union College Annual 4, 1927. 288-99.

[34] See Jerome's "Commentary on Matthew, 25:3."

[35] Mann, "Changes," 292.

[36] Cited as given in Sanhedrin 88b.

[37] We should also bear in mind that the Ancients were literalists. When the ancients spoke of the "voice of authority," they meant it literally. When referring to the "colors of music," they meant it literally. The colors of music number 12, as in a twelve-tone scale. The first indications of color-to-tone appear in Pythagorean documents (6th century BCE). Recorded evidence from the 3rd and 5th centuries CE places the central color as yellow/gold and the equivalent of "C;" red equaled "F." When staff lines first appeared in musical notation systems, two lines were drawn: yellow (C) and red (F). These ancient colors of music can still be seen today on the academic gowns of doctors of musicology. We have reason to suspect that the ancients also meant inscribed in heart (left hand) and in mind (on the forehead) literally as well.

[38] This connection between the phylacteries, amulets, tattoos, and other signs were already hotly debated in the late 19th century in works such as History of Amulets, Charms and Talismans, New York, 1893. The bibliography on the subject is enormous. For concise discussions and bibliography on the subject of magic in the ANE and the MT, see the Anchor Bible Dictionary (New York: Doubleday, 1992), Vol.IV, 464-471.

[39] For a discussion of the block format, see Altman, Temple Tablet; for a discussion of the "centering" technique on bi-ethnic (bilingual) inscriptions, see "Report on the Zoilos Votive Inscription from Tel-Dan." Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls: Jerusalem.

[40] For a discussion of conglomerate fonts, see Altman, Temple Tablet.

[41] Xenographic (foreign graph) exchange is the use of Font B in a text written in Font A. Dating back to Akkad, the use of italics to denote "book title" or "foreign word" is a modern use of xenographic exchange..

[42] For further information on the design of the consolidated font used in 11QPs, see, Altman, "The Writing World of the Dead Sea Scrolls." Lecture: St. Mary's School of Divinity, University of St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland, 2001.

[43] For discussions on the "shape of the law," see Altman, Temple Tablet; Altman, Absent Voices, 33-35.

[44] Interesting aspects of the grave markers used in Islam are 1) a marker is placed at both head and feet -- which may refer to the two tablets as is written in Exodus; and 2) pairs of Islamic "cloud" arch and "Mosaic" arch tablets appear, but on different graves.

[45] For both the Symposium, Nov. 6, 1999, and Bork and Hawkins. See: The Newark Ohio Decalog Stone and Keystone, by J. Huston McCulloch." (http://www.econ.ohio-state.edu/jhm/arch/decalog.html)

[46] Existing class Crinoidea, phylum Echinodermata include sand dollars, star fish, and sea urchins.

[47] Both poses appear to have something to do with the concept of the "eyes as the mirror of the soul." The oldest known sculpture, the "venus" head from the Magdalene period (ca. 22,000 BCE) is lifelike, but where the eyes should be are two concave "blanks." These same concave "blank eyes" appear in archaic Greek sculptures-in-the-round. Cave paintings from ca. 5,000 BCE show rounded, lifelike figures, usually in perspective, but their backs are to the viewer. A similar taboo on depicting the eyes, though not concave, appears to operate in the late archaic Greek frontal pose. The subject warrants further research.

[48] The replacement of the left-leg on an "A" with a cephalicus neume to indicate, for example, which of three singers was to lead the congregation can be seen in BN MS. Lat. 8824 and in St. Gall MSS. 329 and 359. See, Altman, Absent Voices, Chapter 10.

[49] Many of the South Sinaitic graphs are adaptations of cuneiform graphs, minus "wedges," for use in dry surface writing.

[50] The Nabatean language was the formal Aramaic of Achamaenid Persia. Their script systems were a territorial variant. The modern Arabic script systems descend from the Nabatean.

[51] See Alrutz, "Tragedy," 44.

[52] The "triangle arch" led people to believe that the item was a "breastplate," although a breastplate would be in the center, not tucked under an arm.

[53] While the ephod is described in detail, nobody knows exactly what the item is, and it is not translated.

[54] The "priestly" hat in this sculpture seems to follow the description in Josephus, Ant. III. vi, 3 rather closely..

[55] The identifying hat worn by European lawyers during the period also has a tight band, but it has a crown and the hair is free in the back above the band..

[56] Again, the robe seems closer to the description in Josephus, Ant. III, vii, 1 than to the one in the MT.

[57] The Samaritan Chronicles relate feuding between Zerrubabel (the builder of the Second Temple in Jerusalem) and Sanballat, the Samaritan priesteven while in Babylon during the exile (6th BCE). (See, Paul Stenhouse, The Kitab al Tarikh of Abu'l-Fath Sydney: Mandelbaum Trust, 1985.)

[58] The appearance of the "Phoenician" triangle arch used on this hand phylactery gives external corroboration that the "beit david" stele found at Tel-Dan is the correct "shape" for the area and is authentic. Its use also has very important implications in respect to the differences in interpretative traditions between the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom..

[59] The hand piece also makes it patent that the tradition of reciting the decalogue, albeit in a condensed form, continued for at least 1100 years after it was forbidden in the Babylonian and Tiberian communities in the 2nd century CE..

[60] See above, footnotes 5 and 6.

[61] The interchange of the "vav" and the "zayin" cannot be classed as "spelling errors." Once the two graphs were interchanged, they were used consistently to represent the opposite graph..

[62] "Stems" on fossil crinodea come in a variety of shapes: circular, v-shaped, and irregular. The "stems" embedded in the artifact would have to match the "stems" in the black limestone from these Ohio counties; the structural granulation from the way the limestone was formed would also have to match. These tests are performed by "thin-sections," that is, thin "wafers" or cross sections of stone are cut and then glued to a glass slide. The wafer is ground and polished until the structure and fossil contents can be seen through a microscope. These tests have not been done, although such tests are crucial to asserting that the artifact is a forgery and that the material comes from Ohio.

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