Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Hooked X/Tau Cross Monogram on the Jesus Ossuary Lid

I've been sitting on this discovery for over a year thinking I would publish it in a forthcoming book.  I changed my mind realizing it would be at least another year before I would be able to complete the necessary scientific work that would complement this discovery.  I still plan to perform this work, but decided to announce the discovery, via the photos and paper below, and get the discussion going now as comments I receive may have impact on the scope of the future research.

The implications of this discovery are potentially huge and certainly supports my past fifteen years of research.  I'm pretty damned excited about this and I hope you will be too!

Figure 1. Photograph of the front of the Yeshua (Jesus) ossuary (IAA accession no. 80-503).  Its perimeter dimensions are 62.7-65.0 x 25.4-26.0 30.5-31.0 centimeters. (Internet)

Figure 2. The “Hooked X/Tau Cross” monogram carved on the lid of the Yeshua (Jesus) ossuary. (Photograph courtesy of Charles Pellegrino)

  Figure 3. The Hooked X (red)/Tau Cross (yellow) are highlighted to show it’s actually a monogram of two symbols. (Wolter, 2014)

Figure 4. A second photograph of the “Hooked X/Tau Cross” monogram carved on the lid of the Yeshua (Jesus) ossuary that includes the faintly visible second symbol which is a low-angle chevron (circled in red). (Photograph courtesy of Charles Pellegrino)

Figure 5. The drawing of the Hooked X/Tau Cross monogram (Page 223 in L.Y. Rahmani’s book) shows the vertical line of the Tau Cross is slightly off to the right when compared to the actual carving with both carvings oriented upside down.  However, the drawing shows the correct relative position of the chevron symbol that also appears on the lid. 
Figure 6. Drawing showing the relative position of the Hooked X/Tau Cross symbol on the lid of the Yeshua (Jesus) ossuary as drawn by Scott Wolter after examining the ossuary while on display in the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition in Los Angeles, California, on March 18, 2015.  

Figure 7. The inscription carved in Aramaic on the narrow side of ossuary IAA #80-503 reads “Yeshua bar Yehosef”, (Jesus, son of Joseph) and has a large “X” carved at the beginning of the name as Hebrew and Aramaic are read right to left. (Internet)

Figure 8. The Hooked X symbol occurs twenty-two times on the Kensington Rune Stone; it is used for the “a” sound within the Old Swedish runic inscription discovered in Minnesota in 1898.  This example is found in the second word on line 6. (Wolter, 2002)

Figures 9 & 10. Egyptian Pharaohs Tutankhamen and his father Akhenaten both have the crossed Crook and Flail across their chest which was the earliest known representation of the Hooked X symbol and the ideology of Monotheistic Dualism it represents. (Internet)

Figure 11. This example shows the Egyptian Ankh which is actually a Tau Cross with an egg-shaped handle. (Internet)

Figure 12. One of the most important symbols in Royal Arch Freemasonry is the “Triple Tau” found on this Masonic apron within the Delta and the circle, both considered symbols of the Deity within the Craft.  (Wolter, 2015)

Figure 13. The Triple Tau symbol occurs twice on this mid-1600’s era grave slab in the floor near the altar in the church of the ruined St. Augustine Monastery in Old Goa, India. (Wolter, 2015)
Figure 14. This stylized example of the Christian “IHS” symbol appears on the exterior of the “Bom Jesus” Basilica in Old Goa, India.  This symbol dates back to the Second Century and could be origin of the Triple Tau symbol found in Royal Arch Freemasonry.  (Wolter, 2015)
Reconsidering a Mark on the Lid of the Talpiot Tomb’s Jesus Ossuary
By Scott F. Wolter P.G.
The lid on the “Yeshua bar Yehosef” (aka Jesus, son of Joseph) ossuary from the First Century C.E. “Talpiot Tomb” in Jerusalem, has a prominent mark that has received little attention.  If mentioned at all, it is typically referred to as a star and usually dismissed as something insignificant, such as an alignment mark.   A careful examination of the mark reveals that it is actually not a star.  Rather, it appears to be a combination of two symbols, one resembling a Tau Cross and the other a so-called “Hooked X”.   This paper will build a case for this interpretation and demonstrate why this is an important discovery.
The so-called Talpiot Tomb was discovered when it was revealed during blasting of the bedrock comprised of a white calcareous chalk called Nari,[1] during construction of apartment buildings in March of 1980.  Excavations of the tomb were performed under the supervision of archaeologist, Joseph Gath, and a plan diagram of the tomb with elevations was made by an assistant archaeologist and surveyor, Shimon Gibson.  Gath discovered ten ossuaries within the six tunnels (called kokhim) during his excavations, but only nine were cataloged and entered into the collection at the Israeli Antiquities Authorities (IAA, nee IDAM) storage facility.  Recent geochemical testing has confirmed the so-called “James Ossuary” is also from the Talpiot tomb and is this missing tenth ossuary.[2]
Seven of the ten ossuaries are inscribed with names; six in Hebrew/Aramaic and one in Greek.  The name inscribed in Greek (IAA no. 80-500) arguably translated as “Mariamene, who is Mara” may refer to the biblical Mary Magdalene.  The six names carved in Hebrew/Aramaic are as follows:
(IAA no. 80-501) “Yehuda, son of Yeshua” (Judah, son of Jesus)
(IAA no. 80-502) “Matya” (Matthew)
(IAA no. 80-503) “Yeshua, son of Yehosef” (Jesus, son of Joseph)
IAA no. 80-504) “Yose” (Jose/Joseph)
(IAA no. 80-505) “Marya” (Maria)
(IAA no. 80-509[3]) “Ya’aqob son of Yoseph, brother of Yeshua” (James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus)
This amazing cluster of names carved on burial ossuaries from a single tomb has led many (including the author of this paper) to conclude this is the family burial tomb of the biblical Jesus, other members of his family and potentially his wife Mary Magdalene.  Much controversy and research on the inscriptions carved on the ossuaries has occurred in the wake of the discovery over the past 35 years, but very little has been said about the marks carved on the lids, including two marks on the lid of the “Yeshua bar Yehosef” ossuary.  Although sketches of these two marks carved on the “Yeshua bar Yehosef” lid were published in 1994,[4] photographs taken by Charles Pellegrino in 2005 are the first-ever photographs of the marks to be published (Figures 2, 3 and 4).  This paper appears to be the first attempt to interpret the meaning of the mark that some had taken to be a simple star.
The Discovery
In May of 2014, a fellow independent researcher named Jerry Lutgen, introduced the author in an email that included five photographs taken by Charles Pellegrino, of a mark inscribed on the lid of the “Yeshua bar Yehosef” ossuary (Figure 1).  In this email Pellegrino described the mark as, “…a seven pointed star with one of the points diverging into a "V."”  Immediately upon reviewing the photos the author saw not a single “star” mark, but two very familiar symbols intertwined into a single monograph and wrote the following in his response to Lutgen and Pellegrino:
“The "star" carving on the Jesus ossuary lid looks like a monogram to me of two separate symbols; a "T" and my Hooked X.  Of course, I may be seeing what I want to see, but the top bar/line of the "T" is slightly below the intersecting lines in the middle of the X.  What do you think?”
Soon after sending the email it occurred to the author this “T” was most likely a Tau Cross, so that the mark was actually the combination of a “Hooked X” and a Tau Cross.  The rationale for reaching this conclusion is presented below.
Pellegrino pointed out there are actually two separate marks carved on the Yeshua ossuary lid, the Hooked X/Tau Cross monogram and a chevron.  He also pointed out there are no known photographs of these marks on the lid other than Pellegrino’s.  The second mark carved on the lid, a low-angle (approximately 25 degrees) chevron, does appear faintly in one of the photographs sent by Pellegrino (Figure 4).  The faintly visible chevron is confirmed by its position relative to the Hooked X/Tau Cross as drawn in a sketch that appears on page 223 of the L.Y. Rahmani’s, catalogue.  The up-side down orientation of the Rahmani sketch confirms the lack of understanding of the meaning of the Hooked X/Tau Cross symbol.  However, the author’s drawing of the Hooked X/Tau Cross monogram (Figure 6) showing its centered positioning on the ossuary lid suggests the carver intentionally placed the symbol at the top end of the lid immediately adjacent to the short side of the ossuary with the inscribed name, “Yeshua bar Yehosef”, and a large “X” symbol carved in front of it (Figure 7).
On March 18, 2015, the author personally viewed the Yeshua ossuary lid, while it was on display in the Dead Seas Scrolls exhibit in Los Angeles, California.  The ossuary section of the exhibit included the Yeshua ossuary which was positioned with the Hooked X/Tau Cross symbol clearly visible only a few inches from the Plexiglas divider.  However, the direct overhead lighting made viewing the chevron symbol very difficult although the more deeply carved Hooked X/Tau Cross was clearly visible.
“Mason’s Marks” or “Maker’s Marks”       
One of the arguments sure to be made against the Hooked X/Tau  Cross interpretation for this mark will be that it is a known  practice to use marks, such as small X’s or “star-like” marks on ossuaries as a way to align the placement of the lids onto the limestone burial boxes.  On pages 19-21 of L. Y. Rahmani’s Catalogue of Jewish Ossuaries, he discusses these marks found on approximately 40% of the ossuaries listed in his catalogue.  Rahmani states, “Most of the marks on ossuaries are incised or drawn with charcoal.  They usually occur in pairs, one on the lid and the second on either the narrow side or rim of the chest or occasionally on the chest’s long side.”  The Hooked X/Tau Cross symbol does not have a corresponding mark on the rim or narrow side and looks to have been carved with considerably more care and skill than the aforementioned chevron as well as the name and “X” symbol carved on the narrow side of the chest.  Nearly all the examples of paired or single direction marks in Rahmani’s catalogue are rather crudely made.  In Kloner and Gibson’s article they termed the two marks on the Yeshua lid to be “maker’s marks” writing in a footnote, “Indeed, some of the marks may have been made by family members at the same time they inscribed the names.”[5]  In light of this it’s possible the carver of the Hooked X/Tau Cross monogram could have been the maker of the ossuary, a family member at the time of interment, or even an intruder into the tomb at an unknown date.  Further, because of the differences in the quality of the carvings it appears certain that whoever carved the Hooked X/Tau Cross was not the same person who carved the Yeshua name and the “X” on the ossuary. 
Interpretations of the Hooked X Part of the Monogram
The upper symbol within the monogram is an “X” with an extra bar added to the upper right arm that forms a well-known and controversial symbol called a “Hooked X” (Outlined in red in figure 3).[6]  The author coined the term “Hooked X” in 2002, and has written extensively about the symbol which first became known to him during his examination of the Kensington Rune Stone (Figure 8), discovered in Minnesota in 1898, at his materials forensic laboratory, American Petrographic Services, Inc., beginning in July of 2000.[7]  The Hooked X symbol appears twenty-two times and is used for the letter “a” and “a” sound within the Kensington inscription that is carved using medieval Scandinavian runes.  Since its discovery in 1898 scholars noted that the “Hooked X” symbol had never been seen used in a runic inscription (which led to their persistent belief it was a hoax).  Subsequent research by the author, various scholars, and other researchers into various aspects of the artifact, including the geology, runes, language, dialect, grammar, dating and history of the discovery has provided voluminous evidence consistent with it being a genuine medieval artifact.[8]   
Four more runic inscriptions were subsequently discovered in North America that included the Hooked X symbol.[9]  Three rune stones were found buried together at Spirit Pond, Maine, in 1971, and a two-line, nine character runic inscription with a Hooked X carved into a multi-ton sandstone boulder in Narragansett Bay that was documented as early as circa 1945.  Two of the three Spirit Pond Rune Stones are dated to 1401 and 1402 (twice) using the medieval Easter Table dating method.[10]  The Kensington Rune Stone is dated to 1362, once using Pentadic numbers in Arabic placement, and 1362 again by plotting singled out characters within the inscription into the medieval Easter Table.[11]  The Narragansett Rune Stone has no discernable date within its inscription. 
The author has written three books that chronicle his research into several controversial artifacts that include all five North American rune stones with the Hooked X, and numerous other examples of the Hooked X found in Europe.  Based on the fact the Hooked X is found associated with only the Medieval Knights Templar order, the associated Cistercian religious order and modern Freemasonry, the author has concluded the symbol served a dual function in the known examples.  Besides being used for the “a” sound, the symbol also occurs used as the Roman numeral ten.[12]  In his 2009 book, the author proposed the Hooked X was also symbolic of a religious ideology called Monotheistic Dualism that dated back to at least circa 1350 B.C.E., and the time of Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten.  The author also suggested a very early rendition of the Hooked X symbol was the crossed Crook and Flail (Figure 9 & 10).
The presence of the Hooked X symbol on the ossuary of what many scholars now accept as the First Century biblical Jesus could be evidence that is consistent with many researchers’ belief in his Egyptian heritage.  It could also provide an important clue to the true religious ideology that Jesus, his apparent wife, Mary Magdalene and their followers were teaching.   
Interpretations of the Tau Cross Part of the Monogram
The top horizontal bar of the “T” shaped Tau Cross appears to have been intentionally carved just slightly below the intersection of the two longest lines forming the Hooked X thus creating two separate symbols carved together into a single monogram.  The Tau Cross also has Egyptian origins starting off as a large “T” shaped flood gauge for measuring the water level of the Nile River.[13]  The lifeblood of the people of Egypt was directly dependent on the rise and fall of the Nile.  If the water in the spring was to low there would be drought and famine among the people.  If too high, floodwaters would destroy their stores and homes leading to destruction of the people.  The T-shaped flood gauge became an important symbol of life and later a talisman in Egyptian culture believed to avert evil and ward away sickness and disease.  A loop was added to the Tau Cross making it one of the most common and important symbols in all of ancient Egypt; the ankh was symbolic of eternal life (Figure 11).
Curiously, the Tau Cross is one of the most important symbols in Royal Arch Freemasonry where three Tau Crosses are joined together where the bottom ends are joined at a central point to produce what is called the “Triple Tau.”  The Triple Tau is found within a Delta and a circle; both considered symbols of the Deity, in the top center of the flap on the Masonic apron of a Royal Arch Freemason (Figure 12).  One can’t help but notice both the Triple Tau on the Masonic apron and the Hooked X/Tau Cross on the Yeshua ossuary lid are both in the same relative position; centered at the top.  The Royal Arch Degree of Freemasonry deals with the legend of the Knights Templar digging down nine levels under the Temple Mount in Jerusalem where they reportedly found treasure.  Some rumors say the treasure included gold, scrolls, maps, navigation instruments, the Ark of the Covenant and the Delta of Enoch, a triangle of gold with the immutable name of the Creator inscribed in Hebrew letters, Yod, Hey, Vuv, Hey, inside a cube of agate.[14]
The Triple Tau symbol dates back to before the official origin of English Freemasonry in 1717 (Figure 13).[15]  One can’t help but wonder if the symbol is somehow connected to the Christian “IHS” symbol that began in the First Century as “IH” which is identical to the Triple Tau symbol.  The original meaning of the symbol was the “T” over the “H” emblem which meant Templum HierosolymÓ• or the Temple of Jerusalem.  The symbol can also be seen as “I” over “H” and a First Century Christogram of the Greek letters, I (iota) and H (eta), the first two letters for the name “Jesus.”  Reportedly, an “S” was added in the Second Century creating the well-known symbol of the Christian “IHS” (Figure 14).  
Interpretation of the Monogram Taken as “Alpha-Omega”
Many have speculated the Hooked X symbol is a carved-into-stone with straight lines version of the Hebrew “Aleph,” the first character in the Hebrew/Aramaic alphabet.  The Tau is the nineteenth character in the Greek alphabet, but it is also related to the Hebrew Taw (and Aramaic Tav) which would have been the last character of the Hebrew Alphabet.  If so, the monogram on the lid could be equivalent to “Alpha-Omega, the beginning and the end.”  It’s long been known in the Bible that Jesus said, “I am the beginning and the end.”  Perhaps this pre-C.E. 70 symbol is evidence that this biblical passage was accurately recorded, as spoken by Jesus.    
The discovery of the Hooked X/Tau Cross on the lid of the Yeshua ossuary from the Talpiot Tomb could turn out to be as historically important as the recent inclusion of “James” ossuary as a tenth ossuary discovered in, and looted from the Talpiot Tomb.[16]  The author’s fifteen years of research into who carved the Kensington, Spirit Pond, and Narragansett Rune Stones led directly to the medieval Cistercians, the Knights Templar, to modern Freemasonry, to Jerusalem at the time of the Crusades and the biblical Jesus and the evolving theory that he was married to Mary Magdalene.  To find what appears to be the Hooked X carved on the lid of the Yeshua ossuary could be a major historical discovery that is consistent with much of the speculative research the author has already published.  The Hooked X/Tau Cross discovery and it’s apparent connection of the Hooked X to the American Rune Stones, the Cistercians/Knight Templar, and Freemasonry could also be interpreted as factual evidence that is consistent with the Talpiot Tomb being that of the Biblical Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and other family members.  However, a lot more scientific work on the lid carvings needs to be done.  Several important questions need to be addressed. When were the carvings made?  Were the symbols carved onto the lid at the time of interment or were they added later when the tomb was entered at some point after it was no longer used for burials as some have suggested?  The author is hopeful of performing a number of scientific procedures, including three-dimensional digital microscopy on all of the ossuaries in the near future in order to shed more light on these and other questions.  

[3] Charlesworth, 2013, Page 43.
[4] L.Y. Rahmani, A Catalogue of Jewish Ossuaries in the Collections of the State of Israel, Jerusalem, 1994.
[5] Charlesworth, 2013, Footnote 23, Page 39.
[6] The phrase “Hooked X” was trademarked (Register No. 4,380,468) by Scott F. Wolter on August 6, 2013.
[7] The details of the investigation into the geological aspects of the Kensington Rune Stone performed by Wolter can read in his 2006 book listed in the bibliography.
[8] Hundreds of articles, papers and books have been published about the Kensington Rune Stone since its discovery, but the geological findings led geologist, Newton H. Winchell, the first State Geologist of Minnesota (1875-1900), to conclude the artifact was genuine.  On December 15, 1909,  he wrote to the Museum Committee of the Minnesota Historical Society, “I have personally made a topographical examination of the place where the Kensington rune stone was found, and of the region northward to Pelican Lake where the skerries are located, to which the inscription refers, and I am convinced from the geological conditions, and the physical changes that the region has experienced probably within the last five hundred years that the said stone is not a modern forgery and must be accepted as a genuine record of an exploration in Minnesota at the date stated in the inscription.”
[9] Wolter, 2009, Pages 71-96.
[10] Wolter, 2009, Pages 76-78.
[11] Wolter, 2009, Pages 34-37.
[12] Wolter, 2013, Page 214.
[13] Jones, 1957/1991, Page 235.
[14] Mackey, 1921, Page 244-5.
[15] At least five examples of the Triple Tau symbol were found by the author on early to mid-1600’s era grave slabs in the ruined church in the St. Augustine Monastery (four examples), and in the St. Francis of Assisi Church (one example) in Old Goa, India, in May of 2015. Both churches and the monastery were built by the Portuguese Templars then called the Order of Christ.  
[16] Charlesworth, 2013, Pages 43-45.
Charlesworth, James H., The Tomb of Jesus and His Family: Exploring Ancient Jewish Tombs Near Jerusalem’s Walls, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan/Cambridge, U.K., 2013.

Jacobovici, Simcha and Charles Pellegrino, The Jesus Family Tomb: The Discovery, the Investigation, and the Evidence that Could Change History, Harper Collins Books, New York, N.Y. 2007.

Jones, Bernard E., Freemasons’ Book of the Royal Arch, AERRP Books Limited, Kent, Britain, 1957/1991.

Mackey, Albert G. M.D., Encyclopedia of Freemasonry and its Kindred Sciences Comprising the Whole Range of Arts, Sciences and Literature as Connected with the Institution, The Masonic History Company, New York, N.Y., and London, England, 1921.

Rahmani, L.Y., A Catalogue of Jewish Ossuaries in the Collections of the State of Israel, Jerusalem, The Israel Antiquities Authority; The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1994.
Tabor, James D. and Simcha Jacobovici, The Jesus Discovery: The New Archaeological Find that Reveals the Birth of Christianity, Simon & Schuster, New York, N.Y., 2012.

Wolter, Scott F., The Kensington Rune Stone: Compelling New Evidence, Lake Superior Agate Inc., Chanhassen, Minnesota, 2006.

Wolter, Scott F., The Hooked X: Key to the Secret History of North America, North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc., St, Cloud, Minnesota, 2009.

Wolter, Scott F., Akhenaten to the Founding Fathers: Mysteries of the Hooked X, North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc., St. Cloud, Minnesota, 2013.


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Dedication of the Westford Knight Shelter

Yesterday my wife, Janet, and I attended the ceremony for the dedication of the shelter for the Westford Knight carving in the bedrock in Westford, Massachusetts.  The ceremony was attended by well over 100 people that included a 6-man Westford Firefighters pipes and drums contingent fully dressed in Sinclair Clan colored kilts who marched in precession up the blocked off main street to the delight of the attendees.  Several people gave speeches including Steve St. Clair, representing the Sinclair Clan, and Richard Gunn representing the Gunn Clan.  Many believe the pecked-style carving of a medieval sword was made by a member of Prince Henry Sinclair’s party who was reportedly in what is now northeastern Massachusetts in 1398.  The theory goes the sword with peck marks across the blade on the glacially scratched slate bedrock represent a fallen Templar knight who was a member of the Gunn Clan who traveled with Prince Henry on the legendary voyage. 

The ceremony also included the unveiling of a life-sized bronze statue of a Templar Knight created by local fire fighter David Christiana.  His beautiful casting is depicted laying prone with his sword in front of his body as often seen on medieval grave slabs of Templar Knights I’ve seen in Europe.   Partially hidden beneath the blade of the sword in the fabric of the knight’s garment is roughly six-inch tall Hooked X™ symbol.  Christiana’s subtle Hooked X™ on the bronze statue is a clever analog to the actual, heavily weathered Hooked X™ symbol found in the summer of 2014 when the outcrop was being washed off.  The symbol includes two dots punched in the east and west sides of the symbol which is perfectly oriented to the upright sword as if the carver were signing his handiwork.  After examining the newly discovered carved symbol shortly after it was found last year I concluded the weathering was the same as the weathering of the sword carving and both carvings almost certainly were made at the same time.  Whether they were made six-hundred years ago and are related to Prince Henry is unknown, but until science can shed more light on the age of the carvings the current pre-Columbian theory is Templar’s in North America is as good as anything.

When it was my turn to speak I wanted to emphasize how important it was to preserve these carvings for the future when new scientific technology may be able to definitively answer the question of their age.  I commended the community of Westford for putting their time, effort and money to build the steel and plastic shelter to preserve and protect the carvings for future generations.  It serves as a shining example of what should be done to all sites across this continent that have mysterious sites, structures and carvings that could be tangible evidence of an unknown pre-contact history of cultures from across the oceans.  I told the audience that I will talk glowingly about the example set in Westford of a community that understands the importance of being committed to preserving vulnerable artifacts and sites and implore others to do the same.

North Kingstown in Rhode Island might be announcing their own ceremony about their plans to build a public shelter for the Narragansett Rune Stone.  It is hoped that other communities will support efforts to rescue the Noman’s Land Island Rune Stone from further sinking into the sea and create a permanent home where it can be protected and preserved for future study.  Other important sites like the Heavener Rune Stone in Oklahoma, need funding to redesign and build the current shelter built to allow proper air flow to mitigate the growth of mold on that has developed on those amazing carvings.   The Newport Tower is another site that has been taken care reasonably well over the years, but more archaeological work can be done there to gather additional evidence to better understand its origins.

In my opinion, yesterday’s ceremony in Westford was an historic day when like-minded people came together to honor and protect what is likely an important piece of the pre-Columbian history of this continent.    

The steel and plastic shelter designed to protect and preserve the Westford Knight and Hooked X carvings was dedicated on June 13, 2015.  A life-sized bronze statue of Templar Knight lays waiting to be unveiled to the right of the shelter.

Richard Gunn and Steve St. Clair dressed in kilts in the colors of their Scottish Clans stand next to the bronze casting of a Templar Knight created by David Christiana at right.

This life-sized bronze casting of a Templar Knight lying on a granite slab was made by David Christiana of Westford, Massachusetts.   David included a Hooked X symbol partially hidden beneath the blade of the sword (Inset).

Admittedly hard to see, the heavily weathered Hooked X™ symbol with two dots on the right and left sides went understandably unnoticed until June of 2014 when it was carefully cleaned.  This image on the left was highlighted with a cell phone flashlight from the right side.  The highlighted (in yellow) image on the right was taken of the plaster cast of the Westford Knight that was made in 1990’s and is on display in the Westford Museum only a few blocks from site.


Monday, February 16, 2015

The Templar Families and Sheep

My next guest blogger is a name familiar to anyone who studies the Templars. If you don’t already own it, get Alan’s book, Sheep: The Remarkable Story of the Humble Animal that Built the Modern World. It is a fascinating read.

While traveling through France with us on the season finale, we stopped at the Commanderie d’Arville. There we discussed how important these humble animals were to the Templars and the entire history of Europe.

I'm delighted that Alan agreed to author this blog post.

- Blog post by Alan Butler February 16th 2015 

The names mentioned by Steve in his fascinating blog are ones I have seen so often as I have travelled up and down Britain on my own research. Knowledge of the interconnectedness of the bloodlines that funded the rise and success of the Templars has always been lacking, which is why it is so important the researchers such as Steve are spending so much time and effort filling in the gaps.

As Steve said in his blog it was almost a revelation to me on the America Unearthed shoot in France to hear him mention the Counts of Champagne. So often we researchers feel ourselves to be in a minority of one and it is the true importance of this little band of historians Scott has brought together that we can shine the light of our own respective findings on the same subjects. Following Steve’s blog it was an email comment from another of our band, Bill Mann in Canada that put me in mind of a Templar symbol we saw often on the shoot in France and of something that drew these great families together.

I remember years ago, when my attention first turned towards the Counts of Champagne and I began to understand what an amazing part they and the nobles to whom they were related had played, not only in Templarism but also in terms of the gradual growth of the modern world. Something all these families had in common, once William of Normandy had settled land upon them after he became King of England in 1066 was the importance they placed upon sheep and the wool they produced.

Indeed, part of William of Normandy’s desire to ‘be’ King of England was because of its wealth, much of which had come, right back to Roman times from the raising of sheep. Britain generally is very suited to this animal and they still thrive on our moors and uplands. Those nobles who fought with William at Hastings were given vast land holdings and a large part of the wealth they drew from their English and eventually Scottish lands stemmed from large flocks of sheep.

The Counts of Champagne, through their association with the Cistercians and then also the Templars certainly did not invent sheep husbandry but they turned it into an art form. It is no coincidence that one of the main emblems of the Knights Templar was the device known as the Agnus Dei. From a Christian perspective Agnus Dei means the Lamb of God and of course in this context it referred to Jesus but I have always been sure that this picture of a lamb carrying a cross was much more than a religious symbol to the Knights Templar. It demonstrated in no uncertain terms where a great deal of Templar money came from.

At Cistercian Abbeys all over Europe, but especially in Britain and also on Templar farms, of which there were once many hundreds, countless thousands of sheep were bred on marginal land that was fitted for little else. Their wool was a yearly cash crop and after having been cleaned, spun and woven, often in Flanders, most of it found its way to a series of great markets that were deliberately set up by the Counts of Champagne. These were known as the Champagne Fairs. It was a win – win situation for everyone concerned. The Cistercian order of monks spread across Europe in record time, whilst the Templars eventually became a vast network, with fighting being only one strand of their raison d’etre.

All of this came as a gradual revelation to me in my first years of research but I eventually began to realise that what had happened represented something far more significant than a new departure in animal rearing. The very existence of wool, its importance and the high prices people were willing to pay for the best wool began to undermine the very foundations of feudal government in Europe. The wool trade was international. For example raw wool from Britain was worked into cloth in Flanders, after which some of it was sold via the Champagne Fairs to merchants in Italy. There the woollen cloth was improved, ornamented and made into rich garments, some of which found their way back, via the Champagne Fairs to Britain.

Quite quickly it became almost impossible for Kings to control events in the way they had once done. Economic power passed down from the monarchs and the great Lords to merchants and even those who were breeding the sheep. New wealth from wool bought luxury goods, books and education. A new internationalism developed to such an extent that the feudal genii could never be put back into its bottle. It is my absolute contention that this was no chance consequence and I firmly believe that the changes that began to take place in Europe and which eventually led to the Renaissance were deliberately engineered in the palaces of Champagne and other French regions as early as the middle of the 11th century.

Back in the days when I was co-operating with Canadian writer Stephen Dafoe we coined the term ‘Templar Inc’ because we began to see a vast international company, the huge assets of which were constantly being used to foster more trade and to create new opportunities. Medieval kings did not understand how such a system worked, which made it all the more annoying for the French King Phillip IV when after 1307 he never found the vast chests of Templar gold he had expected.

In their day the Templars were responsible to no authority other than that of the Pope, and since even the Pope was invariably in their debt, they had every opportunity to change the world in which they lived and operated. But none of this would have been remotely possible were it not for the sheep that in the form of the Agnus Dei they kept as their major symbol throughout their existence.

This is of course a very short version of a long and fascinating story, because it was the sheep that as good as built the modern world, long after the days of those Medieval Lords. It might come as a surprise to some readers of this blog to learn that the sheep also had a very significant part to play in the founding of a free United States. Much is made of tea taxes as a spur to revolution but far more important was the fact that farmers in the American colonies were prohibiting from breeding better sheep and were prevented from importing new bloodstock from Europe on pain of lengthy imprisonment. To men such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who were farmers themselves, this was an intolerable situation and a major stepping stone on the path to the Declaration of Independence.

If any of the readers of this blog happen to be in London any time soon, they might want to take themselves to the Temple district. This is now a great centre for legal training, though of course the original Templar Church can still be seen there. Even today, over seven hundred years after the Knights Templer were ‘supposed’ to have been destroyed, the sheep of the Agnus Dei can still be seen looking down from practically every building – as if those white-mantled knights with their illustrious family names never went away at all.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

St. Clair Sinclair DNA and the Templars

My friend, Steve St. Clair, was very excited about showing me Saint Martin des Champs in Paris. He, Alan Butler, Janet and I had many talks about why this was so important to him. In fact, he had a Power Point show with him when we met up at Troyes to educate us about why we had to include St Martin des Champs in the episode. So we did.

The connections Steve found at Saint Martin des Champs prove without any doubt that the Sinclair / St. Clair family of Herdmanston were closely connected to, and in several cases, directly descended from important Templar families.

Today, I’d like turn this space over to guest blogger Steve to explain his research. _________________________________________________

Saint Martin des Champs, Paris

Merovingian burial, Saint Martin des Chanps

The chequy armorial at Tomar Portugal, 
reminiscent of Warenne or Vaux of county Norfolk, England.

We saw several other sites besides the ones you saw on the season finale.
This is a painting at Saint-Sulpice, Paris.

First, thanks Scott for the opportunity to be a guest blogger here. Looking at the pics you’ve put up of our trip to France, I have to wonder why we didn’t include our wives in the season finale. The episodes would have been much better looking! Anita and I had great trip and a lot of fun hanging out with you, Janet, Alan Butler, and of course Maria & Andy and the wonderful crew from Committee Films.

I remember the night in the hotel’s small bar when we were all quite tired - none more than Alan who had flown over that day and had quite a drive to meet us. I pulled out my computer to show you guys a presentation about what I was finding regarding the priory of Saint Martin des Champs. Near the end, I mentioned that my greatest interest was the Counts of Champagne because it was becoming clear to me that they were connected to the Saint-Clair family. Alan, tired as he was, lit up, “The Counts of Champagne were the money behind the Templars!”

Over the course of the next couple days, Alan wasn’t feeling very well (the weather was pretty miserable), so I drove his rental car with him in the passenger seat. We had a lot of time to chat in-depth about the importance of the Counts of Champagne, the Champagne Fairs, and much more. It has been collaborations like these over the past many years that has made my own research into the DNA and history of the Saint-Clair family much more accurate, interesting, and engaging.

Many of the angry skeptics, who take pot shots at the show from the peanut gallery, don’t seem to realize how such shows are made. After commercials, each episode of America Unearthed is 44 minutes. That doesn’t leave a ton of time to go into extreme detail about the research being shown. An example is my work on Saint Martin des Champs. It took me 16 months to research and write the 6,000 word paper now on my Sinclair DNA website at this link – http://www.stclairresearch.com/content/Sinclair-Templar-Proof.html

That recent website post at St Clair Sinclair DNA Research is generating quite a bit of interest, both from those who welcome it, and those who are upset by my claims.

The facts are the facts. At some point, the pundits must come out with legitimate evidence to dispute my claims, or slink away with their tails between their legs. The beauty of DNA is that it doesn’t lie. People who have something to gain can attempt to bend the truth, but the data itself is brutally visible.

I’ve seen several people in our own DNA study attempt to use their results to make terribly weak claims. Yet the science of DNA always wins out, much like Scott’s research into artifacts like the Kensington Runestone and the Tucson Lead Artifacts.

Stones and DNA are both factual, scientific evidence. As Scott said in part 1 of the season finale, the fakes reveal themselves quickly, but the legitimate ones just won’t go away.

In this blog post, I want to talk about the evidence that just won’t go away in the St Clair Sinclair DNA study

Several years ago after extensive reading of medieval benefaction records to priories and abbeys, I realized that the medievalists I most admired were skirting around something. They seemed to be heavily focused on medieval people with different surnames who were donating land and money to the same abbeys. But they seemed reluctant to make too many definitive claims.

For instance, a particular abbey called Savigny in France. It was one of only a couple abbeys I have found to which the St. Clairs directly donated lands. Yet, notice the other families also donating land there:
  • Vilers (a brother of Norman St. Clairs.) 
  • Montfort (tenant and likely related to St. Clairs.) 
  • Creon (Templar family.)
  • Meulan (major land holder and likely related to St. Clair.) 
  • D’Albini (descendants of the Honour of Belvoir and to which the St. Clairs married into. Directly related to the Counts of Champagne.) 
  • Mandeville (Geoffrey de Mandeville, made a Knight Templar on his deathbed and founder of the Temple Church in London, the single most important Templar building in England.) 
  • Vaux (married into the d’Albini family. I’m directly related to the de Vaux) 
  • Bisset (witnessed the grant of land to the Sinclairs of Rosslyn and showing up in the DNA SNP matches of our Exeter Lineage.)

The clues above are why I’m so obsessed by these names. But not just because of their benefaction to abbeys and priories.

People changed their names at the drop of a hat in medieval times – move to new land, take your second name from that new land. Eventually these names stuck.

The names changed, but the DNA did not

Richard de Vilers was a brother of Haimo and William de St. Clair in about the year 1120. Those brothers gave the land of Richard de Vilers to Savigny, with the permission of Stephen count of Mortain. (Savigny was an unusually important Cistercian Abbey in the diocese of Avranches, France.) Hubert of Saint-Clair was a tenant of the count of Mortain in Somerset.
They were all related. Their surnames were not yet fixed.
So now, if you were to find two people alive today with the same DNA, yet one’s name is Vilers, and the other is St. Clair…guess what…they both descend from the same medieval family.

Finding people closely allied in medieval records
Finding two people alive today with those same two surnames
who match closely in DNA SNPs
Both are descendants of the medieval people.

This is precisely what I’ve found

But these weren’t just any connections. The Saint-Clairs of Herdmanston have connections to those at the very top of the founding of the Order of the Temple.

And it became very clear by doing detailed research into which families were giving gifts to the priory of Saint Martin des Champs in Paris. But that’s only one religious house. There are many others that I’m digging into.

We’re not just talking about DNA SNP matches:
  1. Particular families alive today are in the DNA SNP matches of the Herdmanston family. That’s SNP matches. They share paternal blood with particular families. It is irrefutable. 
  2. Those particular families fit the narrative of the Saint-Clair family. What do I mean by that? I mean if you go back and study the actual records of the Saint-Clair family, then you will understand that you must show some of these same particular families in your DNA SNP matches to make any claim of connecting to the narrative of that particular Saint-Clair family story. 
  3. The particular families who fit into the narrative of our Saint-Clair family story in medieval records of land, benefaction, and/or marriage? 
  • Mandeville
  • Wishart
  • Strathern
  • Bisset
  • Moreville
  • Redver
  • Viller
  • Warenne 
  • Vaux
  • Ashley
  • Urtaico
  • Mortimer 
  • Etc.
As Scott said about particular ancient carvings, they keep hanging around impossible to disprove. DNA SNPs combined with medieval document connections are very much like that.

Scott, Janet, and Alan, I’m delighted we got to chase the Templars through France. And I think we’re just getting started.

Steve St. Clair