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.