Saturday, April 8, 2017

Correction Needed In Zena Halpern's New Templar Book

On page 218 of Zena Halpern's new book about her decade-long research about a secret Templar document titled, The Templar Mission to Oak Island and Beyond, there are two mistakes that directly involve me that need to be corrected.  Beneath the photograph of what the author calls a "Paleo-Hebrew Carving" she wrote the following, "Geologist Scott Wolter tested the rock at a university laboratory and concluded, based on the weathering, that this carving was at least "many centuries old.""

First, the stone was not examined in a university laboratory, it was examined in my materials forensic laboratory at American Petrographic Services, Inc., in St. Paul Minnesota, in 2006.  This error is minor compared to the second error that deals with her reporting of my conclusion.  I did not conclude the weathering of the inscription on this stone was "many centuries old" because I was unable to make such a statement based on the results of the analysis I performed.  In fact, on page three of my report titled, The Catskill Mountains Inscription, that was published in the Epigraphic Society of Occasional Papers (ESOP), Volume 25, I concluded the following, "It is quite clear that the inscription was carved into fresh rock below the weathered surface and those surfaces have since weathered. That weathering profile appears less developed than the original weathered surface indicating that the inscription is younger. The age of the weathering is unclear. However, it appears that the weathering of the inscription has taken many years to develop."

Let me be clear that the weathering of the inscription could, in fact, be many centuries old.  However, without a properly documented provenance of where this stone was discovered and the specific environmental conditions it was exposed to I cannot say with any certainty how old the weathering of carved grooves are.

The inscribed stone from the Catskill Mountains in the state of New York has six clearly visible characters carved into the surface and has approximate dimensions of 9 1/2” (237 mm) x 2 ¾” (69 mm) x 1 1/8” (28 mm) thick.

A small piece was cut off the stone and a thin section was made for microscopic review.

A thin section of the greywacke was reviewed and is comprised of mostly sub-angular to sub-rounded greywacke comprised of quartz, feldspar, lithic fragments with a fine-grained matrix of sericite and minor opaque minerals (cross polarized light 40X).

The average depth of the carved lines in the inscription is 1.5 mm.  The inscription was carved through the 0.5 mm thick previously existing weathered surface into fresh rock (10X).

A clearly defined, light colored weathering profile was observed at the surface to a depth of 0.5 mm (30X).