11 February, 2005

from ThothWeb Website



This article takes a quick look at a controversial site in Illinois called Burrows Cave.


In 1982 a large quantity of epigraphic material was been found there by it’s discoverer, a gentleman by the name of Russell Burrows. What is claimed by Burrows certainly doesn’t seem to be readily digestible by mainstream archeologists, but that of course is neither here nor there.


It has been said that some of the artifacts found are somewhat reminiscent of the Davenport, Iowa, and Wilmington, Ohio, tablets, both of which are of doubtful authenticity. Feel free to read the article below, take a look at the images and draw your own conclusions.

In Russell Burrows own words this is is account of how he discovered the cave having stopped to eat his lunch on a bluff that overlooks a valley. He stood up and stepped on the edge of a flat, round rock.


His weight on the side of this rock flipped it as if on a pivot and he fell into a pit below the rock....

"I found myself falling into a pit which had been secreted beneath a large oval stone which, as I later discovered, was fitted into the pit opening and designed to flip or turn over when stepped on. The unfortunate victim would fall to the bottom of the pit, the stone would swing back in place and the victim would be trapped. I was fortunate: When I stepped on that stone, I was in the act of turning, and the stone, instead of flipping over, slid off to one side and left the pit open.

I do not actually remember hitting bottom; my next recollection is of hanging on to the lip of the pit by my elbows, in great alarm. I admit that I have a great fear of holes that I’m not ready for, because of snakes. But I found none. When I freed myself and regained my composure, I began to examine the pit and have a look at what was to be the beginning of the greatest adventure of my life... I sat down to calm my nerves, catch my breath and give the situation some thought."

He found himself in a chamber, with a huge face on one wall, and continues....

"I did not have to be a genius to figure out that I had stumbled into something that just should not be in Illinois. I have hunted for and found many artifacts of the American Indians and there are many of their sites in my part of the state, but I knew then that this was not American Indian. The face I had been nose to nose with was different from anything I had ever seen. The nose was flat, the eyes were wide-set, and the lips were thick.

Then, of course, there were all those strange symbols to consider. I had crawled under a ledge and was looking for petroglyphs such as I had seen in the pit. I had searched all the walls of the entire length of the valley, and while I had seen a few scratchings, I was not all that excited about what I had seen so far. Finally, I gave up on this last place, and decided to quit. In disgust, I tossed my small rock pick against the inside wall of the overhang.


The rock gave out a distinctly unnatural sound: a hollow ring, not what I’d expect from solid rock... As it was now clear that a cave was on the other side... My first entrance was through this portal and into a tunnel-like passage which has a drop-off of about three feet just inside of the portal. I was met with a strong, musty odor. Not of decay, but musty.

As I moved my head and light around, I saw a full human skeleton reposing on a large block of stone. It scared the hell out of me! Then I began to see other things lying there with those bones. I saw ax heads, spear points, and something else—metal! The skeleton was laid out upon a solid block large enough to hold not only the remains but artifacts as well.


The artifacts include ax heads of marble and other stone material, an ax head of what appears to be bronze, a short sword of what appears to be bronze, and other artifacts which might be considered personal weapons. There were also a set of three bronze spears, the longest being about six feet long and the shortest about three feet...


The skeletal remains bear several fine artifacts such as armbands, headbands and other such items, all of gold. "

The cave is said to lie somewhere along the Skillet Fork of the Little Wabash River in southeastern Illinois.


It supposedly contains 13 elaborately ornamented burial crypts. It is unclear and a matter of controversy who, besides Burrows, has actually been inside the cave . What is known is that Burrows has produced hundreds, if not thousands, of curiously carved stones that he says came from this cave. And some of the artifacts allegedly were not of stone, but of gold.


It is claimed that Burrows sold off enough artifacts to unknown buyers that he was able to place $7 million in Swiss numbered bank accounts. According to Swiss journalist Luc Buergin, this money derives from the illegal sale of gold artifacts from the North American burial site.


Other sources claim that Burrows melted down all the gold and sold it as ingots. Still others question whether there ever was any gold in the first place.



Edge of the rock cliff, approx. 300 ft. from the entrance to the cave.


A bizarre collection of artifacts was found in a remote cave system in the American State of Illinois. The cavers who made the discovery encountered a derisive response from the first academic experts they approached, experiencing a lot of difficulty finding necessary specialists to help them document and identify the artifacts.


There were problems of site security, disappearing artifacts, as well as people bending data to suit their personal agendas. As the site researcher Fred Rydholm remarks: "For this kind of research you have to be thick-skinned, brave or crazy!" It’s one thing finding these things, its quite another to explain them.





In the United States the saga of "Burrows Cave" has been going on for many years. Over three thousand rock fragments, engraved with a variety of ancient drawings, hieroglyphs and script, were presented to the world by Russell Burrows in 1982, who discovered them in a cave system in Southern Illinois. The story of the cave and its contents is so strange, that it’s little wonder it has met strong skepticism.


Recently deciphered for the first time, the stone tablets tell such a wild tale that it will require quite a turn around to accepted history. I was stunned into disbelief when I first laid eyes on the Burrows Cave evidence.


This is no straight forward set of hieroglyphs but, an inexplicable display of several cultures, a huge library preserved on stone tablets, collected together and sealed in a cave sometime around the first millennium.



Gold artifact from the cave, clearly showing

Egyptian or Egyptian inspired marks on the gold.


The first photographs of the artifacts were forwarded to me by Filip Coppens, who writes about world mysteries in Belgium.


He had heard about my investigation of the anomalies surrounding the presumed hoax of Egyptian hieroglyphs in the NSW Hunter Valley. He was struck by certain odd similarities between the two finds and sent pictures of the carvings which depicted a wolf-headed god, similar to an "Anubis" carving photographed in the Hunter Valley.

Certainly, the Burrows Cave boasts a few forms of wolf and jackal-headed deities, from the classical Anubis to half human versions. One of the Burrows Cave examples is executed in bas-relief, with accompanying hieroglyphs, embossed on a gold plate. However, there is much more than wolf-headed deities, the carved tablets display an extraordinary cultural array. There is a hodgepodge mixture of images and cultural influences which make the artifacts very hard to explain. Even worse, some of the carvings seem amateurish or dimly remembered copies of ancient Greek and Mesopotamian sources.

Whereas, others involve a high level of skill and obvious knowledge of ancient cosmology. One of the images depicts a "wolfish" deity in priestly regalia, wearing a bishop-style hat decorated with a solar emblem. The deity has been identified as the god "So-Bek-Ra", who is so pictured on a temple by the Nile. The figure stands, as the lone representative of an ancient priesthood, against an advancing enemy army.


There are also many carved heads, mostly warrior profiles, wearing both Greek, Roman and Egyptian headgear.





Curiously, there are even images of ancient Amer-Indians wearing feathers and facial designs, some showing clear Meso-American style head-dress. Records of ancient travellers? Amongst them are many ancient mystical and sacred designs, as well as maps, pictures of ships and non-indigenous animals.


Astonishingly, one of the carvings portrays the cloven-hooved god Pan, holding his pipes and consorting with a nymph. Another stone (as well as an ancient metal coin) excavated from the cave carry the bold image of an elephant underlined with Hebrew characters.





Oddly, an artifact inscribed in exactly the same way was found on a pyramid-shaped stone in Ecuador some years earlier. Some of the carvings are meticulously executed in full bas-relief, some completely carved into the shapes of animals and deities, while other tablets were etched to render the designs.


Even a small collection of solid gold artifacts and coins have been excavated. More than just pictures, there are numerous tablets with coherent linear script carved on them. Examples and influences appear to range from Hebrew and Sumerian to Roman, Greek and Egyptian.





In my correspondence with Fred Rydholm, the best theory I could offer, was to speculate about a colony of resourceful pirates, who in some distant time, raided and collected the strange quasi-cultural cache of artifacts for themselves.


Together with an associate Dr James Scherz, who helped in the study and documentation of the artifacts, Fred Rydholm found correlations between symbols on the Burrows Cave coins and coins produced by dynasties along the "Silk Road" between China and Rome, the most predominant being "Kushana" and "Satavahana" symbols.


(NOTE: The Kushanas once controlled a trade dynasty along the Silk Roads, uniting various ancient people’s in the days of the Romans. They disintegrated with the collapse of the Western part of the Roman Empire about AD 300. The Satavahana’s were a seafaring people who lived on the coast of the Indian Ocean and had large ships represented on their coins before they collapsed around 210-230 AD. This suggests the likely time period of early in the first millennium around or after 200 AD.)


Finally, Fred Rydholm was able to report a significant breakthrough with two young Florida researchers, Paul Schaffranke and Brian Hubbard, who were successful in deciphering some of the inscriptions. Schaffranke and Hubbard recognized them as being one of several ancient Etruscan alphabets which could be translated into "street Latin", as used around the time of Christ.

The two Florida men were able to translate stone tablets from the Burrows Cave that the great epigrapher, Dr. Barry Fell and others, had insisted were gibberish and could not be translated. Mixed in amongst the Etruscan script there is also the added mystery of Hebrew and Egyptian stone tablets. These were also recently identified and are being translated by Dr. Arnold Murray of Arkansas and, Zena Halpern, a Hebrew scholar from New York. The Egyptian material is still being assessed. Over half a dozen professional archeologists and linguists have now examined the collection and have been definite in their support of the artifacts’ authenticity.

At last contact, the Burrow’s team had dug out and classified an astonishing four thousand stone tablets. Another breakthrough came, when a retired engineer Bill Kreisle, found several of the stones recorded accurate maps of the Mississippi River system as it appeared 2000 years ago. Another map stone shows a river on the Iberian Peninsula (Spain) with the ancient city of Cadiz near its mouth. But, most astonishing of all, they have reported the discovery of several stone crypts, excavated from limestone deep in the cave system, containing a number of interred skeletons with jewellery, artifacts and statuary.

The mystery people who left the cache of records are, apparently, themselves, buried there. The biggest continuing mystery of the discovery is, WHO carved all these message tablets and from whence came this hidden dynasty of bodies? Fred Rydholm, who works with and writes, for the retiring Col. Burrows, reports in his recent correspondence:

"Although I speak with caution, as it is still too early to say for sure, there are many indications that the bodies found in the crypts are the leaders of a colony of refugees from Ptolemaic Egypt, including a Jewish contingent from the Roman controlled Kingdom of Mauritania."

Dr Joseph Mahan, founder and longtime president of the Institute for the Study of American Cultures (ISAC), has examined the evidence from the new translations and presents this interesting scenario:

"They were secretly sent to America in ships provided by the Mauritanian King Juba the Second and his wife Cleopatra Selene, daughter of Cleopatra and Marc Anthony. Included among the refugees were the Queen’s two brothers, who disappeared from Rome (and recorded history) in 17 AD, Ptolemy Philadelphus and Alexander Helios."

The graves of these people have been the object of a comprehensive historical search for the past two thousand years. We appear to have an advanced and well funded group of priest/scholars who, with the ex-Royal families, escaped the Roman Christianization of Egypt and set off into the unknown somewhere around 200-300 AD. The engraved maps and their collected storehouse of knowledge, shows a deliberate transplanting of culture, perhaps to escape the religious persecution of the Roman Invasion of Egypt and establish a remote colony which could preserve the ancient records.

Indeed, Dr Joseph Mahan, an archeological anthropologist who made a close study of the cave artifacts, reveals a detailed cosmology and religious lore from the cave material which is remarkably similar to that which survived amongst the Indian tribes of the area. The area of Southern Illinois and Indiana, where Russell Burrows stumbled into the limestone cave system, is richly endowed with the scattered evidence of several different early cultures which archeologists know too little about.

There are log tombs, skeletons and artifacts from the Adena culture, which is believed to have developed around 500 BC and to have died out by 200 AD. There was the Hopewell culture, 100 BC to 350 AD.


A mysterious culture concentrated along the Mississippi, known as the "Mississippian", crystallized around 800 AD, and was thought to still be in existence when the Spaniards arrived. Researcher, Joseph Mahan, points out, that archeologists have collected evidence for fifty years of an elaborate and uniform Earth/Sun religion, associated with the building of flat top temple mounds, which spread out from the Mississippi in the later part of the first millennium.

These pyramid-like mounds, which carried a permanent fire at the top, contained a variety of art, impressed on copper and stone, depicting animal-headed deities, crosses, swastikas, and people in ceremonial dress performing rituals.


Examples of these mound sites are spread from Oklahoma, to Illinois, Alabama and Georgia.

  • Could the Burrows Cave, indeed, be the lost library and resting place of the founders of this mysterious culture?

  • Founders, the inscribed tablets purport to be, the ex-Egyptian Royal family escaping the sacking of ancient Egypt early in the first millennium?