This coming week, the entire nation will celebrate the life of Christopher Columbus, crediting him for “discovering” America in 1492 – but if you’re like me, you find this concept somewhat laughable in and of itself, as millions of people had already been living on the continent for thousands of years before Columbus was even conceived; however, we’ll save that debate for some other day!
Instead, today, we’re going to explore the unimaginable, yet possible scenario in which Columbus’ voyage to the Caribbean was predated by nearly a thousand years by Christian Irish missionaries, who not only landed on America’s mainland, but explored as far inland as Mingo County, West Virginia.
Though the evidence is hardly enough to put someone to death, it is enough to warrant a credible look.
Archaeologists first began exploring the possibility of ancient Irish missionaries in the new world, roughly a generation ago, after local residents discovered ancient markings and engravings on large boulders near a strip mines in Dingess, West Virginia.
Discovered in the 1980s, the slabs were found on property owned by the Marrowbone Development Corporation and immediately became the source of study for scholars from around the world, as the markings were said to resemble ancient Irish letters known as Celtic Ogham.
In October of 1988, representatives from the Irish Embassy, including the nation’s secretary of cultural affairs met with archaeologist Robert Pyle to examine the ancient rock carvings, referred to as petroglyphs.
Speaking to members of the media, Pyle was quoted as having said, “They’re really unique. They have Christian religious symbols that are identifiable, many of them identifiable were recorded very early… The markings appear to be from around as early as the eighth century to the 12th century A.D.”
The veteran archaeologist said that he believed the markings were made by early Irish missionaries who followed major trails through the mountains, stating, “It’s really a tremendous discovery.”
Pyle is not alone in his belief that the Irish were roaming the hills along the Tug Valley centuries prior to Columbus’ voyage.
Dr. Barry Fell, a biologist who has studied numerous archaeological sites and ancient languages, contended that the Dingess Petroglyphs were indeed written in the ancient Irish language known as Ogham.
Translating the rock markings, Dr. Fell concluded that the ancient messages carved into the rocks read: “At the time of sunrise, a ray grazes the notch on the left side on Christmas Day, the first season of the year, the season of the blessed advent of the savior Lord Christ. Behold he is born of Mary, a woman.”
Leading Fell to believe the ancient markings are part of an ancient solar calendar created to bear a Christian message.
One article states:
“To try and prove this theory a small group decided to verify the translation. Calculating the difference between the Julian calendar, used until the 16th Century, and today’s Gregorian calendar, they met at the petroglyph just before sunrise on December 22, 1982. Quietly they waited as the sun climbed in the east, spilled over the mountains, and streamed its rays toward the cliff face before them. They watched in amazement as the first shaft of sunlight funneled like a flashlight beam through a 3-sided notch in the cliff overhang and struck the center of a sun symbol on the left side of the panel. As they watched in awe, the beam pushed the shadow from left to right, slowly bathing the entire message in sunlight like a prehistoric neon sign announcing yet another Christmas, as it has done for centuries. Before their eyes, they had received a message across the ages.
“Subsequent visits showed that the phenomenon only occurred at the winter solstice; and at other times of the year the sun only partially lit the message. In 1985, the distinguished Celtic scholar, Professor Robert T. Meyer visited the site and responded to a question regarding its authenticity in these words: ‘Nobody could have faked this sort of thing unless they had a very deep knowledge of Celtic philosophy, for this is very archaic, and probably from the sixth or seventh centuries. This, for Celtic scholars, is probably at least as important as the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls . . . because it shows that Irish Monks, I suppose, came here, I would say, about 1500 years ago.’”
In 1989 lawyers Monroe Oppenheimer and Willard Wirtz wrote an article based on opinions of academic archaeologists and linguists to dispute that the inscription is written in Ogham script. They further accused Fell of deliberate fraud. Today, the carvings of the Dingess Petroglyphs remain a controversial mystery.