Ancient Steel Knife Found in Tree
MYTH: An ancient steel knife found in a tree in California supports the Book of Mormon.
The Book of Mormon is central to Mormonism and so attempting to provide evidence to support it is important to many Mormons. Sadly, it can also lead to hoaxes like this one.
This hoax was spread via email alleging to be a "Newswire" from researchers at California State University, Fresno. It claimed that an ancient steel knife was discovered imbedded in a tree in California. The blade supposedly dated back to the Book of Mormon period and therefore provided evidence for the Book of Mormon.
While the “Newswire” never explicitly mentions the Book of Mormon, it goes to great lengths to mention that Native American were not known to have steel but that the knife is similar in appearance to those found in the Middle East from around 500 BC. It even claims that the knife had Egyptian style symbols engraved on the blade.
And if that wasn’t enough to tip you off that this was a hoax, the email goes on to say that the portion of the engravings that could be deciphered produced the phonetic sounds MO-RO! Come on now, did anybody really take this serious?
Well apparently enough people did to warrant a response from California State University. Shirley Melikian Armbruster, Director of News Services at CSU, Fresno confirmed that the alleged “Newswire” was a hoax. Despite the claims of the “Newswire”, the university has neither Archeology nor Forestry Departments. Additionally, Professor of Archeology, Curtis Johnson, does not exist, at least not at the university.
This story is a complete fabrication and should not be spread by the public.
Here is the original email story:
Subject: Book of Mormon Evidence Discovered in CaliforniaThis is really cool. The "learned" people who made this discovery don't know what they really found, but we do.UNIVERSITY
RESEARCHERS PUZZLED OVER ANCIENT KNIFE
FRESNO, Calif., July 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Researchers at California State University, Fresno are puzzled over an ancient, man-made artifact discovered by forestry students on a recent field trip in the nearby Sierra Nevada mountains. The artifact in question is a steel knife that was apparently buried deep inside a Giant Sequoia tree and was found between growth rings in the tree indicating that it had been left there around 350-450 AD.
The tree in question is located in the Atwell Grove inside Sequoia National Park. The tree fell in February of this year after several years of erosion had weakened its root structure. National Park Service and CSU Fresno Department of Forestry officials estimate that the tree had lived over 2,000 years at the time it fell. The Park Service gave the university permission to dissect and study the tree, and students stumbled upon the knife while using a metal detector to measure mineral content. The CSU Forestry Department speculates that the knife was left between two trees that later grew together and buried it under centuries of further growth.
The knife was removed and taken to the CSU Fresno campus, where several experts from the Archeology and Anthropology Departments have examined it. All of the experts agree that the knife doesn’t match any other artifacts from indigenous peoples in that area. To date, there had been no evidence of Native Americans using steel tools and weapons at that time. The strangest aspect of the story, however, is that the knife does seem to match artifacts from about a thousand years earlier from the other side of the world. The knife looks like weapons that were common in the Middle East around 500 BC, and has faded engravings on the blade that appear to be Egyptian symbols.
Researchers can’t find any meaning in the engravings, but say that the still visible symbols roughly correspond to the phonetic sounds of MO-RO. Ironically, one of Sequoia National Park’s most famous landmarks is a granite dome called Morro Rock. Since Morro Rock wasn’t named until the last 1800’s, however, the similarity is pure coincidence.
"It’s the damndest thing I’ve seen in my career," said CSU Fresno Associate Professor of Archeology Curtis Johnson, Ph.D. "I’m sure we’ll find an explanation that makes sense sometime. I really don’t think anyone is going to believe that someone from the Old World wandered all the way to California a thousand years before Columbus."
For additional information please see: http://www.shields-research.org/Hoaxes/Steel_Knife_in_Tree.htm
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