Monday, May 12, 2008

THE NEWARK STONES are in the news:
'Holy Stones' prompt investigation

By L.B. WHYDE • Newark Advocate • May 12, 2008

NEWARK - Trying to preserve the Union during a tumultuous time in history, several prominent local men conspired and manufactured artifacts to support an emerging anti-slavery theory.

Known as Newark's Holy Stones, the artifacts later were proven to be fake. But two local men have done extensive research to discover the reasons behind the conspiracy.

Brad Lepper, an Ohio Historical Society archaeologist, first learned of the pair of hand-carved stones found in the Newark area in 1860 while he was a graduate student working at the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum in Coshocton, where the original stones are housed.

When he became the curator at the Newark Earthworks in 1988, Lepper had to learn about the fake artifacts because of the number of questions about them. But when Jeff Gill, a history enthusiast and supply preacher, moved into the area in 1989, the duo continued the research to discover the men and reasons behind the conspiracy.

"Looking into the background of what was going on at that time period, it shows us how Licking County played a role in the movement for freedom of rights," Gill said. "They (the conspirators) did it for the right reasons, but I deplore their methods."


The first stone unearthed had several flaws, including being found too close to the surface and the fact the writing was modern Hebrew for that time. Five months later, another stone, called the Decalogue Stone, was discovered much deeper, in the area of Jacksontown.

Again Wyrick found the stone, which seemed to answer all the flaws of the first stone. The stones were claimed to be conclusive proof that all men descended from Adam and Eve. After both stones later were found to be fake, and his premature death, the blame was put on Wyrick by former Newark Mayor Israel Dille.

A few years ago Rochelle Altman published an essay at the Bible and Interpretation website in which she argued that the stones were genuine Jewish artifacts from the late Middle Ages.