The ‘Holy Stones’: Real or fake

Lecture will consider whether ancient Hebrews were in Ohio

First up in the 2016 Fort Ancient Lecture Series is the mystery of the Holy Stones — did ancient Hebrews visit what’s now the Buckeye State?

On Feb. 6, the Fort Ancient Earthworks and Nature Preserve in Warren County will present “The Newark Holy Stones: Science, Politics and Religion in Ohio in 19th Century Ohio.”

Discovered in the 1860s, the Holy Stones are carved and polished rocks bearing Hebrew inscriptions said to have been found in the ancient Indian mounds now known as the Newark Earthworks near Newark in Licking County.

“The stones were seized upon at the time by those who believed ‘savage’ Indians couldn’t have built Ohio’s mounds, so they had to have been left by ancient Hebrew visitors,” said Emmy Beach, public relations coordinator for the Ohio History Connection (OHC), formerly the Ohio Historical Society. “By the late 1800s, the stones were considered to be fakes. Some enthusiasts today, however, claim the stones might be real.”

Brad Lepper will share evidence supporting whether the stones are real or fake — and if they’re clever frauds, perhaps why were made and by whom. Lepper is OHC curator of archeology and unit manager of archeology/natural history.

The Fort Ancient Lecture Series continues March 5 with “Prehistoric Architecture of the Ohio Valley,” presented by William Kennedy, curator of anthropology for the Dayton Society of Natural History; and April 2, “I’ll Never Be Noticed on a Galloping Horse: The Occurrence of a War of 1812 Double Horse Burial at Fort Meigs,” presented by Bill Pickard, OHC.

For more information, contact Fort Ancient (6123 St. Rte. 350, Oregonia, 800-283-8904, or the OHC (, 800-686-1541).