Will the "Last of the Mohicans" change Canadian and American History? (Not really an "article", just an enjoyable background ramble)
by Michael Bradley,
Discovery means a new revelation, but neither the definition nor the significance of that word is carved in stone. The true nature of a discovery can be surprisingly changeable, and often has been.
For example, most biographies of Columbus state that he thought, and insisted to his dying day, that in 1492 he had discovered part of the Great Khan's realm in Asia. He was quoted as frequently insisting that Cuba was the local way of saying Kubla. Conventional history insists that the true nature of Columbus's discovery wasn't known until thirty years later in 1522 when Amerigo Vespucci realized that the newly revealed land was a new continent, a New World, and gave his name to America.
Unconventional historians, however, point out that Columbus admitted that he had a map of his "discovery" in advance. This map is mentioned in Columbus's Log where, in the entry for October 1, 1492, when returning to his Santa Maria flagship from a conference with his Pinzon co-captains (of the Nina and the Pinta), he says that they all agreed "to change course in accordance with our map and the overflights of land-seeking birds". The fleet sighted land eleven days later.
Diaz and Magellan also had maps showing their "discoveries" in advance. I have quoted their navigators in several books, such as the Portuguese pilot, Pigafetta, who referred to Magellan's chart showing the "Strait of Magellan" before the fleet left Iberia. Unconventional historians wonder where these maps came from, while conventional academics simply ignore all of the references to them. But such "pre-Columbus" maps of the Americas have now been recovered by modern researchers and they show that land across the Atlantic from Europe was known as early as AD 1398...or even as early as AD 1360, and were mentioned by the Arabic cartographer Abulfeda in AD 1250. These maps, which seem to be so similar that they might have been copied from just one original, also clearly show that this transatlantic land was not Asia.
Did Columbus keep insisting that he had reached Asia in order to conceal a heretics' haven from those fanatical Roman Catholics, Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain? It seems so when the evidence is examined and not ignored.
And again, a discovery may not exist at all, in spite of much recent media hoopla. According to some scientists with impressive credentials, the spate of new DNA and Y-chromosome studies relating to Jewish origins and the Middle East, studies that have enjoyed such immense media coverage recently, do not represent legitimate scientific discoveries. According to anthropologists Drs. Eric Trinkhaus, Milton Wolpoff and Loring Brace, geneticist Dr.Alan Templeton and a number of other experts, many recent DNA and Y-chromosome studies are merely statistical juggling to distort the facts, not to clarify them.
It seems fairly obvious to me (and others with some anthropological training) that these Neanderthal DNA and "Abraham" Y-chromosome so-called studies are merely statistical manipulations to support Jewish and Israeli geopolitical, religious and financial interests. As the saying goes: "First come lies, then damned lies and then statistics." These highly-touted, "politically correct" and too-convenient statistical discoveries may turn out to be non-discoveries as scientific critics of the deluge of recent DNA and Y-chromosome studies are starting to be heard more often in popular media and scientific journals...and even in spite of wildly disproportional Jewish control of North American media.
So, in this cautious spirit of accepting the word "discovery"... On July 28, 2000, a Toronto resident with a cottage on Lake Memphremagog revealed two discoveries that may change North American history. Lake Memphremagog, about 65 miles (100 kilometres) southeast of Montreal, is a long narrow lake about 27 miles long and four miles wide (45 kilometres long and 7 kilometres wide) that straddles the Quebec-Vermont border in the foothills of the beautiful Green Mountains.
Twenty-five years ago, "Elizabeth's" (real name withheld by request) father discovered, beneath their cottage on Lake Memphremagog, an iron object that seemed to be a spear-head. This curiosity was given to then-teenage Elizabeth because she had been interested in archaeology from an even earlier age. Sensitized by this apparent iron spear-head, Elizabeth kept her eyes open looking for other unusual things when the family, and later she alone, visited the cottage and the shoreline woods in the neighbourhood.
Apparent iron spear-head found near Lake Memphremagog in the 1970s.
More than twenty years later, in the summer of 1998, Elizabeth noticed that a curiously disfigured boulder not so far from the cottage on the shore of the lake seemed remarkably similar to the outline of an obscure 14th century coat-of-arms. This coat-of-arms was that of Henry Sinclair, Baron of Roslin (Scotland) and Earl of Orkney as reproduced in an obscure 14th century heraldry book called the Armorial de Gelre. American historian Frederick Pohl had first brought this coat-of-arms to popular notice in his book Prince Henry Sinclair in which he argued that this Scottish-Scandinavian nobleman (AD 1345-1400) had actually discovered North America in 1398 ninety-four years before Christopher Columbus and ninety-nine years before John Cabot.
Elizabeth knew about this Sinclair coat-of-arms and Henry Sinclair's transatlantic voyage because of reading my two books Holy Grail Across the Atlantic (1988) and Grail Knights of North America (1998) where I related Frederick Pohl's superb historical detective work in some detail.
Quoting an obscure medieval document known as The Zeno Narrative, thought to have been composed about AD 1400 by a Venetian navigator in Sinclairs service, Pohl presented geographic evidence that the settlement Sinclair is said to have established in Estotiland had been in Nova Scotia. Actually, a University of Michigan geologist, William Herbert Hobbs, had previously argued the same thing in the January 1951 issue of the prestigious Scientific Monthly, but Frederick Pohl brought this obscure episode of history to more general knowledge in a popular book and he also supplied a great deal of additional information about Henry Sinclair.
Unlike Columbus, Henry Sinclair and his Venetian navigator, Antonio Zeno, did not mistake the new land for the realm of the Great Khan. The narrative of this transatlantic voyage clearly states that Estotiland was part of a vast nuovo mundo a New World and also provided a map. And so, so much for Amerigo Vespuccis realization, or discovery.
Why did Henry Sinclair cross the Atlantic? The answer, I argued in Holy Grail Across the Atlantic (1988), could most probably be found in his relationship to the mysterious, romantic and outlawed Order of the Knights Templar. This famous and infamous body of elite knights was formed in Jerusalem in AD 1118 for the stated purpose of "guarding the Holy Grail".
This so-called "Holy Grail" has been the subject of a great deal of confusion and ill-informed speculation, but it is really quite simple. In modern French, the English words "Holy Grail" are still rendered San Graal from the medieval dialect called Provencal in which most of the troubadour ballads were written. This is a clue to the real nature and meaning of the "Holy Grail" because this medieval phrase is just a pun on the almost identically pronounced medieval and modern French words sang real -- "holy blood".
The phrase "Holy Grail" or San Graal thus concealed a completely heretical notion of Christianity -- that Jesus had been married to Mary Magdalene and that they had had children whose descendants still lived in medieval times. And up until today, for that matter. The "Holy Grail" was this bloodline, and it "held" the "holy blood" in a living "vessel" or "chalice" -- a human lineage or bloodline.
There was supposedly a great deal of evidence, including jealously preserved genealogies within certain southern French noble and royal families, that supported this belief. For example, my wife, Joelle Lauriol, was born in southern France and comes from a branch of this supposedly "holy" bloodline that emerged into history about AD 750. L'auriol means "Halo" and was applied to some of the alleged descendants of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. In any event, the Frankish kings of Jerusalem, the lineage of Godfroi de Bouillion, were supposedly descended from Jesus and Mary Magdalene through these later "Lauriols". This lineage formed the Knights Templar as an elite guard for themselves and their descendants once it had gained the Throne of Jerusalem in AD 1099 with the success of the First Crusade (AD 1096-1099). Thousands of people, if not tens of thousands by now, today share descent from this bloodline or other related ones.
This medieval claim of the "Holy Blood" and the widely popular medieval belief in it, however, challenged the Roman Catholic Church's leadership of Christianity. This conflict resulted in centuries of religious wars. The Roman Church won the purely military confrontation against the Grail-believing "Cathar" and "Albigensian" heretics of southern France during the so-called "Albigensian Crusade" (AD 1209-1244) and was even strong enough to deal with the formidable Templars a little more than a half century later. But the religious struggle continued under various labels until the 1750s. Some French "Protestants", for example, were directly inspired by the southern French "Cathar" heretics and not by Martin Luther (as all conventional history books claim).
Amassing a huge treasure in European gold and land after their establishment in AD 1118, the Templars were accused of heresy in 1307 and were disbanded as of 1311. Refugee Templars, hunted by the Inquisition, fled to Scotland, mainly, in their own fleet of vessels and they formed most of the Scottish cavalry at the Battle of Bannockburn (June 24, 1314) between Scotland's excommunicated king, Robert the Bruce, and Edward II of England. The Scottish victory at Bannockburn preserved Scottish independence from England for generations.
These refugee Templars found a haven at Roslin, the domain of the Sinclairs. It is believed by some researchers that these refugee Templars evolved into Freemasons and Rosicrucians. It is also believed by some researchers, and presumably more materialistic ones, that the undoubtedly immense Templar treasure, or at least part of it, was also transported to Scotland and, as Sir Walter Scott hinted, was concealed at Roslin.
But these refugee Templars and their dependents were definitely also a religious embarrassment and a political liability. Their presence in Scotland could be used as a pretext for a new crusade against heretics sheltering at Roslin. It is at least a plausible suggestion that Henry Sinclair, a known patron of the Knights Templar, crossed the Atlantic to find a secure haven from the Inquisition for the descendants and dependents of these excommunicated knights. Frederick Pohl, I feel certain, would have come to this conclusion himself but for the fact that the Sinclairs' strong associations with the Templars came to light only in 1982, after Pohl's death, with the publication of the international bestseller The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail by three British authors (Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln).
Henry Sinclair had called his new discovery "Estotiland". And, of course, it is an intriguing speculation whether or not some of the Templar treasure, as well as alleged descendants of the Holy Blood, may have been taken across the Atlantic along with refugee Templar descendants as guardians.
After she had found and photographed the curious boulder with its apparent depiction of the Sinclair coat-of-arms, "Elizabeth" called me in Toronto and we arranged to meet. When we got together on July 28, 2000, my wife, Joelle Lauriol, noticed what she thought was another illustration opposite the coat-of-arms on the boulder. Apparently carved, these features seemed to be a fairly accurate map of the North American Atlantic coast from Yucatan to Nova Scotia (although the northeastern coast was progressively obscured by a growth of lichen on the photos of the boulder).
The iron spear-head seems an indisputable hard artifact in both the literal and figurative senses of the phrase. And, of course, Europeans commonly used iron spear-heads only up to about AD 1450-1500 when most traditional projection-type weapons were superseded by firearms. Colonials didn't normally make spear-heads either while pre-contact North American Indians were not supposed to have worked iron at all.
However the features on the boulder are in a different category. Nearly as hard (granite) in one sense, the interpretation of them is in the eye of the beholder. Were these features purposefully carved in stone, or are they only the suggestive work of nature? Joelle spent hours scanning a modern map and the Sinclair coat-of-arms in order to offer these comparisons.
Memphremagog boulder with coastline (left) and Sinclair coat-of-arms (right).
Boulder feature reproduced with a modern orthographic map (above) and the Sinclair coat-of-arms (below).
Modern orthographic projection map (left) compared with boulder coastline
(right). The boulder map seems to have been based on a map, like the Piri
Re'is map of AD 1519, using an orthographic or "azimuthal equidistant"
type of projection. Several other maps of the Medieval period were based
on this type of projection which was supposedly not invented until the 19th
Century. Some experts, like Dr. Charles Hapgood of the University of New
Hampshire and Capt. Arlington Mallory of the U.S. Navy's map department, believe
that such maps, called "Portolans", were based on source maps made by
some unknown ancient seafaring culture with sophisticated mathematical ability.
Copies were handed down within certain families for hundreds or thousands of
years. Columbus had a map of the New World and the West Indies, probably
similar to the Piri Re'is Map and this modern one, when he set sail from Palos,
Spain on August 3, 1492. This map is mentioned in his Log.
Boulder rendition of the Sinclair coat-of-arms (left) compared with the Sinclair coat-of-arms reproduced from the "Armorial de Gelre" heraldry book circa AD 1375 (right).
Elizabeth's discoveries would be a bit easier to shrug off were it not for two other discoveries across Lake Memphremagog only about four and a half miles away (about 9 kilometres) in Quebec's Potton township.
An astonishing stone-carved gargoyle was found, in 1984 or 1985, in a stream-bed only a kilometre from the stream's mouth on Lake Memphremagogs western shore. In 1998, two Toronto art historians said that the gargoyle resembled the style of Celtic-Scandinavian sculpture of AD 1400-1500, as evidenced in the monastery of Lery in France (Morbihan), and emphasized that the Memphremagog "gargoyle" especially resembled the style of the so-called Apprentice Pillar at Roslin Chapel in Scotland. Roslin was the domain of Henry Sinclair.
In 1997, wooden (hemlock) surveyors stakes found in association with a ruined (or never completed) dam were C-14 dated to between AD 1450-1550. Previously, most residents and all experts had accepted the dam as a colonial relic of the early 1800s. But the dam's C-14 date is long before even explorers, let alone known European colonists, supposedly came to the area. Only a community needs a dam for a mill, and Indians of the region are not known to have constructed stone dams and mills. Moreover, the dam is on the same stream, a kilometre upstream, in which the gargoyle was found and their dates roughly match.
The gargoyle was displayed in May 1997 at a regional archaeological
exhibition in Mansonville, Quebec. And both the dam and gargoyle
were featured in a television documentary for the Arts & Entertainment
Network filmed in November 1998.
Joelle Lauriol at Memphremagog ruined dam, May 1997. Memphremagog gargoyle.
Aside from the dam and the gargoyle which have been at least somewhat publicized, there are two other Lake Memphremagog finds that are so far known only to a few investigators. There is an iron-reinforced elm dugout canoe which has been in the Colby-Curtis Museum in Stanstead, Quebec since its discovery by a scuba diver some 30 feet down in Lake Memphremagog ten years ago . The former museum curator would never allow carbon dating of the wood because he feared that the canoe might be "pre-contact" in age, like the ruined dam. However, there is now a new curator and samples were taken for C-14 dating in late March 2001. Because of the backlog of tests at Isotech Labs at the University of Toronto, however, results will not be known to us before October 2001.
In addition to this canoe, a 30-foot-long, apparently plank-built, sunken barge was discovered in Lake Memphremagog during the summer of 2000 by another scuba diver. It had carried a load of fire-baked bricks and may be genuinely colonial. On the other hand, fired clay bricks were invented about 1500 BC by the Indus Cultures and spread to Europe by 500 BC with the Etruscans, and so the barge and its cargo could also date from Late Medieval times. We just won't know until some of the barge and a few of its bricks are recovered for analysis.
Therefore, in addition to the dam and gargoyle and Elizabeth's spear-head and boulder, there are other potentially pre-colonial European artifacts from Lake Memphremagog and the immediately surrounding area.
Elizabeth's discoveries would also be much easier to dismiss were it not for the cluster of apparently European sites and stonework along the Connecticut River in Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. According to the New England Antiquities Research Association (NEARA), the Early Sites Research Association (ESRA) and Harvard University's prestigious Gungywamp Society, there are over 300 non-Indian archeological sites in this heart of New England. Conventional academics have always done their best to ignore these sites.
These non-Indian sites along the Connecticut River date from approximately 1500-3000 BC until about AD 500 and so they are much older than the Late Medieval artefacts concentrated around Lake Memphremagog. Nonetheless, most of the few experts who have examined them feel that these New England sites are Celtic in origin and that northeastern North America was the "Tir a nOg" , "Iargalon" "Avalon", and "Brendan's Isle" of progressive and continuing Celtic legend from pre-Gaelic to Brythonic linguistic times.
Canadian epigrapher and linguist, Dr. David H. Kelley, who enjoys a truly international reputation because of his contribution to the "breaking" of the Mayan glyphs, argued (Review of Archaeology, September 1991) that "proto-Celts" and "proto-Scandinavians" had penetrated as far west as southern Ontario near Peterborough by 800-1200 BC. Canadian writer Farley Mowat argued in The Farfarers (1998) that curragh-faring Celts from Scotland and Ireland were trading and settling in the St. Lawrence estuary between AD 400-1300. According to Bill Fitzgerald, an archaeologist with the Bruce County Museum, the well known Canadian archaeologist Dr. James Pendergast began to suspect, toward the end of his career, that some unknown Europeans had been active along the St. Lawrence as far west as the rapids near Cornwall, Ontario, during the 1400s.
Through the private research and kindness of Dwight Whalen of the Niagara Parks Commission, in December of 1998 (just after Grail Knights of North America was published), I discovered that the "Sinclair Theory" of some anomalous artefacts had been effectively anticipated. I learned from Dwight's large collection of regional Niagara newspaper clippings that the respected American amateur historian, Dr. Albert Hooker, had concluded that "pre-Columbus" Europeans were active in the St. Lawrence Basin and Lake Ontario as far west as Niagara during the 1400s.
Hooker had even claimed in a series of Buffalo-area lectures (1934-1935) that the Iroquois legends of "stone giants" referred to armoured Europeans and also that the idea and structure of the Iroquois Confederacy had been inspired by refugees from the Icelandic Republic. This Icelandic government by a representative "congress" or "Althing" was established in AD 930 and lasted until about 1380 when Iceland along with Norway passed under the Danish crown, but many Icelandic republicans, seeing the way things were going, had begun fleeing from Iceland some years earlier. Students of democracy consider that the Icelandic Republic was an important step in the development of the "checks and balances" that characterize the U.S. Constitution. The Iroquois Confederacy was also governed by a system of representative checks and balances that was quite similar in principle to both the early Icelandic system and the later and more evolved American Constitution.
It is now thought by some researchers that the conception of republican and representative checks and balances was being refined by Templars at Roslin who sought some form of government as an alternative to the absolute monarchies of the Medieval period. Those who believe that the Freemasons evolved out of the Templars point to the very great influence of Freemasons in the formation of the United States and its Constitution...all but two of the signatories to the Declaration of Independence were Freemasons, for example. Hooker believed that a previous North American experiment had been undertaken by the Iroquois. Hooker presented evidence that Hiawatha had been the son of an Icelandic refugee and an Onondaga mother. Needless to say, this suggestion is now extremely "politically incorrect".
But, nevertheless, the Sinclairs and the "Grail-believers" at Roslin are known to have played some part in the final development and defense of the Icelandic Republic, and so Hooker's 1934-1935 theory is not so very different from mine presented in 1998. But, unfortunately, my knowledge of Hooker's lectures came too late for me to acknowledge his research and Dwight's in my 1998 book. Some Huron, Ojibway and Iroquois legends seem also to lend support to this idea of unknown Europeans on the Great Lakes before Cabot and Columbus.
I have suggested in my three "Grail" books that knowledge of land across the Atlantic was never entirely lost among the Celts from 3000-1500 BC until AD 1398. And, when a haven from the Inquisition was urgently needed in Late Medieval times, Henry Sinclair trusted these ancient legends to lead him to a transatlantic refuge for outlawed Templars. But, by that late date, much earlier Celts and "Vikings" might have already been inhabiting parts of the new land. There would not have been very much distinction, if any, between "Viking" and Celtic people and Sinclair's own Scottish-Scandinavian-French ex-Templars. And doubtless, if they encountered each other, they would have merged to become natural allies in their new territory.
The Zeno Narrative describes a fairly large expedition across the Atlantic, and infers that several hundred people (described as "soldiers") stayed behind to populate the city that Sinclair founded in Estotiland. A populous colony would inevitably have explored its new territory, and there is some evidence that pre-Columbian Europeans penetrated inland along the St. John and Connecticut Rivers in the two centuries before Cabot's supposed voyage in 1497. Several Late Medieval coins have been discovered in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, New Hampshire and Maine dating from the 1200s and 1300s.
Why would a secondary settlement have been established around Lake Memphremagog? Today, the region is something of a backwater of both Quebec and New England. But it would have been of strategic importance for a limited number of 14th and 15th century Europeans who were confined to travel along major rivers. They had to travel along rivers wide enough to provide protection by crossbowmen because Europeans did not then possess reliable firearms. Lake Memphremagog is located on the watershed of three major rivers. It controls access to the St. John and Connecticut rivers and to the St. Lawrence River.
Using the Connecticut River, the largest river in New England, access into most of New England could be controlled south to Long Island Sound from Lake Memphremagog. The lake provided access to the St. Lawrence -- for explorations either to the Great Lakes or to the Atlantic. The lake also controlled access to the St. John River through modern Maine and New Brunswick and on to the Bay of Fundy and Nova Scotia.
One could argue that Lake Memphremagog actually controlled -- or nearly so -- even a fourth major river system. Lakes Champlain and Lake George, the source of the Hudson River flowing southward to modern New York City (the route of today's New York State Barge Canal), are just 25 miles (40 kilometres) west of Lake Memphremagog. Moreover, Lakes Memphremagog and Champlain are connected by the Missisquoi River which flows less than five airline miles (8 kilometres) from the ruined dam in Potton Township.
Did Europeans, perhaps from Sinclairs AD 1398 settlement in Estotiland, travel inland to establish an outpost on Lake Memphremagog in order to control this junction of major northeastern river routes?
As a very much younger man in pursuit of the location of Sinclair's settlement back in 1967, I had already pinpointed Lake Memphremagog as being the most likely eventual site of Sinclair's heretic European colony during the 1400s. In fact, I applied for a "Canadian Centennial Project" grant to explore the region with archaeologists in 1967. This application was rejected by the historians and archaeologists to whom it was submitted for assessment. However, I travelled frequently to Lake Memphremagog anyway and asked cottagers and local sportsmen to keep an eye out for unusual artefacts and "ruined walls" around the lake.
I also developed contacts over the years with trained investigators who lived around the lake or who later settled there. Among these were Jacques Boivert of Magog, a scuba diver in search of "Memphre" (the often reported lake monster), ex-RCMP investigator and cottager Gordon Hardy and Dr. Gerard Leduc, a Concordia University biologist who developed archaeological interests when he retired to Potton Township in the Lake Memphremagog area. As a retired biologist, Gerard Leduc was also initially somewhat interested in the hundreds of reports of "Memphre" (the lake monster), but then he became even more interested in traces of an ancient stone-working and metal-working culture around the lake.
Gerard founded the Potton Heritage Association Inc. which first displayed the "gargoyle" publicly in May 1997 in Mansonville. Gerard arranged for C-14 dating of the dam in the face of much opposition from Quebec archaeologists. Gerard and I featured in an Arts & Entertainment Network documentary about the dam and "gargoyle" that was filmed on location at the ruined dam in November 1998 but which has not yet been broadcast.
In fairness to Dr. Gerard Leduc, I should say here that he has another theory about these Lake Memphremagog artefacts. Gerard has stated that he believes that there was a race of "White Aboriginals" in addition to the better known "Red Indians" of North America. These people were, Gerard thinks, possibly related to the Caucasian genetic stock represented by "Kinnewick Man" whose bones have caused much recent controversy (see the "American Neanderthal" news item on my Site Index). Gerard speculates that these "White Aboriginals" may have come originally from Atlantis about 10,000 years ago. They were, he thinks, responsible for the Memphremagog-area artefacts and ruins, most of the "Celtic" ruins along the Connecticut River and for much of the "Moundbuilding" further south in the U.S. along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. I tried to present Gerard's viewpoint, fairly and objectively, in my Grail Knights of North America (1998).
I have no objection to the notion of "White Aboriginals" in North America and I argued a detailed case for them in Grail Knights of North America (1998). However, it would be very difficult to distinguish between the works and artefacts of these putative "White Aboriginals" and the remains left by historically attested Celts and others, like "Vikings" and Sinclair's people. Also, these "White Aboriginals" may have inter-married with these later European visitors and so any lines of original distinction between them would have become blurred even more. Therefore, with regard to these specific Lake Memphremagog artefacts and ruins, I feel that it is easier and more intellectually sound to attribute them to a known European population of the Late Medieval period than to a still hypothetical population of Caucasian aboriginals.
If Elizabeth's boulder is ever generally accepted as a map and Sinclair's coat-of-arms, then the question is settled regarding these particular Memphremagog aretefacts and evidence of Medieval pre-colonial Europeans in this area. Other and older ruins around Lake Memphramagog, and also the "Moundbuilder" ruins and artefacts in the U.S. (750 BC-AD 500), are, of course, not explained by the Sinclair colony.
Indeed, the Memphremagog area was so favourable for Late Medieval Europeans that it is even possible that the majority of Sinclair's Nova Scotia settlers might have relocated to Lake Memphremagog once it was discovered by Estotiland scouts.
The Nova Scotia site of Sinclair's initial settlement, thought by Frederick Pohl to have been at today's Guysborough Harbour in the lee of Cape Canso, was vulnerable to accidental or purposeful discovery by ships searching for heretics on behalf of the Inquisition. The reason is that Cape Canso is the largest and most definite cape on the Atlantic Coast of Nova Scotia and would have been an obvious landmark for European explorers, just as it attracted Henry Sinclair himself in 1398. This cape would have been a landmark for other medieval mariners all during the 1400s. Cape Canso remained a landfall for Champlain, for example, two hundred and six years after Sinclair in 1604.
But nestled inland up in the Green Mountain foothills, the Lake Memphremagog region would have remained unknown for a much longer time to maurauding European mariners. If the Memphremagog area did become the "capital" of Sinclair's refugee population, this would explain the existence of a pre-Columbus and pre-Cabot dam. Only a settled and fair-sized European population would need a dam.
A sizable European settlement deriving from Sinclair's initial Nova Scotia "city" would also explain the features on Elizabeth's boulder -- it was symbolic of the refugees' loyalties and their domain. The map on the boulder demonstrates that much of the North American coast was known to these European settlers, either because of a map they possessed, or because of their own coastal explorations. It is known, in fact, that Henry Sinclair did have a map. This map accompanies "The Zeno Narrative" and is known to cartographers as "The Zeno Map of the North". Conventionally, it is attributed to Antonio Zeno, Henry Sinclair's Venetian navigator. But Antonio Zeno could not have drawn it because it is based on a conical projection that was unknown in the 1400s. This map is like the mysterious Portolans that guided Diaz, Columbus and Magellan on their voyages of "discovery". Henry Sinclair and Antonio Zeno apparently had their Portolan-like map before they set sail, and so their Estotoland settlers could certainly have had a copy of it too.
These Green Mountain foothills had yet another advantage in addition to concealment. They were rich in metals. Although most of the deposits were worked out in early colonial times, many abandoned mines in the area attest to former pre-colonial attempts to exploit Vermont's copper and gold. In Potton, within a few miles (kilometres) of the dam and gargoyle, and just across the lake from Elizabeth's spear-head and boulder, there is an old copper mine that was discovered by the first "text book" colonial settlers.
According to a local historian of the Memphremagog region, Katherine Mackenzie, author of Indian Ways and Stagecoach Days, the area to the west of the lake was known to the early textbook settlers of 1820 as the country of the Lost Nation.
Two other independent frontier legends also refer to pre-colonial Europeans in this Green Mountain region. The Green Mountains foothills were the original homeland of James Fenimore Cooper's "Mohicans", "white Indians" of which Chingachgook was the last great chief. In American colonial times, the Green Mountains of Vermont were the centre of a money-digging industry. As late as the 1790s in post-colonial and early republican times, according to a Vermont newspaper, at least 500 people were still engaged in excavating metal dust and even coined money left by the unknown "Ancients".
There is also some evidence (several early maps, and curious remarks in Cartiers and Champlains journals) suggesting that these earliest history book explorers knew of an inland European settlement and were trying to establish contact with it.
If there was a European community in the Memphremagog region from about AD 1400-1550, what happened to it?
Because the dam, carbon-dated to about AD 1450-1550, appears never to have been completed, and because the gargoyle was tumbled into the stream-bed, this European community may well have come to a violent end just a generation or so before the first history book explorers arrived. This date corresponds to the first phase of Iroquois expansion, which was in progress when the French were settling at Quebec City (1607), the Dutch were settling in New York State (1609) and when the Pilgrims arrived in Massachussets (1620). These early European colonists all recorded that their Indian neighbours were in tumult and migration because of some remote and conquering tribe in the interior to the west. This turned out to be the Iroquois Confederacy of Upper New York State, thought to have been established by the real (not poetical) Hiawatha about AD 1485-1500.
The European community around Lake Memphremagog was directly in the path of Mohawk (Iroquois) expansion between AD 1550-1619. And, possibly not possessing any firearms, or not many compared to the early known European colonists, this community was defeated and its few survivors were dispersed. The Dutch and English in Vermont and upper New York State, listening to Indian legends of their recent destruction as a nation, learned about these all but vanished "Mohicans". Recent newspaper ("Who are the Melungeons? Appalachia's genetic mystery", Toronto Star, July 19, 1998) and scientific interest in the so-called "Melungeons" may refer to some of these Mohican refugees who managed to survive in the Appalachian Mountains. Melungeons are mountain folk, white people, who greeted the very earliest known European explorers in the late 1500s and early 1600s.
Further north in the Quebec "Shick-Shock" extension of the Appalachians that become the Green Mountains around Lake Memphremagog, these mountain folk were called "Maltais" -- Maltese --and Quebec's present Minister of Culture, Agnes Maltais, was interested in this part of Quebec's lost history as a girl. Her present position in the government is a testament to her continuing interest and determination. The Parti Quebecois, if no other expression of Canadian government, is interested in this evidence of unknown European settlement of Quebec before John Cabot.
However, something further is at least inferred by the Memphremagog artefacts. If there was a sizable population of Europeans around this lake during the 1400s and 1500s, then they would surely have explored inland. My wife and I came to believe that traces of their explorations are remembered by the place-name "Saguenay" and its variants which occur all through the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes Basin as far west as Michigan. This "Saguenay" could be a corruption of the hypothetical French word Sanguiniers -- "Bloodline People" -- and was applied to areas where these "Grail believers" explored or settled.
They would soon have discovered Lake Ontario and Niagara Falls. Almost certainly, they would have known that above these great falls Lakes Erie, Huron, Michigan and Superior provided a water route into the heart of a huge continent.
An existing and very well-known document, with admittedly some interpretation, suggests that an inland settlement was established on the Niagara Peninsula by AD 1537 by treaty with the Seneca Iroquois. Explorations into the Far West were undertaken by sailing ship by 1550. The colony of several thousand Europeans and Metis was massacred by the Iroquois somewhere along the Lake Ontario shore in 1587.
Dozens of anomalous finds in the Niagara region have previously, always and automatically, been attributed to the War of 1812. But there is some indication that the swords, helmets, axes and thousands of arrowheads attest to great battles that were fought two and a quarter centuries earlier between unknown Europeans and the Iroquois. Mass graves containing hundreds of bodies have been discovered by early settlers, but they have been studiously ignored by conventional academics. Newspaper clippings from 1823 to 1997 describe literally hundreds of anomalous artefacts discovered in the Niagara region. But in the early 2000s such notions of "pre-colonial" Europeans in Canada are politically incorrect on several counts and Canadian academics have found it easier to ridicule the evidence when it cannot be avoided.
The previously-known Memphremagog dam and gargoyle seem to be Late Medieval or Early Renaissance in date, and tally with the era of Sinclairs recorded voyage and settlement. These artefacts indicate a sizable European community in the Memphremagog region that mocks Canada's official history. Will Elizabeth's newer discoveries combine with them to change American and Canadian history, or are these Memphremagog artifacts destined to be regarded as non-discoveries?