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OLD WILLIAMSBURG MYSTERY PERSISTS

The “Bruton Vault” said to be the repository of the deepest secrets of Sir Francis Bacon and, maybe the Western world, is up for consideration, if not excavation, again. A group calling itself “Sir Francis Bacon’s Sages of the Sev­enth Seal” is seeking once again to excavate the alleged crypt beneath the old Episcopal church in Williamsburg, Vir­ginia.

In this spot, it is said, the heirs and followers of Sir Francis Bacon buried a trove of priceless secrets brought to the New World and the Virginia colony during the heyday of nearby Jamestown. Claiming that a previous dig 14 years ago was a fraud, the group wants a new dig based on a new assessment of the location of the legendary treasure trove where, it is said, rest the first draft of the King James Bible along with the original Shakespearean plays—all the work, it is said—of Francis Bacon. Some have even speculated that the site could be the location of the famous lost Templar treasure, the Holy Grail, and/or the Ark of the Covenant. In all likelihood the makers of the movie National Treasure knew the Bruton Parish story before making their movie. Fletcher Richmond, a spokesman for the group, thinks the contents of the vault could resolve many of the world’s current conflicts.

Skeptics, of course, are hooting and there seems little chance the Sages will get their way. The Virginia Gazette dismissed the effort as a local version of the Da Vinci Code and found no evidence to support the claims of the group. Moreover, as the paper points out, support for the project is sought from the Rockefeller foundation, which the group has argued, participated in the murder of its mentor Manly Palmer Hall. The implication: the Sages might be wise to look elsewhere for their support.

ANOTHER ROSSLYN PUZZLE UNEARTHED

Add yet another layer to the mysteries of Rosslyn chapel. Now researcher Ashley Cowie says he has located evidence that the 15th-century builders of the enigmatic Scottish chapel possessed advanced knowledge of the art of naviga­tion.

A strange carving etched on the wall of the chapel’s crypt, Cowie believes, is a diagram of navigational symbols in­dicating specialized knowledge of a lost system of measuring time and distance, latitude and longitude. Cowie’s claims, like those in the Da Vinci Code, are certainly controversial, but he does not align himself with those who be­lieve Rosslyn chapel is a Templar monument. In fact he scoffs at such notions. Still, the suggestion that the chapel contains proof of highly developed navigational skills can only buttress the arguments of those who—citing evidence like carvings of apparently American corn in the chapel—say its builder William Sinclair sponsored early explorations of the New World by the Italian sailor Zeno, well before Columbus (Zeno’s relationship to the Sinclairs is no secret and his map of the North Atlantic has been cited often). Likewise those who believe that the Sinclairs gave refuge to the fleeing Templar fleet and protected its treasure before sending it to be safely hidden in North America will doubt­less find new ammunition in Cowie’s discovery.

Cowie has laid out his case in a new book entitled The Rosslyn Matrix.

DOCUMENT REVEALS ARCHIMEDES’ GENIUS

The battle to recover the writings of one of civilization’s greatest geniuses goes on, with some signs that the scholars are winning.

In the third century B.C. the Greek mathematician Archimedes laid down many of the principles which still guide engineering science today and created, perhaps, highly advanced and innovative military technologies which have been lost to history. He is reputed to have held the Romans at bay with war machines of his own design and to have been able to move a full-size ship complete with crew and cargo by pulling a single rope.

Until now most experts had despaired of ever finding any of his original work, but a recently discovered palimp­sest—a recycled parchment document—created by Johannes Myronas, a 10th century Jerusalem monk, has revealed underlying text by Archimedes. For months now scientists have been using the latest technology to extract the only known Greek version of “On Floating Bodies,” along with the only surviving ancient copies of “The Method of Me­chanical Theorems” and the “Stomachion” in which Archimedes offered his numerical descriptions of the real world.

Imaging experts at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore are using an advanced X-ray system which can extract the faint remains of the original writing which fortunately was created in iron-bearing ink. It takes about 12 hours to reconstruct a single page, but that is, in the opinion of the researchers, time well spent. Project curator Will Noel told the BBC, “It just doesn’t get any better than re-reading the mind of one of the greatest figures of Western civiliza­tion.”

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