In 2004, after a good period of time tracking down various artifacts that had been reported to have come from Brewers Cave, we (AHRF
) were fortunate enough to find ourselves in conversation with the then owner / caretaker of one of the boxes which had come out of Brewer's Cave. This individual also had the original bark that had been wrapped around the box and sealed with pine pitch.
After some discussion we were granted permission to let one of our archaeologists from the AHRF
to remove a small sample from the bark to perform some testing to see if it would be possible to obtain a date for the artifact. Needless to say, the test results were nothing short of amazing. The bark which had encased the box at the time John Brewer found it dated back to between 5 BC and 390 BC!
This information has not been published to the public prior to this year when an article was given to Wayne May to publish in one of the Ancient American publications. We have decided to post this information here on the forum as well since we are now running into references to this information and in some cases it is being skewed by those giving the reports. Please feel free to direct anyone who may be quoting this information erroneously to this post.
The following is a copy of one of the reports we created shortly after receiving the results. One interesting note, we had the carbon dating performed at two separate laboratories.
***We've also removed a couple of names of those individuals who wish to remain anonymous at this time.
Radiocarbon Dating of Bark Sample from Brewer's Cave, Manti AreaSteven E. Jones
Professor of Physics
Brigham Young University
January 20, 2005
A number of stone boxes, covered with bark and pitch, were discovered by John Brewer in the Manti, Utah, area nearly fifty years ago. While the authenticity of these discoveries has been the subject of intense controversy, radiocarbon dating of the bark has not previously been performed by archaeologists or other scientists. This oversight is striking, since an accurate radiocarbon age would do much to ascertain whether the artifacts are ancient, or of modem manufacture (as claimed by some archaeologists).
Here we report the results of the first radiocarbon dating of a bark sample from one of these stone boxes. The sample was provided by ****** ******** from material provided originally by John Brewer. The bark was brought by ** ****** ****** to Professor Steven E. Jones of Brigham Young University on March 3, 2004, under the auspices of the Ancient Historical Research Foundation. The sample was examined then taken to Prof. Stephen Nelson and David Tingey, both of the BYU Department of Geology, for dating using the BYU radiocarbon-dating system.
The bark sample was cleaned with acetone then propanol, then subjected to acid and base treatments. These steps were necessary to remove humic acids and residues from bacteria and other organisms, which could introduce fresh carbon 14 and thus produce a more recent (incorrect) age. After these standard procedures, essentially just cellulose from the bark remained.
The cellulose material was subjected to standard chemical processes, finally to produce liquid C6H6 (benzene) which was placed in a vial with a scintillant. This carbon-bearing vial was then placed into two separate scintillation counter instruments to record the carbon-14 radioactivity of the carbon sample.
Both instruments gave essentially the same radiocarbon age for the Brewercave bark sample. The Guardian instrument provided an age of approximately 2161 years BP (Before Present). Since this age seemed incredibly old to the scientists doing the age analysis, the Brewer-bark sample was placed into the Quantalus 1440 ultra-low background detector. This instrument includes 1500 pounds of lead to block cosmic ray interference. The sample was then analyzed ten times, at different times of the day to avoid any possibility of error.
The final result confirmed the age determined by the Guardian instrument:
Percent modern carbon: (75.9 +/- 0.6)
Radiocarbon age: (2161 +/- 70)
BP Calibrated age (2 sigma): 5 BC to 390 BC
With a radiocarbon age of 5 BC to 390 BC, the Brewer bark sample is thus scientifically demonstrated to be very old. The Brewer findings (if further verified) could force archaeologists to re-write currently accepted history of the area. It is extremely unlikely that the boxes in question could have been covered with bark this old by an alleged hoaxer, for that would require the individual to find intact bark that was already two thousand years old. Rather, the bark was evidently used anciently and preserved by pitch used to seal it and by its being kept in a rather dry-cave environment.
The bark used to cover the stone box in question is indeed ancient. It is the opinion of this researcher that the findings and claims of John Brewer should be re-examined in light of this new, positive evidence for the antiquity of these boxes. It would be highly desirable to re-open the cave where the box was found, with certified archaeologists present (such as *** ****** of the Ancient Historical Research Foundation). Finding similar artifacts in their original undisturbed context would allow final verification of John Brewer's claims.