Arizona Daily Star, March 7, 1926
Dean Cummings Still Unconvinced Find on Silverbell Road Is Hoax as Charged by Classic Language Professor
Dr. Fowler, Professor of Classical Languages for the University of Arizona, continues to insist that the Latin phrases on the crosses are copied by an individual who was ignorant of Latin, and copied phrases from several Latin textbooks. He states, “The Silverbell artifacts are either a gigantic hoax, beside which all noted scientific fakes of history pale into insignificance, or else they are the work of a demented or obsessed person.”
Dean Cummings, Professor of Archeology of the University of Arizona, said, “The inscriptions did record an annal or tale of some sort, and that the inscriber must have had at least a rudimentary knowledge of Latin.”
He continues, “I am not able to refute Dr. Fowler’s citations and references and he may be correct, but how can it be possible that the crosses were inscribed within the past 20 years, when we have positive proof that the relics have been buried in the caliche formation for at least 50, 100 or a longer term of years?”
Dr. Fowler is certain that he has proved that the relics could not have been manufactured more than 20 or 30 years ago, although he is unable to explain the undisturbed condition in which the articles were found.
Mission Once Stood on Spot Where Lead Relics Were Found, Is Revealed
Possibility that the leaden artifacts found on the Silverbell road might have been left there by the Jesuit fathers of the “Santa Catharina”-afterwards known as the “Santa Catalina” mission, was suggested yesterday by J. V. G. Loftfield, assistant county engineer, who is also in charge of grazing investigation and ecological work for the Desert Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution.
Together with George J. Roskruge, Tucson pioneer, and Miss Marjorie Taylor, a senior at the University of Arizona, Loftfield has conducted extensive historical researches which establish the fact that the Santa Catalina mission stood near the site of the present excavations, which are close to the Nine Mile Water Hole.
The Santa Catalina mission was built before the St. Augustine (“Sanctus Augustinus”) mission at Tucson, Loftfield said. The former mission was destroyed a few years after the opening of the eighteenth century, about 1705, presumably by Apaches.
“I want to be clearly understood as not vouching for the theory that the Jesuits left these artifacts,” the Carnegie scientist asserted.
“I am merely giving the results of our investigations, which tend to connect the mission fathers with the relics.”
“Whether this connection actually exists is a matter for the archeologists to solve, from the data that is produced.”
The three investigators looked up the map made by Father Kino, a Jesuit missionary, and consulted his accounts of the region near which the artifacts were found. They also checked up the records left by Pumpelly, an American mining man of Belgian descent who worked in Tucson about 1860, and those left by Bishop Salpointe and the Franciscan fathers.
“All our researches have led us to believe that the Santa Catalina mission stood very near where the artifacts were found,” Loftfield said yesterday.
“Pumpelly, by the way, refers to the mountains that we now know as the Catalinas, by the name of ‘Santa Catharina,’ which was the name of the mission.
“We found several pieces of Jesuit brick near the lime kiln where the excavations have been carried on. Jesuit brick is flat, is longer, thicker, and about twice as broad as ordinary brick. One of the fragments we found was quite large.”
“Father Kino (or Kuhn) visited the Santa Catalina mission in 1698. His description of the spot, together with our own investigations made on the scene, convince me that the mission stood on a spot very close to that where the excavations have been made.
“We also found mounds of adobe, probably of Indian origin, near the Nine Mile Water Hole.”
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