It is a “tangled history” to be sure. The resolution of this history will only come in many small steps and even then some of the speculation will remain as fact.The four pieces of carved stone which comprise what are called the Stone Maps are for many, for some unknown reason, the most enigmatic and magnetic entities in southwestern lore. My interest in them has been and remains historical --- I have not been infected with “Stone Map-itis”. They were discovered comparatively recently, circa 1949, and yet their history has become clouded in mystery. I was curious as to how something found so recently, where the principals were known, could acquire so tangled a history in so short a time.”
I want to concentrate on the, 1960 to present, history of the stone maps. Clarence Mitchell was one of the individuals involved with the maps and I want to share Clarence and Grace’s Mitchells own words that show up in the Bernice McGee Collection. There are some 30 to 35 letters. Many are simply friendly exchanges about day to day events but there are also nuggets that begin to paint a clearer picture of some of the events. (These letters are posted on the LDM Documents site.)
There are numerous other documents on the LDM Documents site including the MOEL litigation that shed additional light on what was happening in that time period.
I will simply list some of the stories that have been passed on as fact by various individuals as an example of the confusion.
MOEL never owned the Stone Maps
The Maps were the personal property of Clarence Mitchell
The maps belong to the State of Arizona
They were given to Mason Coggins who headed up the Arizona Department of Minerals and Mining by Clarence Mitchell in 1969
Clarence Mitchell received a substantial Arizona State Tax credit because of his donation
MOEL ended up in bankruptcy court
The Flagg Foundation (Now the “Arizona Mineral and Mining Foundation”) received the maps because of a “Court Order”
The FBI Laboratory examined the maps and determined they were an antiquity
The Arizona Highway’s article pointing out the fallacies of the maps representing a genuine antiquity is full of errors and a professional embarrassment
The individuals who analyzed the stone maps for Arizona Highways did a good job but the Arizona Mineral and Mining Museum has two sets of maps. One set that was copied from the original set was made using modern day tools. They weren’t working with the original maps, hence their conclusions
The real maps were never given to the Foundation and they only have copies
The maps being publically displayed are not the original maps but are replicas
These are simply a “few” of the assertions but you get the idea of the “tangled history”!
PS - Paul, I hope others will also invest some time in analyzing the documents and then share some of their thoughts.