Overgaard, AZ—At the June meeting of the Agave House Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society, the guest speaker was John A. Ruskamp, Jr. of Illinois, who has made an astounding discovery here in the American Southwest.
“It was while hiking with my family in Utah that I first became aware of a most remarkable petroglyph,” Ruskamp told the group. “As my eyes were transfixed upon the Nine Mile Canyon Zhou pictogram, I exclaimed, ‘I know what that means! I can read it!’”
Turns out Ruskamp had enough experience reading Chinese writing that he was able to pick up on the meaning. He’s been conducting epigraphic research since that experience 11 years ago and there are now confirmed 107 diverse ancient Chinese pictograms identified in North America – 105 of them are located in the Southwestern United States with several in NE Arizona.
His discovery has been confirmed by multiple world-renown Chinese epigraphers and others such as renowned sinologist Dr. David Keightley (Ret. UC Berkeley) and Dr. Michael Medrano of the Petroglyph National Monument. Some of these pre-Columbian writings are embedded alongside North American rock art.
Ruskamp explained the form of Chinese writing is an ancient form called Oracle-bone script that had been forbidden about 1046 BC at the end of the Shāng Dynasty. This form of writing had been all but lost until it was rediscovered in 1899. It is found at times on the same rock space with Native American writings and is sometimes similar but different. This discovery is significant as it serves as demonstrable epigraphic proof that Chinese explorers not only reached the Americas long ago, but that they interacted positively with Native North American people over an extended period.
The above picture of three ancient and uniquely subdivided petroglyph cartouches, each filled with readable combinations of ancient Chinese scripts is found near Springerville. They mean basically:
Cartouche 1: “Set apart (for) 10 years, together;”
Cartouche 2: “Declaring, (to) return, (the) journey completed, (to the) house of the Sun;”
Cartouche 3: “(Going) home, returning together.”
Interestingly, Ruskamp notes in his book Asiatic Echoes The Identification of Ancient Chinese Pictograms in pre-Columbian North American Rock Writing the following note: “Curiously, in the ancient Chinese text of the Shan Hai Jing, known since at least the fourth century B.C. (Bagrow and Skelton 2009:204), there is the somewhat fanciful account of an ancient expedition that journeyed to a land far beyond the East Sea (Pacific Ocean). Among other things, this early document asserts that this distant region is where the Sun and Moon rise, and that it contains an abyss called the “Big Chasm” (Birrell 1999:159)”
Could the Big Chasm be that big hole in the ground a couple hours north of here called the Grand Canyon? Interesting, eh?
The Agave House Chapter meets on the fourth Wednesday of the month at 6:30pm at Black Mesa Ranger Station Conference Room, 2748 Highway 260, Overgaard AZ. They welcome new members.
To reach John Ruskamp, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.