The Michigan Artifacts – The Rough History

No other artifact collection has had so much controversy assigned to it as the artifacts from Michigan. Here is what you need to know.

  1. Artifacts from Michigan have been reported since 1820. These early artifacts have the same language as the ones found one hundred years later.
  2. There were multiple collections of these artifacts throughout the years. Edwin Worth had a prominent collection which was subject to a fire in 1915. These artifacts appear to be the same language.
  3. James Scotford found some artifacts in 1890. He found more about 10 years later.
  4. In 1910, James Scotford joins with Daniel Soper, James Savage, and Rudolph Etzenhouser, forming a company to seek out these buried artifacts. They spent roughly 15 years gathering artifacts.
  5. James Scotford and Daniel Soper have been accused of numerous activities which cause many people to question their character. No one questions the integrity of James Savage and Rudolph Etzenhouser.
  6. Many (perhaps most) of these artifacts were taken from small mounds scattered throughout Michigan. It was noted that when they found charcoal on the ground, they would dig and get an artifact.
  7. There is good reason to believe that James Scotford did some manufacturing of fraudulent artifacts to pad his findings and to profiteer. His step-daughter signed an affidavit claiming he did so.
  8. By invitation, James Talmage joined the search. He wrote a scathing report proclaiming the entire collection to be fraudulent – pointing the finger mostly at James Scotford.
  9. In the 1950’s cryptographer Henrietta Mertz was hired to analyze the artifacts and concluded they were all made by different people – they could not all be fraudulent.
  10. In the 1960s, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Quorum of the Seventy Member Milton Hunter obtained ownership of a large collection that was sitting in a closet at Notre Dame University. He wills them to the church upon death.
  11. In the 1990s, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donates collection to the Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing, Michigan for study. Archeologist and member of the same church, Richard Stamps, proclaims the collection all of modern make.
  12. In spite of the controversy, many people still show interest in the collection and continue to look at them with awe.
  13. Beginning 2017 to present, I, Brian Nettles, worked to decipher the language and concluded that most are ancient as many symbols stem from Egyptian and Proto-Caananite maintaining the proper meanings of the ancient words. I also conclude that some are fraudulent and can be proven fraudulent through a study of the language. In 2018, David Lindsley also begins the study of the language. By 2021, he too came to the conclusion that most are authentic.
  14. The largest collection is in the Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing, Michigan. Wayne May also owns a good collection of them.