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Internal evidence suggest ---

An Ancient North African Treasure-Trove
in Southern Illinois


n an early spring aftern- noon in 1982, a man was slowly walking alone through a forsaken cemetery in southern Illinois. In his hands he carried a common metal-detector. He hovered its saucer-like device about six inches above the ground, while watching its dial for the slightest movement, sure sign that something of possible worth lay just beneath the surface.

A resident from a nearby town, he was an avid collector hoping to find the occasional lost coin or even some shiny artifact from the Civil War era. This day, however, his meandering quest among the unvisited tomb- stones failed to elicit any response from the mineral-sensitive instrument until he neared the far end of the burial ground. The metal- detector became increasingly agitated with every footstep, until it led him entirely out of the cemetery, down a shallow ravine and up the side of a steep hill. Its dial oscillated violently, as though the explorer were treading over Fort Knox.

He continued across the desolate country, waiting for the indicator to become still. Walking along the top of the hill, his eyes fixed steadily on the instrument. He suddenly fell into a perfectly vertical pit just wide enough to accommodate his shoul- ders. Shaken but recovering his senses, he realized that he had landed on his feet on a soft, dirt floor some eight feet beneath the surface of the ground. The metal-detector had not followed him down. He remembered the small pocket-flashlight in his jacket. Fetching it out, the narrow but bright beam of light immediately revealed what appeared to be a chamber opening directly in front of him.

He cautiously entered the dank room. He saw stone statues, large urns and edged weapons scattered across the floor. The walls were covered with the sculpted friezes of Egyptian-like scenes. Moving to the far end of the chamber, he found an adjacent room, in...

Treasure-Trove... Page 2

 One of the relatively few marble slabs removed from the Illinois site portrays either a Mauritanian ruler or high priest of the 1st Century A.D.

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