Over 100 years ago, several thousand ancient looking clay, slate and copper tablets were discovered in mounds located throughout rural Michigan. These tablets were inscribed with a mixture of writing styles: Egyptian hieroglyphs, Greek and cunieform symbols.
Could this mean that ancient Egyptians, Hebrews and early Christians actually settled in the Americas long before Columbus arrived in the “New World”?
Academics labeled the collection of artifacts as “the largest archeological hoax in North America of the century…”
The Mormon Church wondered if the tablets were connected to the tablets that inspired Joseph Smith to found the Church of Latter Day Saints.
Amateur researchers, fascinated by the relics, sought to prove their validity, to study and even interpret the languages on the tablets.
Controversy over the authenticity of the Michigan Relics continues to this day with publications, conferences, books and contentious communication between groups. Those convinced of the validity of the relics call for their widespread publication and study. Others, confident that the relics are all fraudulent, insist that the Michigan Relics are part of a large scale archeological hoax.
For years, collections of these Michigan Relics artifacts moved between private collections, to university basements and finally back to Michigan where the largest collection now resides in the Michigan State Historical Museum.
Hoax or History : The Michigan Relics
This hour long documentary tells the stories. From the men who traveled across Michigan at the turn of the century to unearth thousands of artifacts in “burial mounds”. To the Detroit priest who risked his reputation to preserve the relics “just in case they were legitimate”. To a storage closet at Notre Dame University where the relics lay forgotten for decades and then were moved to Salt Lake City, where they once again fell from public view. To the skeptical scientist who was hired to examine the relics and ended up writing a book about their validity, value and meaning.
In History or Hoax: The Michigan Relics, academics and avocational researchers speak candidly about their study and interest in this collection. From the museum director who reluctantly inherited the collection, to the self taught Paleo-Hebrew scholar who unlocked the language on the tablets, to the magazine publisher who champions the value of the collection, to the archeologist hired by the Mormon Church, The Michigan Relics presents the stories and many points of view surrounding this controversial and fascinating collection.