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Re: The Tower of Newport

At 18:58 15/11/00 +0000, you wrote:
Dear Sirs, I come by the present, not only to felicite you for the interest which you have for the History as well as for the excelente idea of your site. But I must to tell you that, in September of 1993, the professor Siemonsen from the University of helsinquia (Finland) analised the tower of Newport by the hightest tecnologies system of rays of carbonne. And the result of this analise shows that its construction dates between 1500 and 1550. And he admited that the tower was not vikink, as they tought, but probably build by the portugueses templaries indeed. And the reason why it seams so old is because the navigator were limited by materials and tecnics they found in that place. No far from there it  was also found a rock "The Dighton Rock" with the latin inscription of the portuguese navigator: "MIGUEL CORTEREAL V DEI HIC DUX IND A D"  which means :Miguel Corte Real voluntate Dei Rei hic dux indarium anno Domini 1511" ( Prof. Edmund Burk Delabarre from the Brown University )There is also two similar towers like that at Tomar (a portuguese Templar city). Thank you and ones more my congratulations.
Afonso Pizarro de Sampayo e Mello

Afonso Pzarro de Sampayo e Mello has obviously not read the report of the Scandinavian team which
carried out an analysis of the mortar at Newport Tower in an effort to establish the age of the building.
I have.

Firstly, the team was led by  Professor Hogne Junger of Finland and not by Jorgen Siemonsen as
stated.  Mr Siemonsen is not a Professor and he has no association with the University of Helsinki.  He
is a Danish businessman without scientific qualifications.

Secondly, no less a person than Andre J. Bethune Ph.D, Emiritus Professor at Boston College, Massachusetts
has challenged the findings of the mortar analysis because of the method of testing used.  Professor Bethune
concludes his careful study with the words:

        "Thus the carbon -14 analysis of these three .2 fractions of gas gives us an indication
           that Newport Tower was standing in the years 1480-1440"

        "With these thoughts in mind, a pre-Columbian origin for Newport Tower cannot
          be ruled out"

An earlier date is not ruled out because of (a) the architectural style of the tower and (b) because of the climatic changes
which can occur in the mortar because of the constantly in-coming CO2.

The main constituent of the mortar at Newport Tower (I have some on my desk as I write) is gypsum.  There is
no gypsum on Rhode Island.  There are, however, caves of gypsum in Nova Scotia.  In the 14th Century ballast
was essential for the stability of ships.  Did Prince Henry Sinclair use the gypsum as ballast for his ship on its
voyage south to Rhode Island and, on reaching Rhode Island, did he use it as a convenient base for the mortar
in building Newport Tower?

SImilarily, the coal discovered on Leif  Eriksson's farm at Sandnes in Greenland was found to have come from
Rhode Island. (I took part in this coal comparison study by providing samples of coal from Scotland).  Was coal
also used as ballast on the return journeys to provide fuel for heating and cooking in timberless Greenland?
Quite simply, the Norse settlers could not have survived without timber and/or coal from the New World.

But let us return to the carbon dating of the mortar at Newport Tower.  As we have seen the method of testing
by measuring the level of carbon which has been absorbed into the mortar during the hardening process, is
a comparatively new technique which has still not been generally accepted by scientists and archaeologists.

Furthermore, of the 30 samples taken by the Scandinavian team, only 10 were tested and, of these, seven were
discarded because they varied too much from the 'norm'.  In other words, the conclusions reached were based
on three samples and from these skeletal and 'negative' beginnings, the authors of the report jumped to 'positive'
conclusions in order to fit a pet theory that the tower was built by Governor Arnold although there are six known
references to the tower before Governor Arnold arrived in America.

No consideration was given to the known replacement of the mortar at different periods or to the architectural design
of the tower which corresponds with other round towers to be found in the Northern Islands of Scotland and in
Scandinavia.  Indeed, 18 of the 27 round churches in Scandinavia have fireplaces on the first floor in exactly the
same position as Newport Tower.  The report under discussion also suggests that Newport Tower is similar to
the Chesterton Mill in England (with which Governor Arnold is - erroneously - said to have been connected).  One
might as well compare a mud hut with the White House.  I have the advantage of knowing both buildings having
visited each in the course of my  researches.

However, my own researches pale into insignificance when compared with the painstaking work of the late James P.
Whittall of the Early Sites Research Center at Rowley, Massachusetts.  Again, as I write, I have photographs
of Jim spread-eagled across the Newport Tower as he measured every nook and cranny of the tower.  Jim's
findings will be published in a new book which is being written by Dr Tim Wallace Murphy and Marilyn Hopkins
so I will not enumerate them here.  Sufficient be it to say, that Jim comes down most forcibly with the view that
Newport Tower was  built by the expedition led by Prince Henry Sinclair.  He gives 20 powerful reasons to support
that conclusion - the main one being that every single measurement in the Newport Tower is based on the
Scottish ell which is equivalent to 3 Norse feet.

Finally,  I am always amazed that little attention is given to the view of the indigenous people who, when asked
"who built Newport Tower" will tell you: "It was built by fire-haired men with green eyes who came up the river in
a boat like a gull with a broken wing".  You can't 'invent' language like that.  You can, however, be sure that the men
were not, as Afonso suggests in his e-mail under reply, dark-haired Portuguese who arrived with Miguel Corte Real
in 1511 AD

I also love the description of the boat being 'like a gull with a broken wing'  - being an obvious reference to the
flapping of the sails.  It is quite poetic.  It also has the ring of truth.  Note the 'fire-haired' men  - not fair-hair - and
the green eyes.  Readers of these columns will know which family carries these particular characteristics.

I rest my case.

Niven Sinclair