Mystery at the Albinger Museum

What is the mystery at the Albinger?

by Richard Senate

I enjoy the Travel Channel program “Mysteries at the Museum” where displayed artifact are used to tell stories of the past. While watching the show I speculated on if such things can be found in Ventura Counties’ Museums and it came to me that we house a really weird mystery at the Albinger Archaeological Museum on Main Street, Ventura.

Its a big rock with marks on it. The artifact is listed as a mystery stone.  It was found by archaeologists near the old Mission in 1972.  The marks seem to be made with some really hard stone or metal tool. It is a bunch of lines cut into the rock. The question is–what was it?  The team suggested it may have been used to make shell beads, or perhaps to teach the use of a chisel to Native Converts. Some even speculated it might be a treasure map (there is a big “X” on the stone).

In the 1980s a couple visited the museum and  came to the conclusion it was really “Ogam.” a sort of writing developed in Ireland in the Middle Ages. Stones with such markings are found in Ireland and even the east coast of the United States, leading some to believe that Irish Monks may have discovered America before Columbus!

Records do say that an Irish Saint named Brendan did make a voyage west to the new world  in the 6th Century (maybe he visited Oak Island?) .  They copied the lines on the stone and later informed the city they could translate the message as saying ” This is the western boundary.”  Ogam was used on boundary stones in the Old World but what could it mean?

Was Ventura the farthest west the sons of Ireland claimed? A unique piece and one that may well need to be studied further. When your downtown one weekend, visit the Albinger Museum and see if you can interpret the mysterious  stone.   If the Irish got here first it may well re-write the history of the Golden State and the story of the west!

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