Returning to the show this week is Scott Wolter. While probably most widely known for hosting the late A&E networks H2 television show America Unearthed Scott also holds great notoriety as a forensic geologist, being the president of Minnesota-based American Petrographic Services, and developing an entirely new field of science called archaeopetrography. Archaeopetrography is a scientific based process in which mysterious stones, artifacts, and locations are dated and studied so as to better understand their origins and meanings. Scott joins Jim this week to discuss his most recent source of intrigue, The Newport Tower in Newport Rhode Island.
The Newport Tower is nestled on top of a hill in Touro Park, located in a historical residential neighborhood, on a small plot of land that was purchased by the city of Newport from the generosity of Judah Touro (who donated 10,000 dollars to the city to purchase the land in 1854 so as to not have any development occur in that location). Rather unassuming in appearance, the Tower is the centerpiece to several high profile debates and Scott is square in the middle of it with his own expert opinions.
One of the main arguments that is making the circuit in regards to The Tower is the age and actual architect of The Tower. While there are many good speculative guesses at the actual age, the only one for certain is that the tower is old. One of the first written mentions of The Tower can be found in 1677 in the will of Benedict Arnold where he mentions “….my stone built wind mill”. Some theorize that the architecture matches that of Norse buildings and that it was a church built between the 11th and 14th centuries. Another theory for The Tower is that it was built as a signal outpost for Chinese junks of the Zheng He era in 1421. There is little supporting evidence for this theory, but it is not completely disputed.
Now where does Scott come into play with these? Scott’s theory is one of the upcoming ones and is one of the most highly disputed. Scott along with writer Andrew Sinclair have put forth the hypothesis that the Newport Tower was built by medieval Scottish Templars led by Scottish earl Henry Sinclair as part of an alleged voyage to New England approximately one hundred years prior to Columbus setting sail. This theory is vigorously disputed and Scott states that this is what causes him to believe the theory even more. There are many other possible ideas out there to the origin of The Tower and its builder and more continue to pop up.
To follow what Scott is working on feel free to check out http://www.scottwolteranswers.blogspot.com or follow his Twitter @RealScottWolter and for all things Malliard head over to http://www.malliard.com or connect via Twitter @Malliard .