Solving the Mystery of the Burton Stone

In the affluent London suburb of Twickenham sits the Orleans House Gallery and among its vast collection of artwork and artifacts is a very mysterious piece of inscribed ‘meteorit’ once owned by the famous 19th-century explorer, Sir Richard Burton (1821 - 1890). It was thought to have been found in Mesopotamia by Sir Burton himself. But what is it and what does the object symbolize? Petros Koutoupis is an Ancient Origins author with knowledge of languages that include ancient and Biblical Greek, Biblical Hebrew, and a good fundamental understanding of Aramaic, Ugaritic, Phoenician, and Akkadian. 

Orleans House Gallery in Twickenham (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Orleans House Gallery in Twickenham (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Seal or Talisman?

Upon discovery and acquisition, Burton believed it to be a piece of meteorite which had been logged as such by his wife, Isabel, who sold his findings to the state following his death. It would take more than 120 years for the Natural History Museum to confirm the stone as a very terrestrial quartz type of material. That recent discovery aside, its inscription continues to elude us.


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