The coin could have been in Cabot's own pocket, for all we can tell—predating him doesn't mean its presence here predates his, but that WV petroglyph is INTERESTING!

Someone on Facebook mentioned the lack of non-native foodstuff (either crops or livestock) as a strike against the "Old Irish" story. But this also is somewhat contingent on WHY the Europeans (or other outsiders) came: if they came to trade and go back home, the artefacts would be different from those of a military conquest or different again from a colonization settlement.

In the case of the Christmas Day ogham, it seems to serve two purposes: Christian iconography and an astronomical calendar. It can thus likely be supposed that these Irishmen, if the carvings are authentic, were there as missionaries and perhaps educators to the natives. It is not unheard of for those in such fields to adopt local diets and other material culture IOT better integrate socially with their congregations, and such a practice would leave far fewer archaeological relics than a colonizing settlement or a military garrison.

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Such being the case, there are really just two questions that have to be independently affirmed to call the carving conclusive proof that Irish Christians of the late-medieval period made it as far inland as West Virginia centuries before Columbus and probably independent of the Vinland colonists (though it's possible they sailed there with the Norsemen and wandered inland alone).

Question #1: is the WV carving as old as has been claimed? If not, it is a hoax and dismissible as such.

Question #2: does the inscription really say what it's alleged to say? If not, it has been misread either in good faith or maliciously, and a careful, more accurate translation is in order.

Best-case authentication points to missionary monks who got there *somehow* and sought to teach the locals of Christianity with the aide of the annual Sign of the Christmas daybreak (known in Europe to be a regular and predictable calibration) striking the same mark every year. Monks are the best candidates in part BECAUSE there's no other known trace of them, as well as the education level requisite for THIS trace. Celibacy (when practiced) means their genes don't filter in like the Native American geno-print in Iceland, and monastic asceticism means they'd leave few worldly possessions behind. It also means that they'd have traveled light, making the trek to West Virginia from anywhere on the seaboard far more doable, and therefore much more credible.

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