When we study an ancient culture, it’s almost always through the artifacts they leave behind. The Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Romans, and the Ancient Greeks all left behind stone carvings, statues, and buildings that withstood the test of time. These artifacts give us a glimpse into their way of life. But we come from a relatively disposable culture, one made of invisible data. In 50,000 years when we’re all long gone, will there be anything left of us to prove that we were here? Well it seems that one man in Elbert County, Georgia set out to make sure something from our culture would outlive us.
The Georgia Guidestones are a set of twenty-foot tall stone tablets erected in 1980. It is often referred to as “American Stonehenge”. The stones are astronomically aligned with one thin rectangular slab in the center, four larger rectangular slabs surrounding it and a capstone atop all five stone pieces. Another slab is set into the ground just to the west of the structure. This piece features notes on the history and reason behind the Guidestones.
The man behind the Guidestones was Robert C. Christian. Christian went to the Elberton Granite Finishing company and requested that they build a stone structure that would serve as a compass, calendar, and clock. He also requested that the structure be able to withstand any natural or manmade disaster. The head of the Elberton Granite Finishing company automatically assumed that Christian was insane, so he quoted him an outrageous amount in order to discourage him. Christian then informed the granite company that he represented an anonymous group of loyal Americans who would be more than happy to pay any price to see their creation come to life.
Christian presented the builders with a scale model and ten pages of very specific instructions on how to build the Guidestones. On the Guidestones was carved ten “principles of humanity” in eight different languages (English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian:
- Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
- Guide reproduction wisely – improving fitness and diversity.
- Unite humanity with a living new language.
- Rule passion – faith – tradition – and all things with tempered reason.
- Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
- Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.
- Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
- Balance personal rights with social duties.
- Prize truth – beauty – love – seeking harmony with the infinite.
- Be not a cancer on the earth – Leave room for nature – Leave room for nature.
The explanation tablet is just as unusual, filled with punctuation errors and spelling mistakes. On it is written [sic]:
The Georgia Guidestones
Center Cluster erected March 22, 1980
Underneath this line inside of an outlined box is:
Let these be Guidestones to an Age of Reason
Around the edges of the square are written the names of four languages:
Babylonian, Classic Greek, Sanskrit, and Ancient Egyptian.
On the left side of the tablet is the text:
- Channel through stone indicates celestial pole
- Horizontal slot indicates annual travel of sun
- Sunbeam through capstone marks noontime throughout the year
Author: R.C. Christian
Sponsors: A small group of Americans who seek the Age of Reason
Placed six feet below this spot
To be opened on
No dates were ever given as to when the time capsule was set in place and when it should be opened.
On the right side of the tablet is a set of text giving a physical description:
- OVERALL HEIGHT – 19 FEET 3 INCHES [5.87 M].
- TOTAL WEIGHT – 237,746 POUNDS [107,840 kg].
- FOUR MAJOR STONES ARE 16 FEET,
FOUR INCHES [4.98 m] HIGH, EACH WEIGHING
AN AVERAGE OF 42,437 POUNDS [19,249 kg].
- CENTER STONE IS 16 FEET, FOUR-
INCHES [4.98 m] HIGH, WEIGHS 20,957
POUNDS [9,506 kg].
- CAPSTONE IS 9-FEET, 8-INCHES [2.95 m]
LONG, 6-FEET, 6-INCHES [1.98 m] WIDE;
1-FOOT, 7-INCHES [0.48 m] THICK. WEIGHS
24,832 POUNDS [11,264 kg].
- SUPPORT STONES (BASES) 7-FEET,
4 INCHES [2.24 m] LONG 2-FEET [0.61 m] WIDE.
1 FOOT, 4-INCHES [0.41 m] THICK, EACH
WEIGHING AN AVERAGE OF 4,875
POUNDS [2,211 kg].
- SUPPORT STONE (BASE) 4-FEET,
2½ INCHES [1.28 m] LONG, 2-FEET, 2-INCHES [0.66 m]
WIDE, 1-FOOT, 7-INCHES [0.48 m] THICK.
WEIGHT 2,707 POUNDS [1,228 kg].
- 951 CUBIC FEET [26.9 m³] GRANITE.
- GRANITE QUARRIED FROM PYRAMID
QUARRIES LOCATED 3 MILES [5 km] WEST
OF ELBERTON, GEORGIA.
The four outer stones are situated to mark the lunar declination cycle (18.6 years). A hole drilled at an angle through the center stone lines up with the North Star. This pillar also has a groove cut into it that lines up with the Sun’s solstices and equinoxes.
Over the years, the Guidestones have become an abundant source of conspiracy theories. One man claimed they were of Satanic origin and demanded they be smashed into a million pieces. He also claimed that R.C. Christian was part of a secret Satanic society. Another belief is that they were erected by a Rosicrucian Society, a strange mystical order with beliefs in an ancient secret science. Another belief is that they are a harbinger for the eventual extinction of mankind. One of the most commonly held beliefs is that the Guidestones contain the basic concepts required for rebuilding our civilization after its eventual collapse. Built at the height of the Cold War, these stones may have been intended to help recreate our society after, what many people believed, was an imminent nuclear war.
Whatever the reason, they have evoked many emotions from many people. In 2008, the stones were vandalized, for the first time ever. Vandals wrote in red paint, “DEATH TO THE NEW WORLD ORDER”, “YOU WILL NOT SUCCEED”, and “JESUS WILL BEAT U SATANIST”. In 2012 the FBI was called when a groundskeeper found “I AM ISIS, GODDESS OF LOVE” painted on one of the stones. I’m pretty sure the groundskeeper was confusing his Isis’s (Ises?), as the name is also that of an ancient Egyptian goddess.
As for Robert C. Christian, no one knows who he actually was. The name R.C. Christian was a pseudonym, and he never gave anyone his real name or revealed anyone else involved in the project. Maybe one day the mystery will be revealed or will reveal itself. Let’s just hope we like what the stones convey to Earth’s residents in 50,000 years.