Researchers now say relic may have been scabbard, not cross
GRAND JUNCTION – A relic that researchers suspected was a cross carried into western Colorado by Spanish priests in the late 1700s now appears to be part of a sword scabbard at least 150 years old, Museum of Western Colorado researchers said.Researchers at the museum said Monday the designs on the fragment are not Spanish but instead can be traced to the Masonic Knights Templar, who have Scottish roots. They also said the relic is made of copper, not bronze as first thought, and was not part of a processional cross.The 5-inch-long piece carries images of the Vision of King Constantine, an armor breastplate and a cross with a crown encircling it.The new conclusions don’t explain how the scabbard, and possibly the sword it held, got to western Colorado, researchers said.”I think we just uncovered a weirder mystery,” said Dave Bailey, curator of history at the Museum of Western Colorado.Researchers plans to return to the site where the fragment was found with a metal detector set to locate only copper in hopes of recovering more of the scabbard, he said.The researchers said they identified the relic as a scabbard after comparing it to examples of scabbards they found on the Internet.Hikers found the artifact in 1961 at the base of the Great Mesa near Grand Junction, but it dropped out of sight after they gave it to a Pueblo priest. A second priest, who had been given the relic by the first priest, recognized it from newspaper articles published last month and turned it over to the western Colorado researchers.The scabbard piece will be displayed at the museum in an exhibit explaining the importance of the relic and the story of its return to western Colorado, Bailey said. —On the Net: http://www.wcmuseum.org/—Information from: The Daily Sentinel, http://www.gjsentinel.com
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