#64 – Jim Sherz – 1990

Written by Fred Rydholm:

In June of 1990 Dr. James P. Scherz was appointed the Chief Executive Officer of the Burrows’ Cave Executive Committee. He is a Registered Professional Engineer and a professor of surveying in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Wisconsin/Madison.

Jim has been working on archaeo-astronomical investigations for years, and this has lead him to believe that pre-Columbian Indians were far more sophisticated than most people realize. He has investigated and mapped hundreds of effigy mounds; and these mound groups have revealed meaningful angles and astronomical alignments to solar, lunar and planetary phenomena. The mathematics of the ancients have proven to be worldwide.

I first met Dr. Scherz some years ago when he came to my home in Marquette. He was seeking information about archaeological finds in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that were or might be connected with these alignments. He had some college students with him, and they were examining some small dolmens, rock circles and rock walls on Pequaming Point, near Baraga, Michigan.

At the 1990 ISAC conference he and I gave slightly overlapping talks on some of the U.P. finds. We were each very careful not to get too deep into the other fellow’s subject, and I could see that he would be very patient, understanding and easy to work with. He has done outstanding photography and three-dimensional mapping, including some cave mapping. Dr. Scherz also organized the Ancient Earthworks Society there in Madison, and has done much work with several Upper Michigan sites in Ontonogon, Isle Royale, Pequaming and Beaver Island. Jim also owns a patent on a movable dial clock and has one pending on a portable auto press. He has nearly fifty technical publications to his credit, and his archaeo-astronomy has been featured in magazines and newspapers, and on radio and TV programs.

Dr. Scherz feels strongly about the importance of the cave and the need for a thorough scientific evaluation. He proposes to use the latest 3-D mapping technology on the valley where the cave is located and on the interior of the cave itself. He also proposes that the first step is to properly document all events relating to the cave over the past ten years, as well as the artifacts taken from the cave, before any further work is undertaken.

Our Committee to advance the study of the cave has met four or five times and we keep in touch with each other between times by letter and telephone. At this writing Dr. Scherz is preparing a companion publication to this book. It is to be called Rock Art from Burrows’ Cave. There will necessarily be a certain amount of overlap in these two books, but this present one is primarily a narrative of the past ten years of human interaction, while the Scherz book is primarily a preliminary documentation of the Cave and its artifacts, with some thoughts on interpretation, and comments on the historical context of the data. Neither book pretends to be the last word on the site itself.

But however preliminary, Dr. Scherz’ book will be the first scientific look at the Burrows’ Cave material, and will prove interesting to scholars, whereas the book you are now reading is a history written for the lay public.