Sinclair Symposium
Kirkwall, Orkney, September 1997

This report by CSAC President W.E. "Bill" Sinclair was published in the Autumn 1997 issue (Vol 3 No 9) of Roslin O Roslin.

Some 40 academics, historians and others who are members of various Sinclair Clan Associations in Canada and the U.S.A. travelled to Kirkwall to attend the 3 day Sinclair Symposium (September 5-7 inclusive). In all, about 200 Orcadians joined us in this event which was presented as an integral part of the 7th Orkney Science Festival.

The purpose of the Symposium was to inspire further research into the saga of Prince Henry's voyage to he new world and to evaluate evidence both old and new that support the existence of this historic voyage.

The papers presented at the Symposium consisted of the following particulars:


Each of the speakers gave excellent presentations in support of their respective theses. No doubt was left in the minds of the majority attending this Symposium, that a most plausible case had been made for Prince Henry's voyage to the New World.

To say that the case was proven beyond any doubt would be a mis-statement. All would agree however, that there is still a requirement for continued research and study, despite the fact that all were greatly enlightened in the evidence presented in support of the entire saga including its Templar connections. The contribution to this and future study by Messrs. Christmas, Julien, and Prosper added greatly to our understanding of the Mi'kmaq culture and the possible linkages of their history to the saga.

Brian Smith, the dissenter among the special speakers, maintained his position on the basis that archival evidence did not exist that would support the voyage. Those who favoured the existence of the voyage replied that the absence of recorded evidence outside the Zeno narrative is no reason to summarily dismiss the voyage. They argued that the story of human history is built on much more than archival materials. Niven Sinclair made the case that Mr. Smith's research had not included visits to the pertinent sites involved - Nova Scotia, New England and Venice - and therefore had missed the important evidence that such visits would have provided.

Pete Cummings gave a summary of plans expected for the 1998 Celebrations in the U.S and then I reported the Clan Sinclair (Canada) plans for next summer in Nova Scotia.

The whole Symposium was recorded by video tape and copies will be made available in due course.


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