Skip to comments.New Mexico's Mystery Stone
Posted on 01/09/2006 6:45:23 PM PST by Muleteam1
It is a mystery in the desert hills near Los Lunas, New Mexico. It has puzzled experts for more than 50 years. It has been referred to by many different names -- Ten Commandments Rock, Mystery Rock, The Los Lunas Decalogue Stone. It is most commonly known as the Mystery Stone.
Mystery Stone is located at the base of Hidden Mountain, on New Mexico state trust land, about 16 miles west of Los Lunas. It is a boulder weighing an estimated 80 to 100 tons and is about eight meters in length. Nine rows of 216 characters were chiseled at a 150 degree angle into the north face. The characters resemble ancient Phoenician script. Like the rest of Hidden Mountain, the boulder is volcanic basalt. The site was first documented in 1936, when visited by Anthropology Professor Frank Hibben, from the University of New Mexico. Any other reported visits prior to that year are unconfirmed.
See remainder of story at the Source URL above.
(Excerpt) Read more at nmstatelands.org ...
Photo Dan Raber, Loudon TN
The Los Lunas Inscription is an abridged version of the Decalogue or Ten Commandments, carved into the flat face of a large boulder resting on the side of Hidden Mountain, near Los Lunas, New Mexico, about 35 miles south of Albuquerque. The language is Hebrew, and the script is the Old Hebrew alphabet, with a few Greek letters mixed in. See Cline (1982), Deal (1984), Stonebreaker (1982), Underwood (1982), and/or Neuhoff (1999) for transcriptions and translation, and Deal (1984) for discussion and photographs of the setting.
George Moorehouse (1985), a professional geologist, indicates that the boulder is of the same basalt as the cap of the mesa. He estimates its weight at 80 to 100 tons, and says it has moved about 2/3 of the distance from the mesa top to the valley floor since it broke off. The inscription is tilted about 40 degrees clockwise from horizontal, indicating that the stone has settled or even moved from its position at the time it was inscribed. (The above photograph was taken with a tilted camera.)
In 1996, Prof. James D. Tabor of the Dept. of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina - Charlotte, interviewed the late Professor Frank Hibben (1910-2002), a retired University of New Mexico archaeologist, "who is convinced that the inscription is ancient and thus authentic. He reports that he first saw the text in 1933. At the time it was covered with lichen and patination and was hardly visible. He was taken to the site by a guide who had seen it as a boy, back in the 1880s." (Tabor 1997) At present the inscription itself is badly chalked and scrubbed up. However, Moorehouse compares the surviving weathering on the inscription to that on a nearby modern graffito dating itself to 1930. He concludes that the Decalogue inscription is clearly many times older than this graffito, and that 500 to 2000 years would not be an unreasonable estimate of its age.
The inscription uses Greek tau, zeta, delta, and kappa (reversed) in place of their Hebrew counterparts taw, zayin, daleth, and caph, indicating a Greek influence, as well as a post-Alexandrian date, despite the archaic form of aleph used. The letters yodh, qoph, and the flat-bottomed shin have a distinctively Samaritan form, suggesting that the inscription may be Samaritan in origin. See Lidzbarski (1902), Purvis (1968).
Cyrus Gordon (1995) proposes that the Los Lunas Decalogue is in fact a Samaritan mezuzah. The familiar Jewish mezuzah is a tiny scroll placed in a small container mounted by the entrance to a house. The ancient Samaritan mezuzah, on the other hand, was commonly a large stone slab placed by the gateway to a property or synagogue, and bearing an abridged version of the Decalogue. Gordon points out that prosperous Samaritan shipowners were known to live in Greek communities at the time of Theodosius I circa 390 A.D., and proposes that the most likely age of the Los Lunas inscription is the Byzantine period.
If Los Lunas is indeed a Byzantine Samaritan inscription, it may be significant that the sixth century historian Procopius reports that the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I (r. 527-565 A.D.) undertook a massive persecution of the Samaritans in particular, which
... threw Palestine into an indescribable turmoil. Those, indeed, who lived in my own Caesarea and in the other cities, deciding it silly to suffer harsh treatment over a ridiculous trifle of dogma, took the name of Christians in exchange for the one they had borne before, by which precaution they were able to avoid the perils of the new law. .... The country people, however, banded together and determined to take arms against the Emperor ... For a time they held their own against the imperial troops; but finally, defeated in battle, were cut down, together with their leader. Ten myriads [100,000] of men are said to have perished in this engagement, and the most fertile country on earth thus became destitute of farmers. ( Chapter 11, and in particular screens 52-54.)
Procopius elsewhere states that Justinian was responsible for the deaths of no less than three trillion (sic!) persons, so perhaps his estimate that 100,000 Samaritans were killed in this uprising may be a little inflated. Nevertheless, a persecution such as this, and perhaps this very one, may have been the impetus behind the Los Lunas Inscription. Pummer (1987, p. 4) reports that the uprising in question occurred in 529 A.D., and that "after the Muslim conquest of Palestine from 634 A.D. on, the Samaritan swere reduced even further in their numbers through massacres and conversions. Particularly under the Abbasids [750-1258 A.D.] their sufferings increased greatly." Although the Samaritans have survived into the 21st century, they were clearly more numerous and prosperous in the first millenium A.D. than the second. Further evidence of a Hellenistic or Byzantine influence on Los Lunas is provided by Skupin (1989). He analyzes the orthographic errors of the Los Lunas text itself, and concludes that it appears to have been written by a person whose primary language was Greek, who had a secondary, but verbal, comprehension of Hebrew. He writes of the inscriber,
He used the consonant [aleph] as if it were a vowel, like the Greek alpha, even though this clashes with the Hebrew orthographic system .... He confounded [qoph] and [caph] as a Philhellene who only knew kappa might do, and was sufficiently removed from Hebrew to be unaware that he had made an irreverent slip thereby. Most amazingly, he 'heard' macrons, the drawling long vowels that are structurally and semantically important in Greek ... and felt compelled to indicate them even if he was not exactly sure of how it's done (and rightly so, since in Hebrew they're insignificant).... His word order suggests a scriptural tradition related to a Greek version produced in Alexandria, Egypt, as does his spelling; and finally, he gives inordinate prominence to the words 'brought you out of Egypt.'
None of this proves anything. Until confirmation comes from another quarter, all we can really do is provide a clearer idea of the stone's contents for those who are intrigued by it, and give those who reject the inscription's authenticity ... a deeper appreciation of what they have rejected.
Yet more evidence of Greco-Samaritan interactions is provided by Prof. Reinhard Pummer (1998, p. 29), who reports that "Ancient literature hints that Samaritan synagogues may have been located in Rome and Tarsus between the fourth and sixth centuries C.E. Short inscriptions in Samaritan and Greek script found in Thessalonica and Syracuse may have come from Samaritan synagogues in these cities during the same time period. Apparently, the Samaritans flourished in the Diaspora." One Samaritan synagogue in Palestine, at Sha'alvim, in Judea N.W. of Jerusalem, simultaneously bears religious inscriptions in Samaritan letters and secular inscriptions in Greek. Another at Tell Quasile in Tel Aviv shows considerable Greek architectural influence. (Ibid., p. 30.) In his book, Pummer reports that the Samaritan wedding service even today contains a few words of Greek, and that a Samaritan deed of divorce from Egypt, dating to 586 A.D., is written in Greek (1987, p. 19). A Samaritan inscription in the nethermost diaspora might therefore well exhibit some Greek attributes.
It should be noted, however, that Pummer himself (personal communication, Aug. 31, 1998) does not believe that the Los Lunas inscription could be Samaritan. First, in Verse 8, the Los Lunas text follows the Masoretic (standard Jewish) text by saying "remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy," whereas the Samaritan text always says "preserve the Sabbath day to keep it holy." Second, the Samaritans added a clause to the tenth commandment calling for a temple to be built on Mt. Gerizim, but this clause is absent in Los Lunas. And third, although an inscription in Greek language written in Samaritan letters is known, he is not aware of Greek-style letters ever appearing in Samaritan inscriptions.
Sure does look like a hoax. I chiseled 1787 into a huge boulder and added the initials of a famous pioneer who would have been in the area at the time. Should have buried some indian trinkets. That always grabs the historians.
It's Jive writing giving directions to an after hours club in Detroit.
about 10-15 minutes south of Albuquerque.
That is true with ancient Greek and Hebrew also.
This looks like a hoax!
Near 50 posts and no one has "Be Sure To Drink Your Ovaltine"...?
Y'all need to return your decoder rings...pronto.
It says "the few times George W. Bush showed up for drill, he was seriously hung over, naked, and called the commanding officer 'dude'".
I saw this on t.v. And if you can't trust CBS, who can you trust?
I know. Mexico is a terrible place to live. Even if you live in the New part of it. We don't have electricity or running water, and the worst part is that I couldn't be on FR. ;o)
El Morro national monument.
"It reads, 'Here may be found the last words of Joseph of Aramathea. He who is valiant and pure of spirit may find the Holy Grail in the Castle of Aaaaarrrrrrrggggghhh'."
It says: "You can help me. I have $15 million in a bank in Nigeria, but I need someone to help me get it sent to the United States..."
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