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An Ancient Hebrew Inscription in New Mexico - Fact or Fraud?
www.unitedisrael.org ^ | James D. Tabor

Posted on 10/08/2002 11:51:51 PM PDT by pistola

An Ancient Hebrew Inscription in New Mexico Fact or Fraud?

by James D. Tabor

The standard textbook wisdom that we all learned from grade school on up is that the Americas were discovered by the Europeans either in 1492 by Columbus, or perhaps even a few hundred years earlier by the Vikings. There seems to be an aversion among the establishment historians to even consider the idea that ancient Mediterranean peoples might have traveled to the Americas in the centuries before our era. Except for certain “fringe” scholarship, particularly promoted by Mormon historians, the standard view is considered indisputable. The very idea that “primitive” peoples from Cyprus, Phoenicia, Greece, or Iberia had the sailing sophistication to cross the Atlantic is thought to be improbable if not absurd.

There are a few notable exceptions. Dr. Cyrus Gordon, one of the greatest living historians of ancient Near Eastern civilizations has promoted the idea that such peoples reached the New World for the past several decades. Actually, when one digs around a bit, it turns out that the historical and archaeological evidence is quite impressive. It has been well documented by Barry Fell in his major study, America B.C. (New York: Pocket Books, 1989).

One of the most fascinating sites Dr. Fell surveys is located south of Albuquerque, New Mexico, a few miles west of a little town called Los Lunas. The site has been known as “Mystery Mountain” by the locals for many years. At the foot of a mini-Masada like natural plateau there is an inscription written in paleo-Hebrew. The inscription contains a slightly abridged version of the Decalogue or Ten Commandments. Anyone who is familiar with the Hebrew language, and the well-established ancient Hebrew alphabet used prior to the Common Era, can easily read this inscription.

The question is—how did it get there? Is it a fraud, perpetrated by some pranksters for amusement purposes? If so, it could not be much older than this century since the paleo-Hebrew alphabet was only discovered from archaeological inscriptions in the Middle East over the past 100 years. Or, is it possible that it was put there much earlier, by Jews or Israelites who had settled in the area we know as New Mexico when paleo-Hebrew was in common use—that is in the centuries B.C.E. To even suggest such an idea, for most, is to immediately dismiss it. However, when the Los Lunas inscription is placed in the wider context of an abundant amount of evidence, such as that presented by Dr. Fell, that ancient Mediterranean peoples did visit the New World, it becomes not only plausible but perhaps the only logical explanation for the existence of this text.

In September, 1996 I visited the Los Lunas site with a group of associates for an initial survey of the evidence. I have also interviewed Prof. Frank Hibben, local historian and archaeologist from the University of New Mexico, who is convinced 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. Thus we have eye-witness evidence, going back over a hundred years, that the inscription existed. This alone is impressive, since it is rather preposterous to imagine some pranksters or forgers operating with a knowledge of paleo-Hebrew in the late 1800s, when this ancient alphabet was not even fully known to the scholars.

Associated with the inscription is the mountain itself, which shows evidence of fortification and ancient habitation, whether by native Americans or whomever. The Decalogue inscription is located at the foot of the mountain, on the north, at the only accessible pathway going up. The top of the mountain is a flat plateau with many ruins. The whole area is covered with drawings on rocks called petroglyphs. One of the most interesting of these petroglyphs is what appears to be a sky-map, laid out on a flat rock, recording the positions of the planets and constellations during a solar eclipse. Researcher David Deal, to whom we owe credit for a drawing of the site, has identified the eclipse astronomically as occurring on September 15, 107 B. C. E. I have run that date on a sophisticated computer calendar that does conversions to the ancient Hebrew calendar and surprisingly, that date turns out to fall on Tishri 1st, or Rosh HaShanah of that year—107 B.C.E.! Mr. Deal, who first did the astronomical calculations, was not even aware of this correlation. It might well be the case that the ancient Israelites who lived on this mountain, and left their inscription of the Ten Commandments at the “Gate” of the camp, also recorded an eclipse that happened to fall on a very important day in their sacred calendar.

I have become tentatively convinced that the Los Lunas inscription offers solid evidence that ancient Israelites explored and settled in the New World in the centuries before the Common Era. Whether we can precisely date this encampment, based on Mr. Deal’s astronomical evidence, remains in discussion. However, I have little doubt, nor does Dr. Gordon, who is one of the world experts on ancient inscriptions, that the text itself is authentic and was written sometime B.C.E. Beyond this we can not go at this point in time. What is needed is a rigorous archaeological examination of the whole mountain and its human artifacts. It was obvious to us, even from our brief survey last Fall, that the site has been inhabited by successive peoples. We would have to have coin and pottery evidence to more precisely identify these remains and correlate them, if possible, with the inscription itself. The author is in the process of investigating possibilities for just such an investigation, led by qualified experts in archaeology. In the meantime I would encourage any of our Bulletin readers who are interested in this subject to read Dr. Barry Fell’s book, America B.C., which is readily available in major bookstores.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: crevolist; decalogue; fraud; godsgravesglyphs; loslunas; tencommandments
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Interesante
1 posted on 10/08/2002 11:51:51 PM PDT by pistola
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To: pistola
Everyone knows the Mayans are the famous lost Jewish tribe. Just look at the pyramids they built!< /tinfoil >
2 posted on 10/09/2002 12:02:21 AM PDT by freebilly
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To: pistola
Farfetched but intriguing.

However, this reminds one of the Piltdown Man hoax, the fake Howard Hughes will, fake French cave hand prints and cave paintings (by some trying to cash in on the tourist business generated by Lescaux), and alterations in the Great Pyramid at Giza by scientist trying to prove a religious theory.

Any update on the ancient remains of a Caucasoid male that the Indians wanted to bury, claiming it was an ancestor, and that the scientists filed in court for right to examine?

3 posted on 10/09/2002 12:45:41 AM PDT by patriciaruth
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4 posted on 10/09/2002 12:46:25 AM PDT by Mo1
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Comment #5 Removed by Moderator

To: pistola
Fascinating! Thanks for the interesting post. ;-D
6 posted on 10/09/2002 1:04:10 AM PDT by Judith Anne
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To: Judith Anne
These always amuse me as I recall carving a rock (with the proper tools) and leaving the dated 1789...Sac
7 posted on 10/09/2002 1:57:09 AM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: pistola
I'll have to run down to Los Lunas and check this out
8 posted on 10/09/2002 2:12:32 AM PDT by woofie
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To: Sacajaweau
Funny girl! ;-D

But seriously, if excavations are done, not just surface findings, and if something's there....could be interesting.
9 posted on 10/09/2002 2:31:45 AM PDT by Judith Anne
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To: RichardsSweetRose
Ping
10 posted on 10/09/2002 3:32:53 AM PDT by Liberty Belle
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To: Judith Anne
Judy, Judy, Judy... One of my friends also has a sense of humor. He remodeled his 150 year old farmhouse. Before he put up the drywall, he took some bottles, put some current artifacts in them and...marked them 1 of 4, 2 of 4..etc..

Except he only put "3" bottles in the walls...

Someday, the newspaper will read "Only three of the 4 bottles were found" during the demolition of the 1850's house...It's a small town...it'll be exciting!!

Sac

11 posted on 10/09/2002 3:43:05 AM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: Sacajaweau
THAT is hilarious! ;-D

Don't be giving me ideas--I'm bad enough as it is! ;-D
12 posted on 10/09/2002 3:45:51 AM PDT by Judith Anne
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To: longshadow; Junior; Piltdown_Woman; VadeRetro; general_re; *crevo_list
It's times like this that we need medved's guidance.
13 posted on 10/09/2002 3:46:51 AM PDT by PatrickHenry
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To: Dan Rick
Perhaps Jehovah told them to.
14 posted on 10/09/2002 3:56:52 AM PDT by matrix
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To: Dan Rick
What would move ancient religious Jews (who cared about the Ten Commandments) to hop in a boat and sail for months over uncharted oceans

Good question. However if the inscriptions are not the work of a modern prankster, they could have been made by "crypto-Jews" Spanish Jews who converted to Christianity at the time of the Inquisition, then came to the New World with the Spanish conquistadores in the early 16th century. They might have set up an encampment and left code in paleo-Hebrew since the Inquisition priests would have recognized modern Hebrew.

15 posted on 10/09/2002 3:56:57 AM PDT by Alouette
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To: All
Wonder how much funding they will get??

Sac

16 posted on 10/09/2002 3:58:46 AM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: pistola
Perhaps it's like this fellow:


Cop a walk it's all right. …. Hus du gezen in deine leiben, they darker than us. Woof!

Regards, Ivan

17 posted on 10/09/2002 4:02:07 AM PDT by MadIvan
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To: Alouette; pistola
The simplest answer may be that Sacajaweau has an evil twin who set this us to blow your mind away.

Still it's fun sometimes to think about Kazanzakis' seven levels of truth.

18 posted on 10/09/2002 4:02:11 AM PDT by patriciaruth
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To: MadIvan
Lozem geyn!
19 posted on 10/09/2002 4:11:16 AM PDT by Alouette
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To: Alouette
Lozem geyn!

That's the spirit. ;)

That's Hedley Lamarr! :)

Regards, Ivan

20 posted on 10/09/2002 4:16:31 AM PDT by MadIvan
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To: drstevej
Hey, maybe Joe was right...
21 posted on 10/09/2002 4:19:27 AM PDT by Wrigley
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To: Wrigley
All very simple...Charleton Heston parted the Pacific...Edward G. Robinson compalined about his sore feet for such a long walk...only to find that Al Gore found New Mexco first.
22 posted on 10/09/2002 4:27:51 AM PDT by BubbaJunebug
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To: Dan Rick
....and the answer is---Ephraim, the people of the lost tribes.

Remember Yeshua-Jesus said "I came for the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Well they are those who went out into the world from the Babylonian/Assyrian conflicts (10 of the 12 tribes of Israel(Jacob) about 800-700bce and more fascinating are beginning to see who they are and someday they will be part of the "one stick of Ezekiel" (Ezekiel 37:15-28). It's very amazing!

23 posted on 10/09/2002 4:31:51 AM PDT by patriot_wes
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To: patriciaruth
Right! All of these things have proven to be hoaxes. It should be possible to date the writing by the "sharpness" of the engraving.
24 posted on 10/09/2002 5:18:55 AM PDT by M. T. Cicero II
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To: blam; LostTribe
You missed one, blam.

25 posted on 10/09/2002 6:36:09 AM PDT by William Terrell
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To: Vic3O3
Ping
26 posted on 10/09/2002 6:36:09 AM PDT by dd5339
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To: Alouette; 2sheep; Prodigal Daughter
>>>Researcher David Deal, to whom we owe credit for a drawing of the site, has identified the eclipse astronomically as occurring on September 15, 107 B. C. E. I have run that date on a sophisticated computer calendar that does conversions to the ancient Hebrew calendar and surprisingly, that date turns out to fall on Tishri 1st, or Rosh HaShanah of that year—107 B.C.E.! <<<


I pulled this date up on my astronomy program and did not get the same result.

However, there was a solar eclipse on September 29th, -107 (-107 in astronomical calculations - when year zero included - but otherwise considered as 108 BC). Since a solar eclipse did appear in the general time frame, I would hope it (Sept 15) is just a copy error. There was also a hybrid eclipse on September 18 -106 (@0.1%), but looking back through August/Elul, both appear to have been 1 day early for the start of 1 Tishri (phases at 0.0% and 0.1% respectively). They weren't using computer programs back then, but in any case, neither eclipse occurred on the 15th. As far as the data for the 15th goes (FWIW)...


For -106 (107 BC), the moon phase was at 16.9% on 15 September, with 1 Tishri commencing on either the 19th (0.2%) or the 20th (2.4%).

For -107, The moon phase was at 99.9% on 15 September, with 1 Tishri likely commencing on September 30 (0.5%) or on Oct 1 (2.8%).

For -108, te moon phase was at 17.3% on 15 September, with 1 Tishri likely commencing on September 11 (0.3%) or on thw 12th (2.1%).

For -105 (106 BC), it's not close to a new moon either (48.6%).

The asronomical new moon (no moon) typically falls on the eve of the new Hebrew calendar month (or in this instance Erev Rosh Hashanah), so it looks like they kind of fudged the data a bit to align with Rosh Hashanah. It's really a minor issue, but it makes me wonder what else was tweaked to make the data fit a particular theory.
27 posted on 10/09/2002 7:03:26 AM PDT by Thinkin' Gal
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To: Alouette; 2sheep; Jeremiah Jr
I forgot to include this in the above post:

-0107 Sep 29 15:56 A 71 0.016 0.949 0.6S 60.7W 89 186 06m12s

-0106 Sep 18 23:08 H 81 0.727 1.001 46.9N 149.1W 43 3 00m03s

http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/SEcat/SE-0199--0100.html

The coordinates indicate area of greatest eclipse. 0.6S 60.7W is in the middle of northern Brazil, 46.9N 149.1W is off in the Pacific, south of Alaska (49th parallel = US /Canadian border).
28 posted on 10/09/2002 7:28:47 AM PDT by Thinkin' Gal
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To: Prodigal Daughter
I meant to add you to the post above.
29 posted on 10/09/2002 7:29:36 AM PDT by Thinkin' Gal
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To: patriot_wes
Here's a little more of Ezekial to go with it. {ggg}. -LT
30 posted on 10/09/2002 7:43:32 AM PDT by LostTribe
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To: patriciaruth
"Any update on the ancient remains of a Caucasoid male that the Indians wanted to bury, claiming it was an ancestor, and that the scientists filed in court for right to examine?"

Kennewick Man, The courts just recently ruled for the scientists and further scientific study.

31 posted on 10/09/2002 8:02:34 AM PDT by blam
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To: patriciaruth
Here's your update on the Washington State remains that the Indians wanted to bury but the scientists wanted to study. The court ruled with the scientists. We will find out in due course the genetic and racial makeup of those ancient remains.

Congressman Billybob

Click for "Oedipus and the Democrats"

Click for "Til Death Do Us Part."

Click for "to Restore Trust in America"

32 posted on 10/09/2002 8:04:50 AM PDT by Congressman Billybob
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To: matrix
Yes, indeed....
33 posted on 10/09/2002 8:06:44 AM PDT by tracer
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To: William Terrell
First Americans
34 posted on 10/09/2002 8:09:33 AM PDT by blam
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To: Thinkin' Gal
Have you allowed for Gregorian corrections?
35 posted on 10/09/2002 8:14:12 AM PDT by Frumious Bandersnatch
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To: pistola
presented by Dr. Fell

Appropos of absolutely nothing, I am reminded of the following ditty:

I do not like thee, Dr. Fell.
The reason why I cannot tell.
But this I know, I know full well:
I do not like thee, Dr. Fell.

36 posted on 10/09/2002 8:15:34 AM PDT by r9etb
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To: pistola
Thor Heyerdahl showed the possibility of Mediterranean peoples sailing to south america. When the Spaniards first entered California, they reported the presence of Chinese traders - who had apparently been trading with the locals for generations. The Vikings obviously knew of the americas. Magellan didn't find the Straits of Magellan by accident.  He was following a map.

The assertion by landlubbers that ancient peoples wouldn't have the skills to navigate the oceans is laughable.  These same landlubbers are given to the view that ancient peoples were afraid to get out of sight of land.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Seamen know that they are far safer in blue water than they are near shore.  Most shipwrecks occur near shore.  There were many ancient peoples noted for their seamanship (Phoenicians for example).
37 posted on 10/09/2002 8:23:44 AM PDT by Frumious Bandersnatch
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To: William Terrell; freebilly; patriciaruth; Dan Rick; Sacajaweau; matrix; Alouette; patriot_wes; ...

This is a statue that was uncovered by archaeologists while excavating Olmec (1,000-1,200BC) ruins in Mexico. There were a number of statues recovered at this site, some exhibited Negroid or Asian features. Many were posed in the exact position as the statue above.

38 posted on 10/09/2002 8:25:14 AM PDT by blam
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To: pistola
Yes, there's some good evidence that Meditteranean civilization made it (on purpose or more likely, not) across the pond before Columbus. Roman-looking amphorae have turned up in Guanabara Bay in Brazil.

But I'm suspicious of putting the Lost Tribes of Israel in the New World. People are always trying to do that.

39 posted on 10/09/2002 8:25:55 AM PDT by VadeRetro
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To: VadeRetro

Olmec statue

40 posted on 10/09/2002 8:30:27 AM PDT by blam
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To: Frumious Bandersnatch
Have you allowed for Gregorian corrections?<<<

The dates I have on my program correspond to those on the eclipse site (linked above).

The Gregorian date is already adjusted (there are only 21 days in October 1582).

41 posted on 10/09/2002 8:34:24 AM PDT by Thinkin' Gal
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To: pistola
The question is—how did it get there? Is it a fraud, perpetrated by some pranksters for amusement purposes?

A OT Studies seminary student on a camp out.
42 posted on 10/09/2002 8:36:59 AM PDT by aruanan
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To: blam
The Olmecs
43 posted on 10/09/2002 8:37:23 AM PDT by blam
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To: pistola
Aren't the earliest surviving Hebrew texts written in an alphabet that is essentially indistinguishable from the alphabet used by the Phoenicians? Wouldn't Phoenicians have been more likely to sail to America? (Of course, your average Phoenician might not have known about the Ten Commandments -- I suppose one or more Hebrews could have been on the crew of a Phoenician ship.)
44 posted on 10/09/2002 8:37:24 AM PDT by aristeides
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To: Alouette
Would 16th century Spanish crypto-Jews have known anything about the Paleohebrew alphabet?
45 posted on 10/09/2002 8:38:32 AM PDT by aristeides
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To: aristeides
Was America A Phoenician Colony?
46 posted on 10/09/2002 8:42:01 AM PDT by blam
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To: Frumious Bandersnatch
The assertion by landlubbers that ancient peoples wouldn't have the skills to navigate the oceans is laughable

Indeed it is. Landlubbers from all times and places have attempted to project their own fear of the sea onto others. As you mentioned, there's no shortage of pre-Columbus, pre-Viking cultures who had the inclination, technology, and adventurous spirit to navigate the great oceans.

47 posted on 10/09/2002 8:45:56 AM PDT by Mr. Mojo
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To: freebilly
here come the mormons

Hey, maybe he'll find some golden tablets and magic Harry Potter specticals?

48 posted on 10/09/2002 8:48:35 AM PDT by Dead Dog
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To: Dead Dog
it is rather preposterous to imagine some pranksters or forgers operating with a knowledge of paleo-Hebrew in the late 1800s

Mormons

49 posted on 10/09/2002 8:54:40 AM PDT by Dead Dog
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To: pistola
Mormonism says that Hebrews came over to the continental US. I wonder if those who are suggesting the writing is authentic are Mormons. My position is that Joseph Smith goofed when he wrote that.
50 posted on 10/09/2002 9:01:14 AM PDT by Theo
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