On a stark mountain in New Mexico west of the town of Los Lunas (south of Albuquerque) is extremely strong archaeological evidence of ancient trans-oceanic travel, evidence which completely upends the conventional isolationist paradigm of human history. David Allen Deal's 1984 book Discovery of Ancient America provides an outstanding in-depth analysis of this site, as well as its implications.
Known as Hidden Mountain, or Mystery Mountain, or "Cerro los Moqujino," the site contains rock inscriptions which are indisputably Hebrew, but a form of Hebrew prior to the adoption of the more-familiar "square" letters. This "Paleo-Hebrew" alphabet was still retained for the writing of the Tetragrammaton in some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, as Mr. Deal shows with photographs in his book, even though those extremely ancient scrolls already used the square Hebrew letters for the rest of the words in their texts (for a bit more on the Dead Sea Scrolls, see this previous post).
The stunning aspect of the rock inscriptions at Los Lunas / Hidden Mountain is not only the fact that these inscriptions are one of the few remaining lapidary inscriptions with Paleo-Hebrew lettering, but that the main inscription (shown above) is a rendering of the Decalogue, or Ten Commandments -- in the middle of the New Mexico desert.
Mr. Deal provides many photographs, plus a full table of corresponding letters (modern Hebrew to Paleo-Hebrew to Roman letters of our current alphabet), so that the reader can follow the inscription for himself or herself (the inscription reads from right-to-left). He also provides a full translation including reference to the Strong's Number for each Hebrew word. The inscription above, rendered from left-to-right, is as follows (adapted from the translation given on page 6 of Discovery of Ancient America):
line 1: I [am] YHWH your mighty one who has brought you out from the landline 2: Not shall there be mighty ones any other besides meline 3: Mizriam [Egypt] from the house of bondage ^ [here, as Mr. Deal explains, the ancient inscriber actually inserted a caret symbol, which you can see in the third line from the top, because he left out the end of the first sentence in the first line, and inserted it after he finished his second line -- we can almost hear his frustration when he first discovered his error after carefully and painstakingly carving the neat letters of his first and second lines, but perhaps he was one of those ancients who believed in never showing anger; see the link above to the Dead Sea Scrolls discussion] Not shall you make for yourself a graven image. Not shall takeline 4: you the name of YHWH in vain. Remember you dayline 5: the Sabbath to keep it holy. Honor you your father and your mother so thatline 6: may be long your days on the land which YHWH your might oneline 7: is giving to you. Not shall you murder. Not shall you commit adultery. Not shall you steal. Notline 8: shall you testify against your neighbor a witness false. Not shall you covet wife of your neighbor'sline 9: or anything which to your neighbor [belongs]
Let's just look again at the map where this Paleo-Hebrew inscription is located and let that sink in:
The implications of this inscription are enormous. That is why defenders of the conventional paradigm are at pains to dismiss these inscriptions on a lonely 5,800-foot mountain in the middle of the American southwest as fraudulent. This Wikipedia article is typical of the treatment the inscription stone receives: numerous aspersions about those who found it, along with references to unnamed "researchers" who doubt its authenticity, contrasted with "amateur archaeologists" who allege it is authentic, followed by hints that it was not found until after it was possible to translate and forge such a text, and no mention of some of the most powerful pieces of evidence in favor of believing that it is no forgery, which Mr. Deal details in his book and which are discussed in brief below.
Here is an image of the Wikimedia entry for the Decalogue Stone, as referenced on 01/10/2013 (perhaps they will improve it in the future, but as of now it is a thinly-veiled sneer at the "amateur" idea that this stone could overturn the historical paradigm, and comes complete with a link to "pseudoarchaeology" at the end of the article, in the "See Also" section):
While that Wikipedia entry says that the stone was not discovered until the 1880s, Mr. Deal in his book points to an account from a former resident of the Los Lunas area named Florencio Chavez, Sr. who stated that he was shown the rock by his maternal grandfather, Simon Serna, who was born around 1829 and who had been shown the rock by his own father, who said he had seen it as early as 1800.
Further, while the Wikipedia article declares that "The Paleo-Hebrew script is practically identical to the Phoenician script, which was known at the time, thus not precluding the possibility of fraud," no evidence is presented to explain who in the barren desert of New Mexico with knowledge of Paleo-Hebrew chose to painstakingly scratch it onto the side of an 80-ton boulder -- with a misplaced line and a later correction with a caret, a symbol which can be shown to have been used in antiquity for inserting missing text, by the way -- as a fraud. It is one thing to say someone could have made a fraudulent inscription out there, but it is an entirely different thing to provide a suspect and a motive for such an elaborate fraud in such a remote spot.
Further, and also completely ignored by the debunkers, is the fact that the inscriptions at Los Lunas / Hidden Mountain, use a form of the Paleo-Hebrew symbol for "Q" which was unknown to nineteenth-century scholars until 1884, a key piece of evidence which Mr. Deal explains in his outstanding and thorough analysis of the argument over its authenticity. The typical Paleo-Hebrew symbol for "Q" was a circle roughly bisected by a vertical line (which we can readily see relates to the capital letter Q still in use in our alphabet). In the inscriptions at Los Lunas, a different form of "Q" is used, one that looks like an angular "figure 8," or like two triangles stacked with their points together in the middle (like an hourglass symbol).
This version of a "Q" appears in the fifth line of the text on the Decalogue Stone, in the second word from the far right, the second letter from the right in that word and the sixth from the right in that line. It is part of the verb "to keep it holy," referring to the Sabbath day. Unfortunately, it is a bit difficult to see in the photograph above, but can be easily seen on other photos and in the Deal book.
As Mr. Deal explains:
This letter first became known to modern scholars in the latter half of the 19th century. The earliest work in which it can be found is a publication in 1884, referred to by E. Hubener in 1893 (see Jensen, Sign Symbol and Script, p. 290, fig. 247). Even if we discounted the claims of the local Indians and the story of Simon Serna's father, which would place the site in existence at least as far back as the early 1800's, and dismissed the good word of Frank Huning, the respected and honorable man who claims to have been shown the site in 1871, it is difficult indeed to also set aside the claims by other settlers that it was in place in 1883 -- a full year before any knowledge of the letter [hourglass-shaped symbol] was known to the world of scholars. How could a forger have produced a letter style not yet known? 25.
Further, as Mr. Deal explains in great detail along with numerous photographs and diagrams, the Hidden Mountain site also contains a rock inscribed with a beautiful star-map depicting the zodiac constellations Sagittarius, Scorpio, Libra, and Virgo along with nearby constellations Ophiuchus, Cygnus, Aquila, Hercules, Cassiopeia, Cepheus, Draco, Bootes, Leo, and the Big and Little Dippers (for help fiinding these constellations in the sky, and their significance, use the search window at upper left corner of this blog to search for previous posts containing those constellations). According to Mr. Deal's painstaking analysis, the rock accurately depicts the location of a total solar eclipse that took place in September of the year 107 BC, and the stone is properly oriented towards the sky scene that it depicts!
Somehow, any mention of this incredible piece of supporting evidence is completely ignored on the Wikipedia entry. Mr. Deal also details aspects of the site's layout which support the idea that it was a military outpost with observation posts and an animal enclosure for a period of time before it was abandoned. He compares this evidence to known archaeological sites in the Old World to support his argument. All of this supporting evidence makes a strong case for the authenticity of the inscriptions at Los Lunas.
The full explanation of this zodiac stone is worth the price of Mr. Deal's book alone. However, he provides extensive analysis of the possible historical context for the crossing of the oceans by ancient peoples during the centuries in question, and supports his hypothesis with numerous quotations from ancient historians, from Herodotus to Strabo. His hypothesis is extremely well laid-out and is in fact one of the most compelling I have seen. It demands more attention and study.
Finally, it should be noted that the inscriptions at Los Lunas, as revolutionary as they are, are by no means the only evidence of deliberate, routine, and long-lasting contact between the Old and New World by sea-going ancient cultures capable of crossing the oceans. Many other pieces of evidence have been discussed in previous blog posts, as well as in my own book. For previous blog posts on this topic, see also "The Calixtlahuaca Head" and its list of links to other posts, as well as other posts written since that one on the same topic (such as this one about ancient copper mines in Michigan, or this one about the possibility that stone monuments found on both sides of the Atlantic contain coded "maps" to help ancient mariners navigate the sea-lanes), as well as the extensive analysis in Mr. Deal's book.
Given the numerous pieces of evidence which support the conclusion that the inscriptions at Hidden Mountain in New Mexico are authentic, and the fact that Hidden Mountain is just one of a plethora of archaeological finds in the Americas that point to the ancient ability to cross the oceans, it appears to be a powerful clue that mankind's ancient past is far different than we have been led to believe.
We should all be extremely grateful to Mr. Deal for his outstanding examination of this critical and overlooked historical treasure in the rugged terrain of New Mexico south of Albuquerque, as well as to those ancients who adorned their lonely outpost with such dramatic inscriptions and diagrams which still speak to us across the gulf of centuries.