LOS LUNAS DECALOGUE STONE
I am well this week, praise be the Lord! How about you all? Anything exciting happen this week? As for me, there have been some terrible wind storms in my area. The wind is cold and sharp even though it is sunny outside, unusual for this time of year. It feels more like early spring than almost summer, ha ha!
Speaking of unusual, I heard about an interesting topic…paleo-Hebrew inscribing on a rock in New Mexico! Well, I just had to check it out! And as it turns out, yes indeed, there is a large rock with paleo-Hebrew writing on it. So the big question is, is it authentic?
|Decalogue Stone Commons|
“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 (aged-not freshly scraped) 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.”1
Others, however, claim it is a hoax. Mainly due to the “freshness” on the carved writing. Some disrespectful people
even went as far as to vandalize the stone by scratching out the first line. But it is also known that many people who have come along have carefully re-scraped each letter to “make it more visible”. Unfortunately, the good intentions of these people to make the Decalogue stone more readable also has significantly impaired accurate dating. Also a few of the letters appear to be Phoenician and one definitely Greek.
|Decalogue Stone after it was vandalized|
The Decalogue stone, as this has become to be known, is located on a 400 foot high mesa in Hidden Mountain, New Mexico, near Los Lunas, about 35 miles south of Albuquerque. It is also known as the Los Lunas Inscription. Hidden
Mountain or Mystery Mountain as the local Native Americans call it, has an air of mystic surrounding it. Who wrote this inscription and why? How long ago could it have been written?And what were they doing there? Most experts agree that the writing is authentic. Almost all of it is written in paleo-Hebrew. But the style is odd for this type of writing. Most paleo-Hebrew is written with a dot between the words. All other paleo documents such as the Mesha Stele (also known as the Moabite Stone) (Jordan) dated around 850 BC, the Hezekiah tunnel where the Siloam Inscription (Jerusalem) is dated around 700 BC, the Gezer calendar, found 30 miles from Jerusalem and dated to the 10th century BC, as well as others use dots to separate words in text. However it is
estimated that by around 125 BC no dots were used any more and only a blank space separated words. This is evident in the famous Dead Sea Scrolls (dated around 1BC/1AD) where no dots are used. And is evident in the Decalogue stone as well.
|Mesha Stele commons|
|Siloam Stone commons|
|Mystery Mountain commons|
The word Decalogue simply refers to the ten commandments found in Exodus 20:1-17 of the Old Testament. This stone is an abridged version of the ten commandments. Since some of the writing is phonetically spelled, and a proofread mark (arrow) showing an added line (which is squeezed between two other lines), and one misspelled word all lead to indicating the author was not a scribe (someone who’s life is all about precision writing), it is believed the writing was put there by an informal or layman. It would have taken time and effort to carve the stone. And why would anyone inscribe something like this unless they were Hebrew?
Now here’s where it gets fascinating. Other paleo-Hebrew inscriptions have been found in Iowa, Ohio, and Tennessee.
AND on the other end of the world, Carson Hastings, an Avocational Archaeologist, found a Clovis point (a unique and highly skilled way of chipping stone) while climbing Mount Carmel in Israel. Hastings is an expert on Southwestern United States paleo archaeology having spent many years studying and identifying different types of chipped tools. He stated, “Clovis tool technology is not unique to North America…there is a growing body of evidence of a link of knowledge between ancient people (around the world).”2 It just shows that ancient people weren’t as dumb as they are made out to be.
|Decalogue Stone with English translation. Courtesy of Aaron Judkins|
By HuMcCulloch - Self-photographed, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24325784 (Decalogue Stone-vandalized)
By Unknown - Mbzt 2012, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22090379 (Mesha Stele photo)