I gave a talk last week on Mysteries of the Southwest as an introduction to The Mystery of Chaco Canyon. It was well received. I wrote the book thinking everyone knew about the mysteries but I’ve found that people didn’t know. The mysteries are real. The interpretations are my own.
Like most of the places in my story, you can go there and visit. The stone is near Hidden Mountain on the Rio Puerco about 35 miles south of Albuquerque. It was discovered in 1933 by Prof. Frank Hibben of UNM. He was taken there by a Mexican companion who said his father had shown it to him in the 1880s. The Decalogue or Ten Commandments are written on the rock in an ancient version of Hebrew unknown at the time Hibben made the world aware of the stone. The tetragrammaton YHWH, or “Yahweh,” the name of God, also appears. Since Hibben’s day, we have learned that the script is appropriate for about 600 B.C.
Prof. Hibben was a lightning rod for controversy. In 1929, the American archaeological community had just accepted Clovis and Folsom Man with Clovis first dating to 10 or 12,000 B.C. The community had been burned over Piltdown Man, a fake, and thus slow to accept the prehistory of North American mammoth hunters. In 1930, Hibben announced Sandia Man found in a cave near Albuquerque and dating to 25,000 B.C. A graduate student working with Hibben has his stratigraphy was a mess as was his record keeping and basically, he had no evidence. He was dismissed as a fraud. Since that time, we have learned that man was in North America as early as 30,000 B.C. and Hibben’s finds become much more plausible.
All new science comes from the fringe. Initially, no one accepts it. It’s out there with the crazies on the fringe. New finds need to be evaluated on their own evidence and no dismissed because they don’t seem plausible or don’t fit current theory.
Of course Hebrews couldn’t have been on the Rio Puerco in 600 B.C. It implausible. The name, puerco, means filthy. It derives from the word for pig. In New Mexico, puerco is an insulting term for a Jew. Thor Hyeredahl sailed a papyrus boats, Ra and RaII, across the Atlantic in 1969 and 1970, showing that it could be done. In Egypt we find mummies with coca and tobacco leaves wound in their bindings. A Hebrew visit to North America may be unlikely, but it’s not impossible.