Monday, April 18, 2011

Did King Solomon’s Fleets Visit America?

Did ancient Hebrews reach the shores of the North
and South American continents thousands of years
before Christopher Columbus? What evidence is
there for Hebrew and Israelite occupation of the
Western Hemisphere even a thousand years before
Christ? Was trans-Atlantic commerce and travel
fairly routine in the days of king Solomon of Israel?
Read here the intriguing, fascinating saga of the
William F. Dankenbring
A stone in a dry creek bed in New Mexico, discovered by early settlers in the region, is
one of the most amazing archaeological discoveries in the Western Hemisphere. It contains
engraved on its flank the entire Ten Commandments written in ancient Hebrew script! Hebrew
scholars, such as Cyrus Gordon of Brandeis University near Boston, have vouched for its
authenticity. I visited the site of the huge boulder, near Las Lunas, New Mexico, in 1973 and
photographed the Hebrew inscriptions. A local newspaper reporter guided me to the mysterious
site, located out in the middle of the New Mexico desert. We watched for rattlesnakes, as we
hiked in to the spot where the boulder lies, unmoved and in situ for who knows how many
mysterious centuries. Who put it there? Who wrote the incredible inscription of the TEN
COMMANDMENTS in an ancient Hebrew dialect?
In his new book The Origins and Empire of Ancient Israel, author-historian Steven M.
Collins points out that the “Las Lunas Stone” inscription in archaic Hebrew was written in the
Hebrew letters of the style of the Moabite Stone, dated to about 1,000 B.C. This would place the
writing on the stone to the time of the kingdom of ancient Israel under its most affluent and
powerful king, Solomon, who reigned from 1014 B.C. to 974 B.C.
Exactly how old the writing is, however, is not known. George Morehouse, a geologist,
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studied it and concluded it is between 500 and 2000 years old, based on the weathered patina on
the rock. However, the inscriptions have received periodic scrubbings, says Collins, and
therefore some of the ancient evidence of weatherization could have been removed in the
process. Collins points out that the punctuation in the inscription matches that found in ancient
Greek manuscripts of the fourth century. Dr. Barry Fell states that separation points found in the
artifact date to as early as 1200 B.C.
Says Collins,
“In view of the above, this Los Lunas inscription pre-dates the arrival of Columbus
by at least a thousand years, but it most likely dates to the time of King Solomon
for several reasons. The first reason is that the inscription is in the Paleo-
Hebrew characters in use from approximately 1200-600 B.C., which includes the
reign of King Solomon. A second piece of evidence is what the inscription says!
Since it is an inscription of the Ten Commandments given by God to Moses,
it was obviously made by Israelites at a time when they worshipped the God of the
Bible. Since the Kingdom of Israel quickly degenerated into pagan practices
after the reign of Solomon, it argues that this inscription was made during the
reign of Solomon when God’s laws were the standard for the nation” (Steve
Collins, Origins and Empires of Ancient Israel, pages 218-219).
We will demonstrate later in this article that sea voyages around the world were fairly
common during the time of king Solomon, the son of David, during Israel’s “golden age.”
Solomon’s incredible wealth also strongly points to the Las Lunas stone inscription as
having been carved during his reign. Financing sailing voyages of discovery and maritime trade
is no small feat. Vast sums and investments are required. Solomon was the wealthiest king who
ever lived, and undoubtedly had the resources to fund such far reaching and dangerous voyages.
Also, during his reign Israel was in league with the other major world powers of the day,
including Tyre and the Phoenicians, and the nation of Egypt (Solomon married the daughter of
Pharaoh, thus cementing that alliance).
Steve Collins writes:
“Another factor powerfully supporting a dating of this ancient Hebrew
inscription to the time of Solomon are the economic and logistic realities
in the ancient world. Transoceanic expeditions and colonization efforts
in the ancient world required a very large commitment of monetary and
human resources. The source of such resources had to be the king of a
wealthy nation. Because the New Mexico inscription is in ancient Hebrew,
the sponsor for that ancient expedition had to be a very wealthy king of the
ancient Israelites! Solomon was the wealthiest ancient King of Israel, and
he reigned at a time when the Israelites kept the Ten Commandments”
(ibid., page 220).
The “Decalogue Tablet”
Another fascinating archaeological discovery in America is an ancient artifact bearing an
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old Hebrew inscription of the Ten Commandments unearthed in Ohio in 1860. The tablet also
includes a scene of an individual – Moses – carved into the front of the tablet in considerable
detail, holding the tablets of the Ten Commandments. This artifact was discovered in an ancient
burial mound. The Hebrew inscription also has characteristics of the old Phoenician alphabets.
Writes Steve Collins on this remarkable discovery:
“A Hebrew inscription with Phoenician features is exactly what ancient Israelite
inscriptions should be like. The Israelites were close allies of the Phoenicians
and shared a common culture and navy from the time of King David until the
fall of Israel circa 721 B.C. Their artifacts would naturally exhibit the traits of
both cultures.”
Collins continues:
“While this artifact unearthed from an Ohio burial mound cannot be specifically
dated, the alphabet used indicates that it was made by ancient followers of God
who spoke Hebrew. While it would be tempting to date this artifact to the time
of King Solomon, the fact that it was engraved with square Hebrew letters indicates
a date several centuries more recent than the Los Lunas tablet, which exhibited
the more ancient Paleo-Hebrew letters” (ibid., page 223-225).
The fact that the Decalogue was buried at the ancient grave site may be evidence of a
strong Levitical presence with the early Israelite explorers. It was customary in ancient times for
explorers to be accompanied by priests and religious officials, and the Levites were the chosen
tribe to officiate in religious matters in the Kingdom of Israel. It was their responsibility alone to
conduct Temple services and to perform the duties associated with Temple worship, religious
instruction and education, and sacrifice.
Evidence of Ancient Egyptians
Literally hundreds of inscribed Phoenician, Celtic and Basque stone grave markers have
been found in Susquehanna Valley of Pennsylvania, dated to 800-600 B.C., over 2,000 years
before the fateful voyage of Columbus! It must be said, therefore, that Christopher Columbus
did not really “discover” America. Rather, he and his intrepid sailors rediscovered the “New
Incredible as it may seem, the presence of ancient Egyptians has been found in the
writing system of the Wabanaki/Micmac Indians in Maine, a sub-tribe of the Algonquins. It has
even been documented, says Collins, that the ancient Egyptians sailed the Pacific Ocean as far as
Polynesia and Hawaii, searching for gold, about 1,000 B.C. – during the very time of Solomon’s
Empire in Israel.
One proof of this fact is an inscription in ancient Ogam and Libyan – the language of
Egyptian merchantmen – found near the Rio Grande River of Texas. The inscription states than
an Egyptian-Libyan king by the name of Shishonq visited North America a number of times. It
is translated as, “A crew of Shishonq the king took shelter in this place of concealment.” Says
Dr. Barry Fell, several kings of this name ruled Egypt and Libya between 1000 and 800 B.C.
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Interestingly, the Bible itself mentions a king of Egypt by the name of “Shishak”
(“Shishonq”) who invaded the Kingdom of Judah during the time of Rehoboam, son of Solomon,
after the kingdom of Israel separated from allegiance to the throne of David. Shishak was no
doubt an ally of Jeroboam, the king of Israel, at that time. He was a mighty king and plundered
the Temple and riches of the kingdom of Judah (see I Kings 14:25-26).
Steve Collins declares:
“It is significant that Dr. Fell noted the time period of ‘1000-800 B.C.’ as marking
a period of significant Old World exploration of the New World. This time frame
exactly parallels Bible records showing international travel and commerce flourished
with fleets undertaking multi-year voyages and visiting other continents. This time
frame begins with the reigns of Kings David and Solomon, but continues through
much of the history of the northern kingdom of Israel, the dominant partner in the
Phoenician alliance until Israel fell circa 721 B.C. The conclusion is inescapable
that the record of ancient history verifies the biblical accounts. The Bible is not
a detailed history of all that happened in the ancient world, but it confirms what
archaeology and epigraphy have shown about the real state of commerce and travel
in the ancient world” (Collins, page 227, emphasis mine except boldface).
Mystery Hill
More evidence of early Hebrew-Phoenician presence in North America hundreds of years
before Christ was found in New England. At Mystery Hill, named for the “mystery” concerning
the origin of the site, in North Salem, New Hampshire, a large temple observatory site of about
twenty acres was discovered by early colonial settlers. It included shrines with dedications to the
god Baal, a Phoenician-Canaanite deity condemned by the God of Israel. Dr. Barry Fell dated
these inscriptions to about 800-600 B.C., a time of apostasy in ancient Israel. Radio-carbon
dating of the site, however, indicates it was also inhabited back to the second millennium before
Such a site dedicated to Baal should be expected, since most of the kings of Israel, after
David and Solomon, worshipped Baal and the Babylonian pantheon, including Astarte (Easter),
and Tammuz.
Early settlers used stones from the site as building materials for their own homes.
Nevertheless, Barry Fell found enough conclusive evidence to demonstrate that the ancient site
was composed of stone slab chambers and henge stones used for determining summer and winter
solstices. Many temple dedications were found in the stone walls. Radio-carbon dating indicates
the site was in use for hundreds of years, showing that the Phoenician-Hebrews had a strong and
thriving colony in the New World that endured through many centuries.
The Davenport Stele
More evidence of Hebrew-Phoenician explorers being present in the New World comes
from a burial mound found in 1877 near Davenport, Iowa. Unfortunately, it was ignored for
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decades by scholars and historians because no one could read its inscription. Also, it was
considered “suspect” because some of the signs on it contained resembled Hebrew, and others
resembled Phoenician, and this was utterly contrary to prevailing scholarly opinion.
Barry Fell has investigated this ancient stele and found it contains join inscriptions in
three ancient languages – Iberian-Punic [related to Phoenician/Hebrew], Egyptian, and ancient
Libyan. Why these three languages? During the time of King Solomon of Israel, the leading
world alliance of the time was a triple alliance consisting of Israel-Phoenicia, Egypt, and Libya!
Comments Steve Collins,
“These are the language groups of the triple alliance that the Bible reveals began
in the reign of Solomon! Since this ancient stele confirms that these groups were
traveling and working together in the interior of North America, it indicates that
this alliance not only existed but also had a global reach!” (Collins, p.210).
Why would there be parallel inscriptions on the same stone, in Davenport, Iowa, in these
ancient languages, unless these three nations had been working and exploring together?
Says Dr. Fell,
“The date is unlikely to be earlier than about 800 B.C., for we do not
know of Iberian or Libyan inscriptions earlier than this date. . . . It seems
clear that Iberian and Punic speakers were living in Iowa in the 9
B.C.” (Fell, America B.C., page 268).
The terms “Iberian” and “Punic” refer to languages which are closely related to
Hebrew/Phoenician. Dr. Fell noted the Phoenician “character” of the script on both sides of the
Atlantic Ocean. The Iberian peninsula (Spain) was at one time largely settled by peoples of the
tribes of Israel. In fact, the term “Iberian” comes from the Hebrew word “Eber,” meaning
The Iowa stele indicates that the “triple alliance” begun in the days of Solomon, between
Israel, Phoenicia, and Egypt/Libya, continued on into the 800s B.C. It probably lasted until
Israel was carried away into captivity in 721 B.C. by the growing Assyrian empire. The Bible
states plainly that the northern kingdom of Israel, ruled by Ahab, was still “in bed” with
Phoenicia during his reign, around 850 B.C. Ahab married the daughter of Hiram, king of Tyre,
a woman by the name of Jezebel, a priestess of the Baal-Astarte abomination.
The Jewish encyclopedia tells us that Ahab was a very powerful king – one of the four
greatest kings of all history! According to the Targum Sheni, four kings reigned over the entire
world – and these did NOT include Alexander the Great. They were in order: Solomon, Ahab,
Nebuchadnezzar, and Cyrus of Persia.
The Aggagah declares that Ahab was one of three or four kings who will have no portion
in the world to come (Sanhedrin 10.2). Over the gates of Samaria he placed the inscription:
“Ahab denies the God of Israel.” Influenced by his wife Jezebel, he became an enthusiastic
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idolater like none before him. He left no hilltop in Israel without an idol before which he bowed.
He substituted the names of idols for the divine Name of God in the Torah. Ahab is said to have
ruled over the “whole world” and “his dominion extended over 252 kingdoms” (Encyclopedia
Judaica, “Ahab,” vol.1, p.439).
Thus during the 800s, Israel was still a very powerful kingdom, and the triple alliance
forged by Solomon with Phoenicia and Egypt was still going strong, in the hands of Ahab. An
inscription noting this alliance, by being in three languages of the three kingdoms, found in
Davenport, Iowa, attests to the fact of this continuing and powerful entente. Ahab was a worldly
despot whose wickedness was only surpassed by his foolishness. Nevertheless, he was still the
most powerful monarch in the world during his time, and the triple alliance brought Israel great
wealth and might.
Writes Steve Collins:
“A date of 800-700 B.C. for this stele confirms that the triple alliance of Israel,
Egypt and Phoenicia lasted long after the lifetime of King Solomon. The Bible
records that the ten tribes of Israel forsook worshiping the Creator God after
Solomon’s death, and adopted the religious customs of Egypt, Tyre and Sidon.
Biblical accounts show that Israel and Phoenicia were still very closely allied
during the reign of King Ahab of Israel (circa 850 B.C.), and there is no evidence
that their alliance suffered a breach until approximately 721 B.C., when Israel
ceased to be a nation in the Mideast. . . . Therefore the Iowa stele showing that
these ancient nations were still working together around 800 B.C. in the New
World is consistent with biblical accounts” (ibid., p.212).
In addition to these discoveries, another stele exhibiting the ancient Egyptian-Libyan
script was unearthed on Long Island, New York. Dr. Barry Fell states that it also probably dates
to around the ninth century B.C.
Still another amazing discovery was made in Oklahoma, where another stele was found
which contained references to the gods Baal and Ra, with an inscription which was “an extract
from the Hymn to the Aton by Pharaoh Akhnaton.” Although the dating of Akhnation is
purported to be in the 13
century B.C., new Egyptian dynastic dating methods indicate he was
much closer to 800 B.C. Immanuel Velikovsky points out that Akhnaton was a member of the
dynasty in Egypt, which co-existed with the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah during the
800s B.C. He was a contemporary of king Jehoshaphat in Jerusalem, and reigned from 870-840
B.C. (see Ages in Chaos, p.229). This Oklahoma stele is written in Iberian-Punic, a language
descended from Phoenician-Hebrew, and Barry Fell declares that it is “scarcely older than 800
B.C.” (see Collins, p.212, Fell, America B.C., p.159).
Peruvian Discoveries
In December, 1989, it was reported that an American explorer in Peru's highland jungles
had found evidence that indicated king Solomon's legendary gold mines may have been in that
region. The explorer, Gene Savoy, declared that he had found three stone tablets containing the
first writing found from the ancient civilizations of the Andes. The inscriptions, he reported, are
similar to Phoenician and Hebrew hieroglyphs!
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The San Francisco Chronicle reports: “The hieroglyphs on the tablets are similar to
those used in King Solomon’s time and include one identical to the symbol that always appeared
on the ships he sent to the legendary land of Ophir, which the Bible described as the source of his
gold, Savoy said” (December 7, 1989).
Savoy is no newcomer to archaeological discoveries. He was the discoverer of the last
Inca city of Vilcabamba in 1964. Savoy declared that the three tablets each weigh several tons
and measure about 5 by 10 feet. They were found in a cave near Gran Vilaya, the immense ruins
of the Chachapoyas Indian civilization which he discovered in 1985.
Hebrews in the Americas 1,000 B.C.?
In 1973, while traveling to do research for an article I was writing for The Plain Truth
magazine, I visited with Dr. Joseph Mahan in Atlanta, Georgia, an expert in ancient Indian
ethnology of the southeastern Indians of the United States. He showed me samples of pottery
uncovered from the waters around the Bahamas, and told me of Indian legends, including that of
the Yuchis, stating they had migrated to the area of Florida and Georgia from the region of the
Bahamas. According to their legends, the island sank beneath the sea and they fled for their
These same Yuchis later migrated to the Oklahoma territory, where they eventually
settled down. Amazingly enough, they show strong evidence that they had contact with the Old
World in historic times. They have a custom which is unique among the American Indians.
They are racially and linguistically different from their neighbors. Every year on the fifteenth
day of the sacred month of harvest, in the fall, they make a pilgrimage. For eight days they live
in “booths” with roofs open to the sky, covered with branches and leaves and foliage. During
this festival, they dance around the sacred fire, and called upon the name of God.
The ancient Israelites had the virtually identical custom, in many respects. In the harvest
season in the fall, on the 15th day of the sacred month of harvest (the seventh month), they
celebrate the “festival of booths” for eight days. During this time they lived in temporary booths,
covered with branches, leaves, fronds. This festival goes back to the time of Moses and the
Exodus from ancient Egypt (Leviticus 23).
How is it that two totally separated peoples observed the identical custom? The chances
of this occurring by pure “accident” are equivalent to the chances of survival of a snowball in
Dr. Cyrus Gordon, of Brandeis University in Boston, was privileged to sit in on one of
the fall harvest festivals of the Yuchi Indians, and listened to their chants, songs, and sacred
ceremonies. An expert in Hebrew, Minoan, and many Middle Eastern languages, he was
incredulous. As he listened, he exclaimed to his companion, “My God! They are speaking the
Hebrew names of God!”
Dr. Joe Mahan is a strong believer in cultural contacts between the Indians and the East,
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long before Columbus. He showed me a small tablet containing ancient cuneiform writing of the
“This,” he said, “was found not long ago by a woman digging in her flower bed, here in
Georgia. The inscription appears to be genuine. There is no reason not to believe it is authentic.”
Perplexing Mysteries
In Quest of the White God, Pierre Honore points out similarities between the ancient
Minoan writing and the script of the ancient Mayas. Independently of him, other scholars have
noted striking similarities between Aztec glyphs from Mexico, and Cretan glyphs on the Phaistos
Disc from the island of Crete in the Mediterranean.
More and more, scholars are coming to admit that peoples from the Middle East reached
the New World long before Columbus or the Vikings. One stone, found at Fort Benning,
Georgia, has unusual markings all over it. It is called the “Metcalf stone” in honor of its
discoverer. In 1968 Manfred Metcalf was looking for slabs to build a barbeque pit. Several
strange-looking, flat rocks caught his eye; he picked up a large flat piece of sandstone about nine
inches long, brushed it off, and noticed odd markings on it.
I saw the stone myself, and took photographs of it. Professor Stanislav Segert, professor
of Semitic languages at the University of Prague, has identified the markings on the stone as a
script of the second millennium before Christ, from the Minoan civilization on the island of
The inscription on the stone, Dr. Cyrus Gordon asserts, is in the writing style of Canaan,
the promised land of the Hebrews. Concludes Gordon, whom I interviewed at his old, New
England style home in the suburbs of Boston: “There is no doubt that these findings, and others,
reflect Bronze Age transatlantic communication between the Mediterranean and the New World
around the middle of the second millennium B.C.” He said such discoveries prove beyond doubt
ancient Jews came to the Americas long before Columbus!
Metcalf gave the stone to Dr. Joseph B. Mahan, Jr., Director of Education and Research
at the nearby Columbus Museum of Arts and Crafts at Columbus, Georgia. Mahan sent a copy of
the stone to Cyrus Gordon. Gordon reported:
“After studying the inscription, it was apparent to me that the affinities of the script were
with the Aegean syllabary, whose two best known forms are Minoan Linear A, and Mycenaean
Linear B. The double-axe in the lower left corner is of course reminiscent of Minoan civilization.
The single verticle lines remind us of the vertical lines standing each for the numeral ‘1’ in the
Aegean syllabary; while the little circles stand for ‘100.’”
Concluded Gordon: “We therefore have American inscriptional contacts with the Aegean
of the Bronze Age, near the south, west and north shores of the Gulf of Mexico. This can hardly
be accidental; ancient Aegean writing near three different sectors of the Gulf reflects Bronze Age
translatlantic communication between the Mediterranean and the New World around the middle
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of the second millennium B.C.” The middle of the second millennium B.C. would have been
around the time of Moses and the Exodus of Israel out of ancient Egypt!
Gordon offers the exciting thought, “The Aegean analogues to Mayan writing, to the
Aztec glyphs, and to the Metcalf Stone, inspire the hope that the deciphered scripts of the
Mediterranean may provide keys for unlocking the forgotten systems of writing in the New
World. A generation capable of landing men on the moon, may also be able to place pre-
Columbian Americas within the framework of world history” (Manuscripts, summer of 1969).
The Brazilian Paraiba Stone
Further proof that transatlantic travel and communication existed in the Bronze Age, in
the middle of the second millennium B.C., during the time of David and Solomon, and before,
comes to us from South America.
In 1872 a slave belonging of Joaquim Alves de Costa, found a broken stone tablet in the
tropical rain forests of Brazil’s Paraiba state. Baffled by the strange markings on the stone,
Costa’s son, who was a draftsman, made a copy of it and sent it to the Brazilian Emperor’s
Council of State. The stone came to the attention of Ladislau Netto, director of the national
museum. He was convinced of the inscription’s authenticity and made a crude translation of it.
Contemporary scholars scoffed. The very thought of Phoenicians reaching Brazil thousands of
years before Columbus was viewed with disdain. Few scholars took the stone at all seriously.
Ninety four years later, in 1966, Dr. Jules Piccus, professor of romance languages at the
University of Massachusetts, bought an old scrapbook at a rummage sale containing a letter
written by Netto in 1874, which contained his translations of the markings on the stone and a
tracing of the original copy he had received from Costa’s son. Intrigued, Dr. Piccus brought the
material to the attention of Cyrus H. Gordon. Dr. Gordon, the head of the Department of
Mediterranean Studies at Brandeis and an expert in ancient Semitic languages, as well as author
of some 13 books, was amazed. He compared the Paraiba inscription with the latest work on
Phoenician writings. He discovered that it contained nuances and quirks of Phoenician style that
could not have been known to a 19th century forger. The writings had to be genuine!
Gordon translated the inscription as follows: “We are Sidonian Canaanites from the city
of the Mercantile King. We were cast up on this distant shore, a land of mountains. We
sacrificed a youth to the celestial gods and goddesses in the nineteenth year of our mighty King
Hiram and embarked from Ezion-geber into the Red Sea. We voyaged with ten ships and were at
sea together for two years around Africa. Then we were separated by the hand of Baal and were
no longer with our companions. So we have come here, twelve men and three women, into New
Shore. Am I, the Admiral, a man who would flee? Nay! May the celestial gods and goddesses
favor us well!”

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