Zazzle Shop

Screen printing

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The "mystery stone" that suggests ancient Greeks were in New Mexico in 500 BC


The "mystery stone" that suggests ancient Greeks were in New Mexico in 500 BC

The "mystery stone," discovered on a mountainside in New Mexico, appears to be inscribed with ancient Greek or Hebrew. For decades, scholars have wondered if it's proof that Mediterranean peoples came to the New World thousands of years ago.

The stone is also called the "Decalogue Stone," and if you are able to reach its remote location you can walk right up to it and try to solve its mysteries yourself.

According to Atlas Obscura:

The stone was first acknowledged in literature in 1933 by famous New Mexico archaeologist Frank Hibben, who wrote of encountering the stone on a guided tour by an individual who claimed to have first discovered the stone in the 1880's. The inscription's alleged existence in the late 1800's would place the inscribing before the modern scientific rediscovery of both Paleo-Hebrew and Cypriotic Greek. However, the inscription may well be Phoenician, a script well known at the time.

Proponents of the inscription being in Paleo-Hebrew claim that it is a record of the Judeo-Christian Ten Commandments, based on a 1949 translation by Harvard scholar Robert Pfeiffer. In 1979, a University of New Mexico epigrapher named Dixie Perkins put forth the theory of the inscription as Cypriotic Greek, used around 500 BC in the Mediterranean region. In Perkins' translation, the stone reads as a report from an explorer or warrior named Zakyneros, who has become isolated in the wilderness and now struggles to survive.

Many others however, believe the stone to be a hoax perpetrated by Hibben himself . . .

If it's a hoax, that's almost more awesome than if it were real. Who doesn't love a little shenanigans with ancient languages in remote locations?

via Atlas Obscura