by Zena Halpern
Originally published in The Midwestern Epigraphic Society Journal, Volume 16
Three sites will be discussed with ancient Semitic inscriptions; two have astronomical evidence validating their authenticity; the three sites are Hidden Mountain in New Mexico, the Bat Creek Stone from Tennessee, and the Newark, Ohio inscriptions.
Hidden Mountain, New Mexico
The Decalogue Stone
At the base of the mountain is the Decalogue Stone in the old Phoenician/Hebrew/Samaritan script. This huge stone sits in a ravine, at the entrance to a path leading to the top of the mountain. There is a striking similarity to the Samaritan Mezzuzot in which ancient Samaritans placed stone plaques inscribed with an abridged version of the Ten Commandments at the doorways to their dwellings. The Israel Museum has two such stone plaques labeled Samaritan Mezzuzot.
The Astronomical Petroglyph
At the rim of the mountain, is a petroglyph with identifiable constellations; Ursa Minor and Ursa Major, Draco, Virgo, etc. Unique aspects of the petroglyph are a solar eclipse between Virgo and Libra (see sketch) and a circles-dot near the constellation of Draco and Lyra. Dr. Louis Winkler, an astronomer analyzed the petroglyph and stated that the two concentric circles with a dot placed at the north ecliptic pole indicated a knowledge of precession.
Dr. Winkler also analyzed the solar eclipse and stated that the depiction of the solar eclipse from Hidden Mountain, New Mexico took place on Sept. 15, 107 BCE (Gregorian) and was at 5:03 PM Local Standard Time at an elevation of 13 degrees above the horizon. Dr. Winkler’s software (Albug) shows the eclipse in Virgo near Libra. Using the Julian calendar, the eclipse is dated to Sept. 18, 107 BCE which correlates remarkably to the Hebrew calendar date of Elul 28, 3654. Elul 28 is the Hebrew month and day preceding the sacred day of Tishri I and the first day of the seventh month (Leviticus 23:24) later observed as the New Year (Rosh Hashanah). (See table of eclipse dates.)
The remarkable message depicted on a rock on the rum of Hidden Mountain shows a sophisticated understanding of astronomical data and observation of an event at an auspicious time in the year 107 BCE, which marked the eve of the day of an ancient observance of the Hebrew calendar.