In the summer and fall of 1860 an archeological paradigm was turned on its head. Two artifacts were found in Ohio. They were immediately labeled as a hoax because they didn’t fit within the accepted thinking of the day. David Wyrick, a Licking County surveyor found the artifacts. The first (#2 in the photo above) was a triangular, wedge shaped stone found in the bottom of a pit near ancient Hopewell earthworks in Newark, Ohio. The second (#1 in the photo) was found 10 miles south during the excavation of a burial mound.
“The Holy of Holies, The Law of God, The King of the Earth, The Word of the Lord.”
The other stone, known as the Decalogue Stone was found inside a sandstone box or case . The case was carved specifically to house the Decalogue Stone. The stone itself is inscribed on all sides with characters, which have been determined to be “Block Hebrew” or “Monumental Hebrew”. On the front of the stone is a robed man who appears to be holding a tablet. Above his head is written “Moses”. When translated, the writings, which cover the Decalogue stone were found to be the Ten Commandments.
How could there be Hebrew writings on stones in North America during this time frame?
How could people living in North America two centuries after Christ have knowledge of the Ten Commandments?
Both of these questions can be answered if one accepts that a group of Jews, led by the Prophet Lehi came to North America in 600 BC and brought with them brass plates which contained the five Books of Moses.
Another argument proposed by skeptics is that the limestone used to make the Decalogue stone is not indigenous to the Newark area. However, in a paper published on an Ohio State University website , James L. Murphy of Ohio State University says such limestone is common in Muskingum County, Ohio.
The Hebrew script found on the Newark Holy Stones differs from that used today.
The Hebrew alphabet changed significantly after the Babylonian exile (597 – 582 BCE). If a group came to North America around 600 BCE we would expect that their script and the script of their descendants would differ from present-day script.
Along with the Keystone and the Decalogue stone, a small stone bowl was found. In his book, “The Book of Mormon in America’s Heartland – A Visual Journey of Discovery”, Rod Meldrum presents an explanation for the bowl’s purpose.
“The small stone bowl or cup is significant because similar stone vessels are typical of Jews who kept the purity laws. Stone vessels do not become impure, and purity was very important.
“After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD, the use of stone bowls as ritual objects were discontinued. Stone bowls to hold ceremonial oils, such as this, are significant because it could have been part of Hopewell sacred rituals, as it was for the Jews.”
Such ceremonial bowls would have still been in use by a Hebrew culture in North America in 150-200 AD because the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD did not affect their culture.
Skeptics when these stones were found, and some skeptics today, believe these stones are forgeries because there is no evidence of a Hebrew civilization or even a Hebrew influence in the Hopewell civilization. These stones were some of the first artifacts found that depicted Hebrew script. Just because something is new or unusual doesn’t make it a forgery. Since 1860, many other artifacts have been found which support the idea that early inhabitants of North America were of Jewish decent.
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Alphabet Chart from: econ.ohio-state.edu — Click chart for larger view.
“The Script of the Torah” Jerusalem, Israel: Aishdas. 2002., Sanhedrin 21b-22a
“An Annotated Transcription of the Ohio Decalogue Stone.” by J. Huston McCulloch, Epigraphic Society Occasional Papers vol. 21 (1992): 56-71.
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