Extensive Semitic Presence Documented in Pre Columbian America

Many enjoyed a good chuckle when Mel Brooks in Blazing Saddles, playing a Native Indian chief, looks over a stagecoach and then dismisses them in Yiddish: “Lozem Geyn” (“let them go”). [1] The scene is humorous because it is seemingly so preposterous. I was convinced that someone was attempting to milk this joke when I read of a stone in Los Lunas, New Mexico which bore a Phoenician (ancient Hebrew) inscription of the Ten Commandments (The Decalogue). The stone was first translated by Dr. Robert Pfeiffer of Harvard in 1949 and was confirmed to be a slightly truncated form of the Ten Commandments. Initially, I suspected a forgery however my subsequent research revealed ample evidence of Semitic influence in pre Columbian America. There turns out to be literally hundreds of examples from four major episodes: We have the examples of the Cherokee Indians, the Bat Creek Stone, the Mayans, and the Jews of ‘Calalus’.


The Los Lunas Decalogue Stone [2]

But before I could proceed in my research, I had to be reasonably convinced that the Los Lunas stone was not a forgery or a fake. Dr. Cyrus Gordon head of the Department of Mediterranean Studies at Brandeis University (1956-1974) and an expert in ancient Semitic languages wrote:

“We are not dealing with a modern forgery. It has been there as far back as the local inhabitants (Indian as well as White) knew. The Whites have witnessed it since about 1800. The Indians call the place “The Cliff of the Strange Writings””.[3]

However, I was still suspicious. There was no precise date given for the stone since radiocarbon dating works only on organic matter such as wood. Adding to the mystery, indeed to the incredulity, the site has never been fully excavated and investigated academically.

There was, however, plenty of circumstantial evidence of transatlantic contact in the form of early American artwork. There were examples of figures which looked like apes and elephants even though those two animals are known to never have existed in North America. Alexander Von Wuthenau was an art historian from the University of the Americas. He found that

“The facts pouring in from every side bring us to the … general conclusion that ancient American civilization was stimulated by transoceanic contacts. … Before 300 A.D. no American Indian types are depicted in the tens of thousands of sculptured ceramic figurines, … but only Far Eastern, African …, and various Mediterranean types – especially Semites.” [4]

The historic testimony of artwork is intriguing but hardly conclusive. There are rumours of ancient land bridges which may have accounted for a tribal memory of distant animal species. While there seemed to be ample evidence to justify a full academic investigation into the matter, there were not any to be found.


An Apelike figure from Mexico

circa 1000-1150 CE [5]


Elephant like depictions in the Mayan Temple at Chichen Itza

In his book “Los Lunas Mystery Stone” Dr Donald N. Yates explains that these and numerous other finds suggesting a transoceanic contact predating Columbus are largely ignored due to dogma. “Stephen Jett, a Johns Hopkins trained professor… believes it is because of political correctness and reverse racism. … Academicians will not look at evidence for transoceanic contact because they view the hypothesis of diffusionism as injurious toward ‘our Native Americans’.”[6] Further Major John Wesley Powell, who directed the Smithsonian’s Bureau of Ethnology instituted a ban on such investigations in the 1800’s which is, according to Yates, still an accepted policy.[7]

While the academic arches may be slow to change and accept the possibility of early, pre-Columbian Semitic interactions with America, there appears to be a groundswell of grassroots evidence and testimony. As recently as 2007, “The Northern Cherokee Nation of the Old Louisiana Territory has recently shocked the world by claiming their ancient Oral legends tell of a Cherokee migration made to America from the area known as Masada.” [8] Yates adds that “Cherokee traditions maintain that their nation was formed by two strains of people, the ‘ani-yvwiyah’ or Real People later joined by the Keetoowah (kituwa, ani-giduhwa), a word which can be traced to Hebrew K-T-B “write,” hence “people of the writing, or covenant”. Dr Gordon was privileged to sit in on a fall harvest feast and was astonished “They are speaking the Hebrew names of God!”[9] Finally a traditional Indian admonishment of a guilty party is “haksit canaha”, “a sinner of Canaan”. [10]

A second discovery which was unearthed during the course of an official excavation under the Smithsonian’s William Emmert (1889) strengthens the notion that early America was a refuge for Jews escaping Roman rule. In this case, the Bat Creek Stone, found in Bat Creek Tennessee bears the inscription “a comet/roq/phoenix for Judea” which is a well known slogan of the Bar Kochba revolt of 133CE. [11]


The Bat Creek Stone reads: [12]


Wood taken from the site was radiocarbon dated yielding a date around the 1st or 2nd century CE. While this find is controversial with an October 2004 “American Antiquity” article (Mainfort and Kwas) claiming it is a fraud[13], the debate rages on with a counter argument published in February, 2005 in the journal “Pre-Columbiana” (McCulloch).[14] Thus, the evidence of the Cherokee tale and Bat Creek Stone suggests America was a refuge for Roman-Jewish escapees on at least two separate occasions.

Another large body of evidence for Semitic influence in early America is the bulk of similarities one can find in the Mayan sacred texts when compared with the Old Testament. In his book “The Nexus: The Link between the Mayan and Semitic Languages, During Pre Columbian Times” David Deal demonstrates a verse by verse correspondence between creolized Phoenician and Hebrew phrases of the Torah. The Mayan’s sacred book, the ‘Popol Vuh’ (book of the community), starts with a creation story that closely mirrors that of the Old Testament. It goes on to tell of a migration of the people across a sea that was split such that they were able to walk dry shod.



After a 40 year migration led by a leader ‘Kukulcan’ they finally reached Chichen Itza. Deal reveals that the name Kukulcan is an ancient Hebrew derivative: ‘Khuquq El Khan’ (Lawgiving High Priest) and that ‘Chichen Itza’ is likewise ‘Sheshen Itza’ (joyously brought forth).



Deal is convinced and offers convincing arguments that Kukulcan is none other than the Mayan version of Moses. Deal then notes that Sheshen Itza mirrors the usage found in Psalm 105:43 “And he brought forth his people in joy.”


Deal’s book is too extensive in breadth to be covered fully here, but two appetizers follow. First the word ‘tamale’, is a highly identifiable and seemingly uniquely Mexican word. It turns out that it is a composite of the Hebrew ‘Ta Male’, a small chamber to be filled. In short, it is a ‘blintze’.


Next, the name ‘America’: Conventional history holds that the name was inspired by Amerigo Vespucci; not so says Deal. When the Spanish crew of Columbus’ fourth voyage was coasting Nicaragua, they invited some Mayan natives aboard. The crew asked the Maya the name of the place as they motioned to the mountain tops. The Maya assumed they were referring only to the mountain tops and answered “Amerik”. They Hispanized the name exchanging a ‘c’ for a ‘k’ and adding ‘a’. It has been America ever since. But Amerik has a Hebrew origin. ‘Ameer Rik’: summit of a mountain, emptiness. [16]


Finally we have the Calalus settlement. In 1924 a collection of lead tablets was found near Tucson Arizona. “The crude plates told of a band of Hebrew refugees who fled Charlemagne’s Frankish Christian Regime and sailed across the Atlantic to a land known as Calalus. Found together with these plates were “ceremonial standards engraved with menorah and Hebrew tags like shalom, qaddash, elohim, goi gadol.” [17]


A Calalus ‘Nehushtan’: Healing Staff (see Numbers 21:4-9) features a serpent wrapped around a staff

Calalus was founded in 775 C.E. when the colony’s first leader Theodore wrested the capital Rhoda from the native ‘Toltec’. A recent discovery off the coast of Haifa gives a possible vessel for the transatlantic crossing. Dr. Elisha Linder discovered the wreck of an ocean worthy craft and reports that a “flotilla of such merchantmen [(ships)] would have been available to Theodore and his colonists setting forth from Rome in 775.” [18]


Dr Linder discovered the wreck of an ancient, ocean worthy vessel near Kibbutz Ma’agan Michael, Haifa, Israel [19]

Calalus went on to record a long and tumultuous history of wars, near defeats, and eventual total defeat around 900 CE. During its history there were many interactions between Calalus and Narbonne, a Carolingnian state (modern day France) where Jews enjoyed self-governance. It was in Narbonne that the Kabala was created from its well respected Yeshiva. Yates ends his book with a tantalizing yet teasing notion that it was the Jews of Calalus that wrote the Los Lunas Decalogue Stone given the presence of various Kabalistic petroglyphs surrounding it. A key nearby petroglyph depicts the Torah, the heavenly chariot (‘Merkabah’) and the trees of illumination (‘Sefirot’) all central Kabalistic emblems.


Petroglyph near the Los Lunas Decalogue Stone depicting the Torah, ‘Merkabah’ and ‘Sefirot’ [20]

Has Yates found a probable author of the Los Lunas Decalogue Stone? More generally, have their been Semitic transatlantic crossings and interactions with pre-Columbian America?

Before we can answer such questions we must understand that while Archaeology is a science it is nonetheless an interpretive one. In all cases where interpretation is involved, the interpreter’s assumptions come into play. Take the example of the 1980, discovery of what appeared to be the possible tombs and remains of Jesus Christ and his family near Talpiot, Jerusalem. Randy Ingermanson and Jay Cost ran a statistical analysis of the predicted odds that the tomb was indeed that of Jesus depending of the assumptions researchers with different preconceived notions would likely make. [21] The results are as follows (ranging from improbable to probable):

Type of Researcher

Odds the Tomb was Jesus’

A historian with strict Christian beliefs, believing Jesus ascended to heaven

impossible (there would be no tomb with remains if Jesus ascended to heaven)

A historian leaning against the tomb being Jesus’ tomb


A ‘typical’ historian


A historian leaning towards the tomb Jesus’ tomb


A historian who desperately wanted the tomb to be Jesus’ tomb


From this we see that archaeology is susceptible to the pre-existing viewpoints of its practitioners. With respect to Pre-Columbian influence in America, it seems that mainstream archaeologists are operating under a very old, yet firmly rooted mandate:

“The Vatican has been long accused of keeping artifacts and ancient books in their vast cellars, without allowing the outside world access to them. … Sadly, there is overwhelming evidence that something very similar is happening with the Smithsonian Institution. The Smithsonian [, under Major John Wesley Powell,] began to promote the idea that Native Americans, at that time being exterminated in the Indian Wars, were descended from advanced civilizations and were worthy of respect and protection. They also began a program of suppressing any archaeological evidence that lent credence to the school of thought known as Diffusionism, a school which believes that throughout history there has been widespread dispersion of culture and civilization via contact by ship and major trade routes. The Smithsonian opted for the opposite school, known as Isolationism. Isolationism holds that most civilizations are isolated from each other and that there has been very little contact between them, especially those that are separated by bodies of water. In this intellectual war that started in the 1880s, it was held that even contact between the civilizations of the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys were rare…” [22]

Until archaeologists revisit this antiquated and blinding mandate they operate under, it is unlikely the truth of the matter of Semitic interaction with Pre-Columbian America will be resolved to any satisfaction.


[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsj4s9z-EAE

[2] Donald N. Yates, Los Lunas Mystery Stone and Other Sacred Sites of New Mexico, Donald N Yates, Sun Publishing cover

[3] David Allen Deal, The Nexus Spoken Language: The Link Between the Mayan and Semitic, During Pre-Columbian Times, ISAC PRESS Institute for The Study Of American Cultures p 2

[4] Alexander Von Wuthenau, Unexpected Faces in Ancient America: The Historical Testimony of Pre-Columbian Artists (1500 B.C.-a.D. 1500 : the Historical Testimony of Pre-Columbian Artists)

[5] Yates, p.62

[6] Yates, p. 71

[7] Yates, p 46

[8] http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/fr/848921/posts

[9] http://www.ensignmessage.com/archives/solomonsfleets.html

[10] Mariano Eduardo de Rivero y Ustariz et al, Peruvian Antiquities, Putnam, p. 10

[11] Yates, pps 16-17

[12] Yates, p. 17

[13] Mainfort & Kwas "The Bat Creek Stone Revisited: A Fraud Exposed" American Antiquity 69.4 (Oct 2004): p761

[14] McCulloch, “The Bat Creek Stone Revisited: A Reply to Mainfort and Kwas in American Antiquity,” Pre-Columbiana

[15] All transliterations excerpted from Deal, The Nexus

[16] Deal, p. 98

[17] Cyclone Covey, Calalus A roman Jewish Colony in America from the Time of Charlemagne Through Alfred the Great ISAC PRESS Institute for The Study Of American Cultures

[18] Yates, p. 82

[19] Sean McGrail, Boats of the World, Oxford University Press, p. 136

[20] Yates, p. 87

[21] http://www.ingermanson.com/jesus/art/stats2.php

[22] Jonathan Eisen, Suppressed Inventions, Berkley Trade, p 215

13 thoughts on “Extensive Semitic Presence Documented in Pre Columbian America

  1. Well that may be the case but with DNA evidence proving that the mtDNA Haplogroup X2 is only found in 2 places in the world, among the jews in Israel and among the Alogonquian tribes of North America. It doesn’t matter what school of thought wins out DNA doesn’t lie. So there is no link from the land bridge from siberia to alaska of the Haplogroup X2 DNA mograting the only other way would be a transoceanic sea voyage. Which has also been proven with the Pheonian project. I am Tsalagi (Cherokee) I am Semitic I am a son of Israel!

  2. I’m pleased to hear from you. Thank you for your comment. My research also supports the notion of a transoceanic voyage as a possible method for the migration. I’m interested to hear more info on the Pheonian (sic) project.

    Best regards…MCW

  3. Good evening, Sir. Just wondering . . . have you had a chance to study the Book of Mormon, particularly the title page and the books of I Nephi and Ether within the Book of Mormon?

  4. I’ve been pointed in that direction a few times. What specifically about them would my readers be interested in?

    Many thanks…MCW

  5. Good evening. The Title Page of the Book of Mormon states that the record was written to a group called Lamanites, “who are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile . . . “. The Book of I Nephi tells of how the forefathers of the Lamanites and other family members came from the land of Jerusalem to the Americas, by ship, between the years of 600 BC and about 589 BC. These people were part Jewish by descent. Within the Book of Mormon is also a record of the former inhabitants of the land, who destroyed themselves through warfare. This is found in the Book of Ether. The record states that the forefathers of this earlier nation also came there by transoceanic voyage. That voyage occurred approximately 2,200 BC. For more information regarding these occurances, in addition to the Book of Mormon, I recommend the work of the late Dr. Hugh Nibley, entitled “Lehi In The Desert and The World of The Jaredites”, published in 1952 by Bookcraft Publishing Co., and included more recently in “The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley”, published by Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, UT.

  6. The inscription on the Bat Creek stone has been solved by the eminent Norwegian Dr. Philos.
    Kjell Aartun. It is described in the book “Studien zur ugaritischen Lexikographie” published by the German “Harrassowitz Verlag” in 2006.
    (ISBN 3-447-05326-7, ab 1.1.2007 978-3-447-05326-6)
    The text is in 4 languages: Minoan hieroglyphs, Minoan Linear A, Etruscan and Runes.
    Observe merely 2 Runes.
    The engraving is approx. 3800 years old.

  7. This is fascinating. I’m familiar with the Book of Mormon, an ancient record from the Americas that talks about a group of Jews leaving Jerusalem, crossing the sea to America and setting up a civilization here under the Law of Moses, but I never studied much farther than that. The fact that it’s not the only sacred record to talk about Semitic influences in the ancient Americas is exciting; this is a subject I definitely need to pursue.

  8. Hi Martin,
    I’m a researcher for September Films. We’re working on a doicumentary about pre-Columbian America and the possibility that other cultures have visited America before Columbus ever set foot here. Do you have an email address that I can contact you to give you more information about our project and to see if you (or maybe someone you know) are interested in participating? I didn’t want to “spam” your comments section. Thanks for your time and hope to hear from you soon! Have a great day!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *