Want Book of Mormon proof? This article perhaps cannot be considered proof, but I can vouch for the accuracy of the information. This article is Bible and Ancient World History lesson. An extremely interesting read but long. You may want to print to read later, or make several snacks. You might get hungry.
James Brian Marshall
Who Really Discovered America?
Reports the San Francisco Chronicle: "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.
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?
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, "They are speaking the Hebrew names for God!"
Dr. Joe Mahan is a strong believer in cultural contacts between the Indians and the East, long before Columbus. He showed me a small tablet containing ancient cuneiform writing of the Babylonians. "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."
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.
In addition to these remarkable discoveries, Dr. Cyrus Gordon told me that Jews were in America in ancient times. The inscription on the stone, he 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."
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. 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 vertical 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 transatlantic communication between the Mediterranean and the New World around the middle of the second millennium B.C."
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).
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.
The Navy of King Solomon
In the days of Solomon there was an alliance between Hiram, the king of Tyre and the Israelites under Solomon. They were not only allies, but very friendly toward one another (II Chronicles 2:2-12).
"Then went Solomon to Ezion-geber, and to Eloth, at the sea side in the land of Edom. And Huram sent him by the hands of his servants ships, and servants that had knowledge of the sea; and they went with the servants of Solomon to Ophir, and took thence four hundred and fifty talents of gold, and brought them to king Solomon" (v.17-18).
There is archaeological evidence, in fact, that the fleets of Solomon and Hiram of Tyre circumnavigated the globe, sailing from Ezion-geber, a port at tne terminus of the Red Sea, near modern Aqaba or Eliat!
Amazing Discoveries in Mexico
At Acapulco, von Wuthenau found that early Semitic peoples lived in considerable numbers. "The curious points about these essentially primitive figures are that, first, there is an emphasis on markedly Semitic-Hebrew features," he declared (p. 86). Female figures found in the region are also markedly Caucasian, with delicate eyebrows, small mouths and opulent coiffures.
Cyrus Gordon, who has studied the collection, points out: "In the private collection of Alexander von Wuthenau is a Mayan head, larger than life-size, portraying a pensive, bearded Semite. The dolichosephalic ("long-headed") type fits the Near East well. He resembles certain European Jews, but he is more like many Yemenite Jews."
Near Tampico, the early Huastecan culture reveals portrait heads with a predominant Semitic, white element, but also Negroid features appear. At Veracruz, meanwhile, a figurine of a female dancer possesses the features just like those of a Frenchwoman of Brittany! She wears a headdress reminiscent of Phoenician fashion. Also at Veracruz a figure with a false beard, styled like an Egyptian beard, had a snake-like protrusion on the forehead.
Again and again, figures with definite Semitic features have been found. A sample of Maya ceramic painting shows a lady with a flower who has an undeniable Negroid character. The figure has an affinity with Egyptian painting, says Wuthenau. yet it was not found along the Nile, but in Central America! On the Pacific coast of Ecuador, also, evidence for the presence of early Hebrews has been found. Also discovered was a figurine of a lovely girl who wore a headdress with a remarkable Phoenician affinity. Other Ecuadorian heads show definite Semitic features. Clearly, the Semites penetrated a large part of the American continent in "prehistoric" times!
Discoveries in South America
The first man, Francisco Pinto, in 1872 found over 20 caves deep in the Brazilian jungle and uncovered about 250 strange inscriptions upon the rocks. He thought they were Phoenician, and Brazil's Director of History and Geography corroborated his suspicions. A German philologist who studied the markings in 1911 felt they were genuine.
In the 1880s, Ernest Ronan, a French scientist, combed the jungles and found several more inscribed stones. In the 1920s a scholar by the name of Bernardo da Silva discovered many more inscriptions along the Amazon. It makes good sense. It explains why the Mayans,who considered Quetzalcoatl as the bringer of their arts and laws, depicted him as being unusually blond!
When the Spaniards discovered the New World in the early sixteenth century, perhaps fifty million inhabitants lived in the Western Hemisphere, speaking over 900 languages. Such linguistic diversity has long puzzled scholars, and logically attests to a diversity of origins. Carleton S. Coon reported that the conquistadores "commented on Montezuma's light skin, but did not remark that this ruler rarely exposed himself to the bright sun." Coon adds: "George Catlin, in his portraits of the Mandan Indians, depicted some of them as blond. . . .
Another case of allegedly abberrant Indians is that of the Pomo, Hupa, and neighboring tribes in north-central California whose beard growth seems to have been Caucasoid when they were first seen" (Coon, The Living Races of Man, p.154).
Another mystery to ethnologists is the existence of a white skinned, red-bearded tribe discovered by builders of Brazil's Trans-Amazon Highway. Called the Lower Assurinis because they live south of the route of the highway, they have ear lobes (which is uncharacteristic of other tribes), and their language differs from traditional dialects in the region.
Sir Walter Raleigh in his History of the World mentioned that the Indians he encountered used many Welsh words long before the Welsh were known to have come to America. Linguistic studies prove that the Welsh language is very closely akin to ancient Hebrew!
Interestingly, ancient Maori traditions relate that since antiquity the Maoris have observed ceremonial and dietary laws very similar to those of the ancient Hebrews. They even kept the seventh day "Sabbath" as a day of rest! Also, every 7 times 7 years -- or 49 years -- they observed a Jubilee Year similar to that of the ancient Hebrews." These similarities simply cannot be explained away as "mere coincidence"! The Maoris, like the Hebrews, even had a "sacred month" given over to Harvest thanksgiving, corresponding to the Hebrew month of Tishri and the Festival of Tabernacles.
How can these fascinating facts be explained? Such similarities must be more than mere coincidence. Like the Yuchi Indians of North America, the Maoris, at some very early stage of history, must have come in contact with ancient Hebrew mariners, roaming the seven seas, who taught them Hebrew customs and left behind signs of Hebraic influence!
How was this contact achieved? Was the ancient world covered by a global cultural continuity, indicating a globe-girdling civilization?
This map does not stand alone. A world map drawn by Oronteus Finaeus in 1531 gives a truly authentic map of Antarctica, indicating the coasts were probably ice-free when the original map was drawn (of which Oronteus Finaeus' map was a later copy). The Oronteus Finaeus Map was strikingly similar to modern maps of the Antarctic. How could this be?
Another fascinating map is the map of Hadji Ahmed of 1559. It is evident that the cartographer had some extraordinary source maps at his disposal. Says Hapgood: "The shapes of North and South America have a surprisingly modern look, the western coasts are especially interesting. They seem to be about two centuries ahead of the cartography of the time. . . . The shape of what is now the United States is about Perfect" (p.99).
Another map of the Middle Ages, the Reinel Chart of 1510 -- a Portuguese map of the Indian Ocean -- provides a striking example of the knowledge of the ancients. Studying the identifiable geographical localities and working out from them, Hapgood was astounded to find that "this map apparently shows the coast of Australia . . . The map also appeared to show some of the Caroline Islands of the Pacific. Latitudes and longitudes on this map are remarkably good, although Australia is shown too far north" (ibid., p.134).
Concludes Hapgood: "The evidence presented by the ancient maps appears to suggest the existence in remote times . . . of a true civilization, of a comparatively advanced sort, which either was localized in one area but had worldwide commerce, or was, in a real sense, a worldwide culture" (p.193).
What ancient society could have been responsible? Is there really any doubt?
The evidence is overwhelming. The Semitic features discovered in Mexico and South America, the Hebrew and Phoenicians inscriptions, the Hebrew religious customs found in the Americas, and similar customs in far off New Zealand among the Maories of ancient times, all attest to the fact that worldwide oceanic travel, trade and commerce was occurring during the time of the Solomonic Empire!
Hapgood says such mapmaking would indicate economic motivations and vast economic resources. Further, organized government is indicated, since the mapping of a continent such as Antarctica implies much organization, many expeditions, and the compilation of many local observations and maps into a general map under central supervision. He adds that it is unlikely that navigation and mapmaking were the only sciences developed by this ancient people. Such a comprehensive enterprise could only have been achieved during a relative time of world peace, and by a very powerful and extremely wealthy kingdom! What ancient kingdom could have accomplished this?
YEHOVAH God told Ezekiel, "And say to Tyre, 0 you who dwell at entrance to the sea, who are merchants of the peoples of many islands and coastlands. . . The inhabitants of Sion and [the island] of Arvad were your oarsmen; your skilled wise men, O Tyre, were in you, they were your pilots. The old men of Gebal [a city north of Sidon] and its skilled and wise men in you were your calkers; all the ships of the sea with their mariners were in you to deal in your merchandise and trading" (Ezekiel 27:3, 8-9).
This sounds like the description of a globe-girdling nautical nation -- one which brings its wealth from afar! -- one which travels throughout the entire earth in its quest for material goods and trade!
We also read in the Bible: "For the king [Solomon] had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks" (I Kings 10:22).
But there's even more evidence!
"You Resemble a Sinner of Canaan!"
Surely, all these parallels are not mere coincidence! Can anyone in their right mind consign these similarities to mere "accident"?
Says Rivero and von Tschudi: "But that which most tends to fortify the opinion as to the Hebrew origin of the American tribes, is a species of ark, seemingly like that of the Old Testament; this the Indians take with them to war; it is never permitted to touch the ground, but rests upon stones or pieces of wood, it being deemed sacrilegious and unlawful to open it or look into it. The American priests scrupulously guard their sanctuary, and the High Priest carries on his breast a white shell adorned with precious stones, which recalls the Urim of the Jewish High Priest: of whom we are also reminded by a band of white plumes on his forehead" (p.9-10).
These two reputable scientists of the last century also point out, "The use of Hebrew words was not uncommon in the religious performances of the North American Indians, and Adair assures us that they called an accused or guilty person haksit canaha, 'a sinner of Canaan'; and to him who was inattentive to religious worship, they said, Tschi haksit canaha, 'You resemble a sinner of Canaan'" (ibid.).
Though such evidence does not prove that the Indians themselves were Jews or Israelites, it does show that long before Columbus, Hebrews had reached the New World and had left their imprint upon its inhabitants. There undoubtedly was some intermarriage. Such incredible parallels are beyond the remotest possibility of being due to mere chance!
Why should it seem strange that peoples of the ancient world-in particular Phoenicians and Hebrews -- reached the New World and travelled to South America, and even crossed the Pacific? Is it really so incredible? The trouble is, most of us of the present generation have been brainwashed to think that the ancients were merely superstitious savages, terrified of sailing out to sea lest they fall off the edge of the earth.
But the Phoenicians had already sailed out beyond the "Pillars of Hercules" (Straits of Gibralter) by 1200 B.C. They developed the keel, streamlined their ships, covered the decks, and improved the sail. Their ships were from 80-100 feet long and used a single square sail besides oars. Their ships could average 100 miles in a day's time (24 hours). They were busy traders. Commerce was their principal aim. Tyre and Sidon, their home ports, were cities of immense wealth. Did ancient Phoenicians reach the New World? The evidence is inescapable.
Also interesting is the fact that the Quichua word for the sun, Inti, may very likely be derived from the Sanscrit root Indh, meaning "to shine, burn, or flame" and which corresponds to the East India word Indra, also meaning "the sun." It is also significant that the pre-Incas worshipped the invisible, Creator God, the Supreme Being, by the appellative Con, very similar to the Hebrew Cohen, the word for "priest," from the root Kahan meaning "to meditate in religious services, to officiate as a priest."
When all is said and done, Rivero and von Tschudi declare: "It cannot be denied, that the above tradition of the creation of the world, by the invisible and omnipotent Con, the primitive happy state of men, their corruption by sin, the destruction of the earth, and its regeneration, bears a distinct analogy to the Mosaic chronicle of the earliest epoch of the history of the human race . . ." (Peruvian Antiquities, p.149).
What could this "tongue" of gold have been? The gold of Ophir was not a scarce commodity since Solomon received 44 tons of it in a single year. Ophir was a place famous for its gold. Could it be that Isaiah was referring to a particular instrument of gold -- something famous in Ophir?
The Inca Empire was famous for the quantity and quality of the gold it produced. The Incas of modern Peru have a tradition that their earliest king was Pirua Paccari Manco. In modern Quichua Pirua means a granary or storehouse. The first dynasty of kings, called the Pirua dynasty, included the first eighteen kings in the king list. One of the commonest titles of the early kings was Capac which means "Rich."
John Crow relates another tradition of the ancient Incas. It is the story of "the Golden Wedge, according to which the Sun, wearied of the crude, barbaric ways of the uncivilized Indians, sent two of his children, a son and a daughter, to lift them from their primitive life. Placed on the earth near the banks of Lake Titicaca, these two children of the Sun were given a golden wedge which they were to carry with them wherever they wandered; and on the spot where this wedge sank without effort into the ground and disappered they were told to found their mother city. When the divine pair reached the vicinity of Cuzco, their talisman slid into the earth and vanished from sight" (The Epic of Latin America, p.25).
Was this mysterious talisman -- this "golden wedge" -- the same thing mentioned by the prophet Isaiah -- the "golden wedge of Ophir"?
There is a close resemblance between the Pirua dynasty and the Hebrew word Ophir. In Hebrew, Ophir ("ph" can be pronounced either as an "f" or a "p") was the name of a place rich in gold (I Kings 9:28); sometimes the term Ophir was used for gold (Job 22:24). Ancient Peru would certainly fit the Biblical description of Ophir. It was famous for its gold. In the Temple of the Sun in Cuzco was a fantastic display of wealth. The four inside walls were covered with paper-thin sheets of gold. A giant golden figure of the Sun hung suspended over the main altar. A huge silver room was dedicated to the Moon. Surrounding the Temple of the Sun and several chapels was a huge stone wall, covered with a cornice or crest of gold a yard wide. Inside the Temple were decorations of gold and silver flowers, plants and animals. The Spaniards sacked the Temple and seized all the gold and silver ornaments.
Historian Fernando Montesinos visited Peru from 1629-1642, a century after the conquest by the Spaniards. He travelled fifteen years through the country collecting material for a history of Peru. Montesinos wrote Ophir de Espana, Memorias Historiales y Politicas del Peru. He believed Peru was the Ophir of Solomon. He contended that Peru was first settled by Ophir, the grandson of Noah (Gen. 10:29).
Montesinos has been ridiculed and derided by historians. But since the early settlers of Peru were white-skinned and red bearded; since there was abundant gold in the region; since the name of the Pirua dynasty may correspond to the Hebrew Ophir; since the voyages of Solomon's fleet took about three years to complete; and since the "golden wedge" of Ophir could very well correspond to the "golden wedge" of Manco Capac; and since there is so much overwhelming evidence of cultural contacts betweens the ancient Peruvians and the Israelites, with close affinities in cosmology; and since there is definite evidence of the presence of ancient Semitic peoples in Peru, Equador, and the Western Hemisphere -- it seems very likely that Montesinos was right! Indeed, there is strong reason to believe that Peru was the ancient Ophir of the Bible!
When we examine all the evidence, the picture comes startlingly clear. Ancient Semites -- early Hebrews -- sailed to the Western Hemisphere 2,500 years before Columbus. Much of this knowledge has been lost to mankind. But now a great deal of it is being re-discovered. The ancient Israelites were here before us! They left signs of their presence everywhere -- in customs, language, religious similarities, archaelogical artifacts, and even the Ten Commandments inscribed on a remote stone in a dry creek bed in New Mexico!