The Los Lunas Decalogue Stone


The Los Lunas Decalogue Stone
is a large boulder on the side of Hidden Mountain, near Los Lunas, New Mexico, about 35 miles south of Albuquerque. The stone bears an inscription carved into a flat panel. The inscription is interpreted by some to be an abridged version of the Decalogue or Ten Commandments in a form of Paleo-Hebrew.

The inscription has been translated by the Epigraphic Society as follows:

I (am) Yahweh [the Eternal] Eloah [your God] who brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim [Mizraim or the two Egypts] out of the house of bondages. You shall not have other [foreign] gods in place of (me). You shall not make for yourself molded (or carved) idols [graven images]. You shall not lift up your voice to connect the name of Yahweh in hate. Remember you (the) Sabbath to make it holy. Honor your father and your mother to make long your existence upon the land which Yahweh Eloah [the Eternal your God] gave to you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery (or idolatry).You shall not steal (or deceive). You shall not bear witness against your neighbor, testimony for a bribe. You shall not covet (the) wife of your neighbour and all which belongs to your neighbour.

A letter group resembling the tetragrammaton YHWH, or ‘Yahweh,’ makes four appearances on the stone. The first recorded mention of the artifact is from 1933, when Professor Frank Hibben, an archaeologist from the University of New Mexico, reportedly saw it.

Hibben was led to the stone by an unnamed guide who claimed to have found it as a boy in the 1880s. If this information is accurate, a forgery would be unlikely because the Paleo-Hebrew script was unknown to scholars in the 1880s.

One argument against the stone’s authenticity is the apparent use of Modern Hebrew punctuation, although epigrapher Barry Fell argued that the punctuation is consistent with antiquity.

Other researchers dismiss the artifact based on the numerous stylistic and grammatical errors that appear in the inscription. The stone is controversial because many feel the artifact is Pre-Columbian and proof of early Semitic contact with the Americas, providing evidence that people from Israel settled in America.

Because of the stone’s weight of over 80 tons, it was never moved to a museum or laboratory for study and safekeeping. The stone is accessible to visitors by purchasing a $25 Recreational Access Permit from the New Mexico State Land Office.

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