by Joe Kuz BereanBelievers.org
There is ample evidence that the ancient cultures were able to traverse the oceans and travel throughout the world. However, not only the specific details, but even the very existence of these voyages have been generally lost to history. Today we are fortunate that some evidence remains. One example is a stone (photo above) with inscriptions of ancient European, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern languages; this stone was found on a river in the state of Kentucky in the United States. A similar artifact was also found in West Virginia.
The Sign on the Right:
The text of the sign reads:
This is the famous Red Bird Petroglyph known since pioneer days and enrolled on the National Register of Historic Sites.
On December 7, 1994, this historic stone fell from a sandstone cliff and rolled onto Highway 66 on Lower Red Bird. On December 9, 1994, it was transported here and set up in its home.
At least 8 Old World alphabets are engraved on it. These alphabets were extinct when Columbus arrived in the New World in 1492.
The alphabets are first century Greek and Hebrew, Old Libyan, Old Arabic and Iberian-Punic which probably dates from the 9th century B.C. Ogam, Germanic Runes, and Tiffinag-Numidian are also on this stone.
Of all the hundreds of important, translatable, and published inscriptions in the U.S.A, this is the first one to have been given official protection. Clay County and the City of Manchester have granted protection to this Stone. In doing so, they have obtained a good name and public esteem worldwide.
The Sign on the Left:
(Editor's Note - the bottom line of the sign shows a dissection of
the individual characters which compose the symbol entitled "sun disc
and inscription to RA".)
Photographs of the petroglyphs, which have been filled in with chalk to make them more easily visible:
First Century Christian monogram in Hebrew and Greek letters. It means "Jesus Christ Son of the Father."
An Ogam rebus in the Gaelic language it means, "THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD".
Sun disc and inscription to RA, the Egyptian sun god, is carved here by Nile Mariners.
The significance of the artifact:
The fact that the stone bearing the petroglyphs was found on a river gives strong evidence that the ancient navigators could and did navigate to other areas served by that river: The Red Bird River flows into the Ohio River, which in turn reaches the Mississippi, which allows access to a majority of the area now comprising the United States. The Red Bird river is on a trail which leads from the Great Lakes in Michigan to the Gulf of Mexico.
Not only are the alphabets of historical interest, the content of the text is of considerable religious significance. Two opposing religions - Judeo/Christian and Pagan Sun Worship - are represented.
The presence of Sun Worship symbols demonstrates how widespread and pervasive that form of idolatry existed in world history; the presence of Christian symbols begs the question of how far the Gospel was spread in those early days before the Dark Ages. What exactly did the apostle Paul mean when he said that in his day the Gospel was preached to "every creature under heaven"? (Colossians 1:23). Could Christian missionaries have traveled to the New World?
While the Bible gives no details of Christian missionaries involved in such travel, it is interesting to note that, the apostle Paul was involved in a shipwreck which involved a ship carrying 276 men. (Acts 27:37) After the Dark Ages, we see a decrease in vessel size and geographic knowledge. (The famous voyage of Columbus consisted of 3 ships whose total crew comprised only 90 men.) Certainly the technology for world travel existed in the time of Paul.
Hundreds of years before the time of Paul, King Solomon had a fleet of trading ships which engaged in three-year voyages (1 Kings 10:22, 2 Chron 9:21). These ships were manned by the Phoenicians, who were known for their abilities in the fields of seafaring and metalworking. There is some evidence that these travelers brought some of their gold from the New World. At any rate, there is evidence of other ancient Hebrew artifacts (from a later period) found in Ohio.
Original location of the Red Bird Petroglyph [map]
Local news article on Red Bird Petroglyph. This article contains additional info on a nearby cave which also features petroglyphs. Reporter Susie Lambert of ClayCoNews.com says, "There is carving inside the cave in Old Arabic or South Semitic. The cave entrance is also of stone where Ogham is carved. There is a stone outside the cave where carvings in Ogham, an early Celtic alphabet, and Old Arabic or South Semitic are also found. These carvings are just like some of those found on the Petroglyph stone that fell. Another fascinating feature is that during the winter solstice, the sun shines directly into the cave somewhat like a gun barrel!" [news article]
Irish petroglyph compared to those of Kentucky (Red Bird) and West Virginia by Robert L. Pyle [web page]
The Newark, Ohio Decalogue Stone and Keystone Quote from the site (which also includes pictures): "In November of 1860, David Wyrick of Newark, Ohio found an inscribed stone in a burial mound about 10 miles south of Newark. The stone is inscribed on all sides with a condensed version of the Ten Commandments or Decalogue, in a peculiar form of post-Exilic square Hebrew letters. The robed and bearded figure on the front is identified as Moses in letters fanning over his head." [web page]
I have been interested in this type of ancient artifacts for some time, but did not come to Manchester, Kentucky for that reason. Although I know of the finding of several such artifacts in the United States, I was not familiar with the existence of this one.
My family and myself had gone to Kentucky for the week to look for real estate, and were attending Sabbath services at a church down the road. We decided to stay for the picnic that the church was going to have in the park. (They only have this picnic twice a year, so the timing was providential; also, we had the option of attending another church in a different city at the same time instead.) We parked the car at the lot across from the park and in front of the Town Hall. I then notice the rock, which is located in a fenced pavilion at the corner of the lot.
As soon as I read the sign, I realized the rock's significance and got the camera. Upon returning home, I searched the Internet for references to this stone, and realized that it is not well know, even among the sites which specialize in such things. So I have created this page.
The rock is housed at the Manchester courthouse, located in the Stinson-Rawlings Park, across the street from the main picnic area.