Route 66 - The Mystery Stone

If you follow the pre-1937 route of Route 66 south of Albuquerque, you will pass through sparsely beautiful country with a number of old towns and pueblo's. Past Los Pallidas, Isleta, Isleta Pueblo and Bosque Farms, you will come to the town of Los Lunas, home to almost 25,000 people. There are a few Route 66 reminders along here, but nothing really of note. However, just a few miles west of town, you will enter the Rio Puerco Valley. Famous in archaeological circles for being home to more than 10,000 historical sites dating back to the Puebloan cultures of the ancient Anasazi Indians, it also contains more than 50 volcanoes, one of which is Cabezon Peak which climbs to 8,000 feet high.

The Mystery Stone
Just 18 miles beyond Los Lunas on the western side of the Rio Grande River is New Mexico's Mystery Stone. Also referred to as Inscription Rock, it is an ancient petroglyph which has cast doubt on whether Christopher Columbus or the Norse were actually the first explorers in America. Although nobody could read the words on it at that time, the local Indians back in the mid-1800's claimed the rock had been there since before their ancestors came to the area hundreds of years before. The name of the mountain had been handed down to them from the ancient one's - "Mystery Mountain."

The rock is located on what the locals still call Mystery Mountain or Hidden Mountain as it is named on some maps. Near the bottom of the 5,500 foot hill on the right side of a mound of lava is a large, flat-faced boulder weighing approximately 100 tons. Nine rows of characters or letters resembling ancient Phoenician script are chiseled into the north face of the boulder. Some of the symbols have eroded away due to the effects of weather and water rushing past the boulder which attests to the age of the writing. How it got there is anybody's guess, but it certainly wasn't carried there. Nobody has any idea who inscribed the letters or why it is where it is.

Most scholars agree that Stan Fox, a linguist and Bible expert from England made the most accurate and complete translation of the rock in 1999. According to his interpretation, it is an ancient version of the Ten Commandments and reads:

"I am Jehovah your God who has taken you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slaves. There must be no other gods before my face. You must not make any idol. You must not take the name of Jehovah in vain. Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy. Honour your father and your mother so that your days may be long in the land that Jehovah your God has given to you. You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not give a false witness against your neighbour. You must not desire the wife of your neighbor nor anything that is his."

Another interesting mystery is that on the south rim of the summit at the highest point of Mystery Mountain is another stone with "YHWH Eloheynu" inscribed on it. More Hebrew script meaning "God our mighty one." And on the eastern rim of the summit are symbols which, according to the positioning of the stars and constellations, have been interpreted to be describing a solar eclipse which occurred in 584 BC. That sure seems to be a bit before Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492!

Who were these people and what were they doing in this remote location in what today is New Mexico? Just one more of the world's many mystery's.

Go to the first Route 66 entry here.
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