- As the First and the Last, He will be, He will be, Yah. Fear the sound of increasing truth (pillar of truth) descending from my cover (hiding place).
- An example of what might be considered a sign or posted notice
- This group of symbols was located near a point of easy access to the river bank and obviously served a useful purpose
- A curious warning pertains to the sun. Translation: Hide or be smitten when the sun is bright [as at high noon indicated by the sign on the far left].
- This arrangement can be read from both directions, has an unusual chiasmus arrangement and seems to be poetic in both form and structure. Translated: Know how to maintain the mound (hill of judgment), judge but testify again and again.
- This example made reference to the "tel [hill] of Bel." Bel, or Ba'al
- This panel speaks of "the mark of the curse."
- Many of this have been found in caves and dark, protected area where rocks provide shelter from sunlight.
- This panel includes a familiar ideogram--the reclining man with an object protruding from his mouth. It might have been read with the introduction, "It has been said that..."
- A quote of Ham suggests he was a spiritual leader--note the reference to "El" or God
- In this Ham is charged with securing women for the clan, or granting permission for marriage.
- This panel speaks of a possible ritual prior to marriage
- This inscription group is located in the canyon with the hill or mound and invites one to ascend the mound and partake in the safety and comfort of the community.
Many of the translations reveal a rich spiritual life, devoted to the deity "Yah." But many of the other petroglyphs appear to have been used as signs for the inhabitants and visitors to the area. The panel on the right is an example of what might be considered a sign or posted notice. This particular group of symbols shows that the symbols could be read from bottom to top (as with the ligature) and includes a ideogram (a circle) commonly used to represent the full moon.
Dr. Harris has added the "Alef" to the translation that does not appear in the actual script. This unique symbol is silent and is therefore frequently not written in the Colorado variant of Old Negev. The translation of this panel would thus read, "Be fearful (reverent) in the mountain at full moon."
Additional examples of utilitarian signs and posted warnings suggest that the general population of this area was able to read and understand these messages. We can infer from this that their spoken language would be a form of old Hebrew. Another non-religious example is given below.
Ironically, the water running throughout the Purgatory River (and the surrounding La Junta region) is rich in magnesium. Local residents have gotten used to drinking bottled spring water. Drinking the tap water or accidentally ingesting the river water causes almost instant diarrhea (milk of magnesium). This particular group of symbols was located near a point of easy access to the river bank and obviously served a useful purpose. Again, the use of these signs suggests that local inhabitants were able to read and benefit from the warnings contained therein.
Another curious warning pertains to the sun, which can be surprisingly strong in ultraviolet rays at the high altitude. In fact, the site is only really accessible during the early spring and late autumn because of the extreme heat and the danger of sunburn. The translation reads as follows:
kh-l-d = hide, abide, continue for the duration of life; h-k = to be smitten, beaten down; h-t-r = to flow, (water) run, (or light) to shine bright. Translation: Hide or be smitten when the sun is bright [as at high noon indicated by the sign on the far left].
This interesting arrangement (above) can be read from both directions, has an unusual chiasmus arrangement and seems to be poetic in both form and structure. Reading from right to left we have d-' = to know, to be aware of (from y-d-'); n-h-l = to provide (sustain life); n-d = a heap or mound. Reading from left to right we have d-n = judge; l-h-n = but (with qualification); '-d = (defec. for '-w-d) = to testify again and again. Translated: Know how to maintain the mound (hill of judgment), judge but testify again and again.
There are many references to a hill or mound in these translations. Dr. Harris, who has not been to the site, could not have known that the canyon contains a ramp-like mound of earth that rises up some fifty feet to the canyon wall. At the top of this "ramp" there is an unusually large amount of symbols and layer upon layer of ligatures. The surface of the rock face at the summit of this mound has literally been worn flat by repeated inscriptions in the stone. This mound can easily be seen in a satellite photograph (taken in infrared) of the canyon [below].
The references to the "mound" are frequent in this particular site. In the following example, translated by Dr. Harris, we see reference made to the "tel [hill] of Bel." Bel, or Ba'al, was traditionally a local deity of a village or geographic region whose worship was popular in the middle eastern countries prior to the monotheistic doctrine of Abraham and Moses. Reference is made to this in the book of Judges (20, 21), where the early Israelites (Levites) were attacked by a group of the Ba'al cult while traveling in the land that was given to the tribe of Benjamin (Joshua 18). The twelve tribes of Israel met and instructed the Benjamites to deliver these followers of Ba'al to be punished, but the Benjamites refused. Their disobedience resulted in a bloody conflict, ending with their being cursed and banished from association or intermarriage with the other eleven tribes. It is known that the Benjamites fled to other regions of the world, establishing colonies in what is now southern France. They were almost exterminated by this curse. It has been suggested that they were assisted in their travels by sea-going peoples.
The following panel speaks of "the mark of the curse." Again, we have no idea whether this makes reference to an epidemic with obvious physical signs or some sort of tattoo or outward sign that one belonged to an "accursed" group. In any event, the warning admonishes the observer to give assistance and appears to be a humane gesture.
The inscription below is one of many inscriptions that make reference to the Sun. Many of these have been found in caves and dark, protected area where rocks provide shelter from sunlight. This panel was in such an area.
This last panel (on this page) includes a familiar ideogram -- the reclining man with an object protruding from his mouth. We can infer that this inscription might have been read with the introduction, "It has been said that..." Also note the clever use of an ideogram with the incorporation of Old Negev symbols on the far right.
We will continue to present more translations from this important archaeological site. But this is a good time to remind readers that the site in Colorado remains unprotected and is vulnerable to damage by the elements as well as vandalism. We have therefore not given exact locations. Viewzone is seeking to work with organizations, students and volunteers to form an expedition to this location in the spring of 2000. Any interested parties should contact Viewzone directly for details.
An example of ritualistic writing and art at the top of the "mound."
A personal name of antiquity, Ham, appears on many panels in the Colorado region. Here Ham is being quoted in a manner that suggests he was a spiritual leader. Once again we see reference to "El" or God, and also to His Son.
Below is another panel making reference to Ham. In this panel we can see that Ham is apparently charged with securing women for the clan, or perhaps granting permission for marriage.
The following panel speaks of a possible ritual prior to marriage. The male announces that he is going far away, possibly to obtain permission to marry her. While he is away, the other tribal members agree to care for her until her beloved returns. We will likely never know if this is really what is behind this interesting translation but it does provide yet another window on the past while leaving ample room for speculation.
Another group of inscriptions is located in the canyon with the hill or mound and invites one to ascend the mound and partake in the safety and comfort of the community. There are many humane and ethical scripts associated with this ancient group.
There are several additional panels from the Purgatory River area that have been translated and will be presented in subsequent pages. Viewzone has been in contact with members of Bill McGlone's team and we will allow them some time to digest the material we have presented. Although Bill McGlone never considered a group of Hebrew-speaking inhabitants were among those who contributed to the array of petroglyphs, he was not made aware of the discovery and properties unique to old negev script.