In Israel’s Negev desert and in the American Southwest similar petroglyphs have been found, according to archaeologist Dr. James Harris at Brigham Young University. It’s a controversial claim—a claim that a common language sprawled across the ancient globe.
Brigham Young University is a Mormon school, and Mormons believe ancient people from Israel settled in America.
Harris and Dann W. Hone published their book “The Name of God: From Sinai to the American Southwest. A Script and Language of Ancient Palestine Also Found in the Ancient American Southwest,” in 1998. Stephen D. Ricks, a professor of Hebrew at Brigham Young University, reviewed the book, pointing out some weaknesses in the authors’ arguments, but ultimately agreeing that the petroglyphs in Colorado, USA, near the town of La Junta could show a common root with Semitic languages.
Ricks wrote about a sign described by Harris and Hone as an ankh symbol, a sign of “life in the realm of the gods.”
“While this may in fact be the importation of an ankh sign, it could also be a symbol with a very different meaning, or no meaning at all. We ought to be very cautious when assigning meanings to signs,” Ricks wrote. He said the authors left out characters that inconveniently did not convey the meanings they sought to input or which posed problems for their theories.
“And yet there may be a kernel of truth standing behind their efforts. I am persuaded … that a striking resemblance between the petroglyph signs of the American Southwest and the early Semitic alphabets exists. Still, I have yet to be persuaded that the writers of the petroglyphs were full-fledged, bona fide speakers of Hebrew,” he wrote.
The theory seems to have gotten little attention outside of the Mormon academic community.
Davida Eisenberg-Degen at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, who has examined many of the Negev petroglyphs, has commented that the petroglyphs have been generally under-studied because of violence in the region. She wrote on her blog in 2012: “The Negev’s rock art has generally been neglected by archaeologists. There are two major reasons for this. First, few scholars have actually ventured into the Negev to examine its rock art. Until well into the 20th century, the Negev was a dangerous barren wilderness occupied by Bedouin tribes. And for those explorers such as Edward Henry Palmer, who did venture into this wasteland, the Negev’s petroglyphs were ‘mere scratches on the rock, the work of idle loungers, consisting for the most part of mere names interspersed with rude figures of men and animals.'”