Sea-Farers from the Levant the first to set foot in the Americas: proto-Sinaitic inscriptions found along the coast of Uruguay
This article adds a new dimension to the age old conundrum, was Christopher Columbus, or was he not, actually the first to set foot in the Americas? A Movement currently actioning much debate in the United States is seeking to deny that Columbus ever fully reached America and is attempting to esponge Columbus' 'false' claim completely from the historical record.
Using the Google Earth remote sensing satellite, I captured a mass of inscriptions carved into the surface of a 4700 metre long, white crystalline rock formation running along the Southern Atlantic coastline of Uruguay, South America. I then set out to determine if the style of the inscriptive material could reveal who were most likely to have made the petroglyphs and, hopefully, be able to extract some form of time frame.
Figure 1: One of the satellite photographs clearly showing the vast amount of inscriptive material discovered by Archaeoastronomer, William James Veall, on the South Atlantic coastline of Uruguay, South America. (Copyright William J Veall 2014)
Visual examination of the multiplicity of symbols depicted in the satellite photographs suggested a rock engraving technique very similar to proto-Sinaitic whereby a series of 'pecked' holes are conjoined by a thin trace to create each separate character. Current Epigraphers suggest that Proto-Sinaitic was 'invented' around 1850 BC to replace the unwieldy ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic -hieratic 'combo' system of writing.
Proto-Sinaitic led to the development of the Phoenician alphabet and its variants, many characters from which are clearly visible within the Uruguayan petroglyphs. Based upon this hypothesis, the characters would be dated from 1850 BC to 1100 BC. After this date (1100 BC) came the fully developed, 22 character, Phoenician 'international' writing system subsequently used by all West Semitic languages. I observed that many of the 'new international' characters do not appear among the petroglyphs suggesting movement away from this particular coastline 'port of call' some time after 1100 BC.
Alternatively, there may have been a pseudo-Sinaitic/ Phoenician form of 'writing' overlapping the newer Phoenician alphabet and thus the hypothesised 'very earliest first visitation' date of 1850 BC could be adjusted even as far down the line as 1500BC. Whatever time frame Epigraphers eventually agree upon, it will still be well over 3000 years ago, long before the birth of Christopher Columbus in AD 1451.
Figure 2: A second satellite photograph clearly showing another set of petroglyphs discovered along the Uruguay coastline. (Copyright William J Veall 2014)
Proto-Sinaitic has, allegedly, been found in Brazil at Itacoatiara, near Manaus, and at Curraes Velhos, Rio Grande do Norte State. A tablet with very similar proto-Sinaitic characters was found at the Deir-Alla excavations in Jordan, thus reinforcing and supporting a Trans-Oceanic Mediterranean - South American connection. (Mattievich,E. "Journey to the Mythological Inferno". Rogem Press, Denver. 2010. Chap IV, Page 93).
In the centre of Fig. 1 photograph is an inscription 'printed' in heavier black symbols; these hieratic characters, (pre- 1850 BC) are direct descendants of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and which became precursors of the proto-Sinaitic writing system.
Figure 3: The hieratic inscription engraved into an outcrop of the Uruguayan rock formation. (Copyright WJV 2014)
I believe the character 'spread' tells us that Trans-Oceanic visitations almost certainly occurred between the Levant and Uruguay across an active time-line of some 800 years, well over 3000 years ago - which also effectively rules out Christopher Columbus ( AD 1451- 1506) being the first to 'discover' the Americas.
I have informed the Uruguayan Ministry of Education and Culture about this ground-breaking 'discovery'. The Ministry subsequently replied that they had no knowledge of such sites and most probably the location was incorrect. A sketch map with the satellite co-ordinates has been sent to the Ministry confirming the Uruguyan location is correct. A reply is still awaited.
However, of greater urgency, the satellite imagery also confirms a rapid deterioration of the coastline archaeological sites due to residential intrusion and heavy tourist erosion.
As a consequence, much of Uruguay's vital littoral pre-history may have been lost. And more to come, if some form of protection and preservation is not put in place.
To deny the chance of making any form of transliteration - be it only a name, a place, a date - is to wipe out the opportunity of discovering whom really was, perhaps, the very first to set foot in the Americas and secure their place firmly in history books.
In this respect, I would like to contact any Epigraphers experienced in West Semitic alphabets and whom may wish to comment on this unique 'discovery' and, if possible, be able to offer a preliminary transliteration of some of the inscriptive material.
Featured image: Sea Peoples of the Levant (Wikimedia Commons)