Bat Creek inscription

Description: John Emmert of the Smithsonian Institution excavated three mounds located at the confluence of the Little Tennessee River and Bat Creek, a few miles north of modern Vonore, in the 1880s. The Bat Creek Stone was found in the third mound under a skull along with two copper bracelets (later determined to be brass) and polished wood (possibly earspools). Radiocarbon dating of the wood spools returned a date of 32-769 AD. Cyrus Thomas of the Smithsonian Institution initially cataloged the Bat Creek Stone inscription as a Cherokee inscription. Since the Cherokee scholar Sequoyah did not invent the Cherokee alphabet until around 1820, a Cherokee inscription could not have been made before this period. In the early 1970s, the inscription became a source of controversy when linguist Cyrus Gordon argued it was actually a Paleo-Hebrew inscription, and thus provided evidence of Pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact.

Mainstream Theory: The University of Tennessee archaeologists and other experts reject Gordon's assertion, arguing instead that the inscription is a fraud.

Alternative Theory: There is no evidence to support the stone is a fraud, in fact the excavation was performed by the Smithsonian Institute and the authenticy of the discovery was never questioned. In fact for almost 100 years it was thought to be a Cherokee inscription until Gordon proposed that it was a Paleo-Hebrew inscription at which time it became labeled a fraud. Anyone able to read paleo-Hebrew can read the inscription as "qets l'yehud" meaning "end/border for Judah."