Excavation of a burial mound in Loudon County, Tennessee, in 1889 by the Smithsonian Bureau of Ethnology's Mound Survey, Directed by Cyrus Thomas, yeilded what is known as the Bat Creek Stone. Thomas was adamant that the burial mounds were of Native American origin. Anything that contradicted this theory was destroyed (giant skeletons). After the stone was discovered, Thomas declared it to be Cherokee script. Had anyone at the time of its discovery hinted that it might be Hebrew, it would have been destroyed.
In the 1960s, Henriette Mertz and Corey Ayoob realized that the Bat Creek Stone was ancient Phoenician or Semetic. The Paleo-Hebrew dates to about the first or second century A.D. The five letters read, from right to left, LYHWD, or "for Judea," or "for the Judeans."
They made the plate, the sacred emblem, out of pure gold and engraved on it, like an inscription on a seal: holy to the Lord. 31 Then they fastened a blue cord to it to attach it to the turban, as the Lord commanded Moses.