Friday, November 30, 2012

Questions That Have to be Answered About the Land of Promise – Part V

Continuing with the last post where the first twenty questions were asked and answered. The following begins with question 21:
Question 21: “Where can two unknown animals of great value to man be found in the Western Hemisphere?”
Answer: Unknown meaning unknown to Joseph Smith in 1829, so he had to use the original word from the plates—cumoms and cureloms. As for the animals, Moroni sums up various statements in the Ether record by inserting “they also had horses, and asses, and there were elephants and cureloms and cumoms; all of which were useful unto man, and more especially the elephants and cureloms and cumoms” (Ether 9:19). Elephants, horses and asses are considered beasts of burden, which is synonymous with pack or work animal, such as draft animals. The strength of horses, elephants and oxen is used in pulling carts, wagons and logs, threshing grain, trampling, supplying irrigation, etc. Mostly, they are animals used for packing, carrying, and hauling. Thus, for any animal to be near-equal value with an elephant, as Moroni stated, it would have to be domesticated and of some similar worth. This would eliminate all of the suggestions that Theorists have tried to come up with to try and validate their specific Land of Promise models. The only animals in the Western Hemisphere that would qualify as more useful than horses and asses, and on a par with the elephant, are the two Andean area species of Llama and Alpaca.
The llama and alpaca, both camelids and beasts of burden, and extremely useful to the ancient and modern Peruvians, who use both animals for their wool, for food, and for their labor. They are descended from the wild and undomesticatable vicuña and guanaco (shown above)
Question 22: “Where is there a land in the north containing “many waters, rivers and fountains?” (Mormon 6:4)
Answer: Perhaps the key word Mormon uses is “fountains.” Obviously, “many waters” could be any area of lakes, lagoons, loughs, ponds, or other major expanse of water. The term “rivers” is self-explanatory. However, the word “fountains” is often misunderstood. In this sense, fountain, is some type of water source that “spurts or cascades into the air.” More accurately, it is a spring or source of water—that is, the origin, source or head of a stream, the point of origin or dissemination of a water flow, such as a river or water course. Clearly, the “land of many waters” found in the Land Northward was not merely standing water, such as large lakes claimed by the Great Lakes theorists, nor just rivers as claimed by numerous other location theorists, but had to be an area, evidently at a high elevation, where the waters sources originated—an area of lakes and rivers, but most importantly an area of springs and water sources, whether springing out of the ground, or from melting snow, it was a location of the source of the “many waters” found there. It is interesting that such a land is found in South America, in Ecuador (what would be the Land Northward) that even on very old maps was called “Land of Many Waters.” It might be of interest to know that this “Land of Many Waters” was located in the “Land of Cumorah,” and by the “Hill Cumorah” (Mormon 6:4), however, there is no such “springs or fountains” located around or near the Hill Cumorah in upstate New York. Nor is there any other area in North or Central America which fits the description of “waters, rivers and fountains” that could be found in a Land Northward. In fact, the rivers of Ecuador are an important part of the nation's geography and economy. Most of the over 2,000 rivers and streams have headwaters in the Andes mountain range, flowing from there either westward toward the Pacific Ocean or eastward toward the Amazon River.
The important river network of Manatbi Province in Ecuador where numerous rivers begin. River Quininde, which belongs to river Esmeraldas, originates towards the north west of the canton of Chone and continues towards the east and north, replenished by several rivers, the most important being Piojito and Mongoya. The area's most important river is Rio Chone (which becomes an estuary), whose main tributaries are Mosquito, Garrapata and San Lorenzo , Tosagua and Calceta. The river basin nourished by these rivers is one of the most important and most fertile in the province. Other important rivers are Jama, Mariano and Canoa. On much older local maps, this area was labeled Tierra de muchas aguas (Land of Many Waters). Many homes are constructed on bamnboo stilts to keep out the flooding waters
Question 23: “Where was the city of Nephi located, and what evidence is there of a temple and a tower there as the scriptural record states?”
Answer: The City of Nephi, in the Land of Nephi, was located in a high mountain valley, since the Lamanites were always “going down” to the Land of Zarahemla, and Ammon, after going up to the Land of Nephi from Zarahemla (Mosiah 7:3-4) had to “go down to the Land of Nephi” from the hills overlooking the City of Nephi (Mosiah 7:6) In addition, the Temple built in the City of Nephi (Nephi’s temple like Solomon’s) was on some type of ridge or hill overlooking the general city or valley since King Noah “Built a tower near the temple, a very high tower, even so high that he could stand upon the top thereof and overlook the land of Shilom, and also the land of Shemlon, and he could even look over all the land round about” (Mosiah 11:12). This would suggest two things: 1) The tower was at some considerable height elevation, and 2) The tower itself was quite high. Consequently, we would need to find an area where a temple of stone was built, that it was high enough to see into adjacent valleys, was in a mountain valley itself, and where a tower had been built. That would generally be a tall order, but one such place can be located; however, it is not in the Great Lakes area, Eastern U.S., heartland or Baja California, where no stone ruins have ever been found, nor in the Yucatan among the fabled Mayan ruins for the land is very flat (having recently driven over it I can say it is as flat as a pancake).
Top: Satellite view of the temple site and tower base at Sacsayhuaman overlooking Cuzco in Peru. Note the circle in the lower center where the tower stood when the Spanish arrived; to the left is the temple and running across the top is the jagged three layer walls that circle the site; Bottom: the circular base of the tower that once stood four or five stories and overlooked the entire valley below including the three entrances into the valley from other areas
However, in the Cuzco valley of Peru, just north of Lake Titicaca, on a ridge are the ruins called Sacsayhuaman, where a Temple site looks out over the valley, and next to it was a large tower, now only the base footings can be seen, but was still standing  when the Spanish conquerors arrived and described by them as being round and about four or five stories high, with an open lookout area situated on top. From its vantage point, the two main entrances to Cuzco can be seen, one entering from the east, the other from the south. The stonework of the area still standing is remarkable, and considered one of the great engineering fetes of the Americas. According to Garcilaso de la Vega, the Spanish chroniclers from the Viceroy of Peru, wrote that on the top of the three "walls" or "bulwarks" there were three strong towers disposed in a triangle. The main tower was in the middle and had a circular shape, it was named Moyoc Marca (Muyuq Marka), the second one was named Paucar Marca, and the third Sacllar Marca (Sallaq Marka); the last two ones were rectangular. This is the remaining base of a tower discovered in 1934 at the top of the Temple of Sacsayhuaman. The Muyuqmarka consists of three concentric, circular stone walls connected by a series of radial walls. There are three channels constructed to bring water into what many scientists consider to be a reservoir. A web-like pattern of 34 lines intersects at the center with a pattern of concentric circles.
Left: The jagged three tier walls that guarded the Temple; Right: One of the entrances into the Temple area, considered in Inca times as the most important temple in the realm—they called it Coricancha (corral of gold) and the Spanish said that “its opulence was fabulous beyond belief
(See the next post, “Questions That Have to be Answered About the Land of Promise – Part VI,” for the continuation of these all-important questions)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Questions That Have to be Answered About the Land of Promise – Part IV

Continuing with the last post where the first fifteen questions were asked and answered. The following begins with question 16:
Question 16: “Where can be found seams and cracks and tall mountains?”
Answer: The hills in the Eastern U.S., like much of the Rocky Mountains in the West, are gradual uplifts that, except for the volcanic lava evidence in the Rockies, are made of large rocks or boulders, mostly rounded, and usually in huge uplift slabs of solid rock. In the east, the hills are mostly earth, while in the Rockies the mountains are solid rock. At one time, western North America lay underneath a shallow sea, which deposited many kilometers of limestone and dolomite, with the ancestral Rocky Mountains consisting largely of metamorphic rock forced upward through layers of the limestone laid down in the shallow sea. The mountains have since eroded leaving extensive deposits of sedimentary rock. However, in the Andes of South America, the slabs of rock that have been pushed upward are full of seams and cracks, with rarely an appearance of solid rock.
Left: Rocky Mountain uplift of solid slab rock; Right: Andes uplift of once solid slab rock now broken in seams and cracks
The highest peak in the continental U.S. is Mt. McKinley at 14,505 feet, then Mt. Elbert, in Colorado at 14,440 feet. The highest peak in the Northeastern U.S. is Mt. Washington in New Hampshire at 6,288 feet, and southeastern U.S. is Mt. Mitchell in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, at 6,684 feet, and after that, Spruce Knob in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia at 4,863 feet. The highest point in New York is Mt. Marcy in the Adirondacks at 5,344, in the Catskills 4,180, in the Bershires 2,818, in the Taconics 2,323, Finger Lakes 2,140, Tug Hill 2,110, Hudson-Jersey Highlands, 1,664, Terminal Moraine, 410. The highest peak in Central America, is Mt. Volcan Tajumulco in Guatemala at 13,815 with six other mountains above 10,000 feet, with two above 9,000 feet, one a above 7,000 feet, and two above 6,000 feet.
On the other hand, the highest peak in South America is the Aconcagua at 22,837 feet, with over seventy summits above 18,000 feet. Stated differently, South America has over 70 summits higher than the highest peaks in all of the Eastern United States. Obviously, then where we find seams and cracks and tall mountains in the Western Hemisphere is in the Andean area of South America.
Question 17: “Where is there evidence of extensive irrigation dating back into Book of Mormon times?”
Answer: While this is not directly found in the scriptural record, irrigation has always been associated with the Lord’s people and is a big part of the “Desert blossom as a Rose” (Isaiah 35:1). The point is, where ancient civilizations existed, there was usually a need for irrigation. In the Andean area of South America is one of the most intricate and extensive irrigation systems ever found. When the Spanish conquistadors arrived, they were astounded by the irrigation system they found and compared it favorably with that of the Roman Empire.
Left: A unique circular opening into underground irrigation channels that have been dug all under the Peruvian desert; Right: An example of the surface irrigation channels that run for miles upon miles, bringing water down from the mountains to the valleys and coastal regions
Question 18: “Where can fortified walls, walled cities, fortresses and resorts be found guarding the north country from southern invasion?”
Answer: Stone fortresses, resorts, and defensive walls are found all over the Andean area of South America and nowhere else in the entire Western Hemisphere that guard areas leading into the north from the southern areas, including mountain overlooks, long miles of extensive walls with intermittent forts (resorts) located that archaeologists all agree were built to stop invasion from the south.
Hilltop forts guarding passes leading from the south into northern countries
Question 19: “Where can roads and highways be found?”
Answer: The scriptural record shows that the Nephites had roads and highways, which obviously were part of the development of the Nephite nation, just as the Roman roads did—both were essential to move armies from one point to another, a need the Nephites had for several hundred years of constant warfare. While we don’t know how many highways and roads the Nephites built, we do know that according to Nephi, there were many highways cast up, and many roads made, which led from city to city, and from land to land, and from place to place, but we do know that Rome built 29 great military highways radiated from the city, and there were 372 great road links. And since Roman roads are still quite evident throughout Italy and parts of Europe, we should find evidence in the area of the Land of Promise of Nephite roads and highways. There are only two places where ancient roads are found in the Western Hemisphere, and that is in the Andean area of South America and in Mesoamerica; but in Peru, there is an ancient highway system far beyond anything found elsewhere outside ancient Rome. This complex of highways and interconnecting roads in Peru does actually what Nephi said, "connecting city to city, and from land to land, and from place to place."
Question 20: “Where can two unknown grains comparable to corn, wheat and barley be found in the Western Hemisphere?”
Answer: Unknown meaning unknown to Joseph Smith in 1829, so he had to use the original words from the plates—neas and shuem. Perhaps the first point should be made about the comparable value. Corn is used to make a variety of goods including sweetener, oil, flour and even plastic. Corn is low in saturated fat and cholesterol, as well as sodium. It's also a good source of dietary fiber, thiamin and folate. However, 82 percent of the calories in this food are from carbohydrates. This high-carbohydrate content is why corn can be used to make corn syrup, a low-priced sugar alternative. Peruvian Quinoa has a high-protein content, which makes it a great cholesterol-free and low-fat source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. According to the USDA nutrient database, 1 cup of cooked quinoa (185g) contains 8.14 grams of protein. To put that in reference, the recommended daily protein intake is about 56 grams for most men and 46 for most women. Quinoa provides 3.4 grams of fat. By comparison, 185 grams cooked lean ground beef provides 33 grams of fat. Secondly, no other food anywhere in the Western Hemisphere besides Peruvian quinoa and kiwichi, can be found that would have been unknown to the farmer environment of New England in 1829 when Joseph Smith translated the record. Quinoa and kiwichi are indigenous to the Andean area of South America and found nowhere else until the 20th century when some other areas have transplanted these crops.
(See the next post, “Questions That Have to be Answered About the Land of Promise – Part V,” for the continuation of these all-important questions)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Questions That Have to be Answered About the Land of Promise – Part III

Continuing with the last post where the first eleven questions were asked and answered. The following begins with question 12:
Question 12: “Where is there a narrow neck of land that runs north and south, and can be crossed east to west in a day and a half?”
Left: Narrow neck after the destruction in 3 Nephi and the rising of the Andes (mountains whose height is great); Right: Narrow Neck during B.C. times
Answer: Alma describes a Land Southward that is mostly North-South, with the Land of Nephi in the South, a Narrow Strip of Wilderness running from sea to sea to the north, then the Land of Zarahemla, and to the north of that is the Land of Bountiful, and to the north of that is the Narrow Neck of Land, with the entire Land Southward surrounded by water except for this narrow neck of land that connects the Land Southward to the Land Northward (Alma 22:27-33). In addition, we learn that the Narrow Neck of Land runs between the Sea West and the Sea East (Alma 50:34), and that the width of this narrow neck could be crossed in a day and a half by a Nephite (Alma 22:32). Travel for an average man (a Nephite) would be about 25 to 30 miles in a day and a half, since no travel at night would be likely with no lighting available, so we are talking about a 18-hour trip is about a mile-and-a-half per hour for 12 hours, sleep, then another six hours, walking on uneven ground around obstacles and across ravines, small hillocks and other impediments. This narrow neck existed up until the destruction around 34 A.D. between the east shore of the Bay of Guayaquil and the East Sea (now the Andes Mountains). This distance was about 26 to 28 miles, as it is today between the east shore and the Mountains. This area has always had a north-south pass (Alma 52:9) running through it angling from southeast to northwest eventually called the Pass of Huanyna Capac after a famous battle was fought there during Inca times. It should be noted that the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mesoamerica is 144 miles across (an average Nephite would have to cover 8 miles an hour for 18 hours), and for various other reasons simply does not meet the standard described by Mormon and, like other North America sites, would not keep an enemy from the south skirting the pass and circumventing this area of defense. It might be noted that though the East Sea is mentioned or referenced 45 times prior to 34 A.D., it is never mentioned over the following 400 years once the mountains rose “whose height is great.”
Question 13: “Where is there evidence that brothers were the first settlers in the land?”
Answer: Eight early and respected historians of Peru and the Andes give us a detailed account of the fundamental legends that came out of the Inca barrios of Cuzco at the time the Spaniards arrived. They are Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa, Juan de Santa Cruz Pachacuti, Miguel Cabello Balboa, Pedro de Cieza de Leon and Juan de Betanzos, all wrote of these legends, as did Garcilaso de la Vega, Alonso Ramos Gavilan, and Martin de Moru. In fact, almost every early chronicler has some reference to the story of the Wandering and the Four Brothers that settled the Andes. As recorded by these historians, the people of the First Age (Pacarimoc Runa) were white, agriculturists, and strong in their religion for they worshipped Viracocha, the Creator, as the one and only god.  The descendants of the older and legitimate sons became the people of later epochs, while descendants of other sons became the indigenous natives (Indians). Originally "there were four sons who were sent by their father to administer in his name and were perceived as propagators of the truth and militant soldiers of a new and exclusive gospel."  Each of these original brothers was married to a "sister-wife" and they had a golden staff of "peculiar properties" which "informed them when their mission was at an end" by remaining fixed on an "unknown promised land toward which they were journeying."  En route "difficulties developed with the oldest and most troublesome of the brothers," who had been prevailed upon to return "to the place of origin to retrieve some golden vessels they had failed to bring with them."   And when one of the brothers was near death, he designated his grown son as his heir and successor. Three brothers became the leaders of three groups or tribes who called themselves by separate names but were united and had to escape into the Andes with some of their people. There was a brother who did not combine with the league of three, and a long-lasting dualism occurred between the two groups.  Each group cherished a separate history, which carried down even into Inca times.  One brother led his people into the wilderness where the "warlike orientation of these footloose people was evidenced," and became adept at raiding the valley below, and who perfected the ritual huarachicoy or breechcloth ceremony.  One brother was so brave and strong and skilled with weapons that the other two brothers were affronted and humiliated at not being able to match his feats.  They were galled by envy and sought to kill their brother. The legend, as recorded by these various historians goes on to cover much of the Lehi story. It should be noted that though the earliest repetition of these legends have been badly eroded by time, what remains has been faithfully recorded as early as the 16th century.  Obviously, the legends have been enhanced with exotic additions, had survived more than a thousand years after the demise of the Nephite Nation by the time Sarmiento and others recorded them, yet enough remains to draw some interesting parallels with the Book of Mormon. No such legend is known to exist anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere of founding brothers and their history of settlement, wars, etc.
Question 14: “Where is there evidence that slings with stones were used as weapons?”
Slings have been used for hunting and warfare since the beginning of time.
Answer: Slings have been around as a weapon for millennia, including David’s battle with Goliath, Homer’s mention of slings, and the slings used by the famous retreat of the Ten Thousand who had fought the Battle of Cunaxa in 401 B.C. Pre-Columbian slings have been found in the plains area of North America (the oldest found in Lovelock Cave, Nevada), but not in the Great Lakes or eastern U.S. Some were encountered by the Spanish among the Aztecs, but the sling in the Andean area of South America seems to have had a place of special prominence, and was cited by the Spanish conquerors as being "so expert and powerful they could fell a horse, split a shield and break a sword." In Peru, even today, there is a festival of the sling, where fake wars are fought among ancient-costumed Peruvians where only slings are used. Early Peruvian slings were intricately made from Llama or Alpaca wool, weighed a couple of ounces, had a split pouch, and a 67-inch span—some as long as 86 inches. It is a silent weapon and a sling toss can double what can be achieved by hand.
Question 15: “Where is there evidence that the Law of Moses circumcision was practiced?”
Answer: The only area in the Western Hemisphere where there is an archaeological record with physical evidence that the ancients living there from B.C. times, practiced circumcision was in the Andean area of Peru. Rafael Larco Hoyle, whose uncle Victor Larco Herrera was the founder of the first museum in Lima, Peru, and who himself is credited with nearly 100 verified discoveries of the early 20th century in the Andean area, and perhaps the most knowledgeable person of the ancient Peruvian people known today as the Mochica, discovered that these people anciently practiced circumcision, as did their predecessors, unnamed at this time, but referred to as the Mochica Complex or Initial Mochica
(See the next post, “Questions That Have to be Answered About the Land of Promise – Part IV,” for the continuation of these all-important questions)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Questions That Have to be Answered About the Land of Promise – Part II

Continuing with the last post where the first four questions were asked and answered. The following begins with question 5:
Question 5: “Where would Lehi’s “seeds from Jerusalem” have grown in the Western Hemisphere in 600 B.C.?”
Answer: The seeds brought from Jerusalem had been grown and developed in what is called under the Köppen Climate Classification System, a Mediterranean Climate. In 600 B.C., before chemical and mineral nutrient fertilizers, soil enrichment, organic farming, crop rotation, seed selection, sustainable agriculture, biotechnology, biodiversity, horticulture, plant sampling, raised fields, contour planting, plant genetics, “three sisters” planting, plant compost plowing, use of natural pest predators, agronomy, hydroponics, aquaponics, monoculture, etc., etc., etc., seeds were rarely successfully grown in other than the same climates in which they were developed. When the Pilgrims landed in 1620 in Massachusetts, they nearly starved the first winter since their seeds from England and Holland would not grow in their new land—had local Indians not supplemented their food, there would have been no second year for their colony. Thus, a Mediterranean Climate would be needed for the “seeds from Jerusalem” to have survived, especially to provide abundant crops. The only two such climates in the entire Western Hemisphere are in central to Southern California and in central western Chile—the latter being where the Lehi Colony landed and spent their first few years until Lehi died.
Top: The five areas of Mediterranean Climates that exist outside the coastal areas of the Mediterranean Sea; Bottom: The Lehi Colony landed at Coquimbo Bay, Chile. This area, called La Serena opens into the Elqui Valley (shown above), all of which boasts of a Mediterranean Climate, and is the 10th largest wine growing area in the world
Question 6: “Based upon Jacob’s statement in 2 Nephi 10:20, where would there have been an island in 600 B.C. for Lehi to land upon and where the Nephites were living?”
Answer: There are very few islands along the eastern coast of the Pacific Ocean, and none of a size for the Land of Promise. There are islands in the Caribbean, but again, none the size needed for the Land of Promise. However, at one time, the eastern portion of South America was underwater and Panama was not attached to Colombia, creating an island along the Andean plain as has been outlined in several earlier posts.
Question 7: “Where are the four seas mentioned in the scriptural record?”
Answer: Since the Land of Promise was an island, the four seas surrounded the island. The North Sea was the pass through between Central America and South America, the West Sea the Pacific Ocean, the East Sea the Atlantic Ocean, and the South Sea the pass between Cape Horn and Antarctic, today called the Straits of Magellan.
Question 8: “Where is there an island large enough for the Land of Promise that is oriented on a north-south plane?”
Answer: Again, the Andean plain along the west coastal area of South America, from around southern Colombia, to just beyond Coquimbo (30º South Latitude) in Chile. This land runs almost directly north and south.
Question 9: “Where are there plants and roots that could remove the cause of fevers and disease in the Land of Promise?”
Answer: Indigenous to the Andean area of South America and found nowhere else in the world during Book of Mormon times and for centuries afterward, is the cinchona tree, the only natural source of quinine, which not only is the only cure for malaria (fever), but also is a remedy for countless maladies. The Jesuits took seeds from the cinchona back to Europe in the 17th century where it became known as a miracle cure for numerous illnesses, disorders and diseases. Early in the 19th century, the Peruvian government made it illegal to export the cinchona, but the seeds of cuttings were smuggled out of the country for new cultivation at cinchona plantations in colonial regions of tropical Asia by the English to British Raj and Ceylon (India and Sri Lanka), and by the Dutch to Java in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia). Despite malaria (fever) being known since before Roman times, and studied and tested for centuries, not until the cinchona was discovered in the highlands of Peru and Bolivia in the sixteenth century did the world find a cure for malaria—a cure the Quechua people of Peru and Bolivia had used for millennia.
Question 10: “Where is the land where volcanoes and earthquakes predominant where “the quaking of the whole earth” “such as never known in all the land” took place?” (3 Nephi 5,7,12)
Answer: The Pacific Rim, the coastal area along the east and west coasts of the Pacific Ocean, have long been the hotbed for volcanoes and earthquakes. However, the subduction zone of two techtonic plates along the west coast of South America has long been a center for such constant and devastating activity.
The Pacific Rim’s Ring of Fire is an area where a large number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. In a 25,000 mile horseshoe shape, it is associated with a nearly continuous series of oceanic trenches, volcanic arcs, and volcanic belts and/or plate movements. The Ring of Fire has 452 volcanoes and is home to over 75% of the world's active and dormant volcanoes
The vast majority of volcanoes in the Western Hemisphere fall in the area of Colombia (15), Ecuador (21), Peru (16), Northern Chile/Bolivia (49) and Central Chile (33), a total of 134. In all of South America there are 203 overall.
Question 11: “Where is evidence of groanings and vibrations of the earth and their cause be found?”
Answer: Techtonic scientists have recently claimed that the noises elicited by the subduction of the Pacific Plate beneath the South American plate causes unusual surface sounds seldom heard from such deep sources, much like the earth itself is groaning and that the sounds vibrate throughout the northwestern coastal areas of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. They also claim that these noises escalate from time to time as rough nobbings on the South American Plate are encountered by the subducting Pacific Plate. These strange sounds often precede and earthquake and while the general public consider the sounds anomalies, it in fact is the earth going through deep tectonic shifts as the magma moves according to the changes in our magnetosphere—and that around the northwestern area of South America has been noticeably evident on the surface.
(See the next post, “Questions That Have to be Answered About the Land of Promise – Part III,” for the continuation of these all-important questions)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Questions That Have to be Answered About the Land of Promise – Part I

In the previous five posts 21 scripture-based points were outlined to show geographical and archaeological findings that MUST exist for any location to be considered as the Book of Mormon Land of Promise. In these following posts are numerous questions that any honest theorist should ask himself in verifying his beliefs, or in seeking the correct location for Lehi’s isle of promise!
Therefore, ALL of these questions in the following posts have to be answered if one is to believe in a certain location for the Book of Mormon Land of Promise. Each question has to do with specific information in the scriptural record, and cannot be ignored or explained away. Either it currently can be shown, or it can be shown to have existed during the time of the Book of Mormon era.
Question 1: “Where did Lehi land and how did he get there from Arabia?”
Answer: The landing site was along the 30º South Latitude in Chile, South America, where winds and sea currents die down within the Tropic of Capricorn as the winds move upward, creating great calms on the waters. The wind and sea currents moving from the Arabian Peninsula move southward, away from land, into the Arabian Sea, then into the Indian Ocean, curving eastward into the Southern Ocean which flows south of Australia and New Zealand and either pass through the Straits of Magellan or curve upward along the South American coast. This has always  been the most direct and simple way between these two points with wind constantly driving a ship forward and currents moving in that specific direction. No other area in the Western Hemisphere can easily and directly be reached from the Arabian Sea by a weather ship “driven forth before the wind.” Certainly not the Great Lakes, Eastern U.S., Heartland, Caribbean, Central or Mesoamerica, or Baja California. The Malay Peninsula is the only other proposed location for the Land of Promise that could be reached from the Arabian Sea without going against ocean currents and winds.
Question 2: “What was the purpose of the Lord directing Nephi to build a ship unlike ships made by man of his day? What difference in the kind of vessel if the voyage was to be along the coast of the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean to Indonesia, then island hopping across the Pacific?”
The types of ships of Lehi’s day and for centuries afterward was that they employed steering oars, and even later, despite their greater size and the ability to sail close hauled, their shallow draft and steering oars gave little resistance to the wind. These ships made a tremendous amount of leeway (drifting with the wind) and could spend several days going nowhere, losing to leeway, what progress they made sailing. A record dated to 1183 A.D. by a ship sailing from Sicily reports passing Crete three times. Needless to say this played havoc with navigation, and was downright dangerous in close waters.
The Caravela Redonda sailing ship of the fifteenth century was the forerunner of all later European sailing ships of exploration
Not until the fifteenth century with the development of the highly maneuverable caravela redonda, built by the Portuguese, was a much more stable and flexible rig without the lateen sails, using square rigging. The first caravelas mounted square sails on the fore mast, and when this proved successful square rigged the main mast too. This rigging became very popular and most later carracks adopted the redonda rigging as well. However, in Lehi’s day, ships (including the Arab, Indonesian and Chinese traders often used as examples by Mesoamerican Theorists), did not sail into deep water for three reasons: 1) their ships were not strong enough to withstand the constant pounding of waves and currents, 2) they were not deep-hulled to withstand capsizing in heavy seas, and 3) their boats were not only fragile, but carried only one mast with a fixed square sail that could not overcome the navigational difficulties of Southward oceanic exploration, as the strong winds, shoals, and ocean currents easily overwhelmed their abilities. Of course, large lateen sails required far more crew to man than large square sails did, and were far more dangerous to work in rough seas. Thus, the caravel was the original pathfinder of European ship design. It was caravels that first doubled the Cape of Good Hope, and first sailed to the West Indies—but as voyages of exploration became longer her small size became a liability. Obviously, the Lord knew that the type of ships of Lehi’s day, nor even the early European ships of 2000 years later, were not capable of crossing the deep oceans, thus he showed Nephi how to build a ship that would.
Question 3: “What sea and wind currents would have driven a ship “before the wind” to this landing site in the Western Hemisphere?”
Answer: The Arabian Sea to the Indian Ocean to the Southern Ocean and up along the Humboldt (Peruvian Current) of the Pacific Ocean. This is not only where the winds and currents directly flow and would have taken a weather ship “driven forth before the wind,” but it is also the shortest distance and fastest path from Arabia to the Western Hemisphere.
Lehi’s course from Arabia to the Land of Promise. Nephi made it clear his ship was “driven forth before the wind,” and this would be the only course that such was possible, especially to inexperienced sailors manning a ship none had ever before sailed
Question 4: “What caused the great storm that turned Lehi’s ship back the way it had come and where would the ship have been when the storm struck?”
Any great storm in the Arabian Sea would be a tropical storm being just a few degrees north of the Equator. According to the U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center, a tropical storm in the Arabian Sea, called a cyclone, is a storm system with a closed circulation around a center of low pressure fueled by the heat released when moist air rises and condenses. The name underscores its origin in the tropics and their cyclonic nature. Tropical cyclones are distinguished from other cyclonic storms such as nor’easters and polar lows by the heat mechanism that fuels them, which makes them "warm core" storm systems. It should be noted that cyclonic storms originate out to sea, typically about 300 miles north (or south) of the Equator, which would place a storm in the Arabian Sea about 10º north latitude, in the middle of what is called the Arabian Sea Gyre, a clockwise movement of water between the Peninsula and the sub-continent of India, and from there it moves northwesterly towards the Arabian Peninsula, and inland. However, most tropical cyclones over the past centuries in this region were in the south of the Indian Ocean, more than 300 miles south of the Equator. In this area, around the 15º to 20º South Latitude, and ranging from November to April, the most severe cyclonic storms have occurred—with a peak period from mid-February to early March. When the storm Nephi described became so severe, the ship floundered and careened about under the weight of the winds and high seas, and the gunnels threatened to sink beneath the waves, Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael were cowered to such an extent, they eventually untied Nephi in hopes he might save them. At this point, the storm that “drove them back upon the waves” was in its fourth day and becoming quite violent. When released, Nephi prayed, “and after I had prayed the winds did cease, and the storm did cease, and there was a great calm” (1 Nephi 18:21).
An example of the storm that struck Lehi’s ship and drove it backward the way it had come for some four days before Nephi took over once again and guided it back on course
A most important fact here is that at this point that storm was moving toward land as Nephi’s ship was being driven back in the direction from which he had come. Since ships move bow first, the ship was obviously turned to run before the storm and head back from whence it had come. It should also be noted that in the center of the southern Indian Ocean is the South Indian Ocean Gyre, which moves counter-clockwise. And in the center of this gyre is a low where storms originate, swirling counter-clockwise in direction, heading back toward the northwest. Thus, when the ship was sailing to the east of this inner current, the rebellious brothers took over the ship, but "did not know where to steer it" and became caught in the center of the storm area, which whirled the ship around and headed it back the way it had come. Since Nephi writes that their ship was “driven back upon the waters for the space of three days” (1 Nephi 18:13), and that the storm lasted into the fourth day (1 Nephi 18:14), it would be impossible for their ship to have been in coastal waters along the trade routes, as many Theorists claim, when this storm arose, for their ship would have been dashed to pieces against the shore—not “driven back” as Nephi tells us. Thus, the Lehi Colony had to have been deep into the Arabian Sea, and most likely far into the Indian Ocean when this storm hit—otherwise they would have been run aground as the storm moved inland.
(See the next post, “Questions That Have to be Answered About the Land of Promise – Part II,” for the continuation of these all-important questions)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

What is the Basis for the Land of Promise? Part V

Continuing from the last post, where the first nineteen points that have to be the basis of locating the current location of the Book of Mormon Land of Promise were listed, we continue here with the  twentieth and further topics:
20) Temples. After escaping from his two older brothers and the sons of Ishmael, Nephi and his people built a temple in the Land of Nephi. It was like Solomon’s, but did not contain as much finery, but the construction was a high level of quality (2 Nephi 5:16). Since Nephi would have seen and known much or all about Solomon’s Temple, and that it was built out of stone, and has stood for some three thousand years, two things should be self evident: 1) Nephi would have built his temple as much like Solomon’s as he could, which obviously would have included stonework, and 2) After about 2500 years, there should certainly be evidence of its existence today. Lastly, the scriptural record tell us that Nephi’s temple was built in the City of Nephi, that a temple was also built in Zarahemla (Mosiah 1:18), and another in Bountiful (3 Nephi 11:1). In addition to finding many temples throughout the Land of Promise, we might want to consider what were the "precious things" that could not be included in Nephi's temple like unto Solomon's?  Certainly not wood, iron, copper, brass, steel, gold, silver, and precious ores, for Nephi had all of these in abundance and taught his people to work with each of them (2 Nephi 5:15). 
Obviously, as Nephi stated, the temple was a magnificent edifice and though it might have lacked some of the unique items of Solomon's, Nephi's temple was built with all sorts of precious ores and outstanding smithy and construction skills. Thus, the Land of Promise should have some edifices that show such workmanship and use of those precious ores that Nephi described.  And they should be the first temples built in the Western Hemisphere, a land the Lord had saved as a Land of Promise for those He would lead to it (Ether 13:2,8). In addition, the Nephites built many temples (Helaman 3:20) that were obviously scattered throughout the land.
Today, in all of the Western Hemisphere, only two locations show stonework structures of magnificent proportions, construction, engineering and accomplishment—obviously something Nephi would have been proud to build to his God. Those two areas are in the Peruvian area of South America, and also in Mesoamerica. There is no place in all of North America where any such stone structure has ever been found. According to archaeologists the first temples built in the Americas were built in pre-Inca Peru, which became the prototype of the pyramid temples later erected throughout Mexico and Central America. These temples, of course, followed the pattern found in the Old World, such as the temple towers (ziggurats) of Palestine, Mesopotamia, and early Egypt, which are identical in design and purpose to those of the Americas. In all instances the purpose was to furnish a high place for worship. The pyramid structures are truncated at the top to provide space for a temple and the slopes are generally terraced, providing symmetrical design.

The temple grounds that remain of Kalasasaya at Tiahuanaco south of Lake Titicaca covered five acres and was indicative of the magnificent temple structures that once stood along the Peruvian landscape. This temple had a vast sunken courtyard and subterranean rooms. The huge blocks of the actual temple were carted off to build a railroad and individual structures by the Peruvians more than a century ago
The Temple of the Sun in Cuzco, Peru, is built in this manner, with the walls of finely cut blocks laid in courses without cement.  Many of these pre-Inca stones were sheathed in gold and silver, and the rooms and gardens of the temples contained marvels of goldsmith and silversmith art. No doubt, this is the finest mason's work in the world. Incas knew nothing regarding its origins, for the stupendous stonework of Cuzco belongs to a period long before them. These pre-Inca peoples built magnificent temples in the Titicaca basin, and a temple was built around 500 B.C. at Chavin. This temple has remarkable mason work and the walls are alternating courses of large and small dressed stones that were cut with precision.
Top: Huallamarca Pyramid near Pachacamac on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, dates from 200 B.C.; Bottom: ChanChan, a city composed of ten walled citadels which housed ceremonial rooms, burial chambers, temples, reservoirs and some residences. Chan Chan is a triangular city surrounded by walls 50–60 feet high
21) “And there were some who died with fevers, which at some seasons of the year were very frequent in the land -- but not so much so with fevers, because of the excellent qualities of the many plants and roots which God had prepared to remove the cause of diseases, to which men were subject by the nature of the climate” (Alma 46:40). In 200 B.C., there was no name for the deadly fever known to Alma when he wrote that; however, today we call it malaria, which has been the subject of research for medical practitioners from time immemorial. Many ancient texts, especially medical literature, mention various aspects of malaria and even of its possible link with mosquitoes and insects. Early man, confronting the manifestations of malaria, attributed the fevers to supernatural influences, the ancient Chinese believed it to be the work of three demons. The connection between malaria and swamps was known even in antiquity and the evil spirits or malaria gods were believed to live within the marshes. An old script of Babylonia attributed the fever to Nergal, the god of destruction and pestilence, pictured as a double-winged, mosquito-like insect. In 800 B.C., the Indian sage Dhanvantari wrote that bites of mosquitoes could causes diseases, fever, shivering etc. Hippocrates was probably the first malariologist in 400 B.C., when he described the various malaria fevers of man. The Charaka Samhita written about 300 B.C., classified the fevers into five different categories, namely continuous fevers, remittent fevers, quotidian fevers, tertian fevers and quartan fevers. Susruta Samhita, written about 100 B.C., associated fevers with the bites of the insects. Malaria has been with man for millennia; however, in all this time, many thousands of years, there has never been a cure known to man other than what was found in the Andean region of Peru, in a tree called cinchona, whose bark contained what is today called quinine. Nowhere else has this plant ever been found outside of the Andean area until the Dutch stole clippings and planted them in Indonesia in the 1700s. This plant is clearly the cure Alma wrote about, for when the Europeans came, they brought back the bark to Europe where it became a wildly successful cure for not only the fever of malaria, but numerous other maladies and diseases.
These five posts and twenty-one points are not meant to convey the only things that could be used to single out the location of the Land of Promise. There are other things, of course, and some that are not exactly spelled out in the Book of Mormon, such as circumcision, irrigation, etc., that are found in the Andean area of South America and not to that degree anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere—but the 21 items listed in these three posts are taken specifically from the scriptural record and scriptures are used to illustrate them. Many of these items are unique to South America, others are found elsewhere to some degree, but not as they are in the Andean area. Historians, theorists, and others can say whatever they choose about a Land of Promise location, but in all reality, only South America matches ALL the descriptions found in the Book of Mormon. In the following several posts, more of this type of information will be presented, suggesting members might want to compare their ideas, feelings and beliefs about the Land of Promise location with the actual scriptural record. If it isn’t in the Book of Mormon, then that location is not the Land of Promise!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

What is the Basis for the Land of Promise? Part IV

Continuing from the last post, where the first sixteen points that have to be the basis of locating the current location of the Book of Mormon Land of Promise were listed, we continue here with the  seventeenth and further topics:
 17) The Land of Promise must lay in a northward-southward direction, with the major lands and geographical areas north or south of one another as Mormon describes (Alma 22:27-35). North is north and south is south, and Nephi knew the four cardinal directions, the four ordinal directions, plus the eight further divisions of the compass. When he described the Lehi Colony’s direction as south-southeast (1 Nephi 16:13), he was describing one of the sixteen further divisions (south being cardinal, southeast being ordinal, and south-southeast being the further division). He described this about a land in which he had never been (along the Red Sea), plus he had in his possession the Liahona, which has been described as a ball or director, “which being interpreted is a compass“ (Alma 37:38). In addition, the Nephites were pastoral people, living at, but not in, Jerusalem (1 Nephi 1:13), and as such would have known much about the stars, equinoxes, and solstices—they would have known when to plant and when to harvest, etc., and as such, understood star location and movement. As an example, all stars appear to lie on the imaginary Celestial Sphere, and because of the rotation of the Earth, it appears to rotate around an axis passing through the North and South poles of the Earth. This axis intersects the Celestial Sphere at the North and South Celestial poles, which appear to the observer to lie directly above due North and South respectively on the horizon. In either Hemisphere, observations of the night sky show that the visible stars appear to be moving in circular paths, caused by the rotation of the Earth. The Northern Celestial pole is currently (but not permanently) within a fraction of one degree of the bright North Star (Polaris)—though its exact position changes over thousands of years due to the precession of the equinoxes. It is only visible during fair weather at night to those in the Northern Hemisphere, and can be located via the Big Dipper. While there is no "southern pole star," an adequate substitute is the constellation Crux (Southern Cross), which lies at the intersection of (a) the line along the long axis of Crux and (b) a line perpendicularly bisecting the line joining the "Pointers" (Alpha Centauri and Beta Centauri).
The Southern Cross can be seen as brilliant cross in the southern sky
The point is, no matter the hemisphere, directions could be known and understood by pastoral people whose livelihood and often pure existence is dependent upon such knowledge. Lastly, during their journeying for 8 years in the wilderness, two years or so at Bountiful, and the weeks or months of their oceanic voyage, these pastoral people would have understood the movement of the Sun and stars, and made the slow adjustment in the heavens of their reading the signs to know and understand where they were in relation to the cardinal points of the compass. Thus, it can be said, that the terms “northward” and “southward” were well known and understood by them and their descendants throughout the thousand year history of the scriptural record, which places lands, cities, and geographical areas, such as the “narrow neck” and the four seas, in their proper and exact locations from one another. Consequently, any Land of Promise site must, without question, and without altering, skewing or changing the scriptural record, agree with the directions listed in its pages.
18) There must be a record of extensive and qualified metallurgy in the Land of Promise, for they found all manner of ore, gold, silver and copper (1 Nephi 18:25), and having an abundance of precious materials and things (Alma 1:29), and Nephi, who had been taught by the Lord, taught his people how to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores which were in great abundance (2 Nephi 5:15). With this abundance of, and interest in, precious metals and building, one would expect the Book of Mormon lands to have plentiful evidence regarding these ores and their workmanship. It is well known that the evidence in Mesoamerica is that they did not have metallurgy until around 800 A.D., but was practiced in Peru around 900 B.C., including a variety of techniques such as alloying, gilding, casting, the lost-wax process, soldering, and filigree work. Most effort, however, was put into developing the working of precious metals—gold and silver. By 600 BC metal working techniques such as casting, hammering, repoussé, riveting, wire drawing, and cire perdue had been mastered in Peru. Metallurgical techniques continued to evolve over the centuries to the arrival of the Spanish who, by the way, were amazed at the metallurgy techniques employed and the artifacts found. They considered it some of the best metal art in existence, and archaeologists agree that the ancient Peruvians had a long heritage as metallurgists, for over a thousand years before the Inca, and was unparalleled by any other culture anywhere in the Americas.
The Peruvians have a long heritage of metallurgy.  According to the chronicles of the early Spaniards who invaded the Andes, the Conquerors were amazed at the quality of work done in precious metals, such as gold and silver dating far back into pre-Columbian times
19. Throughout the scriptural record there is mention of fine-twined linen, silk and other material with which the Nephites adorned themselves (Mosiah 10:5; Alma 1:29; 4:6; Helaman 6:13; Ether 9:17; 10:24). While records of North and Central America do not show early use of advanced textile capability, practically all the aboriginal techniques of weaving were known in ancient Peru, and both cotton and the wool of the llama and the alpaca were extensively used. Textiles are better preserved in the south coast than they are in the north, and it appears that elaborate weaving was a specialty of the south coast at all times, and part of the south coast tradition. Tapestry, brocade, double cloth, gauze, warp stripes and weft stripes are all common, and twill was known, but no textiles of this time have been preserved in the wet climate of the highlands, though spindle whorls and statues representing clothed figures give indirect evidence of their manufacture. 
Left: A sample of modern tight-weaving found in Peru. Right: A Peruvian weaving similar to those done anciently.  The Spaniards, when they arrived in the 16th Century, were astonished by the level of expert weaving they found in the Andes
The fine quality of many of the fabrics depends on the selection and spinning of the fibers, at which the Peruvians were adept.  The early Peruvians were masters at twined-weft and looped textiles, achieving over 200 weft per inch and in some cases exceeding two hundred and fifty—one ancient tapestry was found to have as many as 500 two-ply wool wefts to the inch in some places, whereas the best that Medieval Europe attempted was about 100.  Dyeing was another important factor, and it is surprising to realize that the great range of colors found at Paracas was produced by combinations of only three vegetable dyes, indigo, red and yellow to orange-brown, with the natural colors of cotton and alpaca wool, using where necessary an alum mordant. The twills that have been found indicate the use of three heddles instead of one, and modern analogies suggest a similar arrangement for making double cloth.  The width which can be woven by a single weaver on such a loom does not exceed about 2 ft 6 in., and the discovery of fabrics up to I7-feet wide was a puzzle, until some modern Peruvian weavers provided the clue by recalling that their mothers used to work wide looms of the same type in teams, sitting side by side. The material used by the ancient Peruvians was wool from the alpaca and the llama, with some from sheep, to create the fine textiles they were capable of making.  The cotton and wool used in weaving was traded between coastal and highland people, so the two were often combined in weaving. In fact, it is reported that textile production was truly revolutionary among the Chavin who introduced an astonishing range of new techniques and materials that became the foundation for later Peruvian textile evolution.
(See the next post, “What is the Basis for the Land of Promise? Part V,” for more of the basis to determine the present location of the Book of Mormon Land of Promise based first, on the scriptural record)

Friday, November 23, 2012

What is the Basis for the Land of Promise? Part III

Continuing from the last post, where the first thirteen points that have to be the basis of locating the current location of the Book of Mormon Land of Promise were listed, we continue here with the fourteenth and further topics:
14) Use of thin sheets of gold, like in a book, around 600 B.C. (2 Nephi 5:30-31; 1 Nephi 19:1). About 30 years after leaving Jerusalem, and about 20 years in the land of promise, Nephi is commanded by the Lord to make sheets of gold upon which he was to rewrite the words of his father, Lehi, and his own record up to that point.  The original of this writing was upon the Large Plates, but the Lord knew what would eventually happen to that translation and that another record was necessary for translation at that time when the record was to "speak out of the dust." Making plates of gold thin enough to form a book requires considerable skill in goldsmithing. And this skill is found in the Americas around 600 B.C. only in Peru—according to archaeology, "goldsmith metallurgy in the Americas began with the Chavin around 600 B.C. when they began experimenting with gold, hammering it into thin sheets cutting the sheets into various sizes and shapes. These Chavin-made flat-hammered sheets and ornaments of a thinness that could be worked, engraved upon or molded into unusual and beautiful objects."  From excavations in Peru, archaeologists have found hammered gold crowns almost a foot high, covered with engraved jaguars and tweezers, ear ornaments known as ear spools, gold vessels with tubular spouts which were assembled from three or more parts, and a truly remarkable spoon with a crouched man on the handle blowing a silver conch shell. This figurine was so remarkable that the head, ears, arms, hands, legs, feet, and torso were all shaped separately and then soldered together.
A Sample of Andean engraved flat-hammered sheets of gold dated to late B.C. times; this was used on a crown but shows the technique used for making thin gold sheets
South American metallurgical technology seems to have moved northward, and this knowledge apparently included the skills of smelting, hot and cold hammering, and casting by both lost wax and open molds. The Chavin of Peru appear to have been the innovators in metallurgy, probably before 500 BC, followed by artisans of Colombia and Ecuador. It could have been even earlier, however, as some samples have been dated to about 1500 BC in the high Andes, where hammering was the method, and there was particular interest in color.
15) Buried Cities in the Land of Promise (3 Nephi 8:10,14; 9:5;8). There is no evidence of any ancient buried cities of an advanced civilization in all of the Western Hemisphere except in the Andean area of South America. There are no buried cities of this type in the Great Lakes, Eastern U.S., Heartland, or Central America. , which has hundreds of ruins, archaeological sites of ancient cities, temples and buildings. Almost all are on the surface, some on hillsides, or along coastal plains. However, some are buried beneath other sites, below hills or low mountains. A 33-stepped pyramid temple was uncovered in a 20-acre excavation site at Buena Vista, Peru, that dates well into B.C. times. This discovery was presented in April 2006 during a series of lectures at the University of Missouri in Columbia by anthropology professor Robert Benfer, who discovered the site with a team of Peruvian archaeologists.  The presentation series was sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America, and the discovery was later presented to the Society for American Archaeology in Puerto Rico.
Some of the excavation of the buried city unearthed in Buena Vista, Peru, that dates into B.C. times
Another buried city was uncovered in Peru recently that was found beneath a hill in the valley of Ticume. Considered one of the most important archaeological sites of Peru, it is located near the city of Chiclayo, and composed of a complex of 26 pyramids covering 220 hectares along the north coast of Peru. Numerous other sites have been identified in the Batan Grande area of the La Leche Valley.
The buried city in the Ticume Valley, a location where numerous other sites have been identified in the Batan Grande area of the La Leche Valley
Yet another buried city was unearthed of an advanced civilization in Peru’s archeologically rich northern coastal desert in November 2007. It is believed to have been part of the Lambayeque culture, who had a great domain of agriculture and metallurgy. This culture is famous for the big discoveries of gold objects, and evidence of arsenic-copper (alloys of several copper mixtures and arsenic that can be described as a brass type) for what is attributed to be the precursor of the brass age in the north of Peru. They produced alloys of gold, silver and arsenic-copper in unprecedented scales in the pre-Hispanic America.
The Chotuna-Chornancap archaeological digs near the Peruvian city of Chiclayo in Lambayeque
A circular plaza found buried under another archaeological site in Peru might be the oldest known human-made complex in the New World, even older than Caral. The excavation was carried out by Cesar Perez, an official with Peru’s National Institute was part of the Peruvian team along with German archaeologists. The plaza was found beneath Sechin Bajo, 230 miles north of Lima. The team believes there is an even older and larger complex beneath the plaza. Despite the age of the plaza. The complex structure was built from adobe and stone from nearby hills and constructed in such a way as to demonstrate a high understanding of architectural knowledge
The Circular Plaza was found buried beneath another site of much later construction
16) Large quantity of bones strewn over the landscape of the Land of Promise from the many centuries of wars. Obviously, battles took place in just about every land on Earth, but in most cases, the dead were buried. One of the unique circumstances of the Land of Promise is that the dead were not always buried, but left to rot upon the land (Ether 14:21), or their bones “heaped up on the earth” (Alma 2:38), or buried in large communal graves after large wars (Alma 3:1; 30:2), and they were simply in such large numbers that they were not even numbered (Alma 44:21). The tens of thousands (Alma 3:26), even millions (Ether 15:2) killed all across the Land of Promise. Though there are burial grounds throughout Peru and the Andean area, there are also, as one early archaeologist put it, “there were just tons of bones, mostly scattered at random, with the few more sorted looking piles.” Obviously, historians think this area was an old battle field between the original Nazca residents and an invading tribe of people since "there are literally just bones all over the place." Near the Huaca del Sol have been found “piles of human bones and skulls,” as one searcher has put it. There are so many piles of bones scattered through the Andean area that artisans use them to make jewelry, and in the north, during the ancient Wari Culture, what are thought today to be bones of numerous human sacrifices are more likely those of battles where scores to hundreds were killed, one large pile was found at the foot of a cliff, very likely where a group were backed up with no escape and fought, rather than thrown over the cliff in a sacrificial manner. As one researcher stated about his trip through the Peruvian desert, “Human bones were strewn across the sand as far as the eye could see.” In a valley near Pachacamac outside of Lima, there is the Pampa de los Huesos—the Field of Bones on a hillside where tons of bones are located—considered to be evidence of several huge battles that took place there. In addition, because of the tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, etc., that plague the Andean area for millennia, bones are often brought to the surface and scattered about, especially from large, communal gravesites after large battles, such as those mentioned in the Book of Mormon.
Pampa de los Huesos – the Field of Bones on a hill beyond Lima in a valley near Pachacamac
(See the next post, “What is the Basis for the Land of Promise? Part IV,” for more of the basis to determine the present location of the Book of Mormon Land of Promise that is based first, on the scriptural record)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

What is the Basis for the Land of Promise? Part II

Continuing from the last post, where the first eight points that have to be the basis of locating the current location of the Book of Mormon Land of Promise were listed, we continue here with the ninth and further topics:
9) Abundance of precious metals (2 Nephi 5:15; Jacob 2:12; Helaman 6:9) with copper, gold and silver found in single ore (1 Nephi 18:25). Any Land of Promise site would have to have large deposits of precious metals—specifically gold, silver and copper, and even more specifically, all three found in single ore. While such combination of all three is not rare, it is uncommon. Today copper is mainly extracted form ores, such as cuprite (CuO2), tenorite (CuO), malachite (CuO3·Cu(OH)2), chalcocite (Cu2S), covelite (CuS) and bornite (Cu6FeS4). Combined with silver, such copper ore is more common, at least in primary “red-bed type” copper depositing environments, which is by far and away the largest concentration of native copper; however, gold is rarely present in red-bed type copper systems because its ransport (conveying) chemistry is different. In fact, such combination is not found in the United States, though copper and molybdenum (such as in the Bingham Copper Mine in Salt Lake), or copper, nickel and platinum, or copper and manganese, but copper, silver and gold are rarely found in North or Central America according to the List of Copper Mines and Mine Production Reports.
Copper mine production in the United States. Though copper has been found in the New England states of Connecticut, Maine and Vermont; as well as in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, and in Micigan, the Great Lakes, Eastern U.S. and the Heartland regions are not significant copper locations as shown by a current map location, which accounts for 99% of U.S. copper production in 2005 (Minerals Yearbook: Copper, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Department of the Interior, March 2007)
Yet, in the Andean mountains of Chile and Peru, Copper (Cu) is found as cavities in basaltic lava rocks, and almost always with some amounts of Gold (Au) and Silver (Ag) combined. In fact, silver is normally found unintentionally as a “plus” while mining for copper in the Andean mountains. Often the ore runs 23% copper, with silver and gold as byproducts. Peru and Chile are the world’s leading producers of copper, with Michigan, New York and Connecticut early producers in the U.S., with most of North America’s copper, gold, and or silver found in Montana, Utah, Nevada and Arizona; however, globally, the dominant areas are Peru, Chile and Mexico in the Western Hemisphere.
Gold, Silver and Copper in single ore. Gold is typically a by-product of copper and silver mining—it is so valuable that it is worth the effort to recover even minute amounts from the copper. Silver occurs frequently in nature with lead and/or zinc, gold or copper ore; in fact, more than 80% of the silver found in the southwestern U.S. was a byproduct of copper mining
10) Zarahemla was north of the Land of Nephi and at a much lower elevation (Omni 1:12-13; Alma 17:7-9; 56:24-25). This inarguable fact is found in Peru, with Cuzco (City of Nephi), situated in a high mountain valley in the Peruvian Andes at over 10,000 feet, it is high above the valley to the north and west, which includes Pachacamac (City of Zarahemla) situated at less than 300 feet, and Lima as high as 5,000 feet.
11) A north flowing river that reached the sea (Alma 2:15; 16:6; 22;27,29; 43:22; 44:22; 50:8,11). The Mississippi River in the U.S. flows from north to south, as basically do all the rivers in the Great Lakes watershed, which should discount the Eastern U.S. as a Land of Promise site. In the Andean area of South America, on the other hand, the Urubamba River (Rio Urubamba), a partially navigable headwater of the Amazon River, rises in the Andes to the southeast of Cuzco near the Puno Region border, where it is called the Vilcanota River (Rio Vilcanota). In the Sacred Valley, between Pisac and Ollantaytambo, it is also called the Wilcamayu (Sacred River). It flows north-west for 450 miles before coalescing with the lower Apurimac River to form the Ucayali River. In Book of Mormon times, it would have flowed into the sea.
12) Cities buried in the Sea (3 Nephi 9:4,7). Another inarguable fact. It should be kept in mind that no cities buried in any seas, lakes or waterways have ever been found in North America, specifically in the Great Lakes, Eastern U.S. or the heartland. Nor have there been any cities discovered in the few waterways of Mesoamerica. However, in Peru, at least one city has been found submerged in Lake Titicaca, which would have been at sea level and along the coast of the East Sea in Book of Mormon times.
The ruins of an ancient temple have been found by a 30-member team of international scientists and archaeologists about 65 feet beneath Lake Titicaca. After more than 200 dives, the team found a 650-foot-long, 165-feet-wide holy temple, a terrace for crops, a pre-Incan road and a 2600-foot-long containing wall  
13) A land to the north where Hagoth’s ships would have taken thousands of Nephi emigrants around 55 B.C. that shows similar Nephite construction techniques and existence (Alma 63:4-8). Alma tells us that five thousand and four hundred men, with their wives and their children, departed out of the land of Zarahemla into the “land which was northward.” First of all, 5400 men, plus wives, would be about 10,800 people. Then add two children to each couple, and there would be a total of about 21,200 souls. If there were some families with three children, etc., the numbers could reach close to 25,000 people. That makes a very large emigrant population, and since Mormon, some 350 years later, said: “they were never heard of more,” they obviously did not travel into the Land Northward. In addition, the term “Land which was northward,” is a term used nowhere else in the record, suggesting a land different than the Land Northward, or the Land of Promise itself. The only location in the Western Hemisphere that has a very similar ancient civilization recorded to the north of a parent civilization, would be in the Mesoamerican area of Central America. Like the Andean area of South America, the ruins of both sites are extensive, with highways, temples, large cities, and a high level of culture as evidenced by the Spanish conquerors. In addition, the archaeological record shows that the ruins in Peru and the Andes are much older than those in Mesoamerica, and that the ruins in Central America date from about the first century B.C.
(See the next post, “What is the Basis for the Land of Promise? Part III,” for more of the basis to determine the present location of the Book of Mormon Land of Promise based first, on the scriptural record)