Sunday, July 17, 2011

Additional Clues to the Land of Promise Location-Part II Slings Used as Weapons

Besides the Land of Promise location matching scriptural clues such as winds and currents moving Nephi’s ship that was “driven forth before the wind,” the temperature and climate needed to grow seeds from Jerusalem exceedingly and provide an abundant climate, locating ore deposits in abundance and contain gold, silver and copper in a single unit, finding two unknown animals that were as “useful to man” as the elephant, two unknown grains on a par with corn, wheat and barley, and natural herbs to cure deadly fever, roads, buildings, resorts, area of many waters, volcanoes and earthquakes, and fortified walls, there are other clues in the scriptural record that also needs to be found in the Land of Promise.

One of these would be the use of slings as a weapon. The earliest sling found in archaeology was in the Egyptian tomb of Tutankhamen (King Tut) who died around 1325 B.C., and earliest mention of its use was in /

Throughout the Book of Mormon, the Nephites are shown to use slings as weapons. As Nephi stated during their trip along the Red Sea, “And it came to pass that we did travel for the space of many days, slaying food by the way, with our bows and our arrows and our stones and our slings” (1 Nephi 16:15). When his bow broke, he stated: “I did arm myself with a bow and an arrow, with a sling and with stones” (1 Nephi 16:23).

When Zeniff went back to reclaim the Land of Nephi, he states “I did arm them with bows, and with arrows, with swords, and with cimeters, and with clubs, and with slings, and with all manner of weapons which we could invent, and I and my people did go forth against the Lamanites to battle” (Mosiah 9:16). Even the Lamanites used slings for weapons: “they came up upon the north of the land of Shilom, with their numerous hosts, men armed with bows, and with arrows, and with swords, and with cimeters, and with stones, and with slings; and they had their heads shaved that they were naked; and they were girded with a leathern girdle about their loins” (Mosiah 10:8).

More than 500 years after Lehi landed, the Nephites were still using slings. “They did prepare to meet them; yea, they did arm themselves with swords, and with cimeters, and with bows, and with arrows, and with stones, and with slings, and with all manner of weapons of war, of every kind” (Alma 2:12), as were the Lamanites, “the Lamanites were shorn; and they were naked, save it were skin which was girded about their loins, and also their armor, which was girded about them, and their bows, and their arrows, and their stones, and their slings, and so forth” (Alma 3:5), and the sling was still used to bring down game for food: “they departed out of the land of Zarahemla, and took their swords, and their spears, and their bows, and their arrows, and their slings; and this they did that they might provide food for themselves while in the wilderness” (Alma 17:7).

It is obvious that the Nephites had great ability with the sling, and used it even in single combat with great accuracy as shown when “Ammon stood forth and began to cast stones at them with his sling; yea, with mighty power he did sling stones amongst them; and thus he slew a certain number of them insomuch that they began to be astonished at his power” and was far more accurate with the sling than the Lamanites for they “were angry because of the slain of their brethren, and they were determined that he should fall; therefore, seeing that they could not hit him with their stones, they came forth with clubs to slay him” (Alma 17:36).

Because of this widespread use of the sling for at least nearly 600 years as recorded in the scriptural record, we might expect to find the sling a weapon found in the Land of Promise, at least at the time of the Conquistadors in the 16th century.

In the ancient Andean civilizations slings were made from llama or alpaca wool. These slings typically have a cradle that is long and thin and features a relatively long slit. Andean slings were constructed from contrasting colors of wool; complex braids and fine workmanship result in beautiful patterns. Ceremonial slings were also made; these were large, non-functional and generally lacked a slit. To this day, ceremonial slings are used in parts of the Andes as accessories in dances and in mock battles. They are also used by llama herders; the animals will move away from the thump of a stone. The stones are not slung to hit the animals, but to persuade them to move in the desired direction.

In the Andes, the sling was used for hunting and warfare. One notable use was in Incan resistance against the conquistadors and apparently very powerful; in “1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus,” historian Charles C. Mann, quoted a conquistador, who said that an Incan sling "could break a sword in two pieces" and "kill a horse." Some slings could hurl massive stones and its span could be as much as 86 inches and could weigh an impressive 14.4 ounces.

Thousands of sling stones have been found all over Peru, many dating long before the Inca and back into B.C. times where they were used by the ancient Peruvians.

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