Saturday, September 3, 2011

Forts of the Western New York Model – Part II

Continuing from the last post, the Great Lakes theorists continue to come up with unsupportable examples of ancient cultures in the area that supposedly were equal to the Nephite descriptions of accomplishments in the Land of Promise. Great Lakes Theorist, Arlin Nasbaum, in quoting from Frederick Larkin’s 1880 book “Ancient Man in America,” tries to sell us on so-called wood forts of antiquity. However, these so-called ancient forts running south along the Great Lakes, as Nasbaum claims, according to all known archaeologists, do not date before 1200 A.D.

These fort building people are dated to between 1200 A.D. and 1450 A.D., and built villages, like their neighbors to the southeast, that were circular with wooden palisades, and earthen moats. Earlier, mound builders began building mounds of earth over their burial sites, beginning about 100 B.C. Between 500 A.D. and 1000 A.D., bows and arrows overtook the wide-spread use of spears, and during this time, maize, beans, and squash was introduced.

About 800 A.D., the Mississippian culture began in the Mississippi valley area as well as in Tennessee. At this time, the construction of large, truncated earthwork pyramid mounds, or platform mounds, were begun. These people had no writing system or stone architecture—they worked naturally occurring metal deposits, but did not smelt iron or make bronze metallurgy.

Keep in mind, this period began around 800 A.D., about 400 years after the demise of the Nephite Nation.

In this period of time, the first stockade forts appeared, with defensive earthen works. But, as archaeologists are quick to point out, they were not involved at any time in stone work. Yet, Mormon tells us that Moroni built stone walls around cities, and around the entire area of the Land of Promise. Also, while this Mississippian Culture, which stretched from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes, were somewhat limited in their development of large population areas—they were just moving out of the tribal lifestyle and into increasing complexity, sedentism, and centralization along with the development of agriculture.

The problem with early writers and later theorists in considering the building of forts along the southern edge of the Great Lakes forgets that while these forts were wooden, there were no stone walls or buildings as indicated in the scriptural record.

Consider the vast stretches of stone work in the Andean area of South America, with walls built for defense as these surely show.

Speaking of Moroni whose defense of the Nephites was outstanding, spent much of his time between wars and battles, strengthening and building defenses around cities and throughout the Land of Promise. As is found in Alma: “he had been strengthening the armies of the Nephites, and erecting small forts, or places of resort; throwing up banks of earth round about to enclose his armies, and also building walls of stone to encircle them about, round about their cities and the borders of their lands; yea, all round about the land” (Alma 48:8).

It should be noted these walls and defenses were made of stone. There are no stone defensive works built anywhere in the Great Lakes area. Even as late as the colonial period, all forts and stockades were built of wood. On the other hand, in the Peruvian area, almost everything was built of stone.

Consider the fortress appearance of the Andean buildings—whether temple, palace or city, they were always built within stone wall fortresses that were designed for defense.

It should also be noted, that irrespective of what a modern-day prophet says, we cannot ignore the scriptural record of those who were there and, who themselves, were prophets as well. Generally speaking, we would not expect a modern prophet to contradict and earlier prophet when speaking of the same subject—the economy and directions of the Lord would preclude such a thing. It is only the modern individual who thinks in terms of contradiction, or one prophet’s utterances different from an earlier prophet—after all, the Lord has made it clear he is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Thus, it cannot be said, as Great Lakes Theorists like to claim, that Spiritual Geography is going to be different that physical geography when both are written and described by prophets.

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