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)

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