Saturday, April 6, 2013

Nephi’s Temple Like Solomons – Part II

Continuing with the previous post regarding on the temple built by Nephi and the modern ruins of Sacsayhuaman situated above Cuzco in Andean Peru.
It is important to note that when the Spanish arrived, they were not only astounded by the engineering fetes and expert masonry of the work at Sacsayhuaman, they were astonished at how it could possibly have been constructed by the Inca. In fact, they could not explain to themselves how these “Indians” whom they called “ignorant, wild, without any ability of logical reasoning,” could have built such a greatness. Once observing the Inca, it was beyond the conquerors’ ability to conceive that they could have accomplished such magnificent work, and attributed it to the work of demons or malign spirits.
With this in mind, it should be understood that the Spanish had seen the building magnificent of the Romans, and their own accomplishments in outstanding cathedral construction, magnificent castle building, plazas, and public structures
15th century buildings in Spain—the Conquistadors were knowledgeable of such magnificent edifices, but were still awed by what they found in Peru
Yet, despite all the credit the Inca were given in constructing the site, it is obvious that their ability was far inferior. Take, as an example, as has been shown here numerous times in the past, the lack of Inca ability in trying to repair some of the ancient rock masonry that is found not only at Sacsayhuaman, but of other sites in Andean Peru, many dating into B.C. times.
One of the massive walls at Sacsayhuaman. The large stones were hand carved to fit precisely, and without mortar so not even a slip of paper could be inserted between them. However, when the Inca tried to repair a few places during their occupancy, their ability is shown in the small, stacked rocks—they simply lacked the masonry ability to match or come close to the previous work
One of the more humorous things about today’s scholars is that while some believe the walls were a form of fortification, there are actually those that believe the complex was built specifically to represent the head of a puma, the effigy shape which Sacsayhuamán together with Cuzco forms when seen from the sky. However, the manpower, cost in time and resources, the skills employed, and the unscalable height of the walls, their military zig-zag design, and their staggered entrance paths, could only suggest not only a defensive nature, but one of great strategic purpose.
Top Left: Note the height of the walls compared to a person, and the size of the boulders that were carved to a perfect fit; Right: Three sets of walls, each equally high and equally made from perfectly-fitting stone. Note the zig-zag pattern that allows for deadly cross-fire from bow and sling; Bottom: Note the intricate angles, all perfectly cut and fitted, without mortar, each stone weighing many tons, showing an enormous effort in manpower and time
No one knows how these magnificent constructions were achieved. Some of the stones weighed over 100 ton, one as much as 200, yet were perfectly cut with angles to match numerous other stones.
Left: The single stone on the far left stands over 25-foot tall and weights well over 100 ton; Right: Note the intricate cuts and angles in these huge stones
There is much unknown about how the walls were constructed. The stones are so closely spaced that a single piece of paper will not fit between the stones. This precision, combined with the rounded corners of the limestone blocks, the variety of their interlocking shapes, and the way the walls lean inward, helped the structures survive devastating earthquakes that frequently hit Cuzco. The longest of three walls is over 1300 feet (more than four football fields long). They are about 20 feet tall (30 feet originally), and the estimated volume of stone is almost 20,000 cubic feet.
This type stonework made up the outer walls of the temple. Note the carving of the curved corner stones, and the precise fit of the numerous angled cuts. “The manner of the construction was like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine” (2 Nephi 5:16)
Unfortunately, the Spanish harvested much rock from the walls of the structure to build churches in Cuzco. This is why the walls are in perfect condition up to a certain height, and missing above that point, mainly because they were simply too large and heavy for the Spanish to move. Sacsayhuamán is also noted for an extensive system of underground passages known as chincanas, which connect the complex to other Inca ruins within Cuzco.
The three walls protecting the temple complex (middle far left) where it sits on the cliff overlooking the valley of Cuzco. The walls were originally ten feet taller, and would have provided considerable protection for the defenders standing behind to shoot their arrows or fling their sling-stones at attackers
Sacsayhuaman is today considered as “one of the finest monuments that mankind built on the earth's surface,” and was constructed by expert craftsmen, stonemasons, designers, and engineers. It is not something that just anyone could have accomplished, nor have we seen the like anywhere else in the world before or since until modern man with modern equipment and technology began to build. Nephi tells us “And I did teach my people to build buildings, and 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). One might ask, then, who taught Nephi? Obviously, it was the Lord who instructed him in tool making, smelting, ore identification, etc. (1 Nephi 18:2-4). And in addition to building a temple like unto Solomon’s, Nephi tells us And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did cause my people to be industrious, and to labor with their hands” (2 Nephi 5:17). No, not just anyone could have built Sacsayhuaman and numerous other similarly constructed sites in Andean Peru—it would have taken someone instructed by the Lord to have accomplished it.
Nowhere else in the Western Hemisphere can be found this type of construction. Not to discredit the work in Mesoamerica, for it is truly outstanding, but it simply does not compare to the magnificence of 50 to 150 ton stones cut at precise angles, some of which have a dozen or more angles, and fit so perfectly with other cut stones. This is the type of work the Lord instructed Nephit in, first with the building of his ship, an endeavor that was far beyond anyone in the Lehi Colony to have accomplished without the Lord’s instructions, and "not after the manner of men." What else the Lord instructed and taught Nephi to accomplish is not recorded, but one might suspect that in the building of a temple “like unto Solomon’s,” the Lord’s hand was involved.

1 comment:

  1. Incredible! It brings tears into my eyes! Thank you for your amazing comments. You have answered a lot of questions about Nephi's temple. I can't wait to visit the place.