Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Questions About Tiahuanaco – Part II

Continuing from the last post with more questions about Tiahuanaco:
Comment #6: How does Puma Punku fit into the Book of Mormon?”
Response: There is no way of saying for certain what city or complex Puma Punku might have been; however, since it was a port city, we can assume it was along the eastern seacoast within the territory of the Land of Nephi, possibly about two hundred and fifty miles or so southeast of the City of Nephi or Cuzco. It is possible it was the city of Jerusalem, which the Lamanites, Amalekites and Amulonites built (Alma 21:2). This land of Jerusalem, named after their father’s nativity, joined the borders of Mormon (Alma 21:1), which in this sense, would have been to the southeast of the City of Nephi. Since it is described as “it was away joining the borders of Mormon,” we might conclude that it was some distance from the “borders of the land of the Lamanites.”
Also, since the city of Jerusalem was one where “the waters…to come up in the stead thereof” (3 Nephi 9:7), not only was it along the seacoast, but it was sunk—that is, inundated with water—with all the people being drowned as a result of the cataclysm mentioned in 3 Nephi. Tiahuanaco was buried in water based on the lime deposits all through the city, and the depth of the sediment, all of which indicated that “a stupendous wave of water had washed over the entire area.” We have written other posts how the sea would have covered this city and drowned everyone before it swept back out as the Andes were uplifted suddenly to a “height which is great” (Helaman 14:23).
Comment #2: “I have read of several different dates, one as old as 17,000 B.C. about when Tiahuanaco was built. Do you have a specific date?” Paula P.
Response: Radiocarbon dates place the building over 2000 years ago; archaeologists claim that “the city was settled by 400 B.C. on the Tiahuabaco River, which empties into Lake Titicaca as a small farming village that evolved into a regal city of multi-terraced platform pyramids, courts and urban areas, covering a total 2.31 square miles.” Exact dates, however, will never be known since radiocarbon dating, and other determinations of science, are inexact, despite what people like to claim. What you read about the ancient date was the result of Bolivian scholar Arthur Posnansky who began a fifty year study of the ruins of Tiahuanaco using astronomical information and concluding the city was constructed more than 17,000 years ago by measuring the angle of the cornerstones and comparing that angle to today’s sunrise position and based on a principle known as the
“obliqueness of the ecliptic”
Posnansky’s figures based, in part, on the plane of the ecliptic, with the resulting angle of the known as the “obliqueness of the ecliptic”
However, he later changed that to about 10,000 years ago. Maverick American archaeologist Neil Steede feels that the construction was more like 7000 to 5000 B.C. The controversies about the age of its original construction have attracted many scholars from different parts of the world, but most dates and ideas are little more than guesses.
Comment #7: “Does the figure on the Sun Gate have any correlation to the Book of Mormon?” Kilian.
Response: Based on the Aymara language of the Andean Indians, the figure is believed to represent Viracocha, the Creator God, or the God who created all things.  The image holds a thunderbolt in each hand and wears the sun for a crown, which has led to many archaeologists claiming it was the Inca sun god for the Inca worshipped the Sun. It also appears that the image is shedding tears, streaming from his eyes like rain. Legend says he wept when he saw the plight of the creatures he had created, but knew that he must sustain them. This Viracocha made the earth, the stars, the sky and mankind, but his first creation displeased him, so he destroyed it with a flood and made a new, better one, teaching his new creations the rudiments of civilization, as well as working numerous miracles. Viracocha eventually disappeared across the Pacific Ocean (by walking on the water), setting off near Manta Ecuador, and never returned. It was thought that Viracocha would re-appear in times of trouble. References are also found of a group of men named the suncasapa or bearded ones, who were the mythic soldiers of Viracocha, or perhaps more accurately, the 'angelic warriors of Viracocha.' As for the Book of Mormon, Viracocha roughly would translate into Jehovah (Jesus Christ) who created all things. Known to the Nephites as “The Son,” it would seem that the term eventually became “the Sun” to the Inca.
Comment #8: “I read that the Tiahuanaco people had large herds of domesticated alpaca and llama, and hunted guanaco and vicuna. According to you, the Llama and Alpaca were the cureloms and cumoms. If that is the case, what were the guanaco and vicuna that were known in Tiahuanaco?” Tiphainie
Left: the Guanaco; Right: the Vicuña, wild ancestors of the Llama and Alpaca
Response: The guanaco (Lama guanicoe) is also a camelid native to the Andean area of South America. The name comes from the Quechua word wanaku (huanaco), and represents the wild ancestor of the Llama. The vicuña (Vicugna vicugna) is the wild ancestor of the alpaca and is native to the central Andes. Until recently, it was believed that both the Llama and Alpaca were descended from the Guanaco, however, recent DNA evidence shows the Alpaca is descended from the vicuña. Stated differently, the Llama and Guanaco are one of the Jaredite animals mentioned, and the Alpaca and Vicuña are the other animal mentioned.
Comment #9: ”Did the people of Tiahuanaco have horses or donkeys in order to plow and plant?” Joni G.
Response: The Jaredites had horses and asses, what we call donkeys today (Ether 9:19), and the Nephites had horses and donkeys (1 Nephi 18:25), as well as the Lamanites who had horses (Alma 18:9). Thus, we might conclude that the Nephites or Lamanites would have had horses in Tiahuanaco. However, it would not have been necessary to have such animals in order to plow and plant, for the Andean people had the chakitaqlla, a human-powered foot plow that consisted of a wooden pole with a curved sharp point, often made of stone or metal. Across the end of this pole ran another wooden crossbar, on which the farmer could put his foot to sink it into the earth and produce a furrow.
Both Andean men, anciently and today, use the chakitaqlla to break up the earth like a plow before planting
This tool is still used in the Andes for plowing, sowing, and building today in the Lake Titicaca region. They also had the rauccana (rawkkana), a hoe like thin sheet of wood for sowing small weeds; and the waqtana, which was an instrument for breaking up dirt clods. These three instruments were used in the Andes for thousands of years, with the men using the chakitqlla to break the soil and the women following, breaking the closes and planting seeds. This work was accompanied by singing and chanting, striking the earth in unison. By one account, Spanish priests found the songs so pleasant that they were incorporated into church services.

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