Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Questions I Would Like to Ask – Part XXIII

Using strictly the scriptures, I would like to ask the following questions of those many Theorists who claim their pet theories about the location of the Land of Promise are consistent with the scriptural record. 
     This twenty-third question is directed to John L. Sorenson and his Mesoamerican Theory, as well as all other Mesoamerican Theoris
   The question to ask is quite simple and strictly scripturally based:
    23. “Where are signs of early metallurgy found in Mesoamerica, dating to both the land in the north during Jaredites B.C. times, and also in the land in the south dating to Nephite, 500 B.C. to 300 A.D. times?”
    First, while metalworking in South America Andean societies date as far back as 1936 B.C., the story is quite different in Mesoamerica—according to Dorothy Hosler, in the American Anthropologist (1988, 1995), “The emergence of metallurgy in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica occurred relatively late in the region's history, with distinctive works of metal (use of smelting casting, and alloying of metals) apparent in West Mexico by roughly AD 800, and perhaps as early as AD 600.
Second, according to David M. Pendergast, in the World Archaeology (27), writing about metal artifacts in Prehispanic Mesoamerica, claims, “Metallurgical techniques likely diffused northward from regions in Central and South America via maritime trade routes; recipients of these metallurgical technologies apparently exploited a wide range of material, including alloys of copper-silver, copper-arsenic, copper-tine, and copper-arsenic-tin.”
    Third, West Mexico, where metallurgy first shows up in Mesoamerica, worked primariy in copper during the initial period, with some low-arsenic alloys, as well as occasional employment of silver and gold. Lost-wax cast bells were introduced from Central or South America along with several classes of cold-worked ornaments and hand tools, such as needles and tweezers.
Metallurgy reached a high degree of accomplishment in Andean Peru long before it was ever found to have existed in Mesoamerica
    Fourth, “The prototypes for these small, often utilitarian items appear rooted in southern Ecuador and northern Peru.” In fact, according to Mark Aldenderfer, Nathan M. Craig, Robert J. Speakman and Rachel Popelka-Filcoff (2008), “four-thousand-year-old gold artifacts from the Lake Titicaca basin in southern Peru” have been found. They also state that “Metallurgy in pre-Columbian America is the extraction and purification of metals, as well as creating metal alloys and fabrication with metal by Indigenous peoples of the Americas to European contact in the late 15th century. Indigenous Americans have been using native metals from ancient times, with recent finds of gold artifacts in the Andean region dated to 2155–1936 B.C.”
According to archaeologists, there is no question that metallurgy in the Andean area of South America was far superior to anything found elsewhere in the Western Hemisphere and rivaled that of the Old World
    Fifth, indigenous South Americans had full metallurgy with smelting and various metals being purposely alloyed long before any metallurgy was even known in Mesoamerica. According to Scattolin, M. Cristina, M. Fabiana Bugliani, Leticia Cortés, Lucas Pereyra Domingorena and C. Marilin Calo, these South American metallurgists developed in the Andean region of modern Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina, with gold and copper being hammered and shaped into intricate objects, including ornaments.
    Sixth, by 1000 B.C. to 200 B.C., metallurgy had spread completely through the Andean societies, with evidence of remarkable works from the sites at Waywaka, Chavin and Kotosh, according to K. O. Bruhns, (1994), Ancient South America, Cambridge University Press.
    Seventh, extensive use of portable smelting kilns in the vicinity of Puma Punku, Bolivia and at three additional sites in Peru and Bolivia to manufacture, in situ, "I" beams as connectors to large stone blocks during the construction process represent a seemingly anomalous function for metal smelting. The reported chemical analysis of these metal pours is 95.15% copper 2.05% arsenic, 1.70% nickel, .84% silicon and .26% iron. The estimated date of these pours is 8000 B.C. to 500 A.D.
Eighth, it should be kept in mind that the Jaredites were involved in metalworking. Ether tells us, “And they did work in all manner of ore, and they did make gold, and silver, and iron, and brass, and all manner of metals; and they did dig it out of the earth; wherefore they did cast up mighty heaps of earth to get ore, of gold, and of silver, and of iron, and of copper. And they did work all manner of fine work” (Ether 10:12; 23—see also Ether 9:7; 17).
    Ninth, the Nephites also were involved in extensive metalworking. Nephi taught his 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). Later, Jarom writes much the same thing about the Nephites having these natural resources (Jarom 1:8). Noah taxed and adorned his spacious buildings with these previous ores and resources (Mosiah 11:3; 8). Alma also tells us that the Nephites had all these resources (Alma 1:29; 4:6). Helaman goes further, claiming the Nephites had these precious ores and resources in both the land northward and the land southward (Helaman 6:9, 11—see also 12:2; 3 Nephi 6:2).
    So we again ask the question, “Where are signs of early metallurgy found in Mesoamerica, dating to both the land in the north during Jaredite B.C. times, and also in the land in the south dating to Nephite, 500 B.C. to 300 A.D. times?"

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