Saturday, May 2, 2015

Who Were the Jaredites—Part II, The Ancient People of La Maná

Continuing from the previous post about the new find in the central mountains of Ecuador of a 26 story high pyramid covered by a layer of mud soil and verdant growth. The discovery astounded the discoverers for its remarkable advanced stone cutting, fitting and workmanship that dated well into B.C. time.  
The so-called Hummingbird Pyramid, an innocent-looking hill covered by mud soil and growth, discovered in La Maná, Ecuador, among 17 ancient pyramidal temples along the Calope River
    Referred to as the Hummingbird Pyramid after the great variety of local hummingbird species whose rhythmic wing beats symbolized psychoacoustic influences among all ancient cultures of the Andes, the site sits in a large plain in the foothills of the Andes, surrounded by mountains, rainforest and jungle where the Nhungañan branch of the Andes mountain range crosses, with climates from subtropical in the tops of the mountains to tropical in the lowlands—in the heart of the Jaredite Land Northward. The area has a rich diversity of reptiles, snakes (false coral and reef), equiz snake, among other poisonous species, reminding one of the incident where “there came forth poisonous serpents also upon the face of the land, and did poison many people. And it came to pass that their flocks began to flee before the poisonous serpents, towards the land southward, which was called by the Nephites Zarahemla” (Ether 9:31).
    Immense forests, giant banana plantings, cassava, cocoa, snuff and coffee are grown today, it was a strategic geographical location where numerous rivers, including the Guadual, Quindigua, Hugshatambo, Guasaganda, Manuilita, and the San Pablo, which originates in the northern part and is the longest and mightiest of this network, though having only a 12 mile length. Also the southwesterly Warbler river estuaries El Moral, Chilingo and Calope rivers flow here, with copious waterfalls in the mountains.
Top: Looking upward along the pyramid facing of the hill’s slope that is partially overgrown with brush and trees; Bottom: Close up of the irregularly fitted and angular cut stones (note yellow arrow)
    The pyramid had lain buried beneath the jungle for centuries, perhaps millennia, when it was first discovered while exploring low mountains along the Calope River by Alexander Putney and his partner Suzanne Benoit in November 2013.
    This large pyramid complex comprises 17 ancient monumental buildings that, after years of exploration of the Calope River and Seven Cascades vicinity have uncovered more than 30 sites spread over a large area that confirm the hidden presence of these 17 major stone monuments. It is believed the Hummingbird Pyramid is directly linked to an entire complex of monuments by an ascending causeway that extends from the pyramid's apex for over 650 feet before beginning a gradual incline to a much larger pyramid, also deeply buried in soil. The two sides of Hummingbird that have so far been seen extend more than 265 feet in height partially covered by rich kaolin clay beds and dense cloud forests. In fact, when first encountered, it looked like the rest of the jungle around it except for a few blocks of cut and dress stones laying about.
Top: Cut and dressed stones drew the attention of jungle explorers who began to look for the cause of this obvious “man-made” work; Bottom: This turned out to be a facing of stacked stone sloping up the side of a hill
    The ruins of this ancient pyramid had been partially exposed by the dynamite of road workers and the erosive action of water, uncovering large sections of basalt foundations along two sides of the 26-story structure. The La Maná region had drawn attention for decades after the Head of the Ecuadorian Ministry of Mines, Dr. E. Guillermo Sotomayor (who died in 2009) had made the surprise discovery of a cache of hundreds of ancient relics that included dozens of magnetic stone artifacts with inlaid designs that fluoresce under ultraviolet light.
A micrograph of the crystal/metal matrix of geopolymer samples from near the facing of the Hummingbird Pyramid
    In fact, the pyramidal area has crystal/metal geopolymer rock on the near facing, which reveals a beautiful mosaic of exotic granulated components that were mixed and poured thousands of years ago forming the geopolymer stones seen today. This might have been similarly done as the geopolymer techniques used today to form monolithic materials, like metakaolin and reactive silica under the presence of strong alkaline soluitons. Such nanosized Leucite crystals were probably prepared by heating a powder mexiture of metalaolin with other elements and fired at elevated temperatures. Whatever the method, it sounds reminiscent of “touch these stones, O Lord, with thy finger, and prepare them that they may shine forth in darkness; and they shall shine forth unto us in the vessels which we have prepared, that we may have light while we shall cross the sea” (Ether 3:4).
    Millions of interlocking basalt blocks comprising the bulk of the Hummingbird Pyramid and its causeway reveal a highly specialized architectural technology for enhanced seismic integrity and resistance to water erosion. In addition to the extreme density and superhard crystal/metal composition of the artificial stone, the many interlocking forms and angular internal construction features were painstakingly molded by many generations of pyramid-builders who had perfected the art of monumental construction in the most challenging of equatorial environments.
Yellow Arrows point to the extreme angles of the block cuts in all directions for tectonic purposes to withstand earthquakes
    Prevention and control of landsliding was of paramount concern, and dictated the crucial angularity of highly complex stonework being uncovered at several excavation sites on the Hummingbird Pyramid. Giant megalithic blocks were apparently only cast within the deeper sections of the monument's foundations, whereas the surfaces of this massive pyramidal building were primarily cast in smaller multifaceted forms. Seams in the stonework display a clear tendency toward rhomboidal grid patterns.
Angular cut stones in odd shapes were used to offset earthquakes, volcano activity and shifting earth slides. The tectonic technique would have been extremely unusual for its time and far advanced for any age. Even today few builders utilize such techniques, even in earthquake country
    To this day, landslides represent a major hazard to life in these low mountain areas that were densely populated during the Paleolithic Era. Sections of paved walkway and other water-worn exterior surfaces of the Hummingbird Pyramid uncovered thus far are puzzle-like mosaics of much smaller interlocking blocks that would have allowed minor damage to occur during adverse meteorological conditions while preventing the catastrophic collapse of larger sections of the steeply-angled building.
    Once again, such advanced tectonic techniques for the period of time in which the Jaredites lived would have been unlikely under normal circumstances, however as indicated earlier and in the last post, such knowledge is envisioned by spiritual giants such as the brother of Jared, and other righteous people. And after Jared and his brother died, Orihah did walk humbly before the Lord, and did remember how great things the Lord had done for his father, and also taught his people how great things the Lord had done for their fathers…and did execute judgment upon the land in righteousness all his days, whose days were exceedingly many” (Ether 6:30; 7:1).
    Unfortunately, the record we have of the Jaredites centers on their wars and difficulties, failings and repentance, so we do not know of their advances and inventions, their way of life, or the types of buildings they constructed. Yet we know of their prosperity, which is recorded time and again, and we can see how the Jaredite kingdom, over 1600 years, would have advanced in many ways.

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