Saturday, October 10, 2015

More Comments from Readers – Part IV

Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog: 
    Comment #1: “It is surprising you have used dates to typify Nephite cities that date into very early BC times, like that of the Jaredites, etc.” Shane T.
    Response: Well, I’ve covered this idea from about as many sides as I can, but let me add this one thing:
Top: The central mound or pyramid of La Galgada in the Andes Mountains; Bottom Left: One of the upper levels of the rounded pyramid of La Galgada; Right: An artist's rendition of the site as seen by the parts so far uncovered
    The site of La Galgada, Peru, lies in the Northern highlands of the Andean mountain chain some 330 feet above sea level. It is 50 miles from the ocean, 50 miles from the Amazon, with Aspero approximately 155 miles to the south. As part of the larger Andean highland tradition named the Kotosh Religious Tradition, it is also part of a period named the Late Archaic or Cotton Preceramic, which dates 3000 B.C. through 1800 B.C. However, La Galgada is dated from as early as 3000 B.C. to as late as 1700 B.C. with firm dates from 2400 B.C. to 1900 B.C. With these dates in mind, I again suggest that reaching calendar dates through radiocarbon dating of sites is a very difficult endeavor, and not even the archaeologists can do so with any conviction. If we adjust these figures to read in a non-equilibrium Carbon-14 atmosphere, you have a period considered between 1000 B.C. and 500 B.C. By using the archaeological plus or minus figure of 100 to 150 years, the dating period is dropped to 850 to 350 B.C., well within the Nephite period.
    These figures and adjustments are not ours, by the way, but those from groups who specialize in the radiocarbon dating process with an adjustment from equilibrium to a non-equilibrium Carbon-14 atmosphere. Any number of arrangements, of course, can be seen from massaging laboratory dates when you make plus or minus adjustments and alter for non-equilibrium atmosphere conditions.
    The point is, when you make the necessary adjustments to the random archaeologists’ placement of a culture in their own tables, and correct for Carbon-14 tables, you bring these radiocarbon laboratory dates into the real world and they fall within the Nephite period.
    Comment #2: “You claim that the Olmec were the original people of Mesoamerica, dating from about 1500 B.C., yet archaeologist Willey claimed that the first settlers of the Americas were those who settled in 10,000 B.C.”
Response: We are talking about two different things. Gordon R. Willey and Philip Phillips (Method and Theory in American Archaeology, University of Chicago, 1958), were using the typical archaeological and anthropological theory about “cultural stages,” i.e., Lithic Stage (before 8000 B.C.), Archaeic Stage (8000-2000 B.C.), Formative Stage (1000 B.C. to 500 A.D.) Classic Stage (500 to 1200 A.D.) and Post-Classic Stage (1200 A.D. to contact with Europeans) to create a standard cultural stage setting for the Americas. This includes the study of pre-historic/Pre-Columbian and historic indigenous American peoples, as well as historical archaeology of more recent eras. This is all based on standard archaeological thinking and dogmas, such as the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas category above including the movement of people across the so-called Beringia Land Bridge from Siberia to Alaska for the settlement of North, Central and South America. The pre-Columbian era incorporates all period subdivisions in the history and prehistory of the Americas before the appearance of significant European influences on the American continents, spanning the time of the original settlement in the Upper Paleolithic period (50,000 to 10,000 years ago) to European colonization during the Early Modern period.
    As can be seen, archaeology assumes without question that there was a settlement in the Americas before 8000 B.C. (Upper Paleolithic period), which would make this at a minimum of 2000 years before Adam left the Garden of Eden, and a maximum of more than 40,000 years before the Earth was created (organized).
If you want to play around with that type of thinking and figures, be my guest. However, they have nothing to do with anything that has ever been found or dated in the Western Hemisphere (or elsewhere for that matter). The earliest dated settlement in the Americas, as covered in an earlier post (Wednesday, March 4, 2015, The Earliest Americans-Valdivia”) which showed radiocarbon dates as early as 4400 B.C. (James A. Zeidler, “The Ecuadorian Formative,” in Helaine Silverman and William H. Isbell (eds.), The Handbook of South American Archaeology, 2008, pp459-488), long before anything has yet been dated anywhere else in the Americas.
    Comment #3: “I really enjoyed reading your very extensive series regarding early Andean cultures, but wonder why you overlooked the Chan Chan, one of the most extensive people of the ancient Andean regions who built the largest pre-columbian city in all of South America?” Doris M.
    Response: Thank you for your comment. Chan Chan was not included because it is considered by archaeologists to have been built by the Chimor (Chimú kingdom) in what they call the late Intermediate period (1000 to 1476 A.D.) and refer to as the Late Chimú, though it is considered to have started around 850 A.D. On the other hand, there are those who consider the Chimú as an extension or outgrowth of the Moche (Mochica) civilization, and sometimes called the Early Chimú, which began in the B.C. period, though Archaeologists are uncertain when, but that it ended around 500 A.D. Many of the large pyramids in the Chicama, Moche, and Viru valleys are attributed to the Early Chimú, who occupied the exact same location as the Mochica.
    The accomplishments of the Chimú are quite remarkable, and their spouted pots are so similar to those of earlier cultures that it is hard to imagine why Archaeologists and Anthropologists want to insist they were a separate culture and unrelated to others.
    In any event, when dealing with the placement sequences of Andean cultures by archaeology, it is sometimes difficult to get people who are unfamiliar with the overall problem to look beyond the surface of dates and placement to see that the Nephites had occupied this land during the time when almost all of the remarkable settlement sites were built and realize we are dealing with one, overall civilization and not scores of separate peoples who had little, if anything to do with one another. It was my attempt to get past this type of thinking that started this series in the first place.
    By the way, there are numerous other named-groups that could have also been included, such as the Chancay, the “fair-skinned” Chachapoya, Ichma, etc.
    Comment #4: “So you are saying that the Valdivia culture of Ecuador were the Jaredites?” Fletcher J.
Response: The Valdivians occupied Santa Elena Peninsula (left), the area where the Jaredies settled in the Land Northward, north of the Bay of Guayaquil. On the other hand, the Valdivia are considered to have emerged from the Las Vegas culture, who occupied a complex of 31 settlements along the Santa Elena peninsula claimed to date from 8000 B.C. to 4600 B.C.  The fact that both these groups occupied the area in the Land Northward where the Jaredites settled, along the Santa Elena Peninsula, again suggests that these were all the Jaredites—which may have included other early Ecuadorian cultures such as the Machalilla, Chorrera, Chimba, Cotocollao, Mayo Chinchipe, Passtaza, Chiguaza, Cerro Narrio, and Chaullabamba. However, almost nothing is known of these groups since Ecuadorian archaeology is really quite sparse. As an example, to the archaeologist, the Valdivia and Machallila cultures were different people, because their ceramics were different. Also, by example, the Las Vegas are thought to have been from 8000 to 4600 B.C., Valdivia from 3500 B.C. to 2000 B.C., the Machallila from 2000 to 900 B.C., and the Chorrera from 900 to 300 B.C., followed by the Quitu, etc. One might also conclude that all these people were actually one common group, living in different areas, under different leaders (kings), etc., like the Jaredites.

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