Saturday, January 23, 2016

Looking for Zarahemla – Part II

Continuing with another interesting comment from a new reader, evidently promoting his own book “Finding Zarahemla,” to which we are responding to the comment that the Delmarva (Delaware/Maryland/Virginia Peninsula): 
   Your Blog Comment: “On the east side of America is a large peninsula, about the size of Palestine, with a sea east and a sea west with a narrow neck of land at the north end connecting it to the mainland."
Response: First of all, Palestine is only 2,402 square miles, whereas Delmarva is 7847 square miles in sizeperhaps you meant Israel, which is 5,454 square miles, both of which are considerably smaller than Delmarva. Secondly, your Sea East is legitimately made up of the Atlantic Ocean and the large mouth of the Delaware River, which in ancient times, would have been a singular sea to early inhabitants. However, your West Sea is an ever narrowing Chesapeake Bay that likely would not have been along the east coast (the mainland or Maryland/Virginia) since it is far too shallow to have landed on the west coast of Delmarvayet, the scriptural record says they landed on the west coast in the south, which could not have happened on the peninsula. Again, however, this bay as it extends northward along the entire length of your Land Southward (the entire Peninsula), narrows to as little as 2.8 miles wide. 
As can be seen in the image (left), the blue line is Franklin's narrow neck of land, just south of which Hagoth built his shipyard. Why he would have sailed north is questionable, however, people would not have had to sail northward, they could have (white arrow) walked into the Land Northward and into a huge empty land; or (green arrow) could have crossed the 2.8 mile width of the river in a raft, no need for "an exceedingly large ship," and entered this vast land in which to immigrate; or crossed downriver (yellow arrows) where the far coast is less than five miles. It would simply not make sense to build a huge ship to sail up a small river when access to the area was so readily available all along the coast.
    In addition, it is highly unlikely that the Nephites would have built their major shipyards in this far northern bay which is like a river at this point, and even more unlikely they would have sailed northward from there up the Susquehanna River, when they had so much other areas to explore and immigrate to in the west across this narrow water at this point, into Maryland’s mainland. Why immigrate by ship when you could walk there and not have to go far at all—just across the narrow bay to a huge interior land.
Your Blog Comment: “Hagoth built his ships and “they took their course northward”
(Alma 63:6). How could they sail directly into the land northward? They certainly couldn’t if we follow the Mesoamerica theory that they sailed west along the coast of Mexico until they finally could go north. If we look at the Delmarva Peninsula we see “launched it forth into the west sea, by the narrow neck which led into the land northward” (Alma 63:5) That is the Chesapeake Bay and at it’s north end is the opening of a very large river, the Susquehanna, which is as large as the Mississippi at it’s widest. It goes directly into the land northward and then bends east to enter central Pennsylvania.”

    Response: There is no question about not being able to sail north from Mesoamerica’s narrow neck of land or the Isthmus of Tehuantepec; however, your site has its own, very huge problems. First of all, as already asked, why would Hagoth build “exceedingly large ships” to sail up a narrow river? That makes no sense at all. An exceedingly large ship built at that point would have sailed southward into the huge bay or out into the Atlantic and up the east coast, perhaps, but not up a narrow river as you proclaim?
Top: The Chesapeake Bay across from the Franklin’s narrow neck of land. Note the northeast branch river, the Susquehanna River, where he says Hagoth’s “exceedingly large” ships would have gone; Middle: The mouth of the Susquehanna River where it empties into the Chesapeake Bay. Upward the river flows against the movement of the ships going north. Note how quickly it narrows to a very limited sailing width; Bottom: The Susquehanna upriver. Note how narrow the river becomes for an “exceedingly large” ship 
    The mouth of the Susquehanna River (Len’api Indian “Sisa'we'hak'hanna” meaning “Oyster River), ”where it empties into the Chesapeake Bay is at sea level, and from there it runs up the north branch 464 miles to Otsego Lake in Otsego County, New York. One of its tributaries is the West Branch of the Susquehanna, which runs west at Northumberland, just above, Sunbury, to Carrolitown in Cambria County, Pennsylvania. It is claimed this river, like the Hudson and Delaware and Potomac rivers, was well established in the flat plains of eastern North America during the Mesozoic era.
The Susquehanna Canal was only four feet deep in the beginning, but it allowed passage of larger ships, usually barges and coastal merchants 
    Unfortunately for Franklin’s idea of using the Susquehanna to move Hagoth’s people upriver, the Susquehanna has many rapids which impeded northward and westward movement—while commercial traffic could navigate down the river in the high waters of the spring thaws, nothing could move up river! Two different canal systems were constructed on the lower Susquehanna to bypass the rapids, one called the Susquehanna Canal (Conowingo Canal or Port Deposit Canal) completed in 1802 running northwest from Philadelphia, the other was the longer and more successful Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal, running northwest from the Chesapeak Bay. Additional dams were required to raise the river and canals to allow for larger commercial vessels—meaning large ships, especially Hagoth’s “exceedingly large” ships. Both areas would have stopped Hagoth’s ships less than a handful of miles from where they were launched. Also, we need to keep in mind, that the Susquehanna like all eastern seaboard rivers, flows down to the ocean or Gulf, it would have been impossible to sail ships in Nephite times up any of these rivers, let alone get over the low, but mountainous areas inland—as an example, when building the Susquehanna Canal, loaded barges were transferred from the canal and hoisted across the mountain ridge into the Pittsburg area.
    The problem with ideas like this is that they don’t work in the pre-industrial era of America where the Corps of Engineers and other, earlier private groups, dug canals and channels to allow ocean sailing vessels inland into the American interior as we have shown in various articles of every sea lane from the Gulf of Mexico to the eastern seaboard running inland from the Gulf or Atlantic Ocean. You couldn’t sail where sailing wasn’t possible beyond a handful of miles from the coast all over the southern and eastern U.S.
    Your Blog Comment: ”It is like Mormon said, “nearly surrounded by water” except for the narrow neck. This peninsula doesn’t show in any of our maps because it is in three states: Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. It is the Delmarva Peninsula.” 
    Response: Of course it shows on all maps. It is not labeled Delmarva,  because it includes three states: Maryland, Virginia, and almost the entire state of Delaware—but it is there on the map and is very definitely a peninsula with no separate or separable Land Northward.
Even on maps we have in the West, the State of Delaware appears, and does so on a peninsula, which is very noticeable on all of the maps above that were randomly picked off locally available maps. Even if the map is small (red arrow) or very old (bottom right) 
    Theorists have not missed this peninsula, it is just that it does not fit the criteria of the scriptural record and, therefore, has not been considered by anyone besides you, and while that is not a deterrent, the fact that it doesn’t match Mormon’s descriptions causes it to be overlooked by others.
    You Blog Comment: “When the great emigration of the Nephites to the land northward occurred, described in Alma 63:4-5, it was a very large group that traveled overland through the narrow neck to move on to a better place.
    Response: Exactly. In fact, there is so much area north, northwest, and even northeast from your narrow neck, why immigrate by ships at all? Vast tracks of land would have been available just beyond the narrow neck in any direction. This is not what Mormon described, nor does your narrow neck fit the descriptive information about it in any way, from being too narrow to having no strategic purpose, to not keeping an enemy from circumventing it and moving into the land northward beyond this so-called neck.
(See the next post, “Looking for Zarahemla-Part III,” for more information on Franklin Reid’s book Finding Zarahemla, and his comments to us and our responses, with continuation of the above last paragraph)

1 comment:

  1. Funny how Franklin's eyes can be open to critical thinking of other's Book of Mormon theories but so closed to looking at his own. Hagoth clearly has to have some where to sail north to.. makes you wonder why did he not see this problem in his own model?