Saturday, March 26, 2016

Did the Nephites Have the Wheel—What Happened to the Nephite Evidences? – Part II

Continuing with the question about the Nephite Wheel and all evidence of their existence as well as the evidence of other Nephite relics. 
   Thus, we can see from the previous post, what would have happened to the many evidences of the Nephite civilization. Given these facts, and their implication, it is a wonder so much evidence of Nephite existence is still found in the ground at all other than their many buildings, left to crumble through inattention.
However, let us get back to the Nephites before they were annihilated, and the question of the wheel. Since the Nephites built extensive roads, they obviously had some use for the roads other than just to walk on, or why build roads twenty and thirty feet wide? Why build so many highways [and] many roads made, which led from city to city, and from land to land, and from place to place” (3 Nephi 6:8)? And why invest the cost, time and effort to build paved roads if only foot traffic was involved? In fact, if only foot traffic was to use it, why not just have paths? However, they had roads, which is defined as “a wide way leading from one place to another, especially one with a specially prepared surface that vehicles can use,” and highways, which word is defined as “a great or public road; a main road, especially one connecting major towns or cities.”
    The Roman roads were built from about 500 B.C. through the expansion and consolidation of the Roman Republic and later Empire, and were made up of small local roads to broad long-distance highways built to connect cities, major towns and military bases. They were often stone-paved and cambered for drainage, and flanked by paved footpaths and drainage ditches. They were laid along accurately surveyed courses, and some were cut through hills, or conducted over rivers and ravines on bridgework. Sections were even supported over marshy ground on rafted or piled foundations, and at the peak of Roman development, no fewer than 29 great highways radiated from the capital with 50,000 miles stone-paved.
    It is equally interesting to note that the conquering Spanish, many of whom had seen and traveled Roman roads, marveled at the roads they found in Peru and compared them admirably with those of Rome. These roads that have been erroneously attributed to the Inca, but were built long before the Inca became a people, let alone rose to power, were mostly paved, had curbs or short walls, were built over marshes, cut through mountains and even tunneled through solid rock, spanned gorges and raging waters, and covered about 27,000 miles.
Now, since the scriptural record tells us the Nephites (3 Nephi 3:22), and Lamanites (Alma 18:9-10,12; 20:6), had chariots and horses, it would have been necessary for their roads to have been paved in some way, as the Romans did about the same time, over which they drove chariots and rode horses. Of course one might say that a “road” could mean about anything that allowed movement over, but the word “highway” has a specific meaning, and as used in “it was upon a tower, which was in the garden of Nephi, which was by the highway which led to the chief market, which was in the city of Zarahemla; therefore, Nephi had bowed himself upon the tower which was in his garden, which tower was also near unto the garden gate by which led the highway” (Helaman 7:10), and also in its use “And many highways shall be broken up, and many cities shall become desolate” (Helaman 14:24), and “many highways were cast up and many roads made,” (3 Nephi 6:8), we understand that the Nephites definitely had an extensive and solid highway system. After all, “broken up” means “to divide into pieces,” “to separate into pieces suddenly or violently,” “to fracture,” ”to weaken or destroy,” “to become cracked or split,” “to break,” ”to scatter or disperse.” None of these definitions refer to dirt or ground, but to something solid like rock, pavement, concrete, etc.
    Thus, we can see that the Nephite roads were not only solidly built, and very extensive, going just about everywhere, and that they had chariots and horses, that they obviously would have had the wheel, to carry the chariots over the roads.
    In addition, since the scriptural record shows they had chariots, then we need to assume that they did, in fact, have chariots, which means they had the wheel. So if they did have the wheel, what happened to it?
    We have already suggested that most things Nephite would not have survived the thousand year period when they could not be replaced, rebuilt, or maintained, and the same would hold true for their chariots and the wheels that drove them. Thus, the wheel, like many other manufactured goods, including the steel sword, became a thing of the past, as those who knew how to manufacture the items (the Nephites) were killed off (385 A.D.) with the entire Nephite Nation, leaving only Lamanites in the land, of whom we have absolutely no record at all they had or used any of these things that were not captured and taken from the Nephites, including buildings, swords, metal tools, and other items of importance to an advanced society.
    Since the Lamanites had never demonstrated any leanings toward such advancements, living in buildings the Nephites built and deserted, or built by Nephite defectors in their midst, and obviously would have secured swords and weapons discarded by Nephites during battles and their many wars, the Lamanites were probably reduced to making wooden type weapons of the type as they had when the Spaniards arrived a thousand years later. During the first part of that thousand years, all manufactured items would have been worn out, lost, broken, and obviously not replaced, since there were no Nephites left to make them.
Chariots would have worn out or eventually been damaged, and unable to repair them, left to rot. Whatever they had that was usable and irreplaceable would not have been buried with them as might have been their ancient practice, since they would have been too valuable and quickly becoming more and more rare—other items of lesser importance to daily life and survival would have been substituted and placed with the dead. Such things recently found in a Wari site in Peru included precious jewelry, gold tools for weaving, brilliantly painted ceramic vessels and a drinking cup carved from alabaster, as well as carved wooden artifacts, stone beads, ear ornaments, headgear, dolls, textiles, masks,  earrings, even pet animals. These are the things that archaeologists have found in the ground over the years and often use to determine ages of findings and their position in the evolutionary position of the ancients.
    However, not all such findings are accurate. Take, for example, graves where no weapons were found, such as those areas later on when weapons were scarce and could not be spared for burial—archaeologists and physical anthropologists refer to such people as peaceful, non-warring societies. If no metal was found in graves (such as finding a highly polished stone axe), the society was stone age, probably Neolithic, meaning probably between 4500 to 2000 B.C.; if bronze found, it was bronze-age (when both copper and tin were known,, probably 3300 to 1100 B.C.); if iron found, it was iron-age (as late as 900 B.C.). However, if some metal tools were found in graves alongside stone tools, it would have been the Metal Age.
Over time, of course, metal knives would have worn out or broken, and with no knowledge and means to replace them, rock and stones would have become the source of weaponry. In fact, even Moroni, after a thousands years of history of manufacturing, building, smelting, all types of ores, making steel, etc., had no ore or means to make more plates on which to write more "because he was alone" (Mormon 8:5), suggesting having such things that we take for granted were most difficult to come by anciently after the Nephites were all killed.
(See the next post, “Did the Nephites Have the Wheel—What Happened to the Nephite Evidences? – Part III,” to continue with the question about the Nephite Wheel and all evidence of their existence as well as the evidence of other Nephite relics)


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  2. There have been found many toys in Meso and South America with wheels. If they made toys with wheels, there is absolutely no honest reason to say they did not make vehicles with wheels. Toys for children almost always are modeled after adult things. I will try to find solid evidence on specific claims out there concerning South American toys with wheels. For instance see Google Images: Incan toy artifact wheel