Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Where Are the Cities of Shemlon, Amulon and Shilom?—Part III

Continuing from the last post regarding the placement of these three areas within the Land of Promise, and we ended in the midst of a discussion about Shemlon.
    In the last post we discussed how the evil priests of Noah would have been forced to go northward to stay out of the hands of the Lamanites who occupied all the land to the south, and who sought the lives of the priests for stealing their daughters; nor would the priests have gone into Nephite lands beyond (north) of the narrow strip of wilderness, since the Nephites were after them also, because they had been stealing the grain and precious things from the people of Limhi for the past two years, plus the fact that when they were priests they caused the Nephite people to commit so many sins and iniquities against God (Mosiah 21:30).
Within the narrow strip of wilderness, an area of mountainous peaks across much of central and eastern Peru, about 40 miles north of Cuzco is one of the most isolated areas in the Andes
    Therefore, a good place for them to have settled would be in the narrow strip of wilderness, on a high mountain between both Lamanites and Nephites, out of sight and contact with anyone, where they would not expect to find any passersby coming their way. The perfect place, as we mentioned in the last post, would have been Machu Picchu (“Machu Pikchu,” which means “very old mountain peak” or simply “Old Peak”).
    One of the major reasons for its isolation is that the base of the mountain, or peak, is a virtual island, cut off from all roads and enclosed by stone cliffs, towering cloud forest, and two rushing rivers. At this base today is a small, very commercial village called Aguas Calientes (“hot waters” or “hot springs,” but called “Machu Picchu Town or Pueblo,” because its only purpose is to service the tourist walking up from the town to the famous ruins), first settled in 1901 as a base headquarters for the railroad being built through the area (it was completed in 1931). Today, more than 1500 tourists arrive by train every day.
    The point is, Machu Picchu, though the most visited tourist attraction in the entire country of Peru today, anciently was one of the most extremely isolated areas of the Andes, and without modern conveniences, or even the old Nephite roads, any movement to and around Machu Picchu would have been unheard of simply because of its location and difficulty in reaching.
Examples of early construction at Machu Picchu showing the same style Nephite stonework as the priests would have previously known in Cuzco—the City of Nephi
    If it was built by the priests of Noah, it is interesting that the type of smooth, cut stone with odd shapes and no mortar of which both Sacsahuaman and Ollantaytambo are famous, was the same construction used on the earlier site of Machu Picchu by whoever initially built it
Construction stonework at Cuzco. Notice the exact same stle of cut and dressed stones found at Machu Picchu (above). Note the trapezoid shape of the windows and doors in both places
    It is interesting that the unique trapezoidal doorways, which are considered to be very effective against earthquakes and other type of earth movement, is an extremely stable shape.  Not only does it visually present as solid, stable and unmovable, but stones cut in this shape are structurally more stable than rectangles and squares. Given that the Peruvian sites ran through the Andes in a known seismic zone, it is highly likely that the Nephites learned an architecture trapezoids provided extreme stability in times of earthquake.  In fact, a trapezoidal door is much more seismicly sound than the traditional 8 foot rectangular door found in most homes in Southern California. These shapes are found not only in Cuzco and Sacsahuaman, where the City of Nephi was located, but also in Machu Picchu.
Trapazoidal doorways at Cuzco and Machu Picchu.
As a result, we can see that if the priests of Noah, living their lives in the City of Nephi prior to the death of the king and then their escape into the wilderness, took those two years between mentioning in the scriptural record to build them a settlement in the hidden region of Machu Picchu, they surely used the architecture to which they had been exposed to in Nephi to construct their city, for the two enclaves were constructed much the same way and where one was in the lower valley, exposed to the world, Machu Picchu was hidden high on a mountain peak out of the way from any expected traffic in the area—the perfect place for these priests, who were enemies of both the Lamanites and the Nephites, to settle.
    It is also of interest that later stonework construction in Cuzco, also mirrors that same type of later stonework construction activities at Machu Picchu.
    It should be noted that the earlier work is the larger, better stonework of the early Nephites, to which Andean stonework is so well known today and called “Inka stonework” though it was put in place long before the Inca came to power and to which they told the early Spanish they had no idea who built those early stonework, but that it was known before their ancestors.
Early Construction in Cuzco. Note the later patchwork at the top of the lower course of early stonework in bottom photo
Early Construction in Machu Picchu. Note the later small stone work in upper left photo in background
    The later stonework, a much lesser work of small stones, often placed randomly, that do not fit together and which in places overlaps the older stonework, or is placed on top of the older work, showing its definite later placement, typically is not dressed or cut at all, but simply placed stones in their natural form. 
Later Construction in Cuzco. Note the later patchwork of small stones over the earlier large stonework wall
Later Construction in Machu Picchu.
    On the other hand, the individual living quarters or homes of the people at Machu Picchu show a definite purpose of individualism where separate families lived and satisfies the idea of the scriptural record of the 24 priests stealing Lamanite girls for their wives and would have settled there. Perhaps some of these houses were built first in a more hurried manner, then later, after living began there, the larger stones and more detailed work we see there was commenced. This also fits the view of several large stones were used for the bases or early concourses of the house construction, but smaller undressed and uncut stones were added in a less detailed manner, as though they were in a hurry to build the houses once they got started.
The houses at Machu Picchu
    Thus, the third city, Amulon, would have been what is now called Machu Picchu, where the priests settled down with their kidnapped Lamanite daughters as their wives.
(See the next post, “Where Are the Cities of Shemlon, Amulon and Shilom?—Part IV,” to continue with the daughters of the Lamanites and where the priests of Noah took them)

1 comment:

  1. Could only 24 men have done the amount of stonework that was done at Manchu picchu?