Wednesday, March 23, 2016

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

Continuing from the last post regarding the placement of these three areas within the Land of Promise. In the last post, we ended in the midst of a discussion about Shemlon. 
    In the last post we suggested where the city of Amulon, the settlement built by the evil priests of king Noah who captured Lamanite daughters for their wives to be—and that was the present city of Machu Picchu.
    We also covered in earlier posts where the settlement of Shemlon was located. In this post, we will discuss the location of the city of Shilom. In discussing Shilom, we need to recall that when Zeniff first resettled in the City of Nephi (the Valley of Cuzco), “they began to build buildings and to repair the walls of the city of Shilom (Mosiah 9:8). This would have been in the area of Hurin-Cuzco, which butts up to the hill north of the valley (north of both Shilom and Nephi) as Mormon describes it (Mosiah 7:3). During Inca times, the Antisuyu road ran eastward from the main square of Lower Cuco and separated the newer buildings Zeniff’s people built toward the north end of the valley under the direct protection of Sacsahuaman.
Shilom lies beneath a hill to the north, with the city of Nephi to the south within the valley
    This position of Shilom and Nephi seems to be born out in the incident when Ammon was sent back to see how Zeniff’s group had fared. Ammon and his brethren “wandered forty days in the wilderness and came to a hill, which is north of the land of Shilom, and there they pitched their tents” (Mosiah 7:5). “Ammon then took three of his brethren and went down into the land of Nephi” (Mosiah 7:6). These hills to the north of the valley are gently-sloping hills that frame the valleys and are home to sheep and alpacas that graze lazily on the green bounty of nature.
    And Ammon took three of his brethren, and their names were Amaleki, Helem, and Hem, and they went down into the land of Nephi” (Mosiah 7:6), down the rolling hills to the valley below. “And they met the king of the people who were in the land of Nephi, and in the land of Shilom, and they were surrounded by the king’s guard” (Mosiah 7:7). Thus the lands of both Shilom and Nephi were beneath the hill to the north of Shilom.
Ammon camped on a hill overlooking the valley where the cities of Shilom and Nephi were located. To the west was Sacsahuaman and the Temple and Tower, to the south was the valley
   Although Ammon and his men camped on the hill north of Shilom, the record does not say they went down into the land or city of Shilom, but rather they went down into the land and city of Nephi. Thus we can see that both the city of Shilom and the City of Nephi were directly below the hill to the north. The fact that king Limhi was very cautious about leaving the city of Nephi (Mosiah 21:19) similarly suggests that he had not gone very far from the city when he ran into Ammon.
    We also find that north of the land of Shilom on the top of the hill is located Sacsahuaman and the temple Nephi built like unto Solomon’s temple. Next to this temple, after Zeniff returned and king Noah governed the Nephite people, Noah built a tower next to the temple (Mosiah 11:13). From the top of the tower, one could stand and look into the Land of Shilom (directly below in the valley to the south) and into the Land of Shemlon (which would have been to the west), both views can easily be obtained from Sacsahuaman. And next to the temple on the hill (and where else did they build temples but on hills and high ground as we do today), lies the base of the high tower discovered by the Spaniards when they entered Cuzco Valleythe tower built on the hill north of Shilom (Mosiah 11:13).
These towers are similar to the one that the Spanish described and drew pictures of when they arrived in Cuzco, sitting atop the hill overlooking the valley next to the temple and fortress of Sacsahuaman
    We should keep in mind that this tower was a “great tower” not a “tall tower” which suggests a strongly-built structure of greater size and dimensions than a simple tower. The fact that when king Noah was fleeing for his life from Gideon, he sought refuge in the tower (Mosiah 19:5), again suggesting that it was both sturdy, large and evidently covered (walled) to provide him some type of protection or place to hide. And since he was fleeing, it likely had some type of staircase to the top in which he could climb quickly to get out of reach of anyone following.
    It is interesting that when I looked into this some 25 years ago or so, there was great speculation as to what this round base (all that is left from the destruction of the Spaniards on the buildings on this hill) was meant to be. Some “experts” thought it merely an aqueduct, others an eye of a large puma making up the city design.
Top: The tower base on Sacsahuaman hill, three concentric, circular stone walls connected by a series of radial walls, making up a web-like pattern of 34 lines intersecting at the center and also a pattern of concentric circles that correspond to the location of the circular walls; Bottom: The tower base as it appears in the overall Sacsahuaman complex atop the hill and overlooking Cuzco valley
    The tower base sits in an area referred to as Moyoc Marca (Muyumarka), which is next to the temple structure, now just a foundation pad, and also next to the fortress, which is also just a foundation pad today, though beneath is a labyrinth of rooms and tunnels. Chronicle writer Garcilaso de la Vega wrote that there were three towers at Muyucmarca (meaning “Around the Towers”), at the top of the walls, standing at equal distance from each other, forming a triangle. The taller, main tower was erected in the center and it was a cylindrical-shaped stone structure standing 60-feet tall. 
    This tower was called the same as the complex, Muyuc Marca (literally “Circle Tower” also referred to as Round Precinct), and had four superimposed floors, the first floor was square, the other floors were cylindrical, and topped with a cone-shaped ceiling. The other two towers were Paucar Marca (“Beautiful or Flower Tower” also referred to as Precious Precinct) and Salla Marca (“Rock Tower” also referred to as Water Precinct). After the last uprising of the Inca and the Manco Inca rebellion, the last holdout, Titu Cusi Huallpa (also called Cahuide) jumped from Muyu Marca’s highest point to avoid being captured by the Spanish, and the tall tower was known as the Tower of Cahuide after that. All three towers were painted in bright colors, had thatched roofs, and were interconnected by underground passages: the inner fortress could have housed as many as ten thousand people under siege.
The area (place) of Muyuc Marca, with the three tower bases, two rectangular and one circular (far distance)
    These latter two both had rectangular-shaped bases about 60-feet long and, according to Garcilaso, were much shorter than the central round tower. Knowledge of these towers was lost until reading Garacilaso’s writings in 1933-34, sparked an interest in the Peruvian Parliament to spruce up Sacsahuaman for the Spanish refoundation of Qosqo. Led by Luis E. Valcarcel, he dug down from the top of the three walls and discovered the tower bases right where Garcilaso claimed them to be.
    Even in the day of the Conquistadores, the Inca had no idea why two towers were rectangle and the other round, though since they did not build them, their lack of knowledge would be understandable.
    Later the first conquerors started using the stones of the towers to built their houses in the city; The walls and structures around Sacsahuaman are claimed to have been ten-feet higher before the Spanish removed the smaller stones on top. Subsequently the city’s Church Council ordered in 1559 to take the andesites for the construction of the Cathedral. Even until 1930, Qosqo’s neighbors just paying a small fee could take the amount of stones they wanted in order to build their houses in the city: four centuries of destruction using this complex as a quarry by the colonial city’s stone masons.
When the Spaniards come into the Cuzco valley, they described seeing a tower on top of the hill to the north with two smaller ones beside it
(See the next post, “Where Are the Cities of Shemlon, Amulon and Shilom?—Part V,” to continue with the daughters of the Lamanites and where the priests of Noah took them)

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