Friday, April 1, 2016

Pachacamac: The City of Zarahemla – Part IV

Continuing from the previous three posts on Zarahemla as Pachacamac and its coastal location when Coriantumr attacked it and then headed up the center of the land toward Bountiful. 
    Based on the previous posts, we can see that Pachacamac, the city of Zarahemla, most likely would have been built by the Nephites, not the Mulekites, not only because of the above, but it would have been unlikely to have found stone masons among the servants who would have spirited Mulek out of the Palace in Jerusalem, and while certainly they would have brought tents with them, and other supplies and provisions, whatever building they might have attempted would probably not have been stone or rock until after they came into contact with the Nephites, who seem to have had much capability in that type of construction.
    In addition, we find that a lot of the stonework at Pachacamac is fairly representative of the earlier stonework found at Sacsahuaman.
    We can also see that there would have been plenty of time for Mosiah I and King Benjamin to have built a city without it being mentioned since that particular period is almost bereft of any detail at all, with Amaleki giving the records to king Benjamin “who put them with the other plates” (Words of Mormon 1:10), not to be written on more, and the next person recording such detail was Alma, perhaps 50 years later or more.
    Upon arriving in the valley, the Incas adapted the pre-existing structures of Pachacamac for their own administrative needs, desecrating the city and losing the oracle at the center.  The Ichma and Chancay people, along with smaller cultures (tribes) were absorbed into the Inca Empire.
    The vast and important walled site flourished for about 1500 years until the Spanish arrived. The Temple alone is 100,000 square feet in size, but unfortunately, archaeologists are limited in their knowledge of this site because the temple and many other pyramids at Pachacamac have been irreversibly damaged by looting and coastal weather.
The Creator God, Pachacamac, called Wiracocha by some cultures, Viracocha by the Inka, Apu Qun Tiqsi Wiraqutra , Con-Tici, and Inti by other cultures—throughout the Andean area, all ancient cultures believed in one supreme god who created the Earth, Heavens, Man and all things—His name was Pachacamac and pilgrimages from all over the Andean area brought people from far and wide to visit this sacred city bearing his name
    As can be seen from these three posts in this series of Pachacamac, that this site mirrors much of what we know about Zarahemla. It should also be noted that the description of Zarahemla shows that it was in the “heart of their lands” (Helaman 1:18), and that the Nephites “had not kept sufficient guards in the land of Zarahemla, for they had supposed that the Lamanites durst not come into the heart of their lands to attack that great city Zarahemla” (Helaman 1:18). Having defeated the city, Coriantumr found himself in possession of the strongest hold in all the land, his heart took courage insomuch that he was about to go forth against all the land” (Helaman 1:22).
    When we speak of “the heart of their lands,” we need to note that the word “heart” in the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, lists “heart” as the inner part, interior, the heart of a country, the chief part, the vital part, none of which definitions indicate the “middle” or the “center” placement of the city of Zarahemla. Only that it was the heart of the land.
    When the Lamanite king, Tubaloth, put the Nephite defector, Coriantumr, in charge of his army, he believed that the former descendant of Zarahemla, being a mighty man, could stand against the Nephites because of his strength and great wisdom (Helaman 1:15-16). His great wisdom, of course, was in his knowing all about the Nephites, having been one himself, and knowing of their defenses, placement of forts, guards, military routines, etc.
Now Coriantumr, being from the city of Zarahemla, was well familiar with its location and position among the Nephite people as their capitol, but also knew that it was not well guarded and being in the “heart of their lands,” he knew the Nephites did not think it could or would be attacked. Being an intelligent man, he believed he could capture Zarahemla if he moved quickly, arriving in the Land of Zarahemla and approach the city with speed, before the Nephites could muster a defense against his unusual approach and point of attack.
    Always in the past, the Lamanites, whose departure point was the Land of Nephi, and most likely the city of Nephi, which was along the eastern coastal region, had attacked northward across the narrow strip of wilderness into the lands east of the Land of Zarahemla, and therefore east of the Sidon River, along the coastal cities of Moroni, Lehi, Morianton, and on occasion, as far north as Mulek.
    As an example, upon leaving Cuzco valley, i.e., the City of Nephi, they would have crossed the valley to the north, through the narrow valley east of Sacsahuaman (passing the hill Ammon likely camped upon) and headed northward to Huayllarcocha, then to Puca Pucara, entering the gorge east of Tambomachay and skirted the foothills along the edge of the valley, then turned northeast toward Quesermayo to the pass through Ccochahuasi to Llaquepasta, then through the gorge to Pisac and the Sacred Valley. From there they followed the Urubamba River northwest to Lamay, Calca, Huayllabamba, Yucay, and on to Ollantaytambo, then following the Urubamba entered the narrow strip of wilderness where the river cuts through on up to Santa Maria, crossed behind the headwaters of the Sidon River and headed down through Ayacucho and the Pass at Huancayelica into the Land of Zarahemla—from there they would have had at least three approaches to the City of Zarahemla, either curving westward, down in a loop through the canyon to Chacamarca and westward to Huayllampi, Pacaran and followed the Cañete River gorge down into the valley.
As can be seen from these photos, with tall mountains on either side, passage through from the east to west is dependent upon the directon of gorges, narrow valleys and passes that wind their way through the cordilleras toward the coast. Movement in any other direction than provided by these passes and gorges would literally be impossible
    The second would be to move northward up the gorge to San Pedro de Pilas to Viscas then down to Calango and the coast before turning north. Or the third would have been up through Huancayo through the pass and down to Quirpa to Chontay, curving around and downward to Cienequilla and through the Pass and into the green Lurin Valley along the Lurin River that, though narrow, extends down to the shoreline.
    However, when Coriantumr mapped his approach to Zarahemla he did not take one of these routes normal routes through the Land of Zarahemla, but rather, he went a completely different way, and headed west while still in the Land of Nephi, across the to the south of the narrow strip of wilderness, to the west coastal region and then north up through the sixty-mile-long narrow shoreline passage that does not widen until it reaches the Lurin Valley, which opens along the coast from just north of Chincha Alta, which is reached going southwest from Huancavelica, picking up the coast and heading north into the Lurin Valley a short distance south of Pachacamac or Zarahemla. This is basically the same route that the present Peru Highway 1 takes (called Carretera Panamericana Sur today South of central Lima) along the coast of Peru.
The current Pan American Highway heading northward along the coast approaching this sixty-mile passage. Note the hills on the right that separate the road from the approaching coastal beaches, completely hiding Coriantumr’s army
    At this point, the coastal route is hidden behind a series of large hills that run northward, blocking off view from the north all the way from about Cerro Azul, through to the Lurin Valley, much of this coast today is filled with tourist beaches—but in the days of Coriantumr, this area along the coast was behind a series of hills that screen off all view of his approaching army. This is why Coriantumr was able to reach the watch at the city gates unobserved and able to cut down the guard and enter the city almost unnoticed. All the way north along the sixty-mile passage Coriantumr and his army would have been invisible to anyone in the Land of Zarahemla until they reached the Lurin Valley where it widened—however, this valley is a narrow area along the coast and by the time Coriantumr entered it, there would have been no time for the defenses of Zarahemla to have reacted sufficient to have countered his vast army.
The eastern end of the Lurin Valley. Top: Beyond the bend is the eastern pass into the valley; Bottom: Showing how an army on foot is going to travel where the terrain allows
    The Lurin valley was extremely important, being the southern end of a large valley area (Lima) that was heavily settled in Nephite times, with Lurin valley itself housing dozens of pre-Columbian separate development sites, and numerous others up the coast. In Lima, ancient sites have recently been uncovered that were in the center of the city, once built over, now being preserved. Later, the area was the road to Cuzco, and the Inca used the coastal road to attack and defeat several southern cultures.
    This shoreline passage does not widen until it reaches the Lurin Valley. Until Coriantumr, this coastal corridor protected Zarahemla from any southern attack. In fact, Moroni was angry at one time thinking the people of Zarahemla felt they need not support his army because they were “in the heart of our country and ye are surrounded by security” (Alma 60:19). He went on to say “will ye sit in idleness while ye are surrounded with thousands of those, yea, and tens of thousands, who do also sit in idleness, while there are thousands round about in the borders of the land who are falling by the sword, yea, wounded and bleeding,” suggesting that those at Zarahemla felt very secure in their location. After all, they had the entire Land of Zarahemla to the east, the narrow strip of wilderness that was nearly impassable to the south, and the ocean to the west with the rest of the Nephite controlled lands to the east and north. In addition, it had always been the habit of the Lamanites to attack either in the far east, along the Sea East coastal plain, or along the border to the southeast. This, of course, is what Coriantumr, as a defector from Zarahemla, well understood and why he chose to attack up the west coastal plain coming into the Nephite lands through the narrow sixty-mile-long passage along the coast.
(See the next post, “Pachacamac: The City of Zarahemla – Part V,” to see where Coriantumr went after capturing the city of Zarahemla as he traveled up the center of the land)

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting series on Zarahemla. Thank you.