Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Finally, Insights into South America

As we have been showing all along, the entire Western Hemisphere is the Land of Promise, Zion, the Land of Liberty, etc., and that certain portions of it have been set aside by the Lord for His various purposes. As an example, at least the western area of Andean South America is that portion promised and given to Lehi and his descendants, and the area in which the Book of Mormon events unfold.
    In addition, what is now known as the United States is that portion the Lord has set aside to govern this Land of Promise, and specifically, the areas of the Rocky Mountains and Missouri. What other portions the Lord has in mind, or has already dedicated to different parts of his plan, appear unknown to us at this time. But we do know that the entire Western Hemisphere was held in reserve by the Lord after the Flood waters receded (Ether 13:1), and that this entire land was dedicated by him for his wise purposes.
Until recently, it was difficult to find in the archaeological world a lot of understanding about the development of both western, or Andean South America, and the area known as Mesoamerica. While LDS archaeologists have long pushed the belief that the Olmec were the so-called mother culture of the Americas, the idea has been met with growing controversy by non-LDS archaeologists who have been digging in the ground in South America for more than 200 years and have found an entirely different story—that is, that South America was settled long before Central America, and long before the Olmec.
Of course, this runs so contrary to the ideas of accepted overall archaeology and anthropology which have long held that man crossed the so-called Siberian Land Bridge and then moved south through the Americas to finally reach the tip of South America. As fallacious an idea as that is, numerous scientists still cling to it since to accept that South America was settled first and moved northward, would require their acceptance of a power beyond science as being instrumental in that development--something most scientists have said time and again they cannot accept.
    However, as we are now learning, archaeologists, ethnohistorians (the study of cultures and indigenous customs by examining historical records as well as other sources of information on their lives and history), and linguists in recent years have amassed data demonstrating beyond question that for at least four thousand years people, materials, and ideas have moved fluidly between the two American continents, and from a south to north migratory direction. This gives us an avenue for understanding how elements of the localized Book of Mormon civilization could appear over the entire hemisphere.
    For example, a late Peruvian people like the Incas (prominent in the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries A.D.), while having no direct connection with Book of Mormon events a thousand years earlier, can be safely assumed to incorporate genes and cultural elements from Book of Mormon peoples.
    In fact, data that prove this longstanding cultural interaction can be found in many sources. Stephen de Borhegyi, a long time researcher in “Middle America” (Mexico to Panama) has identified scores of cultural parallels linking Mesoamerica and Ecuador. (Stephen F. de Borhegyi, Middle American Research Records 2, nos. 67 (New Orleans: Tulane University, 1961). Michael Coe, recognized as one of the foremost Mayanist scholars of the latter 20th century, author of numerous works on the Maya and the Olmec, was actually one of the first to argue persuasively that direct sea-voyaging could explain many of these similarities between Mesoamerica and Andean South America (Michael Coe, "Archaeological Linkages with North and South America at La Victoria, Guatemala," American Anthropologist 62, 1960.
Called “mullu” or “muyu” in Quechua, the extensive research by Benjamin Philip Carter at the Department of Anthropology of Washington University (2008) has shown that these shellfish, specifically the Spondylus princeps and S. calcifer, used for trade for ceremonial and ritual significance to many prehistoric cultures of South America, extended throughout much of western South American beginning approximately 4500 years ago (2500 B.C., close to the time when the Jaredites arrived). Down through time, they were also associated with the Wari, with Pachacamac, Pikillarcta, Cerro Amaru and even among the Inca. This trade system centered in southwestern Ecuador and extended throughout much of western South American from Ecuador to Chile, and according to Anawalt 1992 and Hosler 1990, reached as far north as West Mexico. In fact, it is claimed by Marcos and Norton, 1981, 1984, and Norton 1986, that large sailing vessels plied the waters, carrying goods throughout the region.
    According to archaeologists, the two Americas were linked. Donald Lathrap, an archaeologist and professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois, went so far as to claim that scheduled and routinized sea trade occurred. (Ancient Ecuador 3000-300 B.C., Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, April 18-August 5, 1975, p61).
In fact, thanks to language studies, it is now thought that whole peoples migrated between the two continents, and that Quechua (the tongue of the early Peruvians and later the Inca) and Tarascan (of western Mexico), shared a common ancestral tongue. There is a tradition among the Huave (Wabi) who called themselves Kunajts (“us”), of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mexico, that their ancestors came from Peru, having been driven out by wars (Matthew Wallrath, "Excavations in the Teuhuantepec Region, Mexico," in Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, n.s., Philadelphia, 1967, p14)
    This sounds like a confirmation of Moromn’s comments: “there was a large company of men, even to the amount of five thousand and four hundred men, with their wives and their children, departed out of the land of Zarahemla into the land which was northward” (Alma 63:4); and also “in the forty and sixth, yea, there was much contention and many dissensions; in the which there were an exceedingly great many who departed out of the land of Zarahemla, and went forth unto the land northward to inherit the land” (Helaman 3:3). It also shows an application to Hagoth’s immigrants: “he went forth and built him an exceedingly large ship…there were many of the Nephites who did enter therein and did sail forth with much provisions, and also many women and children; and they took their course northward…And the first ship did also return, and many more people did enter into it; and they also took much provisions, and set out again to the land northward” (Alma 63:5-7).
    Allison C. Paulsen, in Patterns of Maritime Trade between South Coastal Ecuador and Western Mesoamerica, is similarly confident that "from about 1500 B.C. until [at least] about 600 A.D., the inhabitants of the Santa Elena Peninsula, Ecuador, were involved in a network of maritime trade with certain parts of Mesoamerica" (in Elizabeth P. Benson, ed., The Sea in the Pre-Columbian World, conference Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, 1977).
    Donald Lathrap went so far, perhaps with overenthusiasm, as to suggest "scheduled and routinized sea trade  (Donald W. Lathrap, Ancient Ecuador, Chicago: Field Museum of Natural History, 1975).
Marshall Newman has mustered biological data to support the idea that sizable groups of people migrated in Mesoamerica (Marshall Newman, "A Trial Formulation Presenting Evidence from Physical Anthropology for Migrations from Mexico to South America," in Migrations in New World Culture History, University of Arizona Social Science Bulletin no. 27).
    Important parts of the culture of the Olmec in southern Mexico seem to derive from the Amazon drainage, and cultures on that river's delta in Brazil also show Mesoamerican‐like features. Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, and Costa Rica all appear to have been involved in the network of movements linking the Book of Mormon homeland with the southern continent (See articles by Irving Rouse, Clifford Evans and Betty Meggers, and Donald Lathrap in Handbook of Middle American Indians  (1966); and Allison Paulsen, "Patterns of Maritime Trade," in Elizabeth P. Benson, ed., The Sea in the Pre-Columbian (Washington: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collections, Trustees for Harvard University, 1977), 143 
    It would appear that archaeologists are starting to accept the reality that the cultural insights first seen in South America are being found later in Mesoamerica, and even later some in North America. From this we can see that movement from the south to the north not only took place in the Book of Mormon lands, but also in the Western Hemisphere as well.

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