Thursday, July 28, 2016

More Comments from Readers Regarding Cuzco Sacsahuaman – Part II

Here are more questions from the readers of this  blog regarding the ancient city of Cuzco and the Fortress of Sacsahuaman: 
    Comment #1: “Why do you think that Sacsayhuaman and the city of Cuzco were not built by the Inca? Is it just because of the time frame you so often claim, that there wasn’t enough time from their rise in 1438 to their defeat in 1533?” Arthur R.
    Response: When I first began the study of this area about 25 years ago there was so little known that I often wondered about this myself—I just knew it had not been the Inca. My first breakthrough was when I met several people in and around Peru in private discussions who were life-long residents and knowledgeable of the artifacts and ruins in their country. They were often insistent that the tourism comments about the Inca building everything were merely a tourism gimmick and not anything anyone believed.” 
    Over the past dozen years or so, it has become common knowledge among archaeologists and anthropologists as well as a growing number of historians that there were numerous cultures that lived before the Inca who had developed, built, and accomplished most of the things the Inca were credited with building by the early investigators, including the roads. Then reading the original chroniclers who accompanying the Spanish in their conquest, it was seen that even the Inca themselves had no idea who created most of the things they claimed were theirs. ln talking to those of the Andean area, you find that they all know it was not the Inca—however, their incomes often depend upon the tourism industry, which still harps on the Inca involvement.
    Take a look at these three rock walls in Cuzco, that appear very near each other, that archaeologists now know were built in different periods of time and, obviously, by different peoples with different skills:
Nephite Wall. Pre-Inca stonework where the huge stones are cut and dressed (smoothed) and inter-lock with intricate cuts and match perfectly not even a pin can be inserted between them and put together without mortar
Inca work, with normal small rock boulders, about a foot square in size and in their natural state, were fitted according to their natural sizes and shapes as closely together as possible and a mud mortar used between them
Spanish work, where the same kind of rock boulders the Inca used placed within mortar more like we build today. There was no attempt to use similar shaped or sized rocks, giving a very hap-hazard and unfinished look as though it was done in a hurry with limited ability
    Comment #2: “How do you know the tower or towers that were beside the temple on the Sacsayhuaman hill were made of stone and not just wood towers?” Justin P.
    Response: Because when the Spanish dismantled the tower, they wrote about it, as well as leaving some of the stones around the base. The foundation and lower stones were Limestone, a sedimentary rock of very common building and architectural use, (which are still there), with the upper tower stones or wall stones of Andesite, the latter being an extrusive igneous volcanic rock of intermediate (between felsic and mafic) composition of aphanitic (smooth) texture.
    Comment #3: “Why do you think they call Sacsahuaman a fortress? Having been there, other than the three outer walls, there isn’t much there to suggest a fortress—looks more like just a hill” Keith M.
Response: According to Brian S. Bauer (left), an anthropological archaeologist and professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, it is probably because of its location high above Cusco and its immense, zig-zag terrace walls that provide excellent fields of fire (even for bow and arrow), this area of Sacsahuaman is generally referred to as a fortress (Kasapata and the Arachaic Period in the Cuzco Valley, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA Press, Los Angeles, 2007).
    The importance of its military functions was highlighted in 1536 when Manco Inca lay siege to Cusco. According to John Hemming, (The Conquest of the Incas, Macmillan Books, 1970), much of the fighting occurred in and around Sacsahuaman, as it was critical to maintaining control over the city. Descriptions of the siege, as well as excavations at the site, had recorded towers on the summit of the site, as well as a series of other buildings. Pedro Sancho, Pizarro’s official secretary, who visited the complex before the siege, mentions the labyrinth-like quality of the complex and its many storage rooms filled with a wide variety of items. He also notes that there were buildings with large windows that looked over the city. These structures, like so much of the site, have long since been destroyed
    Comment #4: “Archaeologists claim that in the temple of the Sun in Cuzco that the Peruvians placed mummy bundles of past kings on carved seats that faced the audience as a sign of reverence.
That doesn’t sound very Nephite to me” Brenda T.
Response: Actually, these carved seats were of gold. In fact, the area they are talking about is the main room where a huge golden plaque with the likeness of the sun, a round face, with prolonged rays or flames hung on the wall, much like the sunstone design used in connection with the Nauvoo Temple, which symbolized the dawning of the Restoration and the coming forth of the gospel light to illuminate a dark earth. This, of course, would have been very Nephite, and in fact these sun stones were figured prominently on the Nauvoo Temple, and may well have inspired Parley P. Pratt’s hymn “The Morning Breaks.” As for the seats, we find in Mosiah “And the seats which were set apart for the high priests which were above all the other sets, he [king Noah] did ornament with pure gold (Mosiah 11:11). Keep in mind that archaeologists have certain things they like to claim were part of everything ancient like this, with one being human sacrifice, and the other mummy reverence, and the third is sun worship--they almost always weave these three ideas into their interpretation of whatever they find. 
    Comment 5: “When Nephi first arrived in the area his people called ‘Nephi’ (he immediately began to teach everyone to build buildings, a temple, plant and harvest, etc., but nothing is said of building a fortress or fort” Josh C.
    Response: Evidently,the early contentions and battles with the Lamanites didn’t require a fortress or fort—the numbers would have been somewhat small to begin with and contentions are more like heated arguments than outright fighting. However, by two generations we find that Jacob’s grandson, Jarom, the wars between the Nephites and Lamanites were evidently so severe that the Nephites felt the need to do so, for they “fortify [their] cities or whatsoever place of [their] inheritance" (Jarom 1:7).
An example of a defensive fort with three zig-zag walls protecting the only entrance to the fortress, temple, and building complex that once rose on the hill behind them 
    What those fortifications amounted to we are not told, but if Sacsahuaman is an example, then the Nephites built that huge fortress, one at Ollantaytambo, and others along what is now called the Sacred Valley, northward to the narrow strip of wilderness, plus southward to include Tiwanaku (Tiahuanaco), Puma Punku, etc.
    Still, during this time, the Nephites were heavily involved in their daily living, acquiring gold and silver, also they must have been expanding their territory since by 400 B.C., they had “multiplied exceedingly and spread upon the face of the land (Jarom 1:8). It would be another 150 years or so before Mosiah was forced to leave the city, and discover Zarahemla. Those 150 years would have been interesting times before the Nephites began to become so evil that the Lord told Mosiah to flee and take those who would go with him (Omni 1:12).
    Comment 6: “Do we know how old Nephi was when he died?” Brenda B.
    Response: Possibly. If he was about 25 when he left Jerusalem, as I suspect, then in Jacob 1:1 Nephi would have been about 80 (55 years after leaving Jerusalem) in 544 B.C. Nephi died shortly after that (Jacob 1:12), so let’s say he died between the age of 80 and 85.

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