Friday, July 1, 2016

Why Would Nephites Build Burial Mounds? - Part I

What can we find in Nephite, Jerusalem, Hebrew, or Mesopotamia history regarding burial mounds that would lead one to believe that the Nephites would have built and  buried their dead in such mounds?
     First of all, we need to recognize that burial mounds have and do exist. Obviously, they are found all over the eastern United States and in many places of the world—they are neither unique to North America or the Native Americans who lived there. In fact, the burial mound of Newgrange in County Meath, Ireland, is definitely one of the most impressive historic monuments in the world that was built somewhere between 3300 and 2900 B.C., making it older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian Pyramids; however also making it 600 years before Noah’s Flood, which should suggest that the dating is off; however, the site exists.
(Newgrange County Meath, Ireland, burial mound.  There is no agreement about what the site was first used for, but it has been speculated that it had religious significance, and is aligned with the rising sun and its light floods the chamber on the winter solstice—it has one tunnel corridor 63-feet long that aligns with the winter solstice
    Evidently, after its initial use, whatever that might have been, though most experts claim it was for burial, Newgrange was sealed for several millennia, although it remained storied in Irish mythology and folklore. Antiquarians first began its study in the 17th century, and archaeological excavations took place at the site in the years that followed. Archaeologist Michael J. O’Kelly led the most extensive of these and also reconstructed the front of the site in the 1970s, a reconstruction that is controversial and disputed. Newgrange today is a popular tourist site and, according to the archaeologist Colin Renfrew, is "unhesitatingly regarded by the prehistorian as the great national monument of Ireland" and as one of the most important megalithic structures in Europe.
    Still, what was the Mound built or used for?
    The Newgrange Mound consists of a large mound, built of alternating layers of earth and stones, with grass growing on top and a reconstructed facade of flattish white quartz stones studded at intervals with large rounded cobbles covering part of the circumference. The mound is 249-feet across, 39-feet high, and covers 1.1 acres of ground. Within the mound is a chambered passage, which can be accessed by a 60-foot entrance passage on the southeastern side one-third of the way into the monument. At the end of the passage are three small chambers off a larger central chamber, with a high corbelled vault roof. Each of the smaller chambers has a large flat "basin stone," which was where the bones of the dead are believed to have originally been placed, although whether it was actually a burial site remains unclear.
    The ceiling shows no evidence of smoke, discrediting any thought of people having lived inside the mound, and those of the time of its building are said to have been native agriculturalists, growing crops and raising animals such as cattle in the area where their settlements were located; they had not yet developed metal, so all their tools would have been made out of stone, wood, antler or bone. Burned and unburned bones have been found in the passage, showing human corpses were indeed placed inside, some cremated and some not, and numerous grave goods were recorded from the site.
Top Left: Turkey; Top Right: Anundshög, Västerås, Sweden; Bottom: Llangwyfan, England
    These mounds are often referred to as a tumulus (plural tumuli), which is a mound of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves. Tumuli are also known as barrows, burial mounds, Hügelgräber or kurgans, and can be found throughout much of the world. 
    A cairn (a mound of stones built for various purposes), might also originally have been a tumulus, and a long barrow is a long tumulus, usually for numbers of burials, and in humation may involved a dolmen, a cist, a mortuary enclosure, a mortuary house or a chamber tomb. In Europe and Asia, these are called “small hills,” particularly if the hill is related to particular burial customs. While the term “mound” may be applied to historic constructions, most mounds in the U.S. are pre-Columbian earthworks, built by Native American peoples, who built a variety of mounds, including flat-topped pyramids or cones known as platform  mounds, rounded cones, and ridge or loaf-shaped mounds. Some mounds took on unusual shapes, such as the outline of cosmologically significant animals. These are known as effigy mounds, while some in Wisconsin have rock formations, or petroforms within them, on them, or near them.
Top left: Minusinsk Hollow of southern Siberia in Russia; Top Right: 4000 year old burial mounds in Bahrain, along the Persian Gulf: Bottom Left: Gyeongiu, South Korea; Bottom Right: Cambridgeshire, England
    According to Fritz Zimmerman, (The Nephilim Chronicles: Fallen Angels in the Ohuo Valley, CreateSpace, 2010) states: “With the exception of the effigy mounds, niney-nine percent of these mounds around the world contain burials, and were constructed to connect the living with the dead.” The nations that celebrated their mysteries around these mounds have long since departed; the altar fires long since burned low. We are not sure that we understand their purport, but we are certain they were regarded as of great importance, and we can readily imagine that when the fires were lit on the altars, gathering crowds stood round, and participated in the religious observance, throwing into the fire their most valued ornaments, in this manner paying their last respects to the departed chiefs and great men of their tribe.
    In the east and south of the U.S. the Adena and Hopewell cultures left numerous burial, among which are these scattered over the late B.C. to early A.D. period: 1) Criel Mound, West Virginia 250-150 B.C.; 2) Grave Creek Mound, Virginia, 250-150 B.C.; 3) Crooks Mound, Louisiana, 100B.C.-400 A.D.; 4) Grand Gulf Mound, Mississippi, 50-150 A.D.; 5) Pinson Mounds, Tennessee, 100-300 A.D.; and 6) Dunns Pond Mound, Ohio, 300 to 500 A.D.
    On the other hand, the so-called Mississippi Culture burial mounds date much later, such as: 1) Cahokia Mound 72, Illinois, 650-1400 A.D.; 2) Craig Mound, Oklahoma, 800-1200 A.D.; 3) Etowah Mound, Georgia, 1000-1550 A.D.; 4) Mangum Mound, Mississippi, 1350-1500 A.D.; 5) Nodena Site Mound C, Arkansas, 1400-1650 A.D.; and 6) Fatherland Site, Mound C, Mississippi, 1400-1732 A.D.
The ruins in Dark Canyon Wilderness, and Woodenshoe Canyon, Utah, of ancestral Puebloan structures tucked away among the cliffs; Bottom: And Taos Pueblo in New Mexico is the oldest free standing building in the U.S. dating to about 1000 A.D.
    Still, the oldest actual buildings in the U.S., date from about 750 A.D., with the Ancestral Puebloan communities, and the Tasos and Acoma Pueblos, dating 1000 to 1200 A.D.
    Conequently, if one is going to put the Nephites into the North American picture, they have to deal with dates of known structures, which follow the Nephite period by at least 400 years, and only Mounds in the period the Nephites were in the Land of Promise.
    So where are their other buildings?
    Wood buildings in New England still stand, dating back 1637, including the unbelievably unspoiled condition of the Fairbanks House, now an historical site in Dedham, Maine.
Top: the oldest surviving timber-frame house built in the United States and verified by dendrochronology testing to 1637 A.D.; Bottom Left: the next is a stone building built in 1639 in Guilford, Connecticut, the oldest house in Connecticut and the oldest stone building in New England; Bottom Right: the Ryves Holt House in Delaware, built in 1665, called the first town in the first state
(See the next post, “Why Would Nephites Build Burial Mounds? - Part II,” to see if the Nephites buried their dead in burial mounds)


  1. I read a book recently called "After the Flood" by Bill Cooper. Bill's research found that Ireland was first settled in about 1484 BC by Partholan with a rather large colony. The first colony was wiped out by a plague and the area where they settled is still littered with ancient burial mounds.

    The book mentions that the colony describes the end of the ice age in Ireland. This is something that should not be ignored by anyone who seriously believes in Noah's flood. The ice age raged after the flood for a thousand years.

    North America was also locked in a thick continental ice sheet which would have made it completely impossible for the Jaredites to live in North America shortly after the flood of Noah.

    The old-earth dating systems are entirely fiction with regard to the real age of the earth and creation. Ira

  2. The problem with so many people today, they are simply not knowledgeable about so many things they think they know about--perhaps it has to do with the lack of responsibility involved in posting on the internet as many psychologists claim. On the other hand, it also has to do with repeating what they hear or read other critics comment upon. The vast majority of criticism we receive is based upon erroneous information or beliefs that are easily corrected with a little background checking, but people seem uninterested in whether or not what they believe is correct or not.
    Take the idea of the Great Lakes using Lake Erie as their Sea West and placing Lehi's landing there without really understanding that there is not now and never has been according to geologists a way to sail from the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes prior to the dredging and canal digging done by the Corps of Engineers and the Canadian engineers, and not only that, but Lake Erie is several hundred feet above Lake Ontario which is several hundred feet above the St.Lawrence and both require dozens of locks in order to get a ship of any kind up from the river to the lake to the second lake, etc. This information is available from several sources, but people are too convinced of their "knowledge" to check out their beliefs.