Monday, August 1, 2016

More Comments Regarding Cuzco Sacsahuaman – Part V

Here are more comments from the readers of this blog regarding the ancient city of Cuzco and the Fortress of Sacsahuaman. 
    Comment #1: “Did I read somewhere that you said you knew where Ammon and his brethren stopped on the hill over-looking Shilom and the city of Nephi?” Paul M.
Response: Yes. I do believe that the spot can be pinpointed fairly close. In fact, today there is a Christo Blanco (White Statue of Christ) placed close to the spot, not in commemoration, but because it is an ideal place to stand and oversee the spectacular view of Cuzco and the Plaza de Armas. From that place, a person could travel down a ravine to its right the 755’  into the city of Cuzco as Mormon tells us Ammon did the next morning after camping on the hill for the night.
Left: Christo Blanco; Right: View of Cuzco from the statue atop of the hill 
    The hill is to the northwest of Sacsahuaman on the adjoining hill, with a ravine between them leading down into the valley. In fact Mormon states of this event: “And when they had wandered forty days they came to a hill, which is north of the land of Shilom, and there they pitched their tents. 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 7:5-6). Thus, the hill on which Ammon and his brethren stood and camped was “to the north of the land of Shilom,” but led “down into the land of Nephi” or the “city of Lehi-Nephi” (Mosiah 7:1), where the king dwelt (Mosiah 9:15).
    When Ammon and his three brethren went down into the valley the next morning, they met the king of the people who were in the Land of Nephi and in the Land of Shilolm (Mosiah 7:7). Thus, while the hill overlooked both the city of Shilom and the city of Nephi, it was to the ci of Nephi that Ammon went down from then hill, and that is the layout of the hill to the side of Sacsahuaman.
View from the top of the hill where Ammon and his brethren likely camped for the night 
Leaving the top of the hill overlooking the valley and heading down into the Land of Nephi 
Traveling down the hill to the valley below; this road would not have existed but it follows a runoff ravine between the two hills that would have existed and is the easiest and most direct route from the hill to the valley below 
    Comment #2: “I have heard a lot about the Spanish cathedral built on an Inca temple in Cuzco but don’t recall you ever talking about it. My question is, is this Nephite in any way?” Freddie W.
    Response: What you describe is the Qorikancha, the ruins beneath the Spanish Cathedral known as the Church of Santo Domingo, which was finished in 1654. It was built on the site of the richest temple in the Inca empire, the Qorikancha (“Golden Courtyard”) anglecized to Korincancha (Coricancha) in the center of Qosqo or Qusqu (Cuzco). The city name comes from the ancient Aymara language and derived from the phrase qusqu wanka (“Rock of the owl”), based on an Ayar Awqa foundation myth, a language, by the way, that was never spoken by the Inca and has nothing to do with the “puma” or “navel,” which terms have been accredited to the Inca for the past fifty years, providing an association with that much more modern people.
    At one time, the old Peruvian temple was sheathed in hundreds of silver and gold plates, and its roof was covered with a mixture of thatch and gold “straws” so that it glittered in the sunlight. In its terraced gardens were ceremonially planted finely crafted gold statuettes in the form of stalks of corn (maize). According to some early chroniclers, the temple grounds also contained gold statues of llamas, shepherds, insects, flowers, and small animals. As with most other treasures of the Inca empire, however, the artwork of the Koricancha was converted into bullion and shipped to Spain by the conquerors.
Top: Outside, the ancient wall of the old Peruvian temple can still be seen; Bottom: Inside, the original walls and doorways still exist, used for the foundation of building the Santa Domingo church around and on top of them 
    The Spanish colonialists intentionally chose this site, and destroyed most of the original Peruvian temple in the building of the church, in order to further suppress the Inca religion. However, not all of the temple was destroyed. The original tightly interlocking, mortar free, stonework that remains is regarded as some of the finest trapezoidal architecture in Peru. In Inca times, the temple was dedicated primarily to the Inca Sun God, and the main courtyard was covered with hundreds of gold sheets. All of the gold was later stripped and melted down to pay the Spanish a ransom for the life of the Inca leader, Atahualpa, who nonetheless was later executed by the Spanish following a mock trial.
    The Church today is in the Centro Historico (Central Historic) District in the center of Cuzco, and its old pre-Inca construction in the base is considered some of the finest work in all of Cuzco’s ancient ruins.
The remarkable stonework over which the Spanish built their cathedral Santa Domingo 
    Most archaeologists who have studied the early Peruvian foundation stones upon which the Spanish later built their cathedral built so technically accurate that nothing else matches it. Within some blocks in the Koricancha there are drill holes that defy Inca, let along earlier, construction capabilities, that are perfectl round showing no circular marks such as drill holes. The blocks are so tight fitting, though running in straight concourses without mortar of any kind, that not even a pin can be inserted between them.
Comment #3: “I  saw a photo of a wall in South America with small rocks sticking out of it. What was the interest in that?” Donna D.
    Response: If they are the ones like in this photo, they are stairs, and were generally placed in walls of terraces. Reminescent of the steps cut into stone in the ancient Anasazi cliff dwellings of the United States, these steps are a little tricky and require taking the first step of an even number set (2, 4, 6, etc.) with your left foot so that you reach the top by stepping over the wall with your outside left foot again. Otherwise you are off balance at the top and trying to step up and over with your inside right leg. You would then take your first step with your right left on odd numbered steps (3, 5, 7, etc.)
Outside stairs inserted into the waqll to allow the early Peruvians to move from one terrace to the one above or below
    Comment #4: “So if the Nephites built Sacsahuaman as you said, it would have been the city of Nephi to which Zeniff returned?” Clarke J.
    Response: Mormon tells us that king Noah “caused many buildings to be built in the land Shilom; and he caused a great tower to be built on the hill north of the land Shilom, which had been a resort for the children of Nephi at the time they fled out of the land” (Moaish 11:13). From this, it would appear that at that point in time when Mosiah fled the city of Nephi and went northward to discover Zarahemla, the Nephites had built a small fort on the hill overlooking the land of Shilom. This would mean the Sacsahuaman hill overlooking the northern settlement of the valley of Cuzco. A resort, as we might recall, was a small fort or outpost (Alma 48:8). It was such a perfect place for an outpost or lookout area, that when Zeniff’s son, king Noah, expanded the site, building palaces and expanding the temple, including many elegant and spacious buildings (Mosiah 11:8-11), he also built a tower next to the temple on the hill overlooking Shilom (Mosiah 11:13), by which lookouts could see as far away as the Land of Shemlon (Mosiah 11:12).
    During that time, of course, Noah expanded the site or outpost on the hill, turning it into a fortress, whose remains we see today, and which played such an important role in the final battle centuries later between the Inca and the Spanish when it became the Inca’s last stronghold.
    Comment #5: “Since all scientists claim that man came over the Siberian Land Bridge and filtered throughout the Americas, doesn’t that eliminate your story about Lehi and his ship coming to America?”
    Response: It is interesting you would ask this now, since on May 15, of this year evidence has been found that even the Smithsonian is now claiming the Siberian–Alaskan land bridge is no longer the answer as to how the Americas were initially colonized.
In fact, as this photo provided by Texas A&M's Center for the Study of the First Americans, shows divers investigating the Page-Ladson archaeological site in Florida.  These divers found and brought up signs of people living in Florida 14.5 thousand years ago, long before the so-called Land Bridge is claimed to have been open for passage. What divers found in a Florida sinkhole is overturning a long-held theory—that people first colonized the Americas thousands of years ago by crossing the Bering Strait. Scientists say that fossilized dung, mastodon bones, and a stone knife discovered at the site near Tallahassee suggest people lived there roughly 14,500 years ago. That's about 500 years before the theory of the ice-free corridor—land sandwiched between ice sheets in the US and Canada—appeared, allowing those who crossed the Bering Strait land bridge to travel throughout the continent. "So the ice-free corridor is not our answer for how the Americas were initially colonized," says Jessi Halligan, a Smithsonian anthropologist whose team went searching in the Aucilla river sinkhole between 2012 and 2014. They pulled out a few stone tools, including one known as a "biface" that Halligan says was "absolutely" made by people.
    They also re-analyzed a mastodon tusk retrieved earlier at the site and say deep marks in its surface were cut by humans. Other animal bones found at the sinkhole include dire wolf, mammoth, horse, camel, giant armadillo, sloth, and even dogs, who may have accompanied or trailed the hunters. So if these people didn't come by Bering Strait, how did they arrive in the Americas? "The only logical way people could have come to Florida [from Asia] 14,500 years ago is if their ancestors entered the Americas by boat along the Pacific Coast," says anthropologist Michael Waters, who worked with Halligan. "They could have traveled by boat to central Mexico, crossed and come along the Gulf Coast." Published in Science Advances, this is one of a few finds challenging the so-called notion that people first came to the Americas about 13,000 years ago.

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