Sunday, October 16, 2016

Finding Lehi’s Isle of Promise – Part VII

Continuing with this series, and as we wrote in Part I, in addition to the three points already covered, there were two other points to understand after Nephi separated from his brothers. The first of those we covered in the last post, and below is the final of these five points:
2. Where he settled and what he did there.
To the north of the Atacama Desert is an area of extremely old and extremely impressive ruins, beginning with an area called Tiahuanaco, which is just east of the southern shore of Lake Titicaca, and an area adjacent to the south called Puma Punku
Tiahuanaco and Puma Punku to the south and east of Lake Titicaca. Their magnificent ruins date well into B.C. times
    When the Spanish arrived in Peru, they asked the Inca who had built the areas of Tiahuanaco, Puma Punku and even Cuzco, but they did not know, saying the ancients must have built them, and that “they existed before the sun shone in the heavens.” In short, they had been ancient when the Inca came to power, of which ruins and roads they used, often claiming they were their own creations to impress their enemies and secure a superior role among the other tribes.
    Tiahuanuco lies almost in the very center of the great terrestrial basin of lakes Titicaca and Aullagas, and in the heart of a region, which may be properly characterized as the Tibet of the New World. Here, at an elevation of twelve thousand nine hundred feet above the sea, in a broad, open, unprotected, arid plain, cold in the wet and frigid in the dry season, we find the evidences of an ancient civilization, regarded by many as the oldest and the most advanced of both American continents. Known variously as Tiwanaku (Spanish: Tiahuanaco and Tiahuanacu) it is an important Pre-Columbian archaeological site in western Bolivia along the border with Peru.
    Even in ruins, it is an impressive site. Arthur Posnansky claims it is one of the oldest man-made monuments in the world, and refers to it as “the cradle of American Man.” Many archaeologists claim Tiahuanaco is the solitary remains of a civilization that disappeared long before the Inca began, and contemporaneous with that of Egypt and the East.
Puma Punku, on the other hand, is not impressive, just a hill that was part of a pyramid, though it is part of a large temple complex or monument group that is part of the Tiwanaku archaeological site; however, the stone blocks themselves draws the attention—they have been fabricated with a very advanced technology and have a technical design and fit together like interlocking building blocks. There are many finely cut stones, some weighing over 100 tons and so advanced, they are still not completely understood by modern technology.
Elaborate designs are carved into numerous stones, now tumbled in ruin, but once comprising a huge wall, in which the designs would only appear when connected
    Its principal structures include a huge stepped pyramid of earth faced with cut andesite (the Akapana Pyramid) and a rectangular enclosure known as the Kalasasaya, constructed of alternating stone columns and rectangular blocks. The entrance to the Kalasasaya is a monolithic gateway decorated with carved figures.
    Tiahuanaco is an example of engineering so monumental that it dwarfs even the work of the Aztecs. Stone blocks on the site weigh up to 65 tons. They bear no chisel marks, so the means by which they were shaped remains a mystery. The stone itself came from two different quarries. One supplied sandstone and was situated 10 miles away. It shows signs of having produced blocks weighing up to 400 tons. The other supplied andesite and was located 50 miles away, raising the question of how the enormous blocks were transported.
Close examination of the structures shows an unusual technique behind their building. The stone blocks were notched, then fitted together so that they interlocked in three dimensions.

    The result was buildings strong enough to withstand earthquakes.
    Until very recently, orthodox archaeologists labeled Tiahuanaco a ritual site. The reason was that it was built as a port. It has docks, it has quays, it has harbors. But they are docks, quays and harbors that can’t be used by any ship. Tiahuanaco is situated nearly 13,000 feet above sea level and is miles from the nearest water. However, there is evidence that at one time Tihuanaco and Puma Punku were at sea level and the Andes rose and trapped Lake Titicaca within its deep canyons, with mountain cliffs showing signs of sea water levels and ruins showing signs of once have been covered with water.
     Recently, new archaeological discoveries clearly showed it was once not only a bustling metropolis, but also the capital of an ancient empire extending across large portions of eastern and southern Bolivia, north-western Argentina, northern Chile and southern Peru.      
     One of its most extraordinary accomplishments was a unique system of agriculture that involved the creation of raised planting surfaces separated by small irrigation ditches. These ditches absorbed sunlight and prevented crops from freezing, even on the high Altiplano.

To the north of Lake Titicaca, along a Valley the Inca called Sacred, lies  several ancient sites dating long before the Inca came to power. The major ancient city is now called Sacsayhuaman, though no one knows what it was called by its builders and occupants. The fortress, temple, and towering complex once dominated a hillside that overlooks Cuzco, the city the Inca called their capital. The ancient construction, with its miraculous fitting of dressed and cut stones of odd angles, today understood as to withstand earthquakes, for which the area is well known.
Top: One of the three tiered defensive walls of the fortress surrounding Sacsayhuaman above Cuzco. The zig-zag design with doorways through the tiers staggered at distant intervals made this fortress almost impregnable; Bottom: The size of these stones were “humungus” and weighted hundreds of tons, baffling modern engineers as to how they got the stones to this location and hoisted them into place 

    There is an interesting part of the City of Nephi that included a tower several stories tall on which a Nephite could stand upon and see into the adjoining valleys of Shilom and Shemlon (Mosiah 11:12) and from there see approaching Lamanite armies (Mosiah 19:6-7).

Top: The Tower base that held the seven story round tower with a observation level of the top positioned near the cliff where one could look out over the entire valley and into the two valleys to either side and all entrances from there into the valley. Note: the size of a person (yellow arrow); Bottom: Aerial view of the cliff top, showing the three tiered zig-zag wall at the top and the (white arrow) tower based in the middle. It is next to the Temple (right) and the complex monumental structures of the ancient city 

    And it was upon this very tower that Gideon would have killed King Noah had it not been for the king seeing a Lamanite army approaching from the land of Shemlon, already having entered the land of Nephi. In addition, Sacsayhuaman, is not only one of the most formidable fortresses ever built in antiquity, the method of joining dressed and cut stones in different angles to provide not only earthquake protection but walls and buildings that have lasted for two  thousand years without care is a remarkable achievement in and of itself.
The unusually cut stones that are perfectly fitted that not even a razor blade could fit between the seams. Only an advanced understanding, such as God’s as he told Nephi how to build a ship, could have produced such knowledge for man and, no doubt, the many things the lord showed Nephi probably included how to build since Nephi taught his people how to do so 

    Not only would Sacsayhuaman match the building skills of Nephi, who had been taught directly by the Lord (1 Nephi 18:1-2, 3), and that Nephi taught his people how to build, no doubt using the techniques and knowledge the Lord imparted directly to him (2 Nephi 5:15, 17), but its advanced joining of large stones, dressed and cut into odd angles for joining—a technique far beyond the time and even beyond modern technology in many ways, gives us a clear understanding of the building not only of Sacsayhuaman, but numerous other sites in Andean Peru that otherwise modern man cannot comprehend how it was done 2500 years ago.
So sturdy and solidly well built, the ancient Peruvian stonework was left intact and used as the foundation for much of the Spanish building a thousand years after the Nephites built their stonework. The (yellow arrows) major Spanish cathedrals were build on these ancient foundations, as well as the city buildings

    It also provides us with the location of the city of Nephi that lasted perfectly built from around 580 B.C. until the Spanish disassembled the stones they could move to build their own cathedrals and cities in the 15th century, with the walls and foundations still intact. 
Much of the old city of Cuzco, built by the Spanish, was built on the magnificent stonework walls the ancient Peruvians built a thousand years earlier 

One of the two main streets that existed during Inca times (15th century A.D.) showing beneath a labyrinth of (yellow arrow) stonework walls dating long before Inca times, with (green arrow) stairwells running downward into the now packed mud beneath the streets, showing on the right (white arrow) cube blocks, a style dating into B.C. times, indicating that Cuzco is much older than the Inca period, though they used the city as their capital once they came to power
(See the next post, “Finding Lehi’s Isle of Promise – Part VIII,” for an explanation of Jacob’s view of the Land of Promise, and Amaleki’s coverage of Mosiah’s move further northward)

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