Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Nephite Nazca Lines – Part III - A Lesson from the Cahuachi Pyramids

The site of the pyramids of Cahuachi is situated in the middle of the desert, a couple of miles from Nazca's city center. The site has been partly excavated, but a large part of the pyramids remain unexplored and hidden beneath the sand today because of a lack of funding from the Peruvian government to explore it. The site has been spared from massive tourism, as the majority of the tourists settle for a flight over the famous Nazca lines. And yet, Cahuachi is one of the crown jewels of Nazca. 
Massive Cahuachi pyramid was a major ceremonial center of the Nazca culture, from the last part of the last century B.C. to abut 400-500 A.D.,along the coastal area and central Andes of southern Peru, overlooking some of the famous Nazca lines

    Situated in the river valleys of the Rio Grande de Nazca drainage and the Ica Valley, the Nazca were heavily influenced by the preceding Paracas culture, which was known for extremely complex textiles, producing an array of crafts and technologies such as ceramics, textiles, and geoglyphs. They also built an impressive system of underground aqueducts, known as puquios, that still function today. The Nazca are considered to  have flourished from about 100 B.C. to about 450 A.D., with some culture remnant overlapping to about 550 A.D., and later cultures that followed to 800 A.D.
    The early development in B.C. times was known for the people modifying the natural huacas (hills) into pyramid mounds for ceremonial and religious purposes, and also the geoglyphs, which are a series of geometric shapes, miles of lines, and large drawings of animal figures (some as large as a football field) constructed on the desert floor in the Nazca region.
    Excavations at Cahuachi have given archaeologists key insights into the culture. The material remains found at the site included large amounts of polychrome (“many colors”) pottery, plain and fancy textiles, trace amounts of gold and spondylus (“spiny oysters”) shell, and an array of ritual paraphernalia. 
Polychrome Pottery

    The remains of pottery found at Cahuachi led archaeologists to believe that the site was specifically non-urban and ceremonial in nature. The ratio of plain, utilitarian pottery to fine, polychrome pottery was 30% to 70% (Helen Silverman, "Cahuachi: Non-Urban Cultural Complexity on the South Coast of Peru,” Journal of Field Archaeology, Volume 15, No. 4, 1988, pp403–430). If it was an urban center, the amount of utilitarian ceramics would have probably been higher. Among the foodstuffs found were the so-called “three sisters”: maize, squash, and beans; as well as peanuts and some fish.
    It was also noted that around 450 A.D., construction at Cahuachi ceased, and the site was abandoned. Although there are other possible reasons for the collapse of Cahuachi, most scholars believe that the cessation of ceremonial use of the site is associated with the pan-Andean drought (Lidio M. Valdez, "Cahuachi: New Evidence for an Early Nasca Ceremonial Role,” Current Anthropology 35, no. 5, December 1994, pp675–679). 
    Later, the occupiers seemed to be structured in a similar fashion as it had been before, but less of an emphasis was made in constructing large architectural complexes like those at Cahuach. Whether this was a different people with no massive building capability is not known.
    Other reasons given for abandonment are overcrowding, and wide-spread flooding from El Niño, and other climate problems that left irrigation systems high and dry. Where scholars once thought the site was the capital of the Nazca state, they have since determined that the permanent population was quite small. They believe that it was a pilgrimage center, whose population increased greatly in relation to major ceremonial events. New research has suggested that 40 of the mounds were natural hills modified to appear as artificial constructions. Support for the pilgrimage theory comes from archaeological evidence of sparse population at Cahuachi, the spatial patterning of the site, and ethnographic evidence from the Virgin of Yauca pilgrimage in the nearby Ica Valley.
There are many lines pointing form the Nazca Lines area toward Cahuachi, which make archaeologists believe that the Nazca people used them as sacred roads to reach the Naazca desert (where the ifigures are located)
Most of the burial sites surrounding Cahuachi were not known until recently and during the last decade several scientists explored and documented the place and tried to discover the function of the pyramid and the reason for the disappearance of the culture that built it. However, the majority of the official hypotheses the historians advance appear to be way off point.
    Part of the problem we face is the nature of scholars and professional on-the-ground researchers. First of all, it is essential to understand that what they call "scientifically proven" actually refers in the majority of cases to a certain version of the facts, a hypothesis, that is generally or largely accepted--though not proven--by the majority of the scientific community. Unfortunately, many of these hypotheses are light years away from what actually happened in that place.
    Secondly, the problem with a lot of scientists is not that they have bad intentions or that they are not intelligent, but that they are disconnected from themselves and so they are not capable of establishing a connection with their subjects either, nor put themselves at their place. Their version of the facts will always be based upon theories that other people before them came up with, because they are unable to detach from what they learned and to broaden their vision. Part of this is what is called “selective exposure,” which is a theory in psychology, often used in any type of research, that historically refers to individuals' tendency to favor information which reinforces their pre-existing views while avoiding contradictory information. Selective exposure has also been known and defined as "congeniality bias" or “confirmation bias” in various research projects throughout the years.
    Another part of the problem is that researchers, scholars and professional people often lack imagination and they are unable to look beyond what they already know—there are, of course, exceptions, and open-minded historians do exist—however, people, especially professional people, often tend to be distracted by their training. 
The long hours in classrooms, lectures from “professionals,” and those who have been there, done that, and sound knowledgeable but, who themselves, are also driven by their own earlier training. It is a circular problem that has always existed and always will exist.
    Generally speaking, scientific theories are just ideas that sprung from the mind of one person, generally in the past, and that were picked up by other people afterwards, some of which built the principle into a huge, complex set of ideas. On the other hand, each generation should be encouraged to search for the truth like a true free-thinker and to stop blindly accepting what other people tell them. Everything needed to discover the true history of humankind and to separate true from false, is one's connection to themself. Everyone is capable of connecting to a place and feel, know and see what happened in this place-relying on someone's views eliminates one's own understanding of the events they are uncovering and their input into the past. Let's use our common sense and question what is generally accepted as truth today. 
Take, as an example, the archaeological periods: Stone (Paleolithic to Epipaleolithic), Neolithic, Archaic, Formative, Formative Stage, Early Horizon, Horizon, Late Horizon, Pre-Classic, Classic, Post-Classic, Bronze, Iron, Industrial, Modern, etc. (not all periods relate to all areas). Someone, somewhere, first came up with a sequence of periods, which has been expanded upon over the years until now, archaeologists and anthropologists, don’t even speak in normal dating, but in periods, and when digging at a site, or studying artifacts, they place their results into those periods as though there are no exceptions to such hard and fast rules.
    Take as another example how this affected the “discovery” and “evaluation” of Cahuachi— officially, Cahuachi was considered to be a necropolis and ceremonial center and not as a town. Archeologists found the remains of very rich and elaborate pottery and textiles, which to them proved that this was strictly a ceremonial place, because the pottery was "obviously" used as sacrifices to the gods and the textiles to make the preachers' dresses. As odd as that sounds, it is a method of predetermination on the part of the researcher who, himself, may be completely unaware of his thinking along such lines.
    This is seen in almost every encounter with past cultures. A predetermined belief system guides the researcher along a set pattern—there is no thinking outside the box, for the box has already been set through pre-thinking on the part of those who created it in times past and it is now the “method” of understanding the past.
 We can also take the common person who visits a site. Do they go alone and try to ponder and figure out what they see and feel? No, they go with a tour and a guide, who tells them what they are seeing and what it means and what it meant in the past. The guide walks the tourist through the site in predetermined steps, spouting predetermined information that he, himself, learned from others before him. Thus, both the researcher and the following visitors to the site follow a single, predetermined belief system fostered by people over the years until it has become a “proven fact.”
    Then along comes someone with the truth of the matter, and no one will listen because they already have their minds made up as to what is the “truth.”
    The lesson we learn from Cahuachi, or actually almost any site, is that we, today, have no idea what went on in that place, that city, that pyramid, or location. We do not allow the Spirit to tell us anything, or our own knowledge, experience, or feelings to adjust our thinking and open our minds. We simply fall into a pattern of accepting the “experts” and continuing their hypothesis, i.e., “guess,” “assumptions,” and “speculation.”
    The fact of the matter is, we do not know anything about the Nazca people, or most of the other early cultures in any land where their histories have not continued down through the ages, but been speculated upon, formulated by “memory” and passed on, and eventually written down by someone we don’t know and have no idea of what their motivation or personal agenda on the matter might have been. One very glaring example of closed-mindedness is the fact that not a single archaeologist or anthropologist has even considered the possibility that the Nazca people were driven out of Cahuachi by an invading force from the south who, themselves (like the Lamanites of old) were not interested in settlement, but in conquest, yet the dates, events, and circumstances match such a scenario.

1 comment:

  1. Del, have you looked at the currently identified peoples according to the archaeologists that occupied South America and matched them to the BOM? From your description Nazca sound like the Nephites. Are there any others that fit?