Saturday, November 4, 2017

Is the Small and Narrow Neck of Land Misunderstood? Part IX

Continuing with George Potter’s article on the Narrow Neck of Land and his narrow pass and for the continuation of the last post on the Lurin Valley as Potter’s division between the Land Northward and the Land Southward, with the area of Lima being his Land of Desolation, and the Lurin Valley being Potter’s Land of Bountiful.
In the Lurin Valley there are numerous ancient ruins and the entire valley “is dotted with dozens of ruins starting along the coast at the ancient power center of Pachacamac up to the eastern reaches of the Valley.” If this is the separation between the Land Northward and the Land Southward that Potter projects, then it was heavily occupied, even into his “narrow neck of land,” and Pachacamac was the oldest and most advanced city involved; further inland along this valley is the Cienequilla region, which was also heavily occupied. It is hard to place this area as the dividing line between Potter’s Desolation and Land of Bountiful since it doesn’t match Mormon’s description of the area at all

Response: If the Lurin Valley separating the Land Northward from the Land Southward is as Potter claims, then the Land Southward is very small (including the lands of Bountiful, Zarahemla, and Nephi), while the Land Northward, from Lima northward to Ecuador would have been huge. In addition, the lower Land Southward that Potter projects, places much of the lower Land Southward in the Atacama Desert, where no one lives permanently and would not match anything in the scriptural record.
    In addition, it was the Land of Zarahemla that was the key to the Nephite defenses, not the Land of Bountiful as Potter claims. In fact, as we find in Mormon’s time, when the Lamanites had captured and occupied the Land of Zarahemla, the Nephites could not hold onto the Land of Bountiful and ceded it to the Lamanites in a treaty that gave the Nephites the Land Northward and the Lamanties all of the Land Southward. This hardly matches Potter’s model.
    Today there is a road through this area of Potter’s pass, however, the actual pass is cut through a low lying hill with plenty of opportunity for an invading army to have crossed the hills to either side of the pass for several miles without difficulty, and hardly suggests Mormon’s descriptions of the narrow passage within the narrow neck of land.
Potter’s Narrow Neck of Land

It should also be kept in mind, that while Potter’s narrow neck contains a narrow pass at one end, it does not meet the criteria for a “small neck” (Alma 22:32) being between the Land Northward and the land Southward, nor does it meet the criteria of a “narrow neck” (Alma 63:5), which led into the Land Northward—both written by Mormon—nor does it meet the criteria of “the narrow neck of land” (Ether 10:20), “by the place where the sea divides the land,” written by Moroni, both of which knew this small and narrow neck of land intimately, having lived and fought there.
    As an example, Webster’s 1828 definition of “small” is “slender, thin, fine, of little diameter, hence in general, little in size,” and “narrow” is defined as “of little breadth, nor wide or broad, having a little distance from side to side.” Yet as can be seen on any map of the area, the Lurin Valley is merely part of the Lurin Basin, adjacent to the Rimac basin, which is adjacent to the Chillon basin, etc. That is, it is a continuing land mass that stretches for hundreds of miles to the north, east and south. Hardly, a narrow neck of land.
    Potter Comment: “The Inca highway that ran from the city of Pachamaca to the Andes appears to have been fortified. The Spanish chronicler Cieza de León describes this section of the highway as “being some fifteen feet wide, protected by a strong wall roughly the height of a man.” A wall the height of a man! The wall that ran the entire length.”
    Response: It was not uncommon for the ancients who built these roads to have protected some from shifting sands and weather so that the road would not be covered over in time. Some roads had short walls, some higher, but they were not walls built to protect or defend an area, since it would make no military sense at all to build a road and then a wall behind it, where the road was on the enemy side, and having a road running the length of the defensive line.
The Lurin Valley road Potter describes with a high wall on the left (yellow arrow), which is the north. The road runs (red arrow) east and west, and on either side has a low wall (white arrows). In addition, the road runs (red arrow) in the same direction as the wall and serves no military purpose, especially on the south side from which direction the enemy would be coming; however, it does keep the winds from the north blowing southward across the barren, desert lands, to cover the road with sand and dirt

Nor does the short wall to the south of the road serve any military purpose for the defenders, but provides a short wall for protection from arrows, slings, and stones—something a defensive line would certainly not want to provide the enemy.
    Potter Comment: “The narrow neck ran from the “east” to the ocean. The term “east” might seem vague to the reader, but to an Inca it had a very specific meaning. As noted earlier, the entire Inca Empire was divided along a north–south axis, dividing the land into the west and the east. Once the Inca road reached the Andes it would have been in the eastern quarter or Antisuyu (the mountain quarter). In Inca terminology, the narrow neck of land would have run from the mountains of Antisuyu (the east) to the Pacific Ocean.”
    Response. First of all, there were three north-south mountain ranges, not just one as Potter implies, with a west (coast) and east (mountain) division. The Western Mountain Range of the Andes in Peru is called the Cordillera Occidental, meaning the western range, and the eastern range was called the Cordillera Oriental. In addition, there was a third range, called the Cordillera Central, actually vertically dividing the land into three general areas: Western, Central and Eastern.
    Secondly, what the Inca called their land divisions is immaterial to what we are dealing with in the scriptural record since the Nephites were annihilated (385 B.C.) more than 1000 years before the Inca came to power (1438 A.D.) Consequently, what the Inca called something, and how they used something, is of absolutely no value whatever in determining what is written in the scriptural record.
    Third, the scriptural record does not say the narrow neck ran from east to west. It says “there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward.” (Alma 22:32), and “by the narrow neck which led into the land northward” (Alma 63:5), and lastly, “built a great city by the narrow neck of land, by the place where the sea divides the land” (Ether 10:20). In two of the three statements, the intent is to show the narrow neck ran north and south between the Land Northward and the Land Southward. Third, the width of the narrow neck is described by Mormon in his insert, “it was only the distance of a day and a half's journey for a Nephite, on the line Bountiful and the land Desolation, from the east to the west sea” (Alma 22:32).
    None of Mormon’s statements matches anything Potter is claiming was the narrow neck and or the narrow passage described in the scriptural record.
    Potter Comment: “The distance from the Pacific Ocean up the Lurin Valley to the Andes Mountains is approximately 45 miles; a distance a Nephite could have walked in a day and a half.
    Response: 45 miles in a day and a half requires one averaging 2.5 miles per hour for 12 straight hours, then 2.5 miles per hour for another six hours the next day, without a single break during those 18 hours travelling. That is a pace few could manage, and certainly not an average man. Today, walking at a brisk pace, a man can walk about 3 to 4 miles an hour, but a normal pace is between 1.4 to 3.1 miles an hour, particularly for short distances. Obviously, walking uphill lowers or slows the pace, but walking downhill does not increase the pace. It is also found that 5000 to 7500 steps a day is typical of daily walking, and as high as 7500 to 10,000 steps, with highly-active person walking 12,500 steps a day. The average walking pace is 100 steps per minute, and two hours to reach 10,000 steps. Figuring 100 minutes at 100 steps per minute, would be 10,000 steps—figuring 18” to a step, that is 15,000 feet in 100 minutes, or 2.8 miles per hour.
    Now, 100 minutes is an hour and 40 minutes. After that time, the human body requires rest of at least ten minutes before starting out again, which equates to a pace of 2.5 miles per hour over that time.
    Thus, the pace of a most highly-active person walking for 100 minutes would be covering 2.5 miles per hour, which would be the required speed for 12 hours, then 6 hours, without stopping or resting other than for one night, to reach 45 miles in a day and a half.
    There is simply no way an average person, “a Nephite” could maintain such a pace for 12 straight hours. For those who want to champion such a pace, go out and try it for two hours—if you have any strength after two hours, remember we are talking about 10 more hours beyond that.
(See the next post, ”Is the Small and Narrow Neck of Land Misunderstood? Part X,” for the continuation of the Lurin Valley as Potter’s division between the Land Northward and the Land Southward)

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