Thursday, November 2, 2017

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

Continuing with George Potter’s article on the Narrow Neck of Land. 
   Potter Comment: “The final criterion for any candidate for the narrow neck or pass was that it was near a great city that was built by the Jaredites. The city was constructed near the end of their era.”
Response: Lib, who was the Jaredite leader at the time the Jaredites built a city by the narrow neck of land, and he was the 17th generation from Ether, the last of the Jaredites who lived in the time of Coriantumr, and 14 generations followed him. Thus, rather than being toward the end of the Jaredite era, it was near the middle, since there were 30 generations mentioned in the genealogy of the Jaredites (Ether 1:18), placing Lib about in the center of these generations. Thus, it can hardly be said that they built this city toward the end of the Jaredite period.
    Evidently, Potter says this because it fits into his time line; however, near the middle of the Jaredite 1500-year genealogy would place the city being built sometime around 800 years after the Jaredites arrived in the land, or about 1300 B.C., hardly matching Potter’s claim.
    Potter Comment: “Located at the mouth of the Lurin Valley are the ruins of the city of Pachamaca. With its massive pyramids, Pachamaca would appear to meet this criterion. Unfortunately, the earliest dating for is A.D. 200. Also, Pachamaca was on the fortified highway, not “near” the pass, as described by the Jaredites. However, just 2.5 miles north of Pachamaca, at Huaca Villa Salvador, is the excavation of a more ancient city. The ruins date to the end of the Early Horizon Period, 1000 B.C. to 250 B.C., placing it firmly within the context of the late Jaredites.” 
    Response: First of all, there are no ruins in Peru with the name Pachamaca. If Potter means Pachacamac (Pacha kamaq in Quechua), which is at the mouth of the Lurin Valley and river,  then the dating he quotes was from original work done at the site in 1975-1976 by Dr. Rogger Ravines, Chief of the Investigations Section of the Centro de Restauraciuon de Bienes Monumentales at the Instituto Nacional de Cultura, Lima, Peru). However, new excavations in the lower Lurin Valley at Huaca Villa Salvador in Peru, according to Karen E. Stothert, (Journal of Field Archaeology, 1980) establish an early occupation that cross-dates to the end of the Early Horizon and the beginning of the Early Intermediate Period—this would make the date somewhere between 450 B.C. to about 300 B.C., which is not at all within the Jaredite period! (Karen E. Stothert, “From the Villa Salvador Site and the Beginning of the Early Intermediate Period in the Lurin Valley, Peru,” Journal of Field Archaeology, Vol 7 No 3, Maney Publishing, 1980, pp 279-295).
    Considering all the research work and ensuing statements we uncovered regarding this, Potter seems to be doing what some historians call “cherry picking,” that is, only selecting information that agrees with his stand and views, and ignoring other research showing the opposite or counter information.
    Potter Comment: “Is there in Peru a narrow, yet strategic, transportation corridor that starts at the Pacific and ends in the mountains that possessed these seven characteristics at the time of the Jaredites and Nephites?”
    Response: First of all, there is no scriptural record justification to claim that the narrow neck of land or the narrow pass within it to “start at the Pacific and end in the mountains.” All we know is the neck of land extends between the Land of Bountiful on the south to the Land of Desolation on the north as Mormon states in Alma 22. We have no idea there are mountains involved at all, though the term “pass” could involve mountains, but the pass or passage leads from one land to another, not into the mountains according to Mormon’s descriptions.
    Secondly, for those who have never been to Peru or the Andes area of South America, it might not be understood how the land is laid out. In brief, though we have covered this in greater detail in earlier posts, there are the Andes, which consist of a vast series of extremely high plateaus surmounted by even higher peaks that form an unbroken rampart over a distance of some 5,500 miles—from the southern tip of South America to the continent’s northernmost coast on the Caribbean. These mountains are basically three cordilleras that run north and south through Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile (including western Bolivia and Argentina), and separate a narrow western coastal area from the rest of the continent, deeply affecting the conditions of life within the ranges themselves and in surrounding areas.
    In addition, there are horizontal ranges running east and west, creating a type of step-ladder effect in the ranges from north to south. Thus, the Andes are not a single line of formidable peaks but rather a succession of parallel and transverse mountain ranges, or cordilleras, and of intervening plateaus and depressions. Distinct eastern and western ranges—respectively named the Cordillera Oriental (East), the Cordillera Central, and the Cordillera Occidental (West)—though running north-south, in several places the Cordillera Oriental bulges eastward to form either isolated peninsula-like ranges or such high intermontane plateau regions as the Altiplano (“High Plateau”), occupying adjoining parts of Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru.
    The point of this is simply that to get from anywhere on this narrow strip of western tableland eastward, one will pass through at least one pass, and oft two or three. Finding such passes in Peru are difficuilt to find becasue of the numerous folds of the various cordilleras, but several exist and typically had ancient paved roads leading to, through and away from them. Thus, any “road” from west to east in Peru is not only going to have passes along it, but also fortified areas since wars were fought over this land for millennia, and passes (military choke-points) were almost always fortified or guarded, one way or another.
    Potter Comment, given in answer to his own question: The answer is yes, and it is not hard to identify. It is right where we would expect it; the Lurin Valley where is located—exactly between the Lima area and the southeast quarter of Contisuyu—{Bountiful.}”
    Response: As described above, Peru is full of passes, almost all are fortified since the Nephites feared the Lamanites warring approaches, and later the warring nature of the native cultures for a thousand years before the Spanish arrived, and especially since the Inca spent a hundred years conquering the western Andes from southern Colombia to central Chile. Finding a fortified pass does not prove a claim to the narrow neck of land area and the narrow pass or passage of the scriptural record.
    Potter Comment: “Here are the reasons why the Lurin Valley qualifies as a candidate for the Book of Mormon’s narrow neck or passage of land:
(See the next post, “Is the Small and Narrow Neck of Land Misunderstood? Part VIII,” for more of George Potter’s comments about how one theorist twists the scriptural record to meet his own pre-determined location for the Land of Promise and specifically the points he raises as to why the Lurin Valley qualifies as a candidate for the narrow neck or passage of land)

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