Thursday, August 9, 2018

Expanding Zarahemla After the Destruction – Part I

At the time of the destruction that hit the Land of Promise during the crucifixion, Zarahemla was a thriving city complex, having grown in size and scope over the centuries since Mulek and his party first landed along the coast (Omni 1:15-16). It might be of note that the story of Mulek and the city he founded, later called Zarahemla by the Nephites, began where the Old Testament story of Zedekiah ended. Amaleki writes that Mulek, the son of Zedekiah and heir to the throne of David, came “out from Jerusalem at the time that Zedekiah, king of Judah, was carried away captive into Babylon” (Omni 1:15; 2 Kings 25:1-7).
At Pachacamac, just south of Lima, Peru, the ancient city was built along the coast, where the magnificent complex now stands

These so-called “Mulekites” settled along the coast where they first landed (Omni 1:16), and eventually built a city, though exactly what kind is not recorded. However, by the time of the destruction some 650 years later, after the Nephites had occupied the city for about 250 years, it had become a “great city.” The disciple Nephi said of the city: “they were heard to cry, saying: O that we had repented before this great and terrible day, and then would our brethren have been spared, and they would not have been burned in that great city Zarahemla” (3 Nephi 8:24, emphasis added).
    Even the Lord called it a “great city” when he said, “Behold, that great city Zarahemla have I burned with fire, and the inhabitants thereof” (3 Nephi 9:3, emphasis added).
    Obviously, the complex known as Zarahemla had been extended and added to, built up and around, and increased as the Nation’s capital since the time of Mosiah until it must have filled much of the area around the original site established by the Mulekites. As we find in the record at the time of the events: “And the city of Zarahemla did take fire” (3 Nephi 8:8). And also, “Many great and notable cities were sunk, and many were burned, and many were shaken till the buildings thereof had fallen to the earth, and the inhabitants thereof were slain, and the places were left desolate” (3 Nephi 8:14).
    Obviously, we have not been told of the Lord’s purpose in leading this remnant, including Mulek, a surviving heir to David’s throne, out of Jerusalem to be reunited with another chosen remnant, the Nephites. However, the limited account of their escape from Jerusalem and journey to the promised land clearly shows that it followed a divine plan (Omni 1:15-16). In fact, as is well known, the city Zarahemla, founded by the Mulekites, became the capital city of the Nephites from about 200 BC when it was discovered by Mosiah to the time of the last great wars with the Lamanites that began around 327AD (Mormon 2:2), more than 500 years later.
    Then the devastating events took place in 34AD as described in 3 Nephi 8:5-19, when “the whole earth became deformed,” when Zarahemla was burned to the ground, and all its inhabitants killed in the fire (3 Nephi 8:8;24). Somewhere over the several years following 35AD, during the reconstruction of the land when the Nephites “did build cities again where they had been cities burned” (3 Nephi 9:7), that great city Zarahemla was rebuilt again (3 Nephi 9:8).
    It is interesting to note, that in the fifth century AD, in the area of the western central coastal region of what is now Peru, the Lima valley inhabitants started the construction of the Huaca Pucllana (Huaca Juliana), a remarkable site already with numerous buildings in an overall complex.
Top: The outer walls, and Bottom: the Inner structure, of the pyramid complex known as Huaca Pucllana, a great adobe and clay pyramid built atop seven staggered platforms located in the Miraflores district of central Lima
Anthropologists claim that two important reasons inspired the group of sacred priests, who, they also claim, were the governing rulers at that time in the Lima area. The first reason given was their need to express their religious authority. The second reason given was directly linked with the control of the hydrological resources stemming from the water canal system, on the left bank of the Rimac river (Quechua “rimaq” meaning “speaker, speaking,” leading to it being called El Río Hablador—“the talking river”).
    This pre-Columbian and pre-Inca network of irrigation channels, believed to date back to the Wari Culture or before, assured the area of a steady flow of water from the mountains. Known locally as “mamanteo,” (meaning suckling), the system funneled water from highland streams into the mountain itself where it percolated through cracks and natural aquifers over months to emerge in springs and natural reservoirs. The early inhabitants of the land built channels to bring the stored water from these catchments to the large valleys below in an overall inter-basin system.
The ancient inter-valley irrigation system of the three valleys or basins (red circle) in the area of Nephite Zarahemla is being resurrected today by Peruvian hydrology engineers to bring additional water to the desert coastal cities. These three areas: Chillon, Rimac and Lurin are all connected, though separate watersheds

It is also believed that a common irrigation technology had developed continually from early foundations and provided the economic underpinning of all the societies involved in construction of the canal systems. It is interesting that careful studies of the adobe bricks used in some construction of the region showed different “makers marks” indicating that different ancient worker crews from different areas worked on the same projects throughout the area. It is also understood that the establishment of an optimal system design for the irrigational channels in terms of maximum canal flow rate and minimum construction labor expenditure required that the labor used remain controllably small while completing the project as rapidly as possible.
    To achieve this, evidently a team of water management specialists were directing the project and continually exercising their hydraulics and engineering skills, thus to the city craft specialist involved in metalworking, ceramics, textile production, and support of force, there should also be added a specialty group involved in the design and direction of large hydraulic and irrigation projects under the command of a central authority (Charles R. Ortloff, “Ancient pre-Columbian Peru, Bolivia, and Mesoamerica,” Water Engineering in the Ancient World, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2009, p82).
Huaca Pucllana of the Lima Culture dating around 100 AD, the time in which Zarahemla was being rebuilt after being destroyed by fire; today, the remains of the building or pyramid dominates the area

Therefore, Huaca Pucllana, a great adobe and clay brick pyramid built without mortar on seven staggered platforms, located in the Miraflores district, was an important ceremonial and administrative location. Built by the Lima Culture, also known as the Maranga Culture, which overlapped the surrounding Paracas, Moche, and Nazca civilizations, it was located in the desert coastal strip of Peru in the Chillon, Rimac, and Lurin River valleys.
    It should be noted that the Lima civilization was known in part for its ceramic artwork, consisting of styles such as Maranga and Interlocking patterns, which show the influence of the nearby Moche culture, as well as changes in style suggest Wari Empire influence.
Ancient irrigation canals built by the Lima culture and extended by the Wari and Ichma, and much later, by the Inca, brought water anciently to the dry desert areas between the mountains and the coast in the Chillon, Lima and Lurin basins

Being surrounded by desert, Lima needed to channel water from surrounding rivers in order to cultivate their soil for agricultural purposes. This resulted in the construction and maintenance of an extensive irrigational system, redirecting canals, and method of terracing. The Lima civilization constructed many temples known as wak’as, which are still preserved throughout the city of Lima today. Since these archeological sites are buried within modern-day Lima, it is difficult to access the archeological remnants that still exist without disrupting the city, with other major population centers of ancient Lima located at Huallamarca (Wallamarka), Cajamarquilla, and Pachacamac (Pacha Kamaq). 
    This Lima civilization constructed the first channels from the Rimac River to irrigate the dessert lands at the outskirts of Callao and the eastern parts of the valley. Even today parts of these channels still exist, showing this irrigation system was an outstanding achievement of engineering for that time. To maintain the channels and ensure an equal distribution of the water among the people obviously an advanced social organization was required.
(See the next post, “Expanding Zarahemla After the Destruction – Part II,” for more of the connection between ancient Zarahemla and today’s Lima to Pachacamac region)

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