Sunday, August 5, 2018

The Jaredites and the Valdivia – Part III

Continued from the previous post regarding the connection between the Jaredite kingdom and that of the Valdivia Culture of South America, and the continuation of this list of comparisons between them.
    In the previous post, we covered the first four of these comparisons. Here we continued with number five:
5. Agriculture and Diet:
Jaredites: When Jared, his brother, and their friends were commanded to leave their homeland in Mesopotamia, the Lord told them to carry with them a vessel full of “fish of the waters” (Ether 2:2), suggesting they were fishermen, and that fish was part of their diet. In addition, they were told to bring “seeds of every kind that was upon the face of the land’ (Ether 2:3). Thus, we can conclude that the Jaredites were an agricultural society, growing much of their own food.
Valdivian: This ancient Ecuadorian Culture were both fishermen and planters, with connotations of agricultural production and sedentary village life, centering on agriculture and floodplain horticulture, growing maize (corn), kidney beans, root crops, gourds, squash, cassava, achira, hot chili peppers and cotton plants, and having “a high degree of sophistication regarding their production of agriculture” (James A. Zeidler, “The Ecudorian Formative”; Handbook of South American Archaeology, ed Helaine Silverman and William H. Isbell, Springer, New York, 2008, p462) including the use of herbs for medicinal purposes. “They were “hunter-gatherers who used intense farming practices, using dams and ditches to store and direct water, and having an increased reliance on cultivated plants.”
6. Owned flocks and herds of domesticated animals
Jaredites: The Lord commanded the Brother of Jared to “go to and gather together thy flocks, both male and female, of every kind” (Ether 1:41;2:1), suggesting that the Jaredites were herdsmen, with large flocks and herds of domesticated animals.
Valdivian: The Valdivia culture of coastal Ecuador was a sophisticated Formative Period culture which is best known for being among the earliest ceramic makers in the whole of the Americas, but also known for “its agricultural expertise and large quantities of domesticated animals” in the lowlands and coastal areas of central and southern Ecuador.
7. Size of their civilization:
Jaredites: During their approximately 1500 to 1600 years of existence in the Land of Promise, their numbers dwindled from constant civil wars of annihilation, until they disappeared from history.
Valdivian: Most archaeologists and scholars believe that their dwindling numbers forced members of the communities to leave their coastal settlements and go search for a more prosperous life elsewhere, until they were lost to history.
8. Living conditions:
Jaredite: Lived in family units and were both agriculturists and herders. Their unity was within a single kingdom for the most part of their history; toward the end, usurpers attempted to overthrow the government, resulting in their total annihilation.
Valdivian: Discoveries have shown that communities lived in traditional settlements built in circles, with their homes being constructed on the outskirts of a central plaza. It is believed that each community had their own specific form of agriculture, such as fishing, hunting or crop farming.
9. Living environment:
Jaredite: Moved from the coast into the mountains and a tropical forest region.

Valdivian: Considered a tropical forest culture. having a fundamentally riverine settlement focus, whose ultimate origins can be traced to early population dispersals from the coast inland. 
10. Government:
Jaredite: When the two founders of the society and culture, Jared and his brother, were nearing death, some of the people wanted them to appoint their successor; however, of the 26 sons of both leaders, 25 refused to become their hereditary leader, to rule over them for life as a king (Ether 6:23-28). In fact, the Brother of Jared was adamant about the presence of such a leader, “being a grievous thing” unto them and would “lead them into captivity.” Thus, wanting them to be a society of equal people, and not having  king over them. 
Valdivian: Considered an egalitarian society, that is a people believing in the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal right and opportunities. They have been described as having “progressive shifts toward greater population density and greater socio-political complexity.” 
11. Development:
Jaredite: Were established as an agrarian sedentary society under a prophetic/cultural leadership, quickly evolved into a kingdom, ruled by a king, and then into a split kingdom of a stable hereditary king with hereditary social status, continually challenged by a series of hereditary usurpers. 
Valdivian: The Valdivia represented a dynamic, fully sedentary, non-migratory society of village horticulturalists, characterized by progressive demographic growth, household expansion from nuclear to extended family dwellings with hereditary social status, and an increasing degree of social ranking.
12. Growth and Expansion
Jaredite: Scriptural history shows that the Jaredites were in this area for 1500 to 1600 yers, obviously showing stage of growth and development over time. They moved inland form the coast and settled in several sites, such as Moron, Agosh, Gilgal, Corihor, Akish, Ogath, Shurr, and Ablom, as well as their first landing, Heth and Nehor along the coast. According to the history of the Jaredites we have, they were the first inhabitants of the area, and specifically within the Land of Promise.
Valdivian: Archaeologists have identified that the Valdivia culture was a continuous developmental culture over time, with a number of Valdivia cultural sites, including San Pablo, Real Alto, Río Chico, Manta and Salango on the coast, and Loma Alta, Colimes, San Isidro and San Lorenzo del Mate inland. At the time of the culture’s discovery, Valdivia’s pottery sequence was considered to be the oldest in the New World, and the culture itself certainly represents the beginning of settled village life in the Americas.
Dotted red line: The approximate boundary of the East Sea shore prior to the destruction outlined at the time of the crucifixion in 3 Nephi 8

13. Boundaries:
Jaredite: The entire Jaredite kingdom lived within what is called the Land Northward, never settling in the land to the south. 
Valdivian: Spent their entire time in what is now Ecuador, never expanding or settling into the land to the south, now called Peru. 
14. What happened to them:
Jaredite: They were completely annihilated by wars, killing each other off in a final series of battles around 600 to 500 B.C. 
Valdivian: What became of the Valdivia culture remains a mystery today, as there is no sign or record of the culture migrating, nor was a definite end to their existence ever found.
    While these comparisons are not conclusive in any way, it is interesting how they seem to parallel one another. No doubt, other comparisons could be made, but not enough additional information is available about either culture. 
    It is noteworthy, however, that the search for early cultures on the coast of Ecuador is underway and has been now for some time. An important milestone took place in 1956, when F. Martinez, who worked for Estrada, discovered a many-layer archaeological site with earlier unknown pottery in a small fishing village called Valdivia. In 1957–1961, Meggers and Evans thoroughly examined the site. The radiocarbon dating of the shells from the layer with pottery helped to determine the age of Valdivia culture as 4,500–4,000 years old (2500 to 2000 BC), which meant that they had found the most ancient pottery not only in Ecuador, but also throughout South America and, as it turned out, in all the Americas.
    Once again, eleven of the thirteen sons of Joktan are described sufficiently to place their settlement area, with descendants long living there in Arabia. Only two, Jerah and Ophir are not so clearly stated. It certainly opens the door for such possibilities.

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