Sunday, September 30, 2018

Connecting the Dots in South America – Part IV

Continued from the previous post about the connection with South America and the islands of the Pacific.
Top LtoR: Marqueasas, Polynesia; Easter Island; Colombia; Bottom LtoR: Peru; Bolivia; Ecuador

Another area of comparison between Andean Peru and Easter Island and Polynesia, is that the stone statues, called tiki, with hands on their bellies are found not only on Easter Island, but also on other Polynesian islands, often standing on ceremonial platforms, and tend to be fairly crude in their making. These are found in French Polynesia in the Marquesas Islands, where the tallest is 8-feet and on Raivavae in the Austral Islands, where the tallest is 9-feet in height. While of much higher workmanship and slightly different design, such statues are found in Andean South America from San Augustin in Colombia to Tiahuanaco in Bolivia around Lake Titicaca.
    All the giant statues on Easter Island have long ears, and some islanders still practiced ear elongation at the time the first Europeans arrived. The custom was also practiced in the Marquesas Islands in Polynesia, and in Peru; the Incas said they had inherited the custom from their divine ancestors.
    John Macmillan Brown, who spent five months on Easter Island in 1923, believed that the stone giants of Easter Island were closely related to those of South America and that the differences were due to stylistic and artistic variations. He thought that the inspiration for the Marquesan statues probably came from the tropical regions of Colombia, while those of Easter Island are more akin to the art of Tiahuanaco.
    But, as said, there are notable differences, and the question of who might have inspired whom is unsettled. Sir Clements Markham and Argentine ethnologist José Imbelloni thought that Easter Island could have inspired the pre-Inca culture; however, when proof was found in 1978 that some of the Easter Island statues once had inlaid eyes, it came as a shock to most mainstream researchers, who had opposed the idea on the grounds that this was not a Polynesian custom. Inlaid eyes were a common feature of many of the oldest images of the Middle East, and many prehistoric American stone statues also had inlaid eyes.
A pyramidal platform on top of the Huaca Pucllana pyramid in the Miraflores just south of Lima in Peru, just north of Pachacamac
 
In addition to the statues, Easter Island’s platforms are usually compared to the marae of Polynesia, though none of the latter are as impressive as the island’s best platforms. Thor Heyerdahl claimed that Easter Island’s platforms resembled the huaca platforms found in the Andean region, while the marvelous stonework at Ahu Vinapú near the west end of Easter Island is reminiscent of the finest pre-Inca masonry in Peru.
    Heyerdahl’s expedition to Easter Island in the 1950s uncovered a number of unusual statues which he believed strengthened the South American connection. A unique discovery at Rano Raraku toward the east end of the island was the kneeling statue Tukuturi, which was almost completely buried. With a total height of 12-feet, the figure kneels with its hands on its knees and its buttocks resting on its heels. Its round, upturned face has short ears and a goatee beard. Another complete but badly eroded kneeling statue has been found inside the crater.
Left: A kneeling statue in Easter Island; Right: A kneeling statue at Tiahuanaco, they are very similar and unlike all the other statues found in Polynesia

Heyerdahl compares Tukuturi to the smaller kneeling stone statues that were typical of Tiahuanaco. Conventional researchers compare it to a small squatting stone statue from Tahiti; however, that stone statue is sitting, not kneeling, and its arms are resting on chair arms, not the body. In the sunken temple plaza at Vinapu, on Easter Island, Heyerdahl’s team found a rectangular block of red scoria, representing a body with its arms resting on the stomach and stunted legs. A deep hole had been cut into the chest and the head was broken and missing, but when set up the image fragment still stood 11.5 feet tall. He concluded that the cross section of the pillar-like figure has the rounded, rectangular form so characteristic of the pre-Inca stone giants of the Tiahuanaco area.
    The Easter Islanders used to make an incredible variety of curious lava sculptures (moai maea), and wooden figures (moai toromiro), including moai kavakava or ‘statues of ribs’, and weird monsters and creatures, showing unbridled imagination and creativity. Petroglyphs on the island also display a wide range of imaginative motifs. They include bizarre human masks and eye motifs, birds and birdmen, turtles, fish, whales, spiders, lizards, monsters, boats, and strange symbols.
    Heyerdahl claims that this different artistry stands in sharp contrast with the rest of Polynesia, and archaeologist Henri Lavachery, who spent six months on Easter Island in 1934, drew comparisons with the imagination and variety displayed by the pottery motifs of the early Mochica art in Peru, dating from the first few centuries AD.
    In addition to statues, there is also the Rapanui language of Easter Island, which is generally claimed by mainstream linguists to be derived entirely from Polynesian. However, in 1770 the Spanish visitors compiled a vocabulary which included words clearly of Polynesian origin along with others which were clearly not, and the numerals from 1 to 10 were totally different. When Captain Cook visited the island four years later, he had a Tahitian with him who could converse with the islanders to a limited extent; a list of 17 Polynesian words was compiled, and also correct proto-Polynesian words for 1 to 10.
    Linguists Robert Langdon and Darrell Tryon have argued that at the time of contact, Easter Island’s language was made up of three elements: one of west Polynesian origin, one from east Polynesia, and a third of unidentified origin, probably from the east (South America). However, other more mainstream researchers hold that there is no satisfactory evidence for the existence of a pre-Polynesian language or second wave of Polynesian immigrants, and that the Rapanui language is a member of the eastern Polynesian subgroup.
The point of all of this is to show, first, that the idea that all of the South Pacific was settled by people from the west, i.e., Indonesians, Taiwanese, Chinese, etc., is neither a proven issue, nor one that is widely adhered to outside mainstream anthropology and similar sciences. Since the Lamanite descendants, now known as the indigenous peoples of North, Central and South America, were incapable of such fetes when first discovered by Cook and other Europeans in the 17th through the 19th centuries, is the basis of their inability to have constructed ships capable of en masse migration, does not mean that an earlier culture or civilization lacked that ability. And as a result of the knowledge of the Book of Mormon, it is easy to see how this disparity in capability ensued.
    Obviously, after the Nephites were annihilated, and after the debilitating civil war that lasted for a great length of time (after 36 years it was still raging violently across the land), it is easy to see how such abilities, if they ever were known by the Lamanites, were lost and never revived.
Thus, when Columbus arrived, as well as the explorers of the early 16th century, and later Magellan, Balboa, Cortez, Pizarro, or Cook, the natives they encountered lacked any such ability as to build ships that would sail the deep oceans carrying extensive passengers, baggage and supplies. In fact, while some natives by Cook’s time possessed remarkably sea-worthy long canoes, Hōkūle‘a, outriggers and sixty-foot multihull vessels, none possessed deep-ocean sailing vessels capable of the fetes the Europeans understood and accomplished. Thus, what existed in the 17th century among the indigenous people of the Pacific Islands, irrespective of their origin, has no bearing on what was capable among Lehi’s children when they arrived in the Land of Promise two thousand years earlier.
    In addition, because it has never been considered by anthropologists, archaeologists, and similar sciences that the early man encountered in the Pacific could have accomplish such sailing fetes, the only way these professionals believed the Western Hemisphere could have been occupied was via a land bridge from Siberia to Alaska.
    Both of these ideas are neither sound or accurate. The Book of Mormon tells us that, and testifies of the fact that Lehi came, and others the Lord has led elsewhere is indeed a fact!

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