Thursday, September 20, 2018

From Hagoth’s Shipyards to the Puma Punku Docks – Part I

Prior to the destruction listed in 3 Nephi 8/9, the mountains in the Land of Promise had not yet risen to their full height, which “height was great” (Helaman 14:23), though there were mountains within the Land of Promise before that time. This is shown in the prophecy of Samuel the Lamanite when, before mountains rose to their lofty height, he prophesied “there shall be many mountains laid low,” (Helaman 14:23), which prophecy was also foretold by Nephi when he saw this destruction of the Land of Promise in a vision, he stated “I saw mountains tumbling into pieces, and the plains of the earth were broken up” (1 Nephi 12:4).
The Land of Promise, a land of valleys and mountains

Thus we can see that the Land of Promise was not a flat land, nor one of just low, rolling hills, but a land of mountains—obviously not overly high mountains, probably 8,000 to 10,000-feet, otherwise Nephi’s statement regarding mountains “tumbling into pieces,” would not make much sense. These mountains were also within the Narrow Strip of Wilderness that divided the Land of Zarahemla from the Land of Nephi, or at least the land was sufficiently elevated to have the head of the Sidon River within this area that then flowed northward because it “ran by the land of Zarahemla” (Alma 2:15), which was north of the narrow strip of wilderness (Alma 22:27).
    We also know that during the B.C. times, the Nephites were heavily involved in shipping and the building of ships. In fact, when timber was needed in the land of Desolation, the Nephites “did send forth much by the way of shipping” (Helaman 3:8). In addition, the Nephites were engaged in “shipping and building of ships” (Helaman 3:14). This is borne out by Mormon’s earlier comment regarding the man Hagoth, “being an exceedingly curious man, built him an exceedingly large ship,” and later “this man built other ships” (Alma 63:5,7).
    We also learn that Hagoth’s shipyard was along the west coast, “on the borders of the land Bountiful, by the land Desolation,” and that he “launched it forth into the West Sea” (Alma 63:5). Now the West Sea was an ocean, in fact Jacob tells us that it was the sea over which they sailed, when he taught during a conference in the Temple: “for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea” (2 Nephi 10:20).
    Since Hagoth was in the business of building very large ships, and not in sailing with them as far as is recorded in the scriptural record, it can be understood that he had a shipyard of some size, where he evidently worked on several ships, building others while the earlier ship(s) were under sail at sea (Alma 63:7).
Location of Hagoth’s Shipyard in the Jambeli Archipelago at the southern opening of the Narrow Neck of Land

It has already been discussed in earlier articles that Hagoth’s shipyard was likely in the Jambeli Archipelago at the south end of the Narrow Neck of Land (along the eastern coastal shore of the Gulf of Guayaquil), where the Thumbes mangroves, along the Jambeli Channel of the Gulf are found between Ecuador and Peru. This is where many rivers empty into the Pacific and the Gulf, creating a series of small to moderate islands of an archipelago within the mangrove forest along the coast. These mangroves fringe the Gulf of Guayaquil and the northwestern Pacific Coast of Peru near Tumbes, with the Gulf being the largest estuary ecosystem on South America's Pacific coast.
    This archipelago would have provided Hagoth with an ideal environment in which to build ships, dock them out of the tidal waters of coastal currents, where unlimited wood existed, and several inland rivers existed in which to test-float or sail the newly constructed ships. No doubt from this shipbuilding center, many Nephites must have been involved in purchasing boats and ships for the purpose of being involved in the occupation and industry of shipping.
    Some of Hagoth’s ships likely would have been river vessels, capable of sailing upriver from the coast inland as far as navigable, evidently in the endeavor of trade or delivery, such as the timber to the Land Northward. Others, no doubt, would have been smaller vessels or even small boats, the latter for coastal fishing, the former for deeper ocean fishing, since the Humboldt Current along the coast, extending outward several miles, would have been an ideal fishing ground as it is today.
    Certainly among these purchasers would have been an entrepreneur or two and even an explorer or two, interested in sailing around the island of the Land of Promise (2 Nephi 10:20), or up unexplored rivers to see what lay in the land’s interior. No doubt it was these that discovered ways to reach the lands to the north and perhaps other lands far to the north not connected to the Land of Promise, for all the immigrants that took ships to lands to the north and were never heard from again (Alma 63:5-8). That is, the Nephites did not know what happened to them because the ship did not return and the people either died at sea, or immigrated to another land beyond the Land of Promise, in which case, Mormon and others would not have known where they were.
Left: Red Circle: Nephites built several cities along the east coast in the last century BC; Tiahuanaco was undoubtedly built before the Nephites went to Zarahemla and evidently used extensively during that time. By the time of the 200 years of peace when there were no –ites among them (4 Nephi 1:17), though there would have been considerable business conducted among them as cities were rebuilt (4 Nephi 1:7) and “they had become exceedingly rich, because of their prosperity” (4 Nephi 1:23), Puma Punku and Tiwanaku would have been raised to its present 12,500-feet elevation and no longer a port

Obviously, with the building of several cities along the eastern coastal seashore in the last century or two BC, from Moroni, Lehi, Morianton, Nephihah in the south to Mulek and Gid in the north, shipping and trade would have been essential. In addition, the vast spread and extreme increase in new settlements in the Land Northward as the Nephites “did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east” (Helaman 3:8), shipping would have increased exponentially to keep up with this migration boom.
    No doubt in such shipping endeavors, involving migration, trade, shipping or exploration, ships would have need for some type of port on the Sea East to handle a large volume of ship that must have been sailing around the Land of Promise, since it was one of the occupations singled out no doubt as a result of the vast construction undertaken during this expansion (Helaman 3:14).
    In addition, there were cities along the west and east coasts of the Land Northward that no doubt would have drawn trade and shipping, as well as opening up new fishing fields within the seas around the island. Some ships, of course, would need to be permanently docked along the Sea East.
    In addition also, in the area of the Land of Promise in Andean Peru, an eastern port seems to have certainly been located along the cost of the Sea East before the cataclysm that raised the Andes during the crucifixion. From all the ruins that have been investigated and the opinions of archaeologists, this large port would have been the massive city complex of Tiwanaku, with its quays and wharfs that could handle hundreds of ships.
    At this point it might be noted that one could not have sailed from the west coast to the east coast in Mesoamerica. Having a shipyard on the west coast as was Hagoth’s (Alma 63:5) would have done little good for cities along the east coast in their model since there is no  open sea lanes from their west coast to their east coast, as has been pointed out in numerous earlier posts. In addition, one could not sail northward from their west coast at their narrow neck until they had sailed nearly one hundred miles westward, though Mormon clearly states that they did sail north from Hagoth’s shipyards (Alma 63:5).
At one time, during the Age of Man according to Charles Darwin who studied the Andes and determined the age when the uplift occurred and that the ancient Atlantic sea coasst was just beyond where the Andes now stand, with the Andean Shelf a long, narrow island surrounded by seas

Thus, we see that if the Nephites were heavily involved in ship building and shipping as Helaman/Mormon states, they their coastal lands would have needed to spread further than is found in either Mesoamerica or the Heartland/Great Lakes models of their Land of Promise.
(See the next post, “From Hagoth’s Shipyards to the Puma Punku Docks – Part II,” for more information on the place and role of the city complex that now lies in ruins atop the 12,500 foot high Andes Central cordillera just south of Lake Titicaca)

No comments:

Post a Comment