Saturday, September 22, 2018

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

Continued from the last post regarding the role of the city complex known today as Tiahuanaco and the adjoining quays and wharfs of Puma Punku, that presently lie in extraordinarily random ruins atop the 12,500-foot-high Andes Central cordillera just south of Lake Titicaca, but once sat along the shores of the Sea East, or the Atlantic Ocean, as well as the types of ships the Nephites built and sailed around the Land of Promise.
While these are some of the largest dugout canoes ever made, they are certainly not large enough to hold dozens of people as Sorenson claims the Maya built 

It was pointed out in the last post that John L. Sorenson’s attempt to lessen the size and scope of the Nephite ship building industry, and specifically the ships built by Hagoth. It is also of interest that Sorenson states (p268): “the large dugout canoe sighted by Columbus on one of his voyages off the coast of Yucatan was of very respectable size, capable of carrying scores of people for days at a time,” in which he sites Albert Collier, Director of the Oceanographic Institute, Florida State University, “The American Mediterranean” as found in HMAI Vol 1 1964. 
    However, it might be noted that the actual wordage was written by Ferdinand Columbus (Fernando or Hernando Colón), second son of the famous navigator, who accompanied him on his fourth voyage: "...there arrived at that time a canoe long as a galley and eight feet [2.5m] wide, made of a single tree trunk like the other Indian canoes; it was freighted with merchandise from the western regions around New Spain. Amidships it had a palm-leaf awning like that which the Venetian gondolas carry; this gave complete protection against the rain and waves. Under this awning were the children and women and all the baggage and merchandise. There were twenty-five paddlers...” 
    A footnote to this entry includes: “The cargo in this single canoe included clothing, tools, weapons, foodstuffs, wine and luxury items.” However, as experts have suggested, that the reported width of eight-feet seems unlikely for a logboat. Since Ferdinand or Fernando was only 13 to 15 years of age during this voyage, it is understandable that the size might have been exaggerated. Besides, such a tree size would have been enormous, and no Maya boats have ever been recovered, though there is ample evidence that dugout canoes were the standard means of transportation among the Maya. While several illustrations carved on bones have been found of canoes, each having several rowers and passengers, nothing depicting the size Ferdinand reported has ever been seen.
    In fact, a temple fresco from Chichen Itza shows three canoes traveling coastwise, each carrying two warriors. The canoe ends are high and similar to image. The single "paddler" in each boat appears to be using his long-shafted paddle to pole from the bow, each having conventional symmetrical blades.
Maya replicate large canoes being used for demonstrations and races by Mayan people 

It seems most likely that the ship-building capabilities possessed and used by the Nephites during their long history in no way was replicated by the later Lamanites who seem not to have ever gotten out of the stage of pre-development and debauchery to which they fell after Nephi fled from his brothers (Enos 1:20; Jarom 1:6), until the time following Christ’s appearance and the nearly two hundred years following (4 Nephi 1:17) when the Lamanites were like the Nephites, until the Lamanites began to appear once again (4 Nephi 1:20).
     The point is, the Maya canoes were undoubtedly not as large as Sorenson makes them out to be, and his quote of Albert Collier is very difficult to authenticate, imbedded within a much larger work (Robert Wauchope, Handbook of Middle America Indians, Vol1, University of Texas, 1964, pp128-129). But obviously, Sorenson’s quote in his book is not as ambitious in the issue of size and content as the original Ferdinand Columbus statement.
Main rivers into the Land Northward from the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Guayaquil

It should also be noted that ships built for river sailing in the Land of Promise would have been smaller, and probably flat or shallow bottomed, as well as wider of beam, not meant for speed, but for transportation and hauling of goods and cargo. In the case of the Guayas River, it runs upriver from the Gulf of Guayaquil, past the Verde and Mondragón islands to the city of Guayaquil, then snakes off to the northeast, splitting into the Daule and he Babahoyo rivers, two of the main transportation means to the ancient indigenous people who lived inland away from the coastal waters. The Guayas is navigable for about 45-50 miles north of the Gulf.
    The Daule River, which flows from the far north to join the Guayas River near the city of Guayaquil, flows southward for 240 miles, at least 110 miles of that is navigable.
    The Babahoya River branches off the Guayas and runs northward for --- miles where it becomes the Pablo and the Caracol rivers, that split around the city of Babahoya, a major trade and shipping center in Central Ecuador, and originally the customs center of the Spanish to control commerce between Guayaquil and the cities northward in the mountains. Also the area has always been a fishing and very large agricultural center.
    Toward the far north of present-day Ecuador is the Esmeraldas River, which is 200 miles long from the Hoya de Quito, just north of Quito, in the northern Sierra west to the Pacific Ocean, and further south along the coast is the Chone River, which covers a short inland distance to serve several small settlements.
    For the first 400 years (before Mosiah left for Zarahemla), the Nephites would have been quite active in shipping, certainly regarding exploration of the coasts and numerous rivers, as well as what trade existed among the central expansion of the Nephites in and around the Land of Nephi. This is when the Puma Punku docks and wharfs would  have been built along the coast of the Sea East. Little did they know that within a short time the destruction that overtook the Land of Promise would collapse mountains and shoot up others to great heights. During that first four hundred years as the Nephites expanded their territory in and area south of the Narrow Strip of Wilderness, trade would have been along the Sea East, not far from the City of Nephi, and extending especially along the coast southward to the area of present day Tiwanaku and Puma Punku.
River trade would have been an important method of extending trade and shipments to the inland settlements and cities

While we do not know what rivers might have been on the east coast and running inland, there must have been some that would have encouraged inland trade and exchange of products and goods with smaller settlements.
    Thus, we can note, that around the close of the BC period, after 600 years in the Land of Promise, Helaman, listing some of the areas in which Nephites were involved, singled out ship building and shipping, along with the construction of temples, synagogues and sanctuaries, as the main things in which the Nephites were involved. Trade would have been a major factor in a far-flung nation such as the Nephites would have had in the Land of Promise, and much of that would have been conducted by the sea, since they were on an island according to Jacob.
    Later, when Mosiah went northward and encountered the people of Zarahemla (Mulekites), where the Nephites then settled, they evidently began extending their territory northward, spreading out into the east and west as well as north and south (Helaman 3:8), where new settlement building, new crops plants, and larger and larger populations would also have incentivized people to expand their shipping to include the offshore fishing in the highly productive Humboldt Current and selling such catches not only to the local food conveyors, but also into the inland settlements.

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