Sunday, August 11, 2019

Land of Promise Features that Cannot be Ignored—Where are they in Mesoamerica or the Heartland/Great Lakes? Part II

Continuing with comparing the scriptural record descriptions and consider where these points are in either of the more northern theories claimed by theorists.
• Stone Walls Around the Land
Mormon describes the fortifications of the Land of Promise under the direction of Captain Moroni, who began an extensive building campaign in the last century BC, in which he “took over as chief captain and general of the Nephite armies, he “altered the management of affairs among the Nephites, insomuch that the Lamanites were disappointed in their places of retreat and they could not come upon them” (Alma 49:11). This is because he had beenstrengthening the armies of the Nephites, and erecting small forts, or places of resort; throwing up banks of earth round about to enclose his armies, and also building walls of stone to encircle them about, round about their cities and the borders of their lands; yea, all round about the land.
    Now Moroni was a military genus, and such a great man, that Mormon paid him the highest of compliments when he stated: “If all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men” (Alma 48:17). Mormon even named his own son after the military genius.
    Moroni knew and understood the importance of building both permanent and temporary structures, for when he needed to protect his army for a brief time or a single battle, he cast up mounds of dirt around his men (Alma 48:8), but when he was fortifying the cities and the land, he built with stone for a more permanent defense.
    Now, in North America there are no remains of such walls built of stone—none at all. In Mesoamerica, there are some stone walls, but mostly their cities and pyramids and other buildings were out in the open, unprotected.
Left: Kuelap; Right: Chimor ruins of Chan Chan

In Andean Peru, however, it was a different story. There are numerous walls throughout Peru that have been built around cities and around the land. One such great wall was built that ringed the entire city complex of more than 400 buildings, at Kuelap in the north of the Land Southward, with a 2000-feet long and 360-feet wide, and 62-feet high stone wall completely around the city.
    Compare this to cities in Mesoamerica like Palenque and Tikal in the Yucatan, which had no walls around their city, and the general plan of the Chichen Itza center, which contained thirteen accesses that led to the Great Leveling. The latter was surrounded by a wall of 1’.9” to 2’.3” wide, 4’9” to 6’5” high, and 6758’ long. To enclose the perimeter outlined by this wall, it was reinforced from the outside with an aggregate, 3’.7” wide wall (Francisco PĂ©rez Ruiz, “Walled Compounds: An Interpretation of the Defensive System at Chichen Itza, Yucatan,” 2004, Structure 5C4 (Temple of the Initial Series, Bachelor's Dissertation, F. Cauady, Merida).
    In fact, Chichen Itza has no wall for the protection of the entire city, with only a series of low walls that separate the various sections. This system quickly failed when attacked and the city lost the war (Chilam Balam de Chumayel).
    It should be noted, of course, that a military defensive wall would be high, thick, and extremely sturdy in order to discourage anyone from attacking the city within. While some walls exist in Mesoamerica, they are not often high, thick, and sturdy, but simple walls meaning more for boundaries and possibly keep our or in small animals.
Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico, showing the walls, and the easy access—these walls were made for appearance and making a building, palace or temple on its height. Defense was never an issue. The same is true of the distant walls, separating the complexes—none would hold back and invading army

On the other hand, the Great Wall of Peru was definitely built for defense, and stretches for a great distance from the sea inland for many miles. When the Lamanites were threatening to overrun the entire Land Southward and were pushing the Nephites back toward the north countries, Moronihah, Moroni’s son who was now in charge of the armies, built a wall across the land, beginning at the Sea West, near the Santa River and moving inland. “And there they did fortify against the Lamanites, from the west sea, even unto the east; it being a day's journey for a Nephite, on the line which they had fortified and stationed their armies to defend their north country” (Helaman 4:7). This wall, not discovered until 1932 by Shippee and Johnson in their aerial photography flight over Peru, was 12 to 15 feet thick and as high as 20 feet, and dates to the Chavin period around 200 B.C.
    Evidently, this wall is part of the defense that Moronihah built that helped stop the northward movement of the Lamanites. As Mormon wrote: “Moronihah did succeed with his armies in obtaining many parts of the land; yea, they regained many cities which had fallen into the hands of the Lamanites” (Helaman 4:9).
An impressive stone wall that crosses the alluvial fan from NNE to SSW, with additional walls crossing the mountains to the east

This wall was built in B.C. times by the ancient Peruvians, and along its length there were circular and rectangular forts at irregular intervals on both sides of the wall, with most inset on the top of small hills where they were nearly invisible from southern approaches. The fourteen forts overall, the larger ones were located on the south side of the river opposite the wall, with the largest fort being about 300 feet by 200 feet with walls fifteen feet high and five feet thick. Some were of piled stone construction while others were adobe. In many places the wall averages seven feet high and reached 20-30 feet in height where it crossed gullies and stream beds.
Fortresses and Citadels

It seems that as the Nephites built stonewalls around the cities and throughout the land (Alma 48:8), it stand to reason that the forts and fortresses they built would also have been of stone. So we see that “Moroni had fortified, or had built forts of security, for every city in all the land round about”  (Alma 49:13).
    During the last century B.C., the wars between the Lamanites and Nephites became quite heated, and many battles took place. This is the period of time of Moroni and later his son, Moronihah, and their fortifications of the entire land, building resorts and very large forts—large defensive positions that the invading Spanish centuries later called them citadels, meaning very large acropolis, castles or strongholds and referred to as a “fortress that commands a city.”
    “He also placed armies on the south, in the borders of their possessions, and caused them to erect fortifications that they might secure their armies and their people from the hands of their enemies…fortifying the line between the Nephites and the Lamanites” (Alma 50:10-11).
These fortresses that Moroni built were so important that when Amalikiah (left), a prideful Nephite judge who wanted to be king, but was overthrown by Moroni and his “title of Liberty” during a popular uprising, dissented over to the Lamanites and with flattery and treachery, illegally seized the kingship. A large and strong man who spoke eloquently and persuasively, he convinced the Lamanites to attack the Nephites, and in the process, Amalickiah captured several distant Nephite forts, and retreated into the magnificent strongholds.
    As Mormon describes it: “And thus had the Lamanites obtained, by the cunning of Amalickiah, so many cities, by their numberless hosts, all of which were strongly fortified after the manner of the fortifications of Moroni; all of which afforded strongholds for the Lamanites” (Alma 51:27).
    It took great cunning for Moroni and Teancum to lure the Lamanites out of the captured Nephite forts so that the Nephite armies could reoccupy their forts, for as Terancum stated, they could not storm the forts (Alma 52:5).
    Now, since the Nephites would have built out of stone, and Mormon tells us there were stone walls around their cities and around the land, it should be obvious that in the Land of Promise we would find ruins of stone today. However, such evidence of forts does not exist anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere that can be dated to Nephite times or earlier. Mesoamerica has many fine buildings, but few are defensive, with most sites scattered over a large area with no defensive walls, lookout towers or impregnable buildings; and North America simply has no evidence at all of stone buildings, forts, or defensive walls that are compatible with the type of construction found in Jerusalem in 600 B.C.
    While it is true that wood houses and buildings and wood stockades would not have survived the years, it is not true that the Nephites would have built in such a manner coming from Jerusalem where stone was the material of which houses, temples, and other buildings were made. After all the Hebrews were building stone buildings in the Jerusalem area since the days of David, and especially in the days of his son, Solomon, whose stone buildings have recently been found under the streets in Jerusalem.
    Stone is far more effective against attack than stockade walls of wood, and no doubt  Moroni would have built in such a manner, knowing the ferocity of the Lamanite attacks.
The hilltop Fortress of Ollantaytambo

Consequently, throughout Andean Peru are the ruins of ancient forts, fortresses, and resorts numbering in the hundreds. Almost every one of these were built on hilltops overlooking valleys or approach routes, such as canyons, river beds and roadways. For the most part, they were impregnable structures from which a successful defense could easily be mounted.
(See the next post, “Land of Promise Features that Cannot be Ignored—Where are they in Mesoamerica or the Heartland/Great Lakes? Part III,” for more scriptural record descriptions of the land of Promise that do not match  Mesoamerica or the Heartland/Great Lakes)

1 comment:

  1. Google Earth video looking for pieces of the Great Wall of Peru.

    Another example of ancient cities surrounded by multiple walls is Tunanmarca. The wall has long since collapsed but can easily be spotted on Google Earth.