Saturday, October 24, 2020

The Kingdom of Quito

Ecuador formerly known as the kingdom of Quito was part of the Quito Confederation during the Inca Period, when it was incorporated into the Inca Empire. Quito was the second capital of the Inca Empire, following that of Cuzco.

Tumebamba (formerly pumapungo and Todos Santos) on a layered hill 

Tumebamba (Tumipampa—modern Cuenca), was chosen by the Emperor Huayna Capac, who ruled from 1493-1525, to be the Inca northern capital. The city was largely destroyed during the civil war between Huáscar and shortly before the arrival of the Spanish in 1532.

The Spanish city of Cuenca, Ecuador, was built on the site of Tumebamba although a portion of the Inca city is preserved at the archaeological sites of Pumapungo and Todos Santos (D'Altroy, Terence (2003), The Incas, Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, p. 31, 75, 78-80). These two surviving remnants of the old city are the ruins of Todos Santos and Pumapunku (or Pumapongo), and within about 300 yards of each other and near the Tomebamba River. Neither site has the finely-worked stone characteristic of Cuzco, which had been bu8lt by the first ancient Peruvians, suggesting that these sites were constructed later, toward the end of the Nephite period.

During the recent construction period before the Conquest, the principal temple and plaza disappeared beneath this later building.

Based on finding spinning tools in the buildings excavated at Pumapungo, the site had a large residential area. Tumebamba had a large artificial water pool, terraces, and canals that resemble those found at Quispiguanca, an ancient ruin in the Sacred Valley near Cuzco. No doubt both ancient cities were built by the same primordial people who once spread across the Peruvian and Ecuadorian landscape.

The area of the ancient Cañari

The Tumebamba area prior to the conquest by the Incas was called Guapondelig. The ethnic Cañari people had lived in this area for at least 500 years before the arrival of the Incas. Due in part to early Peruvian influence, Cañari construction reportedly rivaled that of Cuzco. Of particular repute was the impressive architecture of Tumebamba, which has often been referred to as the "second Cuzco."

In 1471-1493, during the Inca period and before the Conquest, this area was attacked but held out with severe defenses. It took a later generation, after a long and arduous campaign, to finally subdue the Cañari  (Susan A. Niles, The Shape of Inca History, University of Iowa Press, Iowa City, 1999, p253).

Archaeologists identified stone building blocks in Ecuador that had an origin in a quarry near Cuzco. The scholars found 450 stones, weighing up to 1,500 lb each, that had been transported almost 1000 miles on magnificent Peruvian roads, traversing the high and rugged Andes. The monumental task of transporting the stones suggests the importance the early Peruvians placed on this northern land (Dennis Ogburn, "Power in Stone: The Long-Distance Movement of Building Blocks in the Inca Empire," Ethnology, Vol.51, No.1, Winter 2004, pp131-132).

In the words of one scholar, "These stones embodied the transfer of sanctity and power from the south to the city of Tomebamba in the north, and their movement was seen as a major effort to defend the northern lands.

Ingapirca fortress


Ingapirca ruins in the province of Cañar at  10500 feet, is also the name of the older ruins and archeological site nearby. These are the largest known Inca ruins in Ecuador, and were settled by the Cañari indigenous people, who called it Hatun Cañar. The castle complex is of ancient Peruvian origin, and though, its purpose is uncertain, the complex was used as a fortress and storehouse to supply troops defending their land against invasion from the south, whose troops were enroute to northern Ecuador. At Ingapirca they also developed a complex underground aqueduct system to provide water to the entire compound.

The Spanish conquistador and chronicler Pedro de Cieza de León, whose Chronicles of Peru, were published in 1553, rank with Bernal Díaz del Castillo’s account of the conquest of Mexico. Leon visited Tumebamba in 1547 and said, "Everything has crumbled and in ruins but you can still appreciate how grand it was” (Ross W. Jamieson, De Tomebamba a Cuenca, Translation Ion Youman, Abya-Yala Editions, Simon Fraser University—Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, 2003, p50).

The Kingdom of Quito


Ecuador formerly known as the kingdom of Quito was part of the Quito Confederation during the Inca Period, when it was incorporated into the Inca Empire. Quito was the second capital of the Inca Empire, following that of Cuzco.

During the pre-Inca period, people lived in ans, which formed great tribes, some allied with each other to form powerful confederations, such as the Confederation of Quito. But in the end, none of these confederations could resist the formidable momentum of the Tawantinsuyu—the invasion of the Incas in the 16th century was very painful and bloody.

The Pre-Columbian era is divided by archaeologists and anthropologists into four eras: the pre-Ceramic Period, the Formative Period, the Period of Regional Development and Integration until the Arrival of the Incas. Before the Inca were the Manteño, the last pre-Columbian civilization in modern-day Ecuador, running from 850 AD to 1600 AD.

The Valdivia culture is one of the oldest settled cultures recorded in the Americas. It emerged from the earlier Las Vegas culture and thrived on the Santa Elena peninsula near the modern-day town of Valdivia, preceding the Machalilla culture, which thrived in southern Manabí and the Santa Elena Peninsula—the dates when the culture thrived are uncertain, but definitely in the BC period covering 2500 to 1500 BC.

The Machalilla were a prehistoric culture in southern Manabí and the Santa Elena Peninsula. The dates when the culture thrived are uncertain, but are generally agreed to encompass ending around 1100 BCE (Tamara Bray, “Ecuador’s Pre-Columbian Past,” in the Ecuador Reader: History, Culture, Politics. Duke University Press. 2009, p15-26).

The Real Alto culture, situated in the Chanduy Valley of the Guayas Province in Ecuador, it is a fascinating archeological site that sheds light on the Valdivia culture. The site was Located near the fertile agricultural lands of the Río Verde, situated on top of one of the two highest points in the valley, providing insurance against surprise attacks from the south.

Land controlled by different cultures that dominated Ecuador in antiquity


Real Alto was identified by Jorge Marcos, an archeologist, in 1971 and has been investigated by a number of researchers since that time. The site is considered to be one of South America’s oldest examples of an organized village. The culture thrived around second millennium BC, and were trading Spondylus princeps shells (thorny or spiny oysters) as late as 800 BC—the southern-most extension of Spondylus is the Gulf of Guayaquil, which northern shore is along the Santa Elena Peninsula (Donald Lathrap, et al., “Real Alto: An Ancient Ceremonial Center,” Archaeology Magazine, vol.30,1977, pp2-13) (Nichole Slovak, Real Alto, Stanford University, Palo Alto California, October 2003, in Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2000).

The Bahia culture controlled the north central coast from 500 BC to 500 AD. Bahía culture originated in what is now the Manabi Province on the Pacific Coast, and spread to the Bahía de Caráquez foothills. Their ceramic tradition is one of the first found north of the Andes.

The Las Vegas Culture and The Inga Culture dominated the early period, with the Las Vegas culture living near the Las Vegas River on the Santa Elena Peninsula along the coast of Ecuador during the first settlements on the Peninsula in the BC era. These earliest people were hunters and fishermen. Around 6,000 BC cultures in the region were among the first to begin farming. The Ingas lived along an ancient trade route in the Sierra near present-day Quito (Karen E. Stothert, "The Pre-ceramic Las Vegas Culture of Coastal Ecuador," American Antiquity, vol.50, No.3, July 1985; pp613–637).

These early cultures were during the Jaredite era in the Land of Promise, to whom archeologists and anthropologists refer to as being in separate cultures living at different times. This is based upon ceramics found, such as pots and vases, believing that different styles represented different people; however, it is just as easy to consider these people were all of one developing civilization, whose talents and skills produced more than one style, just as one civilization today produces varying styles of art and craft. Consider how Americans went from Abstract Expressionism of the 1940s, through Surrealism, Cubism, Expessionism, Nouveau and Arte Povera to Modern Art/Contemporary Art—all in less than 100 years. Yet these professionals claim a civilization that lasted 500 to 1000 years anciently without a single alteration in their ceramics and art, and when a different stule was found, it represented a new culture or civilization.

Friday, October 23, 2020

The Hebrew Word “Both” – Part II

Continued from the previous post regarding the use of the word “both” in Hebrew and, in knowing this, gain a better understanding in its use in the Book of Mormon. In responding to a theorist in regard to the use of “both” in Nephi’s usage: “And we did find all manner of ore, both of gold, and of silver, and of copper.”

The theorist continues: “You say "to a professional who works with these ores, it is common practice to combine precious metals and list them separately from non-precious metals when found in a single ore. To a professional when? Now? What about to Nephi in 600 BC? Is that indeed the convention he adhered to?”

The word “gold” separately is found 9 times in the Book of Mormon; copper separately 7 times; Gold and Silver together 37 times; and gold, silver and copper only 1 time in the entire scriptural record. The only time the three are used together is when Nephi mentioned what they initially found in the Land of Promise after landing.

The point is, whether or not Nephi and others thought of these ores in the way we mentioned is not the issue. However, it is obvious from reading the entries that gold and silver were seen as separate items from copper, iron, ziff and other ores mentioned. Thus, when Nephi stated that he found gold, silver and copper together, it was a unique find and meant something to him, and thus he wrote it down that way.

Gold, silver, and copper ores and their various combinations of metals in a single ore 


It should be noted that any such comparison used is considering what Nephi and Mormon understood in their day. However, even so, the Nephites obviously considered some ores more precious or of greater value than others. To underscore, the use of gold and silver, sometimes with other ores, or sometimes alone, these early writers separated gold and silver from other ores, including separating them from copper. As an example,

• “To work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance” (2 Nephi 5:15)

• “Exceedingly rich in gold, and in silver, and in precious things, and in fine workmanship of wood, in buildings, and in machinery, and also in iron and copper, and brass and steel, making all manner of tools of every kind to till the ground, and weapons of war” (Jarom 1:8)

• “He laid a tax of one fifth part of all they possessed, a fifth part of their gold and of their silver, and a fifth part of their ziff, and of their copper, and of their brass and their iron; and a fifth part of their fatlings; and also a fifth part of all their grain” (Mosiah 11:3)

• “All manner of precious things, of gold, and of silver, and of iron, and of brass, and of ziff, and of copper” (Mosiah 11:8)

• “Wherefore they did cast up mighty heaps of earth to get ore, of gold, and of silver, and of iron, and of copper. And they did work all manner of fine work” (Ether 10:23)

In five of the seven times copper is mentioned in the same passage as gold and silver, the copper ore is separated from gold and silver. Thus, it can be assumed that in the only time it is so mentioned on a par with gold and silver, it is combined following the term “both,” thus showing a connection of 1) gold and silver, and 2) copper.

Some ore has both gold and silver and also copper


Thus the Hebrew statement: “both gold and silver and copper” literally means, “both [gold and silver] and [copper].”

The theorist then claims: “In English can't it be both gold and (silver and copper)?”

The answer obviously is “No!” since the statement Nephi made, along with other such statements in the scriptural record, along with the natural affinity between gold and silver, and the separate copper does not bear out such a statement. After all, gold and silver make  up one type of ore used (more valuable) than the other.

Again, the Theorist claims that: “You do a nice job of defining "both" from the English point of view. However, have you considered that one of the Hebrew words for "both" can mean "alike" (as does "both") but that unlike the English "both," the Hebrew "both" can be used for lists of more than just 2? (the word is yachad). As for obvious lists, at least one is unlike the others i.e. of gold and of silver and of copper (of men and of women and of children), but a sentence structure that lists "the people became exceedingly rich under his reign, [both in buildings and in gold and silver], and (also) in raising grain, and in flocks, and herds, and such things which had been restored unto them” (Ether 10:12). Here is seen “both,” followed by a list of six items.”

It is not important to consider how many items follows the word “both,” but what their meaning is or what they represent. As an example, “in buildings, and in gold and silver” refer to non-living objects of wealth; but “in raising grain, and in flocks and herds, is living, edible objects that create wealth.”

As for yachad meaning alike, of the 141 uses in the Old Testament, yachad is considered to mean “alike” only once. In that usage, it is used as: “together, in the sense of alike, the one as well as the other.”

הַטָּמֵ֤א וְהַטָּהוֹר֙ יַחְדָּ֔ו כַּצְּבִ֖י וְכָאַיָּֽל׃ and the clean [person shall eat it] alike, as the roebuck, (Deuteronomy 15:22), which meaning is translated into English as: “Within your gates, you may eat it, the unclean person and the clean person alike as a gazelle or a deer (Strong’s Concordance #3162: yachad).

“Both” occurs 361 times in 351 verses in the King James Version, including 351 exact phrases shown first. Below is an example of some of these just in Genesis alone:

Genesis 2:25: And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Genesis 3:7: And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

Genesis 6:7: And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them [man, beast, creeping thing are earthbound; fowls of the air are airborne].

Genesis 9:23: And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father…

Genesis 19:4: But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:

Genesis 19:11: And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.

Genesis 19:36: Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father.

Genesis 22:8: And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

Genesis 24:25: She said moreover unto him, we have both straw and provender enough, and room to lodge in.

In each of these cases, and the hundreds of other uses of “both” in the Bible, the word has reference to both as a list of two people, two items, two events, or two actions, and no more.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

The Hebrew Word “Both” – Part I

This word found in both the Old Testament and the Book of Mormon has given some an understanding that more than two are meant in the Hebrew language. As one theorist tried to point out regarding an article we posted, in which we quoted Nephi who said in part: “And we did find all manner of ore, both of gold, and of silver, and of copper” (1 Nephi 18:25, emphasis added).

In any language, the word “both” in this case means only two, though there are three items following. As an example, gold and silver are precious metals and copper is not. Consequently, gold and silver are used as one item, and copper another. This is like saying “both dad, mom and child,” which groups dad and mom as one unit (parents, adults) and child as the second unit.

However, the theorist had a different viewpoint, saying: “You did point out that and of is a Hebrew carryover, so it's certainly conceivable that Nephi simply wrote a Hebrew word that is translated into English as "both" but in Hebrew usage simply denotes a list of any length.”

In 1828, Noah Webster published his American dictionary of the English language—a dictionary Joseph Smith used in his School of the Prophets—in which Webster defined “both” as meaning Two, considered as distinct from others or by themselves; the one and the other as in Abraham, who “took sheep and oxen, and gave them to Abimelech; and both of them made a covenant (Genesis 21:27). That is, both Abraham and Abimelech made a covenant between the two of them.

 “Both” is also seen in:

• best of both worlds הטוב בכל העולמות

• cut both ways היו לו פנים לכאן ולכאן, היו בו צד חיובי וצד שלילי

• a foot in both camps קשר אוהד של אדם אחד עם שני מחנות יריבים

• both sides בשני הצדדים

• both parties. שני הצדדים

In Hebrew, the word “both” is יַחַד yachad, which means “unitedness,” or “to be united” and is properly a unit, i.e. (adverb) unitedly, alike, at all (once), both, likewise, only, altogether, withal, in which two is meant as two individual or collective people, units, items or actions—in no case is more than two implied.

As an example, in Psalm 34:4, ונרוממה שׁמו יחדו means “let us exalt his name together,” which can mean “you and me,” or “all of you and me,” in either case in this usage the word yachad means only two people or two groups or one group and one person—there is no continuation of a list. The same can be said of “So they sat down, and the two of them ate and drank together” (Judges 19:6)

However, the majority of uses of “both,” in Hebrew mean “together” as in the action, when the stars of God shouted together,” בְּרָןיַֿחַד כּוֺכְבֵי אֵל (Job 38:7), and “we together will build”—meaning “you and I,” as opposed to you alone (Ezra 4:3). בְּשׁוֹר־ וּבַחֲמֹ֖ר יַחְדָּֽו׃ סwith an ox and an ass together” (Deuteronomy 22:10).

The theorist also stated: “In fact, I think there is good reason to believe these three ores as constituting a list rather of more than two, rather than a single ore- and that is the antecedent to "gold, silver and copper."

There is no indication in Hebrew that a list of items is implied beyond the meaning of “both.” As an example, “I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance” (2 Nephi 5:15, emphasis added).

As can clearly be seen, when stating more than both (two items, groups, people, or action), the list is stated in full, or a general term is added at the end as a separate item (“and of precious ores” or “and also many other kinds of animals which were useful for the food of man”).

Four different ores with gold veins present


Again, the theorist stated: “They probably refer back to the simple direct object manner and not the object of the proposition ore. Why do they refer to 'manner' and not 'ore?' Because Nephi is speaking in the plural: "...we did find all manner..." His meaning is clearly referring to more than one kind of ore or ore combination.”

In the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, the word “manner” means a sort or kind and has the sense of a plural word; all sorts or kinds. So when Nephi said he taught his people to work in all manner of wood, he is referring to more than one type of wood, and probably for more than one purpose. So in “all manner of ore,” it can be suggested that the Nephites worked with and had available to them various types of ore, which included gold, silver, copper, iron, and no doubt others not mentioned in the scriptural record, such as zinc, lead, bismuth, tin, manganese and other precious ores.

In Hebrew, it has always been the habit in Hebrew writing and speaking to state a list with each item on the list following “and of,” which is seen in “And we did find all manner of ore, both of gold, and of silver, and of copper” (1 Nephi 18:25, emphasis added); and “also abundance of grain, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious things, and abundance of silk and fine-twined linen, and all manner of good homely cloth” (Alma 26:16, emphasis added); and, “Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men?” (Alma 26:16, emphasis added); and ”with all manner of seeds, with seeds of corn, and of wheat, and of barley” (Mosiah 9:9, emphasis added); and “raise up unto me of thy seed, and of the seed of thy brother” (Ether 1:43, emphasis added); “the Father of the heavens and of the earth” (Ether 4:7, emphasis added).

Obviously, items stated in lists in Hebrew are stated separately, and almost always follow the wordage “and of.” To really point this out, Moroni states quite clearly, Having all manner of fruit, and of grain, and of silks, and of fine linen, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious things; And also all manner of cattle, of oxen, and cows, and of sheep, and of swine, and of goats, and also many other kinds of animals which were useful for the food of man” (Ether 9:17-18, emphasis added).

Nephi’s forge where he made tools from iron ore


So let us take a look at the comment Nephi made in his discovery of their new, initial home in the Land of Promise. Breaking it down:

• Subject and verb: “We did find”... (What?)
• Direct object...”all manner”... (manner of what?)
• Insertional Prepositional phrase adjective:...”of ore.”

Notice the direct object and prepositional object agreement manner/ore. It's not manners/ore, manner/ores or manners/ores. It's singular, manner/ore. However, with the modifier 'all' it becomes plural, and hence the list refers back to manner and not ore.

Unaware of all that has been written above, this theorist continues with: “I would say that it's quite likely he simply used a word that translated into "both" in English, but is not restricted to lists of only 2. Since the syntax after both suggests Hebrew, then probably it's the Hebrew word.”

Quite possibly the Hebrew word? This is not a mystery. Hebrew is available to all in dictionary or instructional form. As an example, there are 141 uses of the Hebrew word “yachad,” in the Old Testament. Nearly all but four basically mean “together.” Other meanings are “all together, or “together in unity,” “united,” “completely,” “each other,” “one accord,” “safely.” All of these words refer to people or action, such as “dwelling together,” or “walking together,” “gathered together,” “left together,” and not to lists of items or possessions. This is seen in: “of woolen and linen together” (Deuteronomy 22:11); or “that they might dwell together” (Genesis 36:7); or “so they went both of them together” (Genesis 22:8).

(See the next post, “The Hebrew Word “Both” – Part II,” for more information on the use of the word “both” in Hebrew and, in knowing this, gain a better understanding in its use in the Book of Mormon)

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Skills of the Ancient Peruvians – Part II

Continued from the previous post regarding the inventiveness of the ancient Peruvians.

Morris de Camp Crawford, writing in 1948 before certain very recent developments underscores this achievement of the American aboriginal. He made a particular study of this aspect of their art and skills, and concludes:

J. Grahame Clark, speaking of the contributions made by the Indians of North and South America to the Old World, wrote: “Baron Nordenskiold, unlike some European theorizers, who found it difficult to credit the aborigines with the ability to raise their own civilization independently of the Old World inspiration, had spent many long and arduous years in the field of South American archaeology, and his conclusions carried with them outstanding authority. In addition to many technical inventions he attributed to the American Indian the achievement of domesticating the animal and plant life of his habitat so effectively that during the four centuries since the Discovery by the White Man he had failed to make a single contribution of importance to the Andean way of life.

Among other accomplishments the early Peruvians developed over 4,000 varieties of potatoes


The native fauna gave poor scope, but from it he domesticated the llama, alpaca, guinea-pig, and turkey. Of plants he domesticated hundreds, among them were maize, beans (kidney and lima), numerous varieties of potatoes, including sweet potatoes—all four of today’s leading foods of the world. The root Manioc, is extensively cultivated by the natives of tropical America and is now the staff of life for millions of people living in the equatorial belt. Other important items, such as peanuts, squash, chocolate, peppers, tomatoes, pineapples and avocados can be added.
In addition the early Peruvians were the discoverer of quinine, cocaine, tobacco, and rubber, useful commodities of modern times. Maize or Indian corn was one of the most important contributions of the ancient Americans to mankind—over a considerable portion of the Americas, it was the staff of life.

The ancient Peruvians also contributed Aloe, Jerusalem Artichoke, Alligator Pair, Pineapple, Arrowroot, Indian Fig (Prickly Pear), Cacao, Pumpkin, Chili Pepper, Star Apple, as well as Cotton—gossypium barbadense Linn (M.D.C. Crawford, The Conquest of Culture: How Man Invented His Way to Civilization, Fairchild Publications, New York, 1948, pp184-185).

Kenneth Macgowan adds to this list, the custard apple, strawberry, vanilla bean, chickle, and cascara, besides a number of others less familiar. His whole list of important plants made up by the early Peruvians agriculture is impressive, as he says, for it contains 50 items, not one of which is an Old World species! Every one of them can be cultivated with a hoe, requiring no draft animals whatever. He also mentions one other accomplishment which is very difficult to account for—the Indian devised a method of extracting a deadly poison (cyanide) from the otherwise limited use plant, manioc, without losing the valuable starch it contained. Macgowan says that Henry J. Bruman called this "one of the outstanding accomplishments of the American Indian." The remarkable thing about it is that they should ever have thought of making use of a plant which, as they found it, contained a deadly poison (Kenneth Macgowan, Early Man in the New World, Macmillan, New York, 1950, p199, 202 (cyanide)

A pineapple clone was brought into Peru from Ecuador that produce 30 to 35 tons per hectare. Another variety produces 60 to 80 tons. There are 20 different types of pineapple


A native of South America, the pineapple has changed the world at the same time it remains strong in Cuzco. It is hard to imagine the major city without pineapple juice for breakfast  or its taste along with purple corn in the iconic chicha morada drink that accompanies most meals. In addition, Pineapple, sliced on a plate, is common in this city as well.

When the Spanish came to the new world, they found pineapple growing in Peru.  There is evidence that the ancient societies of the Peruvian coast grew pineapple as there is that the Incas also enjoyed the plant. When the street markets stand filled with pineapples in the streets of Cuzco, it is a sign of something very ancient in this land.

More recently, J. L. Collins wrote: “The pineapple shares the distinction accorded to all major food plants of the civilized world, of having been selected, developed, and domesticated by people of prehistoric times, and passed on to us through one or more earlier civilizations. The pineapple, like a number of other contemporary agricultural crops originated in America and was unknown to the people of the Old World before the New World’s discovery. However, the Andean Pineapple is not exported very much because it is not the same in appearance as the ones demanded by international buyers.

The Queen Pineapple, it has a deliciously fragrant taste—of all the pineapples, it is considered by many to be the best type in the world, with its particularly fruity and sweet taste


Just where the Indians found the original plants which they improved upon to produce modern pineapples, is unknown. None of the existing varieties compares with the domesticated product, and as Collins observes, "none of these can be singled out now as the form or forms which gave rise to the domesticated pineapples of today, or even of those varieties in the possession of the Indians at the time of the Discovery of America." This was no accidental by-product then, but a deliberate and intelligent breeding process which progressed so far before we knew anything about it, that we cannot now retrace the steps by which it was first accomplished (Julius Lloyd Collins, Pineapple: Botany, Cultivation, and Utilization, Leonard Hill, London, 1968; Collins, "Pineapples in Ancient America," Scientific Monthly, vol.66, no.11, Nov., 1948, p372).

Melville J. Herskovits points out that the North American Indians increased the fertility of their land artificially, by putting a fish in each Maize hill, and practiced multi-planting highly successfully. In each hill where they planted Maize they placed squash and bean seeds together, so that the bean plants could climb the corn stalks and the squash vines run along the ground. Their reasoning, as Herskovits points out, is different from ours: they hold that a plant which grows erect, one that climbs, and one that hugs the earth must each have a different nature and therefore extract a different food from the earth, therefore they do not compete with each other (Melville J. Herskovits, Man and His Works, Knopf, New York, 1950, p250).

Looking at the textile usage in the Middle East at Sumeria, they developed mechanization in large mills with hundreds of specialized workers, each doing a single kind of operation, was well developed five thousand years ago.

Three cloths found in Tutankhamen’s tomb: (Left) a light filmy texture, (Middle) a dark brown, almost black, with two threads one way, and one the other way, and (Right) a dark brown of a coarser weave revealing 220 threads per inch


In fact, some of the garments associated with King Tutankhamen's tomb have 220 threads to the inch compared to common linen handkerchiefs of today, only about 60 to 70 threads per inch and good linen cloth for such purposes seldom has more than 100 threads per inch, or less than the Egyptian prototype.

Pottery in South America has always been a source of amazement, whether in the New World or the Old. The pottery is remarkable for its complete freedom of form, and for its ingenuity. In an environment where evaporation rates are high, it is desirable to cut down the size of the opening at the top. But this makes pouring more difficult. The air rushing in suddenly causes the water to flow out unevenly, and to spill easily. But in many places water is too precious to be wasted in this way. The Peruvians and the Maya overcame this by putting two spouts on the pot so that one became both a handle and a separate air inlet.

According to an acknowledged expert on American Anthropology, Athel Joyce, who was the President of the Royal Anthropological Institute in 1931, and President of the Anthropological section of the British Association in 1934, the variations of South American pottery were both ingenious and aesthetically pleasing. Not content with this, they even went further and so designed the passages that when water was poured out, the air rushing in caused a whistle to blow. In some cases it is difficult to see why this was done, though other types seem clearly to have been whistling kettles (Athol Joyce, "Marvels of the Potter's Art: In South America" The Wonders of the Past, edited by Sir John Hammerton, London, Putnam's, 1924, vol. 2, p.464, 465; Retirement of T.A. Joyce, Nature, vol.142, July 1938, pp142,146

Many of their vessels were shaped as heads, faces, animals, and even full-body people—the reproductions were so lifelike in many cases that they must surely have been actual portraits. Their artistry and skill seem to have known no limits.
The same is true of Middle East pottery where the wares were of such delicacy that it seems they must be copies of originals made in hammered metal. Even the 'rivets' are indicated sometimes. They also reveal that the metal prototypes were sometimes formed by a process akin to deep drawing as we technically understand it now. Some of the pottery from the earliest times were astonishing in its complete freedom of form and unbelievable delicacy.

The early Peruvians developed many pre-Columbian textiles and food that were not known in Europe until the early explorers and conquerors took them back to Spain and then England. They also developed unique building and artistic skills, the former still baffling today’s engineers. Where did these skills come from and ow were they known and then developed independently from Europe and Asia? One of the answers is that the first Peruvians came to this area with a 1,000-year history and were quite advanced as a new civilization.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Skills of the Ancient Peruvians – Part I

Speaking of Peruvian surgery, archaeological anthropologist J. Alden Mason, author of Ancient Civilizations of Peru, quoting the well-known archaeologist and paleopathologist R. L. Moodie, has stated: “I believe it to be correct to state that no primitive or ancient race of people anywhere in the world had developed such a field of surgical knowledge as had the pre-Columbian Peruvians. Their surgical attempts are truly amazing and include amputations, excisions, trepanning, bandaging, bone transplants, cauterizations and other less evident procedures (John Alden Mason, author of Ancient Civilizations of Peru, Viking Penguin, New York, 1975; Roy Lee Moodie, An introduction to the study of ancient evidences of disease, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1923).

It should be noted that Trepanning was conducted in Israel long before Lehi left Jerusalem—in Jericho; Tel Lachish, also known as Tell ed-Duweir; The Timna Valley, located in southern Israel in the southwestern Arabah, approximately 20 miles north of the Gulf of Aqaba and the city of Eilat, and Hebron in the Wadi Hebran skulls (Baruch Arensburg and  Israel Hershkovitz, Cranial deformation and trephination in the Middle East, Memories of the Society of Anthropology of Paris Bulletin, vol.XIV, Series 5, iss.3, 1988, pp139-150).

Mason also wrote of the use of anaesthetics and possibly hypnosis, adding that some skulls show the result of operations on the frontal sinus. In addition, the “operating rooms” of the early Peruvians were first cleared and purified by the sprinkling and burning of maize corn-flour, first black and finally white.

All the peoples of ancient Peru had an extensive medical knowledge. Their surgical skill was remarkable, and like non-Indo-Europeans in many other parts of the world, ancient and modern, they practiced this delicate operation of trepanation with remarkable success (Robert Popham, "Trepanation as a Rational Procedure in Primitive Surgery," University of Toronto Medical Journal, vol.31, no.5, February 1954, pp204-211).

The delicate operation of Tepanning is a surgical intervention making a burr hole drilled or scraped into the human skull—for the treatment of epidural and subdural hematomas, as well as surgical access for certain other neurosurgical procedures, such as intracranial pressure monitoring


Such extremely delicate surgery implies the use of some kind of anesthetic. An Austrian-born, American anthropologist, Robert H. Lowie, a professor of anthropology at Berkeley and assistant curator at the American Museum of Natural History, New York. An Ethnologist, Lowie reminds us that we owe the very fundamental discovery of anesthetics to the ancient South American Peruvian. As he says, "What is absolutely certain is that our local anesthetics go back to the Peruvian Indian's coca leaves, whence our cocaine" (Robert H. Lowie, An Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, New York, Farrar and Rinehart, 2nd edition 1940, p336).

Another important invention from the same source is the enema. Archaeologist Robert F. Heizer, A longtime professor of anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley,

 in an issue of a well-known publication which was devoted to the history of this instrument, states that: “Enemas were known in ancient Sumeria, Babylonia, India, Greece and China. American Indians independently invented it, using a syringe made of an animal bladder and a hollow leg bone. Pre-Columbian South Americans fashioned latex into the first rubber enema bags and tubes (Robert Fleming Heizer, "The Use of the Enema by the Aboriginal American Indians,” Ciba Symposia, vol.5, February 1944, p1686-1690).

The medical practices of the Indians of North and South America prior to the conquests of both Inca and Spanish, their cultures by Caucasian wars and exploitation, were truly amazing in their magnitude and excellence. Our fractional knowledge of these attainments derives from early historical records, ethno-botanical works by botanists and pharmacologists, and from intensive study of skeletal materials by trained observers. Included in the roster of medical techniques was the administration of enemas and lavements by means of a number of instruments—bulb and piston type syringes and clyster tubes (George P. Murdock, Our Primitive Contemporaries, New York, Macmillan, 1934, pp428-429).


Textile fibers from alpaca, vicuña (better than cashmere fleece), alpaca and pima cotton from the highlands of Peru, one of the best cottons in the world for it's amazing quality that provides long life without decoloration or significant changes


In addition, in the matter of Textiles, modern man has been borrowers in almost every detail. Mason considers that it is literally impossible to exaggerate the technical achievements of these Peruvian highlanders in the field of textiles. He holds that it is not the view merely of enthusiastic archaeologists, but of textile manufacturers themselves. In fact, skill of the early Peruvians is termed “incredible,” including their invisible mending in place of patching—a skill still possessed and used by the Aymara.

Among their textiles, according to Mason, have been found "twining, plain cloth, repp (types of plain weave), twill, gingham, warp-faced and weft-faced or bobbin pattern weave, brocade, tapestry, embroidery, tubular weave, pile knot, double cloth, gauze, lace, needle-knitting, painted and resist-dye decoration and several other special processes peculiar to Peru and probably impossible to produce by mechanical means." It is even possible that they may have watered some crops with colored liquids to produce naturally dyed fabrics that were indeed sun-worthy!

The Aymara of Peru built sailing boats and used them on lakes two and a half miles above sea level—yet, there is scarcely a tree to be found at this elevation. These vessels are made entirely of local bulrushes, and even the sails are mats woven from the same materials. The masts are built up of small pieces of wood spliced together. Provided these vessels are permitted to dry out every little while, they will carry a considerable load.

The pre-Inca Peruvians were master architects, building great monuments and immense fortifications of stones set in to each other by being laid and lapped together right on the spot. How they were erected is still a mystery, for many of the stones are huge. But this certainly is the only genuinely earthquake-proof architecture in the Americas!

In skill and technique in the textile arts the ancient Peruvians had no equal in human history. They wove plain webs, double faced cloths, gauze and voile, knitted and crocheted fabrics, feather work, tapestries, fine cloths interwoven with gold and silver threads—employing in short, every technique save twilling known to the Old World, in addition to some peculiar to themselves. They employed methods identical with those used in the famous Gobelin and Beauvais tapestries; they nevertheless in harmony of colors, fastness of dyes, and perfection of technique, far surpassed the finest products of Europe. (George P. Murdock, Our Primitive Contemporaries, New York, Macmillan, 1934, p. 428, 429)

The vicuña, along with the guanaco, live in the highlands of the Andes, of the genus of the alpaca and llama


C. Langdon White says that the best of their fabrics were from the wool of the vicuna, softest of all animal fibers, with 270 threads to the inch as compared with 140 threads of Europe, considered to be outstanding. (C. Langdon White, 'Storm Clouds over the Andes," Scientific Monthly, May, 1950, p308).

As a matter of fact, Europe has never produced a single original natural textile fiber or any dye except perhaps wool. Nor have they contributed a single fundamental or original idea to the basic mechanics of textiles, nor a single original and fundamental process of finishing, dyeing, or printing. In the broader world history of textiles and cloth, the ingenious English inventions of the 18th century (led by Kay's fly-shuttle) are but incidental mechanical modifications and developments of older ideas which grew out of the social conditions in England, and were directly due to the importation of cotton and silk fabrics from the Far East during the 16th and 17th centuries. No new basic principles either in spinning, weaving, or fabric construction, nor new methods of decoration, dyes, colors, or designs, are involved in the English machines. The ancient principles of twisting and elongating masses of fiber into yarn, the principle of interlacing one set of filaments held in place between parallel bars of a second set of filaments, remains undisturbed as used in Peru. No new raw materials are involved: flax, hemp, wool, cotton, and silk, remain the principle fibers. And for color the dyes of antiquity were still employed. As a matter of fact, all the dye raw materials of antiquity, both from Asia and America, were still mentioned in English dyer's manuals in the late part of the 19th century.

(See the next post, “Skills of the Ancient Peruvians – Part II; regarding the inventiveness of the ancient Peruvians)