Monday, July 11, 2011

Additional Clues to the Land of Promise Location-Part II Highways and Roads

Besides the Land of Promise location matching scriptural clues such as winds and currents moving Nephi’s ship that was “driven forth before the wind,” the temperature and climate needed to grow seeds from Jerusalem exceedingly and provide an abundant climate, locating ore deposits in abundance and contain gold, silver and copper in a single unit, finding two unknown animals that were as “useful to man” as the elephant, and two unknown grains on a par with corn, wheat and barley, and natural herbs to cure deadly fever, there are other clues in the scriptural record that also needs to be found in the Land of Promise.

One of these would be the roads described by the disciple Nephi during a great time of peace when there was nothing to “hinder the people from prospering continually,” and “many cities when a major renovation of the land was taking place and “there were many cities built anew, and there were many old cities repaired,” and “there were many highways cast up, and many roads made, which led from city to city, and from land to land, and from place to place” (3 Nephi 6:5-8).

This description suggests that there were both highways (a major road connecting two or more destinations and usually inter-connected to form a system or network of roads) and roads (a thoroughfare or route between two places). Thus there were both many major road systems (highways) and smaller, individual routes (roads) they may have connected short destinations between villages, or diverted off a major system to end in a specific location.

Obviously, then, these roads were very extensive, not just running from city to city, but from one “land” to another, and from one “place” to another. How long these roads were and how many miles they covered is not told to us, but the description should suggest that this was a complex and extensive road system.

It also must have been very important to the Nephites, for when the disciple Nephi described the destruction occurring across the land at the time of the Savior’s crucifixion, he also tells us that there were both highways and roads were extensively affected by the earthquakes when he wrote: “And the highways were broken up, and the level roads were spoiled, and many smooth places became rough” (3 Nephi 8:13).

We should look, then, within any Land of Promise model, for a major road system stretching across the entire breadth and width of the Nephite lands, in both the Land Southward and the Land Northward.

It should be noted that the most extensive, complete, and advanced road system in all of the Western Hemisphere was the pre-Columbian network of roads in the Andean area. While Mesoamerica also had roads of antiquity, it was those of Peru that the Spanish conquistadores raved about their fabulous construction, length and serviceability—comparing them to the roads of Rome and many feeling they surpassed those ancient Roman roads.

These Andean roads had two north-south highways with numerous branches, the eastern route ran high in the puna grasslands and mountain valleys from Quito, Ecuador, to Santiago, Chile. The western route followed the coastal plain except in coastal deserts where it hugged the foothills. More than twenty routes ran over the western mountains, while others traversed the eastern cordillera in the mountains and lowlands. Some of these roads were at heights over 26,000 feet above sea level. The trails connected the regions of the Nephite Nation (a thousand years later they were still in excellent condition and were used by the Inca to connect their empire), and linked together about 25,000 miles of roadway and provided access to over 1,200,000 square miles of territory.

Situated between 1,600 to 2,600 feet above sea level, this monumental road, which could reach 66 feet in width, connected populated areas, administrative centers, agricultural and mining zones as well as ceremonial centers and sacred spaces. These roads provided easy, reliable and quick routes for civilian and military communications, personnel movement, and logistical support. Although the roads varied greatly in scale, construction, and appearance, for the most part they varied between about 3 ½ feet to 13 feet in width.

Though these roads are called Inca Roads by modern historians, they actually were built more than two thousand years ago and were in existence prior to, and used by, the Wari Empire which is considered to have begun somewhere after 400 A.D., perhaps within a 100 years of the demise of the Nephite Nation. However, the Wari Empire followed the so-called Moche Empire, which dates back into B.C. times.

The point is, whatever name modern man wants to give to these early cultures, the earliest of them built these roads that were magnificent in every way. They ran throughout the land and were unequalled anywhere in the Western Hemisphere and, according to the early Spaniards that traveled over them, unequalled anywhere in the world.

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