Saturday, July 16, 2011

Additional Clues to the Land of Promise Location-Part II Fortified Walls

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, two unknown grains on a par with corn, wheat and barley, and natural herbs to cure deadly fever, roads, buildings, resorts, area of many waters, and volcanoes and earthquakes, 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 many fortified walls of great length erected in the Land of Promise.

We find in Alma that Moroni “had been strengthening 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” (Alma 48:8).

“And 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 form the hands of their enemies” (Alma 50:10).

“He did employ his men in preparing for war, yea, and in making fortifications to guard against the Lamanites” (Alma 53:8), and caused the Lamanite prisoners to also labor in building and strengthening these fortifications (Alma 55:25)

Not only against the Lamanites, but the Nephites also built walls and fortifications about them against the Gadianton Robbers: “He caused that fortifications should be built round about them, and the strength thereof should be exceeding great” and he also “placed as guards round about to watch them, and to guard them from the robbers day and night” (3 Nephi 3:14).

The point is, throughout the Land of Promise, remnants of walls for fortification, specifically surrounding cities and also across the land showing a defensive network against the southern lands, should be evident. And this is what is found in the Andean area of Peru. Walls, sometimes standing fifteen feet high or greater, ran across the land from the west shore to the east, and obviously built for defense to guard the north lands from those to the south.

The most prominent of these walls was the one called “The Great Wall of Peru” found during a 1931 Aerial Photography Expedition to Peru by geologist Robert Shippee and U.S. Navy Lt. George R. Johnson. Initiated after the close of World War I, the new aerial photography located a wall beginning at the coast north of Huambacho, and extending for 100 to 150 miles across the mountains and desert toward the east. Now in a state of ruin, it is considered one of the most ambitious projects undertaken in South American archaeology. Even so, it is rarely mentioned in the literature of the Andes, and is poorly investigated in the field by archaeologists since it is basically only observable from the air. Built at altitudes of 8,000 to 12,000 feet in extremely rugged terrain, it runs along high ridges and is studded with small stone forts (resorts) at strategic intervals on the top of small hills where they were nearly invisible from southern approaches.

This map made by Shippee shows the location of the wall that archaeologists agree was obviously constructed to keep southern invading armies from overrunning the northern areas of Peru, and was strategically built along precipitous terrain at two miles altitude and gave its defenders the benefit of high ground. Any attacking force would have great difficulty fighting uphill to the wall.

Not observable from the ground because of the rough and often unpenetratable terrain, Shippee and Johnson discovered it and photographed it from the air and considered it one of the wonders of the world. Their numerous photographs are now on file with the Huntington Museum and the Smithsonian. The wall was built in B.C. times by the ancient Peruvians, with fourteen forts along its length, 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.

There are many such walls across Peru, with this Great Wall of Peru, which was begun at the West Sea and traveled inland for many miles, is as Alma and Helaman described their fortifications, and Helaman wrote of this wall: "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."

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