Thursday, July 21, 2011

Additional Clues to the Land of Promise Location-Part II Nephite Gold & Coins

In the last three posts we covered the fact that the Nephite monetary system as described in the 11th chapter of Alma, was, indeed, made up of gold and silver coins, rather than simply measures of grain as Mesoamerican Theorists have claimed.

It should also be noted, that in order to strike or mint coins of gold and silver, the Nephite economy had to have had ample gold and silver to back up such a coinage and for its use in striking and minting coins.

The scriptural record tells us that the Land of Promise had ample ore, and that they minted precious metals. In the very beginning, Through the first 500 years, Nephi, Jacob, Jarom and Alma mention such activity.

"And we did find upon the promised land...all manner of ore, both of gold, and of silver, and of copper." (1 Nephi 18:25) "And I did teach my people to work in all manner of...precious ores which were in great abundance." (2 Nephi 5:15) "...many of you have begun to search for gold, and for silver, and for all manner of precious ores, in the which this land, which is a land of promise unto you and to your seed, doth abound most plentiful." (Jacob 2:12) "...became exceeding rich in gold, and in silver, and in precious things...and in fine workmanship in wood, in building, and in machinery, and also in iron and copper and brass and steel, making all manner of tools of every kind." (Jarom 1:8) "They began to be exceeding rich, having abundance of all things...of gold, and of silver, and of precious things" (Alma 1:29).

Obviously, the Land of Promise had enormous stores of gold, silver and copper—thus, today, we should show ample evidence of this in any area claimed to be the Land of Promise. And this is quite evident in the Andean area of Chile, Peru and Ecuador.

Archaeology evidence shows that such precious ores were first used in the Northern Andes in B.C. times and spread outward from there, and eventually went northward into Central America, somewhere after the time of Christ. The first American people to experiment extensively with metal and develop a distinctive style of working with it lived around a site called Chavin de Huantar in Peru (near present-day Huanuco). As evidence of this, the 16th Century Peruvian Inca Garcilasso de la Vega, whose mother was an Inca Princess and father a Spanish Captain, wrote regarding this:

“In many of the palaces and temples, they used molten lead, silver, and gold instead of mortar. They plated the temples of the Sun and royal palaces with gold, and put in them many figures of men and women; of birds of the air and water; of wild animals, such as tigers, bears, lions, foxes, dogs, cats, deer, huanacus, and vicunas, and of domestic llamas, all of gold and silver, worked in imitation of nature. They did not have tapestry for the walls of the king's palace because they were covered with gold and silver. They also had a vast store of cloaks and belts interwoven with gold wire.”

The early Spaniards who traveled around the Andes wrote of magnificent stores and uses of gold, silver and copper. They saw “treasures of gold and emeralds were discovered in Ecuador and their craftsmen became exceedingly skilled in fashioning fine ornaments of gold. Their chieftans were decked magnificently with collars, breastplates and ornaments of gold.”

“There was an abundance of gold, copper and silver in the mountains accessible even to primitive miners with stone tools, and gold was easily washed out from the streambeds.” And again, “The Andean mountains in Pizarro's time had a notable tradition of gold working and many spectacular gold objects have been found in tombs throughout the area.”

Archaeologists have found that the Peruvians practiced a more advanced technology than those of Mesoamerica in mastery of gold, silver, copper, and alloy metallurgy, with pre-Inca smiths in Peru working gold, silver, and copper, and demonstrating a very fine workmanship.

As one archaeologist has stated: “The level of metallurgy achieved in Peru did not have a long stage of development. Where it took the Sumerians, Canaanites, Egyptians and Semites nearly 4000 years to attain this level of skilled artisan, there is nothing under the surface of the ground in ancient Peru to indicate there was any long age of development and progress leading up to the age of the skilled artisans, which the Peruvians attained.”

This actually frustrates archaeologists who like to find development stages of ancient civilizations, but should buoy the spirits of those who understand that the ancient inhabitants of this land came from Jerusalem as Nephi stated. As a result, the Nephites showed up in South America with a knowledge of metallurgy and working in precious metals already achieved.

The beginning of such metallurgical work in Peru is dated by archaeologists between 900 and 200 B.C., while Metallurgy in Mesoamerica is found to have begun around the Time of Christ, and some archaeologists claim as late as 200 A.D. to 800 A.D.

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