Friday, December 28, 2012

More Comments to be Answered Part IV

Here are some more comments that we’ve received from this website blog.
Comment #1: “Some Mormon missionaries claim that archaeologists have verified that the ruins in Monte Alban, Yagul and Mitla, coincide with the time of the Jaredite and Nephite migrations. But, again, this is not so. Even BYU anthropologist, Dr. Ross T. Christensen, admits that this is another invalid Mormon claim. These cities were built after the Book of Mormon time period ended” Nigel.
Response: By the best estimates, and according to J.M. Garcia, A.F. Bandelier, Leopoldo Batres, who was the General Inspector of Monuments for the Mexican government, Alfonso Caso, Ignacio Bernal and Jorge Acosta, among others, Monte Albán in Mesoamerica, was founded around 500 B.C., and had become the capital of a large-scale expansionist polity that dominated much of the Oaxacan highlands and interacted with other Mesoamerican regional states, such as Teotihuacan to the north, between 100 B.C. and 200 A.D. By 500 A.D. to 750 A.D., the city had lost its political pre-eminence and soon thereafter was largely abandoned. In fact, Alfonso Caso and his colleagues, over an 18 year period, resulting in the excavation of a large number of residential and civic-ceremonial structures and hundreds of tombs and burials, established a ceramic chronology of the site dating 500 B.C. to 1521 A.D. In addition, Kent Flannery of the University of Michigan in the late 1960s spent 20 years documenting the development of the socio-political complexity in the valley to a period of the Rosario phase from 700 B.C. to 500 B.C. immediately preceding Monte Albán, setting the stage for an understanding of the latter's founding and developmental trajectory. 
San José Mogote, of the Zapotec, who flourished in the region of what is now Oaxaca in Mexico, which was a forerunner to the better-known Zapotec site of  Monte Alban. San José Mogote was the largest and most important settlement in the Valley of Oaxaca in the last centuryh B.C.  development.
Among the major accomplishments of Flannery's work in Oaxaca are his extensive excavations at the important formative center of San José Mogote, of the Zapotec culture, in the Etla branch of the valley, a project co-directed with Joyce Marcus of the University of Michigan. A further important step in the understanding of the history of occupation of the Monte Albán site was reached with the Prehistoric Settlement Patterns in the Valley of Oaxaca Project begun by Richard Blanton and several colleagues in the early 1970s. It is only with their intensive survey and mapping of the entire site that the real extension and size of Monte Albán beyond the limited area explored by Caso became known. Subsequent seasons of the same project under the direction of Blanton, Gary Feinman, Steve Kowalewski, Linda Nicholas, and others extended the survey coverage to practically the entire valley, producing an invaluable amount of data on the region's changing settlement patterns from 500 B.C. to the arrival of the Spanish.
Left: Monte Alban; Right: Yagul. Both sites are in Oaxaca, which is in southern Mexico, just south of modern-day Acapulco, and north of Guatemala
As for Yagul, it was first occupied around 500 B.C. to 100 BC. And around 500 A.D. to 700 AD, residential, civic and ceremonial structures were built at the site. However, most of the visible remains date to 1250 A.D. to 1521 AD, when the site functioned as the capital of a city-state. Mitla is believed to have been inhabited from at least 100 A.D. to 650 A.D. and perhaps as early as 900 B.C. The point is, as you can see, all of these sites, especially Monte Albán, overlap the Nephite period. As for Dr. Ross T. Christensen, chairman of the BYU Department of Archaeology, he took an 8-week field trip to Mexico in 1961, visiting among others, Tula, Xochicalco, Izapa Chiapa de Corzo, and El Mirador, Aguacatal, San Lorenzo-Tenochtitlan and other ruins in the Xicalango district of western Campeche (which had been investigated by BYU expeditions in 1948); also Dzibilchaltun, near Merida, Yucatan. It might be recalled that Dr. Christensen was a firm believer in the Lehi, Tree of Life Stone (known as Stela 5). Evidently, he did not visit Monte Albán, Yagul or Mitla—at least, he didn’t write about it, having spent most of his effort and writing, as did BYU in the 1960s, at Izapa. Izapa is in Chiapas and Monte Albán is in Oaxaca, about 300 miles apart. Of course, the bottom line is simply that Mesoamerica was not the setting of the Nephite Land of Promise and this entire question is mute—it was answered in length only to show that what Dr. Christensen might say on the matter of Monte Albán in conflict with Mormon Missionaries is not exactly accurate. However, the Missionaries should not be making such comments about Monte Albán of which they know little or nothing.
Comment #2: “Could they possibly have come from Jerusalem as the Book of Mormon claims? The Smithsonian Institute claims: The ancestors of the present Indians came into the New World--probably over a land bridge known to have existed in the Bering Strait region during the last Ice Age--in a continuing series of small migrations beginning from about 25,000 to 30,000 years ago” Ross.
Upper Left: The so-called Land Bridge, is claimed to  have connected Siberia and Alaska over which it is claimed (Bottom) people traveled to settle the Western Hemisphere in times past; Upper Right: However, while there is no evidence of any bridge, it should be noted that the barren Cordilleran Ice Sheet and the Laurentide Ice Sheet would have to have been crossed--a distance of thousands of miles. What could possibly have driven a people to do such a thing?
Response: the so-called Siberian Land Bridge, called officially the Beringia Land Bridge, is simply some anthropologists and historians’ viewpoint. There is no evidence that anything like that ever existed, and if it did, what would cause people from warmer climates to travel northward into colder, if not freezing, climates in order to cross it? Of course, a so-called mysterious warm corridor is conveniently said to have existed across the Bering Sea, etc., but there is no evidence of that, either. In addition, all development in the Americas are shown to have started in the south and moved north. Michael Collins, an archaeologist with the Texas Archaeological Research Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin, for more than 20 years, along with other scientists have been digging up artifacts from Chile to Texas that convince them the first Americans didn't walk here from the north at all, but came by boat, and arrived much earlier than previously thought. An archaeological discovery in 1997 drew a panel of expert archaeologists to the site of Monte Verde, Chile, where the panel was unanimous in their opinion that the archaeological materials found dated to around 14,800 years ago, a full millennium older than the Clovis artifacts of New Mexico. In addition, the Guitarrero rockshelter cave in the region of Callejon de Huaylas, Ancash, Peru, is also a pre-Clovis site locating textiles dating to 12,100 years ago, again, long before the so-called north to south development over the so-called Land Bridge previously believed.
Left: Ruins of a Monte Verde settlement in Chile; Right: Textile weaving from the Guitarrero Cave in Ancash, Peru, all date long before the Clovis settlement in New Mexico
This effectively shattered the initial theory of the Clovis people being the first actual group of humans to settle in the new world. The Monte Verde discovery suggests that humans not only came to the Americas more than 1,000 years earlier than once thought, but that they also settled as far south as Chile. In fact, numerous anthropological and archaeological studies have shown a south to north settlement of the Americas, and many in the field of modern cultural anthropology and linguistics claim that there exists a striking resemblance between the cultures of Australia, Southeast Asia, and South America. This suggests that a pan-Pacific journey might have brought the first Americans to our shores—or, to LDS, that a migration from South America to Polynesia to Australia. The point is, the idea of a Siberian Land Bridge crossing has been losing favor among archaeologists and anthropologists for quite some time (See Ted Goebel, Michael R. Waters, and Dennis H. O'Rourke, "The Late Pleistocene Dispersal of Modern Humans in the Americas." Science, 2008, Vol 319, pp1497-1502). As for the Smithsonian, it was established in 1846 "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge," and is a group of museums and research centers administered by the United States government. Termed "the nation's attic" for its eclectic holdings of 137 million items, the Institution's Washington, D.C. nucleus of nineteen museums, nine research centers, and zoo—many of them historical or architectural landmarks—is the largest such complex in the world. It is not, however, the seat of all knowledge—it requires funding from the government, and therefore, does government funded work where universities do educational work, and private teams accomplish private field work. Some might say the Smithsonian research has a hidden agenda, however, in their support of a Siberian Land Bridge, they are far behind the cutting edge of modern knowledge on the subject.

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