Sunday, March 31, 2013

Who Were They Afraid Of? – Part I

When we look at the two most advanced societal development regions of pre-history in the Western Hemisphere—Mesoamerica and Andean Peru—we find a most startling difference between them. A difference so huge, that it is surprising no one has ever mentioned it before. This difference lies in the way the early cities were constructed, one with an unprotected openness that belies the imagination for that time and era, and the other so fortified, so protected, so secured that one has to ask, “What were they afraid of?”
When we look at the ruins found throughout Mesoamerica, we see open communities, almost entirely without walls, protective towers, or defensive capability, typically built in very large, open areas, that were entirely defenseless much like cities and communities are built today.
Top Left: The ruins in southern Mexico of Palenque in the area of Chiapas; Right: Tulum in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, overlooking the Caribbean Sea; Bottom Left: Tikal in Guatemala; Right: Maya ruins of Caroco Altun Ha, Belize. Note the openness around each site, and the lack of any type of defense, walls, gates, guard towers or secure approaches
None of the hundreds of pre-historic sites in Mesoamerica show signs of being fortified—that is, there were no fortresses, forts, resorts, or places where early warning could be given, or where cities had been walled high enough for protect it from invasion. It was as though the builders of the various sites in Mesoamerica had no concern for protection against an enemy, or fear of attack.
Top Left: Maya ruins at Chichen Itza, Yucatan; Right: Tonina in Chiapas, Mexico; Bottom Left: Monte Alban Oaxaca Mexico; Right: El Tajin, Veracruz, Mexico. Again, there are no enclosures, no walls, no defensive towers, areas, etc., to safeguard the sites. They would be open to attack
On the other hand, when we look at the Peruvian Andes, we find an entirely different type of construction and city planning. Nearly every site found there had walls around it, frequently very high walls, or the entrances to the city were very restricted and easily guarded. Sometimes the sites had convoluted entrances, similar to those of castles in Europe in the dark ages. At times there were guard towers, turret structures, and walls that were very difficult to scale. In other locations, the entrances to the valleys where large cities were located were guarded with several forts and warning resorts or outposts.
There seems little question that these numerous sites in the Andean area of Ecuador, Peru, western Bolivia and northern Chile, were built with defense in mind. Just about every archaeologist who has dug in the ground in the Andean area has commented about the defensive nature of the sites. In addition, there were also large storehouses for grain and food storage, typically in hard to reach areas for any enemy, and easily guarded. There were also huge defensive walls built that ran for many miles, always situated and built to protect the north from a southern attack. In some sites, there were special storage rooms for the obvious use of storing weapons and siege-type supplies.
Since almost all the sites in the Andean area were built in such a manner, it seems unlikely each of these cities were built to defend against an attack from a neighboring city, especially when we consider the huge walls built across the Andean valleys and mountains. There seems no question that whoever built these Andean city-fortresses were concerned about large-scale invasion, and almost always from the same quarter—from the south.
In an age without canon and gunfire, with only arrows and slings for distance assault, the walls around these cities were nearly impregnable, with some having only a single access, or very narrow entrances that could be easily guarded. And stone or brick walls so high, they were almost impossible to climb.
Take, for instance, the fortress of Kuelap. Like many of the Andean fortresses, it was built on a hilltop, not easily reached, with a commanding view for miles around. At Kuelap, there were only three entrances—each one so narrow, that only a single man, or maybe two abreast, could enter. And once inside, they had to maneuver through a narrow corridor with tall walls on each side from which defenders could shoot arrows, or throw rocks down upon the attackers. These corridors were a hundred yards long—almost impossible for an approaching army to pass, and the walls were so high, none could scale them.
The entrances to Kuelap. Note the narrow, uphill struggle for an invading attacker, and how exposed he would be to overhead assault. All three entrances are similarly narrow and protected by high walls
In other locations, there are hilltop fortresses that overlook valleys, where defenders can see an approaching army miles away. These fortresses have walls and difficult uphill approaches that could be easily guarded, as any field commander knows fighting downhill is far superior than trying to battle upward.
Left: The difficult approach to the hilltop fortress of Ollantaytambo; Right: Hilltop fortress of Pisac; Bottom Left: Hilltop fortress of Paramonga; Right: Hilltop fortress of Cajamarca. Not one of these fortresses could be easily reached by an attacking force
In addition, there were resorts, or small forts, that served as early warning outpost lookouts that were strategically placed in the hills overlooking the approaches to major population centers or the large fortresses. These resorts were not easily reached from below, where the attacking armies would be approaching, but provided easy traveled trails to the larger sites for runners bearing warnings.
Hilltop outpost forts that served as early warning stations that overlooked approaches along valleys and canyons that led to larger fortresses or cities--called resorts in the Book of Mormon
There were also well-protected cities, fortresses, and population centers protected by high stone walls, often carved and perfectly fit, which provided no hand- or footholds for climbing, and were not destructible. These walls took many long, man hours to build and have stood for at least two millennia.
Left: At one time this wall (background, note height of man behind it) was higher and surrounded the port city of Puma Punku outside Tiwanaku; Right: This wall stands 65 feet high; Bottom Left: Solid rock walls several feet thick and often 12-foot high or greater; Center: Note the height of this city wall; Right: Another carved rock wall
(See the next post, “Who Were They Afraid Of? – Part II,” for more on this difference between Mesoamerica and Andean Peru and the meaning and purpose behind this difference)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Why Land at 30º South Latitude?

What modern man often forgets besides the currents and winds that would have taken Nephi’s ship to the Land of Promise, is what would lead the Lehi Colony to land at a certain place? Obviously, the Liahona was involved, but the point is, the topography of the land, and the currents and winds involved, would play a huge role in that landing in 600 B.C. The Liahona might show the way, but the physical conditions had to have existed as well.
Much of the coast of South America was not conducive for a landing in 600 B.C. Even the beach on the lower right image has unscalable cliffs beyond
In order to understand the 30º South Latitude landing site, we need to first understand the Arabian launch site for Nephi’s ship. According to Nephi, he traveled along the Red Sea in a south-southeastern direction (1 Nephi 16:13), then turned nearly eastward (1 Nephi 17:1), until they reached the coast, an area Lehi called Bountiful “because of its much fruit and also wild honey” and those things “prepared of the Lord that we might not perish” (1 Nephi 17:5). This area was along the south coast of the Arabian Peninsula, in the modern state of Oman, where Nephi built his ship (1 Nephi 17:8-9), and from which he launched his ship (1 Nephi 18:8). And—this is quite important—the moment they “put forth into the sea” they were “driven forth before the wind toward the promised land” (1 Nephi 18:8).
The coastal area of Salalah in present-day Oman, an area Lehi named Bountiful; Right: Salalah (red star) with Jerusalem at the top left. Nephi’s ship set sail into the Arabian Sea
This means that the winds and currents at the launch site were those that moved in the direction the ship was to take on its voyage to the Land of Promise. Consequently, the winds and currents along the southern coast of the Arabian Peninsula would be those first winds and currents Nephi’s ship encountered. In the summer months, the winds blow from the Arabian Sea inland, keeping any sailing vessel from getting away from the coast, or pushing them along the coast and into the Persian Gulf or against the coast of India.
The wind and sea currents in the Arabian Sea off the south coast of the Arabian Peninsula according to the NASA Earth Observatory. (Left) The winter months allows for a vessel to sail from the coast out into the Arabian Sea, while (Right) The summer months keep sailing ships at the shore, or push them into the coast of India
Once away from the shore, the vessel is carried by the Somalia Current, which runs westward along the coast of Oman and then southward along the coast of Somalia (away from the east, in the opposite direction of India) and into the Western Indian Ocean. This southern movement crosses the Equator where the Mozambique Current continues southward, but in the South Indian Ocean, the current begins to bend slightly to the southeast as the Coriola Effect forces the currents into a counter clockwise direction in the Southern Hemisphere. At this point, the very strong Southern Ocean sweeping around the globe picks up the currents from the north and carries them eastward, past Australia and New Zealand and out into the South Pacific Ocean around the 40º to 50º south latitudes.
The extent of steering the ship up to this point would have been fairly minimal, with the one exception of keeping the vessel along the west portion of these currents. This was evidently accomplished by the Liahona, for at one point the brothers overcome Nephi and tie him up and the Liahona ceased working (1 Nephi 18:12). Without the compass showing the direction, the brothers were unable to determine where to steer the ship (1 Nephi 18:13).
Left: Satellite image of typical storm in the Indian Ocean; Right: Storm tracks in Indian Ocean (Note the dark area in the Indian Ocean where Nephi’s ship would have crossed
At this point a great storm arose, which is quite typical in this part of the Indian Ocean where a large low pressure center exists because of a constant low millibar reading creating tropical depressions about halfway between Australia and Madagascar, and strong thunderstorms with strong wind shear frequently developing, with winds along the western side of the circulation often hitting 85 knots (52 miles an hour) and extend outward 161 miles from the center, creating very rough seas in the Mozambique channel, exactly where Nephi’s ship would have drifted without it being kept to the far western side of the current. As usually happens at sea, when a storm arises with wind sheer and circular patterns, the ship was turned back on itself—back the way it had come (1 Nephi 18:13), being driven by fierce winds
It took four days for the vessel to run its course around the low-pressure area where the storm raged. Finally, on the fourth day, as the fear of swamping and being drowned was more than the brothers could take, they released Nephi who was able to steer the vessel out of the circular current and back onto the westerly course, obviously since the Liahona began working again (1 Nephi 18:21), and onto a course toward the Land of Promise (1 Nephi 18:22).
Once in the Southern Ocean, it was a straight run past Australia and New Zealand, then across the Pacific Ocean to where the current bent upward and was captured by the Humboldt Current
Once back on course, the ship would have followed the bending current into the Southern Ocean which took the vessel halfway around the globe in a strong current that required little more than holding on for those aboard. They obviously would have sailed along the northern edge of the current since that was where the warm water from the equator flowed, whereas the southern portion of the current was bathed in the colder water moving up from the Antarctic. And it is this northern portion of the current—the Prevailing Westerlies and West Wind Drift—that hits the southern shelf of South America and turns the current upward along the coast where it joins with the Humboldt Current (Peruvian Current) as it flows northward until it strikes the Peruvian bulge and begins to bend outward (westward) and eventually turns completely into the northern portion of the South Equatorial Current of the South Pacific Gyre that heads back across the Pacific Ocean toward Indonesia.
The South Pacific Gyre is a circulating current that moves northward along the South American coast, curves westward across the Pacific toward Indonesia, curves downward past Australia and then heads back across the Pacific as part of the Southern Ocean
The interesting thing about the current coming up the Chilean coast is that when it reaches the 30º South Latitude, the current and winds die down to nothing, making landfall a simple matter. Despite the current and winds moving swiftly up the coast, they slow and drop to a standstill precisely at the 30º South Latitude. And along the coast at this point is Coquimbo Bay—which translates to Peaceful Waters—and just beyond the coastal strip is the area of La Serena, the only Mediterranean Climate in South America, and the only one in the Western Hemisphere that exactly matches the climate and soils of Jerusalem—essential for planting seeds the Lehi Colony brought with them from Jerusalem (1 Nephi 18:24).
The question asked above, “Why land at 30º South Latitude?” is answered quite simply…it is the perfect landing sight along the west coast of South America, providing not only protected and calm waters for landing, but a sheltered bay, and a climate conducive to the colony’s needs for planting and surviving in a new land.

Friday, March 29, 2013

One More Unknown Factor About 30º South Latitude

In addition to what has been covered in the last three posts about the uniqueness of the west coast of South America regarding Lehi landing around the 30º South Latitude, there is one more unknown fact that would not have been known to Joseph Smith in 1829. And that fact was not really discovered until many years later—and that is the currents of the Southern Ocean that lead directly to the 30º South Latitude.
While this has been mentioned here many times, it is not only an extremely significant part of movement on the seas of a sailing ship, especially in 600 B.C., it is exactly what Nephi wrote in his record about being “driven forth before the wind towards the promised land” (1 Nephi 18:8). While Joseph Smith would have understood about a sailing ship being driven before the winds, he would not have know what winds and currents existed in the Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean, Pacific and Southern Oceans. In fact, this information was not clearly understood until the late nineteenth century, and not even suspected until around the eighteenth century.
With China to the north and Australia to the south, India to the west and the islands of the South Pacific Ocean to the east, the area of Indonesian archipelago is scattered with 18,307 islands through which Theorists claim Lehi sailed
While most Theorists ignore this simple, but clearly stated fact in Nephi’s account, and also what is known today about these currents and winds between Arabia and the Western Hemisphere, one can only wonder how these Theorists think the Lehi Colony traveled to the Land of Promise. Mesoamerican Theorists glibly take Lehi across the Indian Ocean toward Indonesia, through the thousands of islands of that area, then into the South Pacific and through thousands of more islands toward Central America, which would actually be traveling against winds and currents all the way!
As can be seen, the currents and winds moving through Indonesia, move from east to west, which would place a sailing vessel moving from west to east in opposition of these winds and currents
The problem is, they are so convinced that Mesoamerica is the location of the Land of Promise, that they give little thought to whether or not the Lehi Colony could have sailed from Arabia to there in 600 B.C. in a weather ship with fixed sails that allowed the vessel to be “driven forth before the wind.” However, to seamen as last as the 16th century, winds and currents determined where a sailing ship could travel and where it could not. Before the North Atlantic Gyre was discovered by Christopher Columbus in the late 1400s, no European sailing vessel was ever able to broach the Atlantic Ocean westward beyond the Azores.
The Azores are 930 miles west of Lisbon Portugal, and were known in 1340 A.D., but not officially discovered until 1431 A.D.; The Canary Islands (Fortunate Islands) are about 300 miles off the African west coast, and were known to the Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians and the Romans in B.C. times, and “discovered” by Europeans in 1336 A.D.; Cape Verde is about 400 miles off the African coast (Dakar), and was discovered by the Portuguese in 1456 A.D., but references to it might suggest a last century B.C. period
This gyre is one of five major oceanic gyres and stretches across the North Atlantic from near the equator almost to Iceland, and from the east coast of North America to the west coasts of Europe and Africa. The currents that compose the North Atlantic Gyre include the Gulf Stream in the west, the North Atlantic Current in the north, the Canary Current in the east, and the Atlantic North Equatorial Current in the south. This gyre is particularly important for the central role it plays in the thermohaline circulation, bringing salty water west from the Mediterranean Sea and the north to form the North Atlantic Deep Water, and overfall forms the Sargasso Sea, noted for its still waters and dense seaweed accumulations.
The North Atlantic Gyre. The Canary Islands are in the lower right of the gyre and, as can be seen, a ship leaving that area would be driven across the Atlantic toward the Caribbean Islands where Columbus landed. Also, ships trying to sail due west from Spain or England would run headlong into these opposing winds and currents and never get out to sea
To what degree Columbus understood this gyre is unknown, however, he did understand that down around the Canary Islands the current turned westward, and once in the Western Hemisphere, he understood that he had to travel northward to pick up the returning current that traveled eastward, thus allowing him to sail to and from the Americas. A lack of this knowledge kept the Europeans from traveling westward into the Atlantic from the first period of sailing.
Theorists can make claims that Lehi sailed this way or that, however, there were two things against that—winds and currents. As an example, in May 1527, Alvaro de Saavedra Ceron was dispatched with two ships by Hernan Cortez from Mexico to sail to the Philippine Islands. After conducting his business there, Saavedra attempted to sail back to Mexico, crossing the Pacific Ocean from the Philippines to Mexico; however, he failed at this because the currents and winds moved in the opposite direction. He lost one ship, and after four years of failed attempts, died in his final effort to cross the Pacific back to Mexico in 1531. His crew finally sailed in the opposite direction with the winds and arrived in Mexico from the east.
The winds and currents move westward across the Pacific from Mexico to the Philippines making Saarvedra’s westward trip an easy voyage; however, in trying to return, Saarvedra could not buck the winds and currents as he headed east in numerous attempts over a four year period
When these Theorists claim Lehi sailed through Indonesia against all these winds and currents in a ship built for deep-water sailing and not simple coastal navigation, it would simply be impossible to accomplish in 600 B.C., and would go against Nephi’s claim that they were “driven forth before the wind.” In addition, to claim Lehi island-hopped across the Pacific through Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia, which by the way, contains a total of 25,000 islands, is another foolish concept. First of all, the initial area to be covered would be the islands of Melanesia, which are more compact, with distances of only five to ten miles between most, and few having as much as sixty miles between. One might wonder, seeing these tropical paradise islands of Melanesia, with constant temperatures  between 70- and 80-degrees, pass by every few miles that Laman, Lemuel, and the sons of Ishmael might not want to rebel once again, take control of the ship, and turn into one of these islands.
Arrows show the wind direction across the Pacific. Note how the location of the islands mentioned all show an east to west wind direction, which drives the current even more westerly on a more even basis
The point of all this is simply that when someone begins discussing a location of the Land of Promise, one should consider all the other factors involved in the possibility of Lehi sailing to that location based upon the winds and currents that would have driven Nephi’s ship “forth before the wind.” After all, saying something is not the same as it being possible to accomplish. Nor can one rely upon old trade routes since trading vessels were mostly flat bottomed, coast vessels, lacking the strength of design and building methods to withstand the waves and high seas in the deep ocean.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Importance of 30º South Latitude

As stated in the last posts, it would have been impossible for Joseph Smith in 1829 to have known anything about the west coast of South America. This makes his comment about Lehi landing along the 30º South Latitude that much more noteworthy. This is because the 30º South Latitude is a significant location along the west coast of the Americas—a spot so uniquely different, it is one of only five areas in the world with a Mediterranean Climate, and the only location in the world that matches the descriptive information in the Book of Mormon that would lead one to locate the Land of Promise in the Western Hemisphere.
Stated more specifically, the 30º South Latitude is a unique slice of land along the Chilean coast (see the yellow coastal area on map to left). Just north of this landing site is the Atacama Desert, a rainless plateau and the driest desert in the world. It extends for 600 miles, from the Peru-Chile border to just above 30º South Latitude. And north of that is the Peruvian Sechura Desert. The Atacama Desert is so desolate it has been proclaimed by NASA a Mars-like environment, and they train there for a future Mars landing. Just south of this area the winters drop to about 25º F, the humidity ranges in the 80% to 90%, average rainy days is between 15 and 24 days a month, and in some areas movement is only by boat because of the numerous rivers and waterways. Further south the coast is a labyrinth of fjords inlets, canals, twisting peninsulas, and islands.  Only the area of the 30º South Latitude along the entire Chilean coast—a length of 4000 miles—would have provided an emigrant colony in 600 B.C. with a landing site, location for a community, survival temperature and climate, and soil for growing crops.
Coquimbo Bay and La Serena at 30º South Latitude, one of only two matching climates to Jerusalem in the Western Hemisphere where “seeds from Jerusalem” would have grown so “exceedingly” in 600 B.C.
In addition, there are numerous matches with the scriptural record:
1. One of only five climates in the entire world—only two of which are in the Western Hemisphere (the other in Southern California)—where “seeds from Jerusalem” (also a Mediterranean Climate) would have “grown exceedingly” and provided an “abundant crop” (1 Nephi 18:24). The importance of this climate cannot be overstated since any emigrating group landing in an unknown and unoccupied area would require a positive planting area that matches the one where the seeds they brought would grow, so they could survive.
2. This area is the world’s leading producer of copper, almost five times greater than the second country, the United States. Combined with the third country, Peru, out-produces by far the five next countries combined, producing just over 1/3 of the world’s copper production (1 Nephi 18:25).
3. Chile is the seventh largest silver producing country in the world, and Peru is the largest in the world. Combined, Peru and Chile out-produce the second largest country, Mexico, 165.7 million ounces to 104.7 million, and the third largest producer, China, by two-to-one (1 Nephi 18:25; 2 Nephi 5:15).
4. Chile is the seventh largest gold producer in the world, and Peru is the 6th largest gold producing country (1 Nephi 18:25; 2 Nephi 5:15).
5. In this area from the 30º South Latitude northward (the movement of the Nephites as they expanded from the Land of First Inheritance to the Land of Nephi, then to the Land of Zarahemla, and then to the Land of Bountiful and finally into the Land Northward), was basically unknown in the eastern United States during Joseph Smith’s time. As a result, several things existed there to which Joseph had no knowledge and no language to explain or name as he read about them on the plates.
• Two animals that Joseph could not name and had to use the names as they appeared in the scriptural record: the curelom and cumom (Ether 9:19);
• Two grains that Joseph could not name and had to use the names as they appeared in the scriptural record: neas and sheum (Mosiah 9:9);
• A plant provided by the lord for the curing of fever that was unknown, as well as its medicinal product: cinchona tree and quinine (Alma 46:40);
• That the area of first landing had the same climate and vegetation zone, desertic soils, brown soil group, and duplicate temperature and precipitation as that of Jerusalem—the only place in the world outside of the Mediterranean Sea that matches exactly, where their seeds would grow exceedingly: Mediterranean Climate (1 Nephi 18:24).
Left: Coquimbo Bay; Right: La Serena Valley
It is always amazing that Mesoamericanists, Heartland Theorists, Great Lakes Advocates, Baja California and Malay enthusiasts all ignore these most simple, but critically important parts of the Land of Promise that are clearly stated in the scriptural record.
In addition, this area in Andean South America, also contained:

6. Stone walls (Alma 48:8);
7. Palaces, temples, spacious buildings (Mosiah 11:8-9);
8. Extensive miles of roads and highways (3 Nephi 6:8);
9. Forward outposts called resorts or small forts (Alma 48:8);
10. Numerous forts (Alma 49:13);
11. A narrow neck of land divided by two seas that was the distance of a day and a half travel (Alma 22:32);
12. A narrow neck with a pass through it leading form the land southward into the land northward (Alma 50:34; 52:9; Mormon 2:29);
13. Where corn, wheat and barley could grow (Mosiah 9:9);
14. Slings were extensively used as weapons (Alma 2:12);
15. Four seas (Helaman 3:8);
16. History of metallurgy into B.C. times (2 Nephi 5:15);
17. History of textiles into B.C. times (Alma 4:6; Helaman 6:13; 4 Nephi 1:24);
18. Ancient towers (Mosiah 11:13);
19. A tower adjacent to the temple (Mosiah 19:5);
20. A fortification from then west sea to the east with military posts (Helaman 4:7).
There are other areas that existed in this area that also match the living conditions of the Jews, such as copious irrigation works, circumcision, and medical capability including extensive trepanning. We might also add two main and long-standing languages, that of Quechua and Aymara, as well as ancient legends regarding the sea, travel, four brothers with sister wives, etc. And, it might be added, this land runs north and south and does not require extensive changes in the knowledge of the Nephite directions. While a couple or three of these items might be found just about anywhere, every single one of them is found in the Andean area of Peru, and all fit the scriptural record without any adjustment, changes, explanations or fudging.
For a list of all 65 comparison scriptural references and their matching existence in Andean South America, see the book Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Rounding the Horn into the Pacific Ocean – Part II

Continuing with the last post on the development of American interest in the Pacific Ocean and their expansion into the use of the South Pacific prior to Joseph Smith translating the Book of Mormon. Again, this purpose is to show that the knowledge of the Chilean coast, and most importantly, the significance of the 30º South Latitude, was unknown to Joseph Smith in 1829, and all of New England until about 1848 when the first American ships began to sail around Cape Horn and up the west coast of South America during the California Gold Rush.
As discussed in the last post, for any American ship to have set in to Valparaiso, Chile, in 1820 through about 1848, it would have rounded the Cape Horn (Kaap Hoorn), which is the southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago of southern Chile, which marks the northern boundary of the Drake Passage. However, after the Dutch rounded Cape Horn in 1616, those sometimes treacherous seas filled gradually with merchantmen, whale ships and men-of-war until, by 1850, the Cape Horn road had become the principal route of commerce between old-world seaports of the Atlantic and the "new" world along the Pacific Rim. That inhospitable place, the Cabo de Hornos of modern Chilean and Argentinian maps, the jagged punctuation stopping South America, below which all is frozen, eventually earned the respectful nickname "Cape Stiff" because of the extremely “stiff” winds encountered there.
The old world seaports of the Atlantic referred to were in Europe (Holland, England and Germany), and those mariners from the early nineteenth-century onward well knew the way. Their preparations began as their ships approached the Argentine coast coming westward across the Atlantic, where their much-patched fair-weather sails were replaced on the yards by stiff new ones made of "OO"-gauge canvas, all the better to withstand the blow surely to come. Tarpaulins were stretched over hatch covers as waterproofing, and some crews bolted massive timbers over the hatches, to keep them from being stove-in when the great Cape Horn rollers would crash onboard.
Steady gales from the southwest thwarted their desire to reach the Pacific Ocean with their cargoes and lives intact. These westerlies pinioned the sails against the masts, threatening to back a vessel all the way to the Falkland Islands. Some westbound crews never got around at all, but were compelled to run their easting down, circumnavigating the Southern Hemisphere until they reached the Pacific from the west. And any crew attempting Cape Horn had to thread carefully between the dangerous lee shore of South America and the Antarctic ice, particularly in June, July and August, at the height of the southern winter.
Most captains under sail avoided the narrow seaway in Magellan Strait: only steam power made that route commercially viable. By 1900, the isolated city of Punta Arenas, near the eastern end of the strait, became a major port, providing coal to steamships bound west through the desolate canal. But sailing ships continued their outside passages, even after 1914 when the Panama Canal was opened. Any paying cargo would send a crew around the Horn, and so the shantymen sang, "We're bound for Yokohama with a load of grand pianners!" The American ship Eric the Red, for example, cleared out for Japan in 1879 with a cargo consisting of 49,750 cases of "case oil" (kerosene), coal, fire brick, pitch, paint, printing ink, books, plaster, acids, stoveware, oars, clocks, glassware, an organ, and two iron safes! Nor did these vessels come home empty, but chartered cargoes for return to Europe and the eastern seaboard of North America--chrome ore from New Caledonia, coal from Australia, nitrates (for fertilizer) from Chile and Peru, grain from California, sugar and whale oil from Hawai'i, lumber and tinned salmon from Washington and British Columbia.
Note that these ships did not sail for ports on the west coast of South America, but sailed directly across the Pacific, bound for Asia. Nor were these ships American—in fact, hundreds of the ships that rounded the horn are on record being built in Scottish shipyards during the 1870s-1890s, many from Russel & Co., Port Glasgow, Scotland. Others were built by Burmeister & Wain, Copenhagen, Denmark; Blohm & Voss, Hamburg, Germany; Ramsey shipyard, Isle of Man, Britain; and Oswal, Mordaunt & Co., Southhampton, England—some of these ships had steel hulls. Many other ships that rounded the Horn were built in the 1900s.
The cape is a rocky headland 1400 feet high on Horn Island in Tierra del Fuego (left). Francis Drake has long been credited with its discovery in 1577 on board the 100-ton Pelican (later renamed The Golden Hind). However, the cape was not rounded until 1616 by the Dutch seamen le Maire and Schouten, passing through the strait between Staten Island (Isla de los Estrodos) and Tierra del Fuego, which they named the Strait of Le Maire (Estrecho de la Maire), and round Cape Horn, which they named in honour of Schouten's birthplace, the town of Hoorn in Holland, and where the ship had been fitted out. The southern extremity of Tierra del Fuego is often referred to as False Cape Horn, whereas the true Cape Hoorn is on Hoorn Island, a little further south (Cape Horn in English and Cabo de Hornos [Cape of Ovens] in Spanish).
While passing through the Drake Passage from west to east with the Prevailing Westerlies at your back and riding the West Wind Drift current is a seaman’s delight, broaching these winds and currents in the opposite direction, however, is an mariner’s nightmare. As one ancient mariner put it: “The Southern Ocean [through the straits] is a sailors' graveyard. The old square-rigger seamen called it "Dead Men's Road," where ships were constantly exposed to huge waves, constant high wind and gales, frigid water, chaotic cross-seas, endless chains of low-pressure systems, occasional but hard-to-spot icebergs called growlers and complete remoteness." The roaring forties where Cape Horn Lies is an area between latitudes 40 and 50 degrees north and south, and were given their name by the first sailors to enter (and exit) the areas. These latitudes are characterized by strong, often gale force westerlies throughout the year. The roaring forties are more pronounced and dangerous in the Southern Hemisphere than in the Northern because the high winds and strong currents swirl around the southern ice cap and are entirely unrestricted and unbroken by continental land masses. These unimaginable conditions turn the southern ocean into a virtual washing machine and today make for the most intense sailing the racing yachts have ever seen.
The Flying Cloud had already departed for Hong Kong nine days earlier, bound for a cargo of tea to fill her hold with on her voyage home. Though battered from a pompero (severe line squall), the Flying Cloud had won the race around the Horn in 1851 with a record-breaking passage of 89 days, 21 hours, and beaten the Challenge by 19 days; the latter limping into San Francisco Bay flying her distress flag upon completing the 108-day passage from New York
For the seamen in the Age of Sail, heading into this area against the winds and currents was not only dangerous, but foolhardy and one of the reasons why mariners never took that course to sail north along the South American coast toward North America until the draw of gold made the risk worthwhile in 1848.
Of course, none of this would have  been known to Joseph Smith or those of New England in 1829 when the plates were translated into the Book of Mormon. Nonetheless, Joseph stated that Lehi landed on the 30º South Latitude of Chile—an area which matches perfectly all the descriptions of Nephi’s writings and those of Mormon.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Rounding the Horn into the Pacific Ocean – Part I

One of our readers commented recently that “My great great great grandmother was on a ship in 1820 which was restocked at Valparaiso. It was an American ship.” This was made as a result to our post “More Interesting Facts About 30º South Latitude—The Chilean Coast,” which suggested that the currents reaching the Chilean coast and the seaports there were almost unknown in New England, America, in 1829 when Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon.
To better understand this lack of American involvement in the Pacific until the late 1840s, perhaps we should recognize the events leading up to that date.
In the early days of sailing, the Dutch United East India Company held a legal monopoly on trading in the East Indies as well as passage through the Magellan Straits. The Dutch merchant, Isaac Le Maire, who had developed a competitive dislike for the East India Company, felt optimistic that there was passage south of the Strait of Magellan between the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans, which would not use the disallowed Strait of Magellan. He hired a competent navigator, Willem Schouten who had already made three trips to the South Seas islands, and together they developed a plan for their new company, known as the Goldseekers, which was to travel in search of the South Pacific gold riches prominently mentioned by the Portugues-Spanish sailor and explorer, Pedro Fernández de Quiros.
Rounding Cape Horn from east to west was always a dangerous event because of opposing gale winds, opposing currents, and sometimes ice floes
Le Maire, Schouten, and Schouten's son (Jacob) joined with the city leaders of the town of Hoorn and raised money for two ships, which were outfitted for the passage—the larger being the Eendracht (Concord, from the Dutch motto Concordia res parvae crescent, meaning “Unity Makes Strength”), a wooden-hulled sailing ship, and the smaller Hoorn, and with recruited sailors who were not told the details of the voyage. In addition, it was not made known to the public where these ships were to go. The company sailed from England in May 1615, crossing the Atlantic and reaching the South America east coast, which was not done without mishap, but both ships survived the problems. With relief, the sailors properly beached the ships on the shore of Patagonia in order to clean them before continuing on to the Pacific.
As was the custom during those centuries during the Age of Sail, companies and even countries did not divulge where they went, how they got there, or what they found there. Sailing routes were highly guarded secrets. But the point is, during the early days of sail, from the 1500s to 1795, the vast majority, almost its entirety, of ships rounding the Horn were bent on sailing to Asia. As an example, of the trade around the Horn between 1602 and 1796 the Dutch sent almost a million Europeans to work in the Asia trade on 4,785 ships, and netted for their efforts more than 2.5 million tons of Asian trade goods; and the rest of Europe combined sent 882,412 people from 1500 to 1795, with the British East India Company, who was the nearest competitor to the Dutch, and a distant second to its total traffic with 2,690 ships and a mere one-fifth the tonnage of goods. The Dutch, of course, enjoyed huge profits from its spice monopoly through most of this time.
It was not until the mid-nineteenth century before America became interested in the Pacific Ocean, with the settlement of the northwestern boundary (1846-1848), which gave the United States possession of Oregon, and then the war with Mexico, which added California to the Union in 1848. Now though the accession of these territories was of the highest importance in a national point of view at the time, their distance rendered them almost inaccessible to the class of emigrants who usually settle new domains, as well as inconvenient to the proper administration of law and government.
Ten years after Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon, John Sutter, a Swiss immigrant, arrived in California with a dream of building an agricultural empire. When he needed lumber in early 1848, he had James Marshall build a sawmill on the South Fork of the American river, about 40 miles from Sutter's home. Once gold was discovered at the mill, the gold rush was on, with 300,000 people arriving in California, half of which came by sea around Cape Horn. This was the beginning of America’s involvement in the Pacific, as 150,000 people came around the Horn by Sea, making stops along the way, mostly at Valparaso in Chile, the first good port after the rounding to set in for repairs and a change of canvas.
The gold discovery created a stampede of traffic from the New England ports to California. Dr. John Lyman, an eminent American Maritime Historian, claims that in 1849 alone, 777 ships departed from Atlantic ports for San Francisco, all via the Cape Horn route. In effect this migration from the Eastern States to California was one of the largest migrations in modern history. It is also estimated that some 10,000 ships rounded Cape Horn bound for San Francisco from 1850 to 1920.
This trip was hazardous, with strong currents and unpredictable winds in the Strait of Magellan or the storms and unfavorable winds of rounding Cape Horn. Steam navigation through the Strait of Magellan began in 1840, with a treaty in 1881 opening the straits to all nations. Following the Civil War shipbuilding in New England and the Canadian Maritimes became a major industry, and because of the rigors of rounding the cape on coast-to-coast voyages, American shipbuilders were compelled to produce fast, weatherly, and immensely strong vessels capable of doubling Cape Horn in either direction. Famous Cape Horn ships of this period include the Andrew Jackson, which shared the record of eighty-nine days from New York to San Francisco, and the James Baines, which logged twenty-one knots, the fastest speed ever recorded under sail.
It might be noted that records show that the route around Cape Horn of American ships were only freight ships, and after 1914 and the opening of the Panama Canal, declined rapidly with the last American sailing ship to round Cape Horn being the schooner Wanderbird in 1936. Since that time, travel around the cape has mostly been limited to daring crews or individual sailors participating in races around the world.
When the person who wrote in said that his ancestor sailed into Valparaiso in 1820, it should be noted that the first cargo dock was constructed about that time and by 1831, a series of wharves were built in response to growing international trade, which was consolidated in 1832, when the first duty-free warehouses to receive cargo from Europe and Asia were built. By 1855, according to a report in the New York Daily-Times of January 11 of that year, that the infrastructure turned the port into a thriving commercial emporium for the South Pacific. During much of the Nineteenth Century, shipping was so intense that eventually three duty-free warehouse companies were active in Valparaiso. During that time, building out into the sea expanded the port and ships sailing from America's Eastern Seaboard and from Europe made Valparaiso a regular stopping site for re-provisioning.
The Chilean Squadron of the Chilean Navy, which was founded in 1817, sailing out of Valparaiso around 1820 under the command of the former British commander Lord Cochrane, during the Chile-Peru war
It would have been an oddity for an American ship to have docked in Valpairso in 1820 for reprovisioning, since the port was closed to anyone other than the Spanish until Chile won its independence in 1818, though the fighting continued on until 1821, and not even recognized by Spain until 1844. From 1818 to 1820, the port of Valparaiso was home solely to the Chilean navy, and not opened to international ships until around 1820, but even then Chile’s war with Peru was going on and did not end until 1824, which was followed by the War of Confederation, the Chincha  Islands War, and the War of the Pacific. In addition, from 1819 to 1821, Chile waged a Guerra a muerte, a “war until death,” which was an irregular, no-quarter war during their struggle for independence from Spain.
It is very unlikely that any American ship would have set into Valparaiso during this time, but if one did, it certainly would have been a freight/trade carrying vessel and not a passenger ship. What his great great great grandmother was doing on a freight ship in 1820, I cannot guess. It is known that the U.S. had a warship, the frigate St. Lawrence in the port of Valparaiso, along with two British war vessels, in 1856 when a huge fire broke out. According to the Daily Alta California newspaper, the first passenger wharf among the Valparaiso docks was not built until 1884 behind the “Heroes of Iquique Monument,” and named the Muelle Prat after war hero and martyr Arturo Prat, which translates to Prat Dock, but really is a wharf. My own great grandfather sailed from Sidney, Australia, in 1851, where he had completed a five-year tour as missionary and Mission President, but his passenger ship did not set in at any South American port, but landed in Long Beach (what is now San Pedro), California.
(See the next post, “Rounding the Horn into the Pacific Ocean – Part II,” for more information on the American interest in the Pacific Ocean prior to the time Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon, and how that interest came about--all to show that the west coast of South America was basically unknown in New England during Joseph's time)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Problems With Archaeological Findings

One of the most typical comments from critics of the geographical setting of the Land of Promise in the Book of Mormon stems from people claiming there is no record of the Nephites in any excavations performed in the Western Hemisphere. Most of these surround Mesoamerica, of course, but the belief is still valid, though little work has been done in Andean South America by anyone knowledgeable of the scriptural record.
Which is basically the point. That is, a lack of knowledge or belief in the Nephite record helps influence archaeologists to evaluate their findings and point their results away from any interpretation regarding a Near East existence in the Western Hemisphere. In fact, even when faced with actual evidence they cannot bring themselves to even think along such lines, let alone change their minds. Obviously, this kind of attitude influences the interpretation of the artifacts found and tends to put them into another category making their true value lost to the people of the world. This disbelief is one of the attitudes that heavily influences archaeological work and helps construct a false record of the past.
The mishandling of the ancient artifacts and the manipulation of the historical record contribute to the loss of physical evidence and why so many items are hopelessly stored in the basement of museums, never to be seen by other researchers and archaeologists. Take, as an example, the knowledge of finding evidence of horses and elephants in North, Central and South America that lived at the same time as people (see previous post on this matter). Since that does not fit into the geologic column and record, such findings have been ignored by the archaeological and anthropological world and little or no publication of them can be found except in rare instances.
Another problem is the lack of objectivity. Obviously, the principle of any science is for the scientist to be objective in his or her work, yet that is rarely the case. William G. Dever, Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Arizona and Distinguished Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology at Lycoming College in Pennsylvania, writes in one of his books that “not since the death of 19th century positivism has any respectable historian been naïve enough to think that they could be entirely objective.”
Just as obviously, is that the conclusions of many archaeologists will slant towards their personal ideologies, and how they present artifacts will also be influenced by the same attitude. Thus if a person is opposed to the Book of Mormon, it can be accurately assumed that their ‘interpretation’ of the physical evidence will alter the reality of that artifact and change the meaning of the artifact to something closer to their own personal beliefs. On the other hand, if they are unfamiliar with the scriptural record, its facts will not come into consideration in the interpretation. Thus, in the Andean area of South America, though we find numerous influences of Israel and Egypt, as has been shown in earlier posts, findings will not be considered in light of that information.
Another problem is that of having a double standard, which makes it very difficult to present artifacts as physical evidence in support of the Book of Mormon record. What is allowed for the secular world to practice is not allowed for the believer in the Book of Mormon. As an example, the secular world does not demand that they be ‘objective’. In fact Dever, in the introduction to his book came right out and boldly stated, “This book…although it hopes to be true to the facts we know, does not attempt objectivity; for that is impossible and perhaps undesirable.” Yet later in his work, Dever makes this accusation, “The perspective of all the religious writers is a factor that limits their usefulness in another regard it is no exaggeration to say that all biblical literature…constitutes what is essentially propaganda. The writers make no pretense to objectivity.”
So Dever, and other secular archaeologists, hold the religionist to a standard that they themselves refuse to follow and denounce their words simply because it presents God’s revelation from God’s perspective and not their own. This double standard then influences how archaeologists see the physical evidence and if the evidence is from religious history then it is dismissed because it is not from a secular source, yet these same archaeologists will accept physical evidence about a secular culture whose source is from that same culture without requiring corroborating evidence from other surrounding culture.
The double standard plays a large part in limiting physical evidence and contributes to the lack of evidence in archaeology for the Biblical record on the one hand and the Book of Mormon on the other.
Finally, is the archaeologist’s personal agenda. Many come to archaeology in the Nephite lands with their own personal agenda simply because they do not accept and do not like what the Book of Mormon has recorded about the development of the Western Hemisphere. Thus, they either see these lands through non-religious rose-colored glasses, or they are willing to alter or subvert findings that point to such historical events as recorded in the Book of Mormon, bending over backward to provide a different view and explanation of their findings. As an example, though the Book of Mormon clearly shows a connection between the Land of Promise written about, and a “Land which was northward,” to which thousands of Nephites emigrated in the last century B.C., and these two lands—Andean South America and Mesoamerica, both show a remarkable connection through the buildings, roads, legends and myths found in both, yet archaeologists and anthropologists ignore such connection.
This restructuring of the evidence to fit an agenda also contributes much to the lack of evidence for the religious record and short changes the public who assume these people are telling the truth when in reality, they are simply following and working their own beliefs or lack of them.
To-date, no LDS archaeologists have been digging in the ground in South America. What few LDS archaeologists there are have spent their time in Mesoamerica, which, by their own admission, does not fit the geography of the Book of Mormon. Consequently, those who are digging in the ground in the Andes are prone to evaluate and interpret what they find based on secular understanding and history without the slightest suggestion of a Nephite involvement. Thus, when critics write and complain about nothing having been found in the Western Hemisphere to prove or even suggest the Book of Mormon, they simply are just parroting the comments of others who have no understanding of the problems in finding anything in print that shows such a connection. Yet, as has been shown here in several posts over the past three years, there are numerous examples of connections between what is found and the scriptural record—it is simply that the archaeologists does not see it that way and doesn’t report it that way.
This is but a brief glimpse into what takes place in the field of archaeology which influences the amount of physical evidence for Book of Mormon archaeology. The critic has no concept of what is taking place, nor is he aware of the tendency to ignore any such connection on the part of the archaeologist. The LDS member is equally unaware of such connections that exist and are left without a comparison between Mesoamerica and any intelligent discussion about South America. After all, just because a person claims to be an expert, or does archaeology professionally does it mean that they are telling the truth, being fair, or honestly attributing the physical evidence to its proper place in history. Anyone who really wants to know about South America and the Book of Mormon, will have to do his own study and not rely on the so-called “experts."

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Archaeological Ideas, Diffusion, and Cultural Change – Part III

Continuing from the previous two posts discussing the nature of most scientists regarding the understanding of cultures, dating of sites and artifacts, and the development of events in pre-history, and the stages, periods, and method of diffusion they use, we continue here with the points claimed about diffusion and our responses:
3) Technology diffusion has often occurred by one society luring skilled scientists or workers by payments or other inducement. The problem with this is that history suggests just the opposite, such as when foreigners are brought into a culture, they generally absorb and become part of the new culture, not the other way around.
4) Trans-cultural marriages between two neighboring or interspersed cultures have also contributed. The problem with this is that almost all the examples of a more modern group encountering a lesser knowledge or advanced culture, the more modern group tries to implement modern changes which, for the most part in history, were rejected…often violently, by the larger, less advanced group, or the larger group merely tolerates the existence of a new group and rejects their more advanced ideas, such as the American Indians who rarely ever adopted European (western) culture. Even when the Indian acquired horses, guns, etc., they used them, but in the same manner as they had lived in their culture before acquiring such items, not altering their behavior and adopting any European customs.
Numerous subjugated or conquered cultures, despite living around or among wealthy environments, have chosen to remain unique and somewhat isolated: Left: Peruvian people; Center: The Navajo people; Right: The Australian aborigine, are just a few of such cultures where the archaeological diffusion principle does not hold true
5) Among literate societies, diffusion can happen through letters or books. This doesn’t hold true either. Except in Hollywood movies and fictional adventure writing, cultures are seldom influenced by other cultures unless it is forced upon them. Even when forced relocation is implemented, the original group or culture tries very hard to maintain their own culture (Irish, Spanish, Italians, etc., in modern times when moving to America created their own enclaves and did not become absorbed into American culture; Chinese brought6 to America for cheap labor created their own “Chinatown” enclave in almost every region; Americans living in Japan for business purposes, etc., live in their own community and rarely intermingle). In fact, it is a well known sociological fact that “As immigrants from Asia or the Pacific Islands arrived in the United States, they often joined their compatriots in already established ethnic communities where common language and culture made them feel at home. The result has been the creation of enclaves in the pattern of Chinatowns, the oldest such communities.” In fact, according to Pascual, “They created their own institutions and their own internal labor markets These communities evolved into centers for residential housing, community and religious organizations, ethnic shopping, and employment. Enclaves were a means for protection and survival; as such, members of the ethnic community defended them from extinction. Traditional Chinatowns, Japantowns, and the International District in Seattle are current examples of this form of enclave.” This, of course, runs contrary to the diffusion concept cited by archaeologists.
Left: Japantown in San Francisco, California, in the lower Pacific Heights; Center: Little Tokyo in Los Angeles: Right: Chinatown in Philadelphia; Bottom Left: Filipinotown in Los Angeles; Center: Little Saigon in Orange County, California; Right: Dutch village and enclave in Solvang, California. These are just a few of the hundreds of such isolated cultural communities in the United States, not to mention others around the World
6) Direct diffusion was very common in ancient times, when small groups, or bands, of humans lived in adjoining settlements. On the other hand, the story of Africa over the past several hundred years belies this idea—villages upon villages have always seen one another as enemies. It is also opposed to the experience of the American Indian, where one tribe, living near another, remained aloof and did not adapt one to the other, but considered anyone other than their own tribe “the enemy.” Scientists defend this idea by citing that Canadian hockey became popular in America, and American baseball became popular in Canada. However, while Americans have embraced hockey (Americans embrace any sport), Canada has never really embraced baseball. Only 90 Canadians are involved in American professional baseball at all levels, while 43 Japanese players played in the Major leagues alone in 2011, a country that is not a U.S. neighbor.
Top: Separatism is a way of life in Africa, where villages, regions, and countries are still resistant to one another, and where wars and battles between neighbors is a constant factor and has been for hundreds, if not thousands, of years—and where diffusion is simply not possible; Bottom: The Amish of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana, are large cultures within the United States that neither are influenced by their surrounding neighbors, villages, towns and country, nor is the surrounding cultures influenced by them
7) Indirect diffusion is very common in today's world, because of the mass media and the invention of the Internet. This is certainly not the situation today in the Middle East, like in Iraq, the Sunni and Shiites have been enemies forever and nothing seen today in coalitions actually has made any change—the only time they stand together is against the West, but left to their own, they fall back into opposition to one another.
8) Forced diffusion occurs when one culture subjugates (conquers or enslaves) another culture and forces its own customs on the conquered people. To support this idea, scientists cite the forced Christianization of the indigenous populations of the Americas by the Spanish, French, English and Portuguese. However, despite this major effort, especially in the presence of physical and mental abuse if not adopted, the indigenous populations of the Americas did not and have not in any significant numbers embraced Christianity at any deep-seated level, or even adopted the European way of life.
Scientists also cite the work of American historian and critic Daniel J. Boorstin in his book The Discoverers, in which he provides an historical perspective about the role of explorers in History in the diffusion of innovations between civilizations. However, while this sounds good, and perhaps at times did take place, the Aztecs, Mayan, and Incan cultures never adapted to the Spanish culture—nor to the European culture that followed. They have always been aloof, and maintained their own cultural identity—especially in Peru where the Inca and other native cultures filtered back into the mountains and maintained their own culture, as passive, backward and cowed as it was.
Conquered and subjugated indigenous peoples of Andean Peru simply withdrew into the mountains and jungles to avoid Spanish and later European contact. They live much like they have always lived, not influenced by the modern cultures around them
In reality, only cultures that are near identical in their development have been seen to adopt the tendencies of another culture, such as England and France, Spain and Portugal, Russia and Poland, etc., most changes in recorded history have been brought about by power and conquest, such as Greece, Rome, Babylon, etc. But other cases have been shown to be just the opposite, such as the Nephites and Lamanites, China and Japan, United States and American Indian tribes, etc.
The point is, archaeologists, anthropologists and other scientists can make such claims as diffusion to build up their situations of ancient, pre-historic cultures and peoples, to support their theory of diffusion and other scenarios, but actual events show less support than most people realize, and certainly far less than the archaeologist would have us believe.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Archaeological Ideas, Diffusion, and Cultural Change – Part II

Continuing from the previous post discussing the nature of most scientists regarding the understanding of cultures, dating of sites and artifacts, and the development of events in pre-history, and the stages, periods, and method of diffusion they use. Several examples of diffusion were listed in the previous post, and others will be included here.
But first, one of the problems is knowing that to the scientist there are stages and periods of human development, and it is their view that when one stage of development is determined (found) during excavation, study, linking, that it is assumed a previous stage existed before that…and one before that, etc.
 A few pottery shards to the archaeologist sometimes creates an entire civilization, maybe even an empire
Consequently, if broken pottery is found in the ground, it is automatically assumed by the scientist that a pre-pottery period existed before that. And if a pre-pottery stage existed, then there had to be a stage before that. If the ruins are found of an ancient fortress, there had to exist a pre-period of lesser building ability, and a non-polity period before that. If an advanced agricultural area is found, with terracing, aqueducts, channels, etc., then there had to be a pre-agricultural period before that, etc.
In its purest form, there was the Early Stone Age, Middle Stone Age, Later Stone Age, Post-Stone Age, the Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Classic Middle Ages, Pre-Pottery, Pottery, Archaic, Post-Archaic, Formative, Classic, Post-Classic, Pre-Contact, Post-Contact, Settlement, Post-Classic, etc. There are also the Roman Age, Early Medieval Period, Medieval Period, Post-Medieval Period, Industrial and Modern; there was also the Ice Age, the Epipaleolithic, Mesolithic, Chalcolithic, and the Hellenistic, Byzantine, and Ottoman periods.
The point is, to the archaeologist there is always a series of stages and periods of human development, progress and history. These stages and periods vary considerably from continent to continent, and from region to region, with three main stages: Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age, based upon identifying tool manufacture and use in a given area, site, or culture.
Once the stage or period is determined, then there is the concept of diffusion—that is, how did this culture move about, affect, or determine the advancement of another culture, location, or people. Scientists use as an established example the use of cars and Western business suits in the 20th century to show how diffusion has worked recently.
On the other hand, the concept of diffusion meets similar difficulties to determine a single culture, or multiple ones. Take their example of the car—in contrast it should be noted that before and after World War II, American cars were exported to almost every country around the world—following the rebuilding of Japan, Japanese cars were exported to most countries, and with the impact of German technology after rebuilding, they appeared in countries around the world—without names and logos on these cars, it would be hard to tell who engineered and built them, and if something similar was to be found in pre-history cultures, we would find the archaeologist creating a single culture as responsible for this phenom, rather than the many cultures (countries) responsible.
Top Left: King’s Day ride in Britain of 1930s Fords for George V in 1935; Right: 3 American cars in Paris in 1950, including 1941 Nash and 1948 Cadillac; Bottom Left: Several Chevrolets in Istanbul, Turkey in 1965; Right: 2 American cars and several in background at East Gate, Chester, England in 1970s
In addition, contrary to the diffusion concept of archaeology, most foreign car makers did not get started as a result of diffusion, that is, the spread of automobile manufacturing to neighbors or from contact, but as independent inventive processes by people not known to one another and in far flung countries, most at the very same time. In addition, China is a perfect example of the very opposite of diffusion. Their automobile industry is state owned, state directed, state funded, etc., yet in 2009, became the largest manufacturer in production and sales of cars in the World, and by 2011, were producing more than twice the amount of the U.S. and Japan combined. Their origins did not begin with the U.S. or Japan, the two largest manufacturing companies at the time, nor with Germany, England, or Italy, who were the oldest automobile manufacturing companies in the world—but with Russia (Soviet Union), from whom they bought manufacturing plants and set up help. In fact, in 2011, three of the top auto manufacturers were Chinese.
Left: China’s BYD Company S6 SUV; Right: China’s Chery Company ZAZ Forza.
As for Western business suits, they have not been a constant in America, or other Western cultures, since they alter as cultures intermingle, but also alter based on “created style.” Take, as an example, the western wearing of Eastern Nehru jackets, though this was not based on intermingling, but a style change, which were similar to, but shorter than, the achkan or sherwani, and worn by western businessmen and women, in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Then there was the introduction of Leisure Suits in the 1970s that did not come from intermingling at all, but a design creation. There was the mock knit turtlenecks worn under suit jackets to eliminate the wearing of ties that again was simply a design introduction. There were the drindle skirts from Germany, the Romanian and Polish peasant blouses, etc., that swept through Western clothing.
Left: Nehru jacket worn in America 1960s-1970s; Center: Leisure Suit worn by men in America 1970s; Right: Turtle neck with suit worn by men in America in 1980s-1990s
In addition, since fashion played the main role in clothing changes, rather than any type of cultural infusion, there was the Zoot (zuit) suit, Western suit, Nudie suit, Beatle suit, Mod suit, Safari suit, the Disco suit, and the Power suit. Many of these suit styles were restricted to specific areas, specific groups, and in some cases, strictly racial trends. They did not diffuse into other groups or cultures. The Zoot suit was strictly a Chicano and African American apparel, created by Chicago, Detroit and Memphis tailors in the 1930s and 1940s. In France, at the same time, there was the Zazous suit, a fashion developed in reaction and rebellion against the Nazi occupation.
Left: The Zoot suits of the 1940s; Center: The Western (cowboy) suit; Right: The rhinestone covered Nudie suit; all of these and numerous other styles were not established through diffusion and did not pass on through diffusion to other cultures
Is all of this to suggest a common culture, an intermingling culture, or simply change? If such was found in pre-history cultures, we would find the archaeologists creating an entire culture out of each of these, and considering it a “well-attested and also uncontroversial phenomenon.”
We are told by the scientist that: 1) Inter-cultural diffusion can happen in many ways, such as migrating populations carrying their culture with them. On the other hand, they can adopt the new culture and their previous culture completely disappear—which is what happened to the Mulekites;
2) Ideas can be carried by trans-cultural visitors, such as merchants, explorers, soldiers, diplomats, slaves, and hired artisans. Yet, it is hard to imagine a singular person or small group having any impact on a large, existing culture as science proclaims—Marco Polo had little, if any, impact on Chinese culture. His return had little impact on European culture, other than expanding their knowledge and worldview [foods of course, are separate from this—Marco Polo brought back a knowledge of spices and chocolate not previously known, which were quickly adopted, though it took a hundred years for the potato, brought back from Peru in the 16th century, to be adopted into European cuisine]).
(See the next post, “Archaeological Ideas, Diffusion, and Cultural Change – Part III,” for more on this subject)