Monday, January 13, 2020

How Did Mormon Describe Nephi’s Temple and Noah’s Tower? – Part IV

Continued from the previous post regarding the insert that Mormon placed in his abridgement of Alma and also of the construction of the fortress of Sacsayhuamen or Nephi’s temple and Noah’s tower.
One of the three doorways into the fortress at Sacsayhuaman’s lower zigzag walls. For a defensive consideration, there is only one small doorway on each terrace which gave access to the interior buildings and towers on the hillside behind

As has been earlier stated, the architecture in Sacsayhuaman has numerous buildings such as residential structures, towers, shrines, warehouses, roads and aqueducts. Between the outer defensive walls the intervals are interrupted with towering stone doorways. It is easy to feel dwarfed standing next to the stones. The biggest cornerstone stands 28 feet high, and the average height of the wall stands 20-feet in height. The unbelievable workmanship of the stones has puzzled professionals for centuries.
    These defensive walls at Sacsayhuaman were formed by serrated, or zigzagging platforms whose huge limestone walls fit perfectly together. Though today it is estimated that Sacsayhuaman retains only about one-fifth of its original structure, the manner of construction of the walls, doorways, and interlocking stones of the entire complex, as well as the sloping angles of building, have ensured and maximized their resistance to earthquakes and remained much as they were originally laid—except for those stones the Spanish tore down to build their own city below. Time has proved the efficiency of the construction of this entire area for more than a thousand years.
    According to the Peruvian chronicler Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, Sacsayhuaman was the greatest architectural work found anywhere in Andean Peru. So advanced and architecturally sound, with most stones weighing between 90 and 125 tons, they were cut in quarries and hauled miles to the site, shaped and fit into place as they now stand, though anciently the complex was so much larger—today, only the stones that were too large to be moved remain at the site.
    It is indeed beyond the power of imagination to understand now these indigent Inca who the Spanish encountered, unacquainted with devices, engines, and implements, could have cut, dressed, raised, and lowered great rocks, more like lumps of hills than building stones, and set them so exactly in their places. For this reason, and because the Indians were so familiar with demons, the work was attributed to enchantment by the conquistadors. Even today how this was accomplished anciently.
    So how could ancient man have made such stones that fit together so perfectly, and weighing as much as a couple of hundred tons?
Quarries from which many of the stones of Sacsayhuaman were cut. Note the right angle cuts of both the shaped stones and the quarry stone from which they were cut

Marks on the stone blocks indicate that they were first cut at the quarry, then pounded into shape once they were taken to the building site. The blocks were evidently moved using ropes, logs, poles, levers, and earthen ramps (telltale marks can still be seen on some blocks), and some stones still have nodes protruding from them or indentations which appear to have been used to help workers grip the stone.
    This process of first cut, then shaped is clearly indicated by unfinished examples left at quarries and on various routes to building sites. The fine cutting and setting of the blocks on site was so precise that mortar was not necessary, but finished surfaces were achieved using grinding stones and sand.
    According to ancient chroniclers, within the temple fortress of Sacsayhuaman, there were once military barracks, a palace and store houses as well as an enormous water reservoir. In addition there were numerous rooms a short distance from the outside walls, all directed to the Plaza in the valley below and all connected by trapezoidal doors.  In fact, it should be noted that the doorways throughout the complex, as found in other areas of ancient construction in ancient Peru, were trapezoidal, similar to those trapezoidal doorways of ancient Egypt.
    There was also a very large tower. The site was described in detail by the chroniclers Pedro de Cieza de León, Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa and Garcilasso de la Vega.
    It should be kept in mind that the scriptural record, king Noah “built a tower near the temple, a very high tower, even so high that he could stand upon the top and overlook the land of Shilom, and also the land of Shemlon” (Mosiah 11:12). This tower would have had to been strongly built in order to be so high. It would not have been a temporary structure like that built for king Benjamin inside the walls of the temple (Mosiah 2:7), but a permanent structure, not only because of its height, but also for a warning post where the borders of the lands could be observed and watched, as well as into two other surrounding lands.
King Noah built a tower near the temple on a hill from which he could see into the lands of Nephi, Shilom and Shemlon; the tower on top of the hill at Sacsayhuaman that overlooks the valley of Cuzco provides an excellent view of the entire valley 

In Sacsayhuaman, on the far left of the fortress, there is the foundation of a circular tower. This site is called Muyuq Marka (meaning “round place”) near the temple of the sun (read temple of the Son). The foundation of three concentric circular stone walls, connected by radial walls, still remain. The tower once had four floors and must have reached a height of about 65 feet. Quite a remarkable site, especially as the early builders usually favored square buildings rather than round. In fact, the other two towers in the complex were square.
    Currently there are only the foundations of the tower, the Spanish having destroyed the buildings in the early days of the occupation, their foundations covered with earth and forgotten. For many years of excavation and study at Sacsayhuaman, the towers were unknown. Not until 1934 were they uncovered when a careful reading of the early chroniclers, especially Pedro de Cieza de León, indicated the existence of the towers and their exact location within the complex. The main, circular tower,  which had been buried beneath centuries of dirt buildup, was located and recovered by Dr. Luis E. Valcárcel, considered the father of anthropology in Peru.
The complex stone base or foundation of the Muyuccmarca tower situated near the ruins of the Sacsayhuaman temple

The excavation of the earth around where the tower once stood revealed three concentric, circular stone walls connected by a series of radial walls. A web-like pattern of 34 lines intersects at the center and there is also a pattern of concentric circles that corresponded to the location of the circular walls.
    It was obvious at the time of discovery that these walls were the foundation stones of the tower mentioned in the early chronicles. Found in the writings of chronicler Pedro Sancho de la Hoz, along with several others, is the name for these three towers, which were called Muyuccmarca, Sallaqmarca, and Paucarmarca. All early chroniclers writing about Sacsayhuaman said that the size of these structures were considerable. Garcilaso adds tht under the towers there were immense tunnels that interconnected with each other between the three towers. He also writes that in his childhood he used to play there but only until the beginning of its destruction by the Spaniards.
    These three towers were:
Diagram of the Sacsayhuaman complex above Cuzco

• Muyuccmarca (Muyuq Mark, also called “La torre de Cahuide”). It had four floors, the first a square floor, the higher three were cylindrical, tapering from 12 feet to 10 feet across. It was a work that generated the admiration of several early chroniclers
• Sallaqmarca (Sallac Marca) was located next to the main tower of Muyuccmarca in the center of the complex, and was rectangular in shape. Considered by many architects to have been a deposit or reservoir for water.
• Paucarmarca was in the east side of Sayaqmarca, and is still mostly covered with earth, possibly being square shaped. The foundation remains of the Paucarmarca tower are that remain today.
    It should also be noted that the virtual depiction of the site by Dr. Antonio Beltrán and Professor Ricardo Mar do not show Sallaqmarca and Paucamarca, but only the Muyuqmarca tower, which figures prominently in the design. 
    While we may never know for certain if this was Nephi's temple and Noah's tower, the present evidence does suggest that it likely was--a fact no other theory even talks about, let along tries to prove within their theory.

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