admin December 17th, 2010
Read Introduction to scriptural archeology for an introduction to this article covering important background information on why archeological dating methods give screwed results and on the geographical alteration of the narrow neck of land.
(To clarify dates, throughout the rest of the text scriptural/historical dates are preceded by S/H; while archaeological dates, including carbon dates, are preceded by A/C. In printed versions, footnotes which reference scriptures are in red; footnotes which reference archaeological sources are in black].
THE SCATTERING AT BABEL AND THE EARLY JAREDITE CULTURE. Archaeologists place the first modern humans in the Near East’s fertile crescent around 100,00 years ago , which, according to our calibrated timeline, is immediately after the Flood. From there man was “scattered . . . abroad . . . upon the face of all the earth . . .” (Genesis 11:8) ; scientists following the path of homo sapiens identify a major scattering between 40,000 and 70,000 years ago when modern man spread from the Near East to Europe, the Far East, Australia, and the Americas . In America, studies of hereditary traits on the first group of PaleoIndians to reach America have concluded that they consisted of no more than a handful of families (S/H: around 2100 BC; A/C: around 40,000 years ago) / . The two earliest major PaleoIndian cultures that developed from this handful of families, the Clovis Culture and the Folsom Culture , spread widely but sparsely from the Southwestern United States to cover most of the continental United States / .
OMER AND HIS HOUSEHOLD. As this early period in American Prehistory was coming to a close, a small group of families left the core area and settled “by the seashore” directly east of the hill Cumorah (Ether 9:1–13) . The group of sites, in and around northeastern Massachusetts, are called the Bull Brook Complex by archaeologists . Clovis points found at several of the sites tie it to the Southwest . Building on excavations by D.S. Byers in the mid-50’s , archaeological societies in the Northeast have pieced together the history of the Bull Brook Complex . Their findings and subsequent analysis have shown the interactions of a system of organized, interdependent groups with specialized work force networks . It is recognized as containing the highest level of social structure in America at that time , which would be expected in a “refugee camp” of the royal household .
PRE-DEARTH JAREDITE CULTURE. As Moroni attests, the next archaeological period saw the rise of a richer and more diversified culture / . The Plano and Early Eastern Archaic Cultures fanned across the continent (S/H: around 1600-1200 BC; A/C: around 8500-6000 BC) . Scientists have found the full spectrum of plants and animals corresponding to the days of Emer. According to Moroni, during the early Pre-Dearth Jaredite time period they had “all manner of cattle, of oxen, and cows, and of sheep, and of swine, and of goats, and also many other kinds of animals which were useful for the food of man.” Archaeologists have found many species of American bison from this time period, which ruminants are classified by zoologists as wild cattle, oxen and cows (family Bovidae, genus Bos) . Similarly, there are food remains of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and Rocky Mountain goats at many sites from this period . Peccaries are animals from this period which are classified as swine and are in the same group as domestic pigs and hogs (sub-order Suina) . The “many other kinds of animals” of Moroni’s list would include deer, elk, moose, caribou, and pronghorn . Thanks to new site-investigation methods, scientists have found that fruits, grains and vegetables were part of the PaleoIndian diet ; the Darwinian view that the PaleoIndians were merely carnivorous stockers of megafauna is being abandoned. More careful analysis of early sites and artifacts is yielding increasing evidence of fine textiles , which means the people didn’t just wear rough animal hides. Moroni also mentions that horses, elephants, cureloms and cumoms were useful to man, and that elephants and cureloms and cumoms were “more especially” useful to man (Ether 9:19). Potential beasts of burden which have been found in association with PaleoIndians include horses, tapirs, mammoths, mastodons, giant bison, giant ground sloths, and camels . Coincidentally, the horse and the tapir would not have been very useful as beasts of burden because the Ice Age variety existent at this time were only about the size of a dog ; hence, it was the elephants and cureloms and cumoms which were “more especially” useful to man.
THE GREAT DEARTH. Then the PaleoIndian culture was rocked. In the scriptures, we read of secret combinations infesting society, and then a chastening, in the form of a great dearth (Ether 9:30–35). Archaeologists attest that it was probably the worst famine in North American history. Mass extinction spread across America as the Ice Age came to a rapid and catastrophic close . Excess hunting by starving people and severe environmental changes drove the megafauna to extinction . Scientists have found that serpents were abundant at that time in the American Southwest (as they are today) and the closing of the Ice Age caused many varied migrations in snake species across North America . The serpents and the drought divided the people in the north from the fauna, which escaped to the south . When the climate finally recovered, the people instigated a revolution in agriculture / , since they had now lost their domesticated animals.
POST-DEARTH JAREDITE CULTURE. Moroni’s next exposition on culture comes in the days of Lib (Ether 10:18–28). My corresponding period is labeled by archaeologists as the Middle and Late Archaic. Often indistinguishable from one another, these two cultural periods represent a major advancement over the preceding culture . Again the culture spread across North America from coast to coast . There were villages, agriculture, and widespread trade networks . South of the narrow neck, in the Mexican highland and beyond, the only inhabitants we find are organized hunting parties, which “coincidentally” brought spear points of North American manufacture and style / . Scientists recognize metallurgy from this time period, and copper is the most common metal found / . Many fine textiles have also survived from this period / . Moroni says they made “all manner of tools to till the earth, both to plow and to sow, to reap and to hoe, and also to thrash” . He also says they had, “all manner of tools with which they did work their beasts” (Ether 10:26–27). Most of the tools on this list have been found by archaeologists at sites dating to the Middle and Late Archaic . New weapons were also invented and manufactured, although archaeologists currently view them only as hunting weapons / . Another major industry of the Jaredites was wood exploitation . A huge assortment of woodworking tools has been found at Archaic period sites across the Nation . Truly this was a highly-developed culture—a time of great prosperity. How tragic that they lost it all because of secret combinations! 
THE DESOLATION OF THE JAREDITES. The desolation of the Jaredites began in the Southwest and climaxed in New York State . It is witnessed archaeologically by a widespread “cremation” burial culture . Continent-wide scientists find a change in burial customs from proper burials to cremation burials and “ceremonial” burning of homes and entire villages [Shiz and his army]/ . Archaeologists have also found evidence of large-scale “bundle burials,” which is the practice of bundling the disarticulated, defleshed bones of dead people in bags or cordages, and then either burying them or dumping them in the trash . Surely it was a gruesome scene that the first Nephites to re-inhabit the desolate land northward were required to witness and clean up .
THE ARRIVAL OF THE NEPHITES AND MULEKITES. The Jaredites were the sole inhabitants of America until two small groups of sea-going travelers crossed the Pacific (S/H: 600 BC; A/C: 3000 BC). As early as 1916 scholars had identified the general location of the two landing sites. G. Elliot Smith published an article with Science titled “The Origin of the Pre-Columbian Civilization of America” in which he detailed ethnological evidence of the landings and further showed how scholars of that day had attempted to cover up the findings because they lent support to the Bible and against Darwinism. In his book, Articles of Faith, James E. Talmage describes the author’s findings: “Dr. Smith presents an impressive array of evidence pointing to the Old World and specifically to Egypt, as the source of many of the customs by which the American aborigines are distinguished. The article is accompanied by a map showing . . . two landing places on the west coast, one in Mexico and another near the boundary common to Peru and Chile, from which place the immigrants spread.” Archaeological evidence has further refined these findings. Most archaeologists now agree to a South American landing, putting it a little further north, specifically in modern Ecuador  (which “coincidentally” lies “a little south of the Isthmus of Darien” ). The location of the second landing spot is unknown; characteristic artifacts also point to the west coast of Mexico  — legend puts it at a place called “seven caverns” . Both the Valdivia culture of Ecuador [the Lehites], and the Otomangue-speaking people of the Mexican highland [the Mulekites], brought the first true pottery to the Americas; in both cultures the pottery was already well-developed even at the earliest sites . Both cultures are distinguished as being the first harvesters of cultigens (plants incapable of growing without human help), the most important cultigen being corn . The architecture and burial customs of these two groups can easily be tied to the Old World. Square waddle and daub homes with storage pits in the floor dotted their lands . Their temples and public buildings are extremely similar to those of Egypt and Israel. Subfloor burials and burial positions also match those of the Middle East .
EARLY MULEKITE CULTURE. The newly arrived Otomangue-speaking culture [Mulekites] began to spread across the Mexican highland [Zarahemla]. Although they covered a large area, they lived in small scattered villages, and archaeologists recognize very little social structure among them  /.
EARLY LEHITE CULTURE. The Valdivia culture also fanned out over a large area, stylistic pottery has been traced from Ecuador up through Columbia and Panama into Coastal areas of Guatemala and Southern Chiapas . When Nephi fled from his brothers , it seems that he led his followers to the central depression of Chiapas and settled in the Grijalva river valley. The first cultural layers there are of a unique, tight-knit group (Zoque [early Nephite]), centered around Chiapa de Corzo [the land of Nephi], which remained separate from the surrounding cultures that were developing (Maya [Lamanite])  / . The Nephite culture began the seeds of civilization which later influenced all of Mesoamerica, and eventually all of North America . Some of the Lamanites appear to have followed Nephi’s party; a group associated with the early Maya [Lamanites] settled further up in the Grijalva river valley . Other groups remained in South America which over time developed very independent cultures ; apparently not associated with the history outlined in the Book of Mormon.
EARLY LAMANITE CULTURE. The Lamanites [early Maya] digressed and became a very primitive people / . Archaeologists label them as “hunters and gatherers,” because they stocked the forests for game, lived in tents and temporary shelters, and practiced limited agriculture  / . They did some fishing, and they had very limited agriculture (primarily limited to picking wild fruits and edible roots) . Archaeologists think it was because they did not have the technology, the scriptures teach that it was because they were lazy.
Warfare is evident as archaeologists find a large assortment of weapons, far exceeding the needs of mere hunters . The early Maya [Lamanites] set up chiefdoms in each local community; at this early date they do not appear to have been a cohesive unit, but rather groups of village communities, competing and perhaps fighting with each other for resources  — apparently united only in their hatred toward the Nephites . Laman and Lemuel seem to have taught their children the pagan practices they had learned in Jerusalem. Archaeologists find cultic artifacts associated with the worship of a fertility goddess; they also worshipped Chac, who is the Maya equivalent of Baal from the Old World . In this early period we also see the beginnings of the Jaguar cult. The Maya made costumes from the coats of beasts of prey and used these costumes in religious rituals  / . Early Mayan vices match those Enos and Jarom attributed to the Lamanites: pornography in the form of nude ceramic figurines, idleness, and drunkenness (typically chicha, an alcohol made from corn) / .
INTRODUCTION TO THE FORMATIVE. At the dawn of the formative period there were several major demographic shifts which set the stage for the developing cultures. First, King Mosiah I and his people left the Land of Nephi [Chiapa de Corzo] and traveled to Zarahemla [central Mexico] to join the Mulekites (S/H: around 200 BC; A/C: around 1400 BC) . This is seen archaeologically as an influx of Mixe-zoquean culture brings new advances to central Mexico, and public buildings begin to appear in the larger villages .
THE PEOPLE OF ZENIFF. Back in Chiapa de Corzo [the land of Nephi], the surrounding culture (Maya [Lamanites]) destroyed all traces of the departing group [Nephites]  /  . Shortly, however, high culture returned to the valley  as Zeniff and his people arrive and begin to build anew many public buildings and restore the land  / . The new inhabitants of Chiapa de Corzo [people of Zeniff] were an ethnically distinct group which did not mix with the surrounding Maya [Lamanites] / . Initially their culture was very similar to that of central Mexico (from which they had come), but the similarities decreased as time went on and they (the people of Zeniff, now led by King Noah) became extravagant in their prosperity. Lavishness dominates the architecture and material culture of this period  / . Just before Chiapa de Corzo returned to Mayan Culture [Lamanites], the people of the Grijalva depression gave birth to one of the richest and most influential Mesoamerican cultures of the pre-Christian era—the Olmecs [Amulonites]  / .
THE AMULONITES AND THEIR INFLUENCE OVER THE LAMANITES. The Amulonite [Olmec] culture seems to have developed in the lowlands of Veracruz, Mexico. The simple farming village of San Lorenzo [probably Helam]  /  suddenly began a massive public works effort using slave labor [probably the followers of Alma]  / . Soon a handful of great cities commenced, and Olmec influence spread to other lands  / . Olmec art and religious themes support an Amulonite correlation: powerful, dominating priests, were-jaguar babies, female dancers, and a plethora of demi-gods and idols  / . Throughout the Mayan lands, Olmec teachers began to train the Maya [Lamanites] in the language and learning of the Mexican highland people [the Nephites]  /. With this new education the Maya began to prosper and make many technological advances / . New trade networks spread across southern Mexico, the Yucatan and Guatemala, and all roads passed through Olmec lands, which made them vastly rich and extremely influential . Some archaeologists call the Olmecs the “mother culture” of Mesoamerica .
THE FALL OF THE AMULONITES. As prophesied by Abinadi, the Amulonites [Olmecs] were soon devastated  / . Using a cesium magnetometer to detect buried basalt, Michael Coe, a professor of Anthropology at Yale University, and his group found mounds of monuments purposefully defaced, smashed and buried at San Lorenzo . Other Olmec sites excavated in the area told the same story: seemingly the Maya [Lamanites] living among the Olmecs [Amulonites] in their gulf-coast empire revolted, defacing and smashing monuments, destroying buildings  /  , and as the Book of Mormon teaches us, massacring the ruling class [the descendants of the priests of Noah] . The great Olmecs suddenly disappeared, but their influence over the Maya was seen forever afterward. The sparsely-populated Mayan lands were soon covered with huge temples and city-centers with art and architecture reminiscent of the Olmec style .
THE NEPHITES- ALMA THE ELDER AND KING MOSIAH II. Meanwhile, in central Mexico, Alma and his followers escaped to Zarahemla and established the church throughout the Mexican highland , witnessed archaeologically by new temples and synagogues built throughout the land . Then, several decades later, Mosiah II founded a new democratic government , and each land began to build government buildings alongside the new temples (S/H: 91 BC; A/C: around 850 BC) . Under the leadership of these inspired founders, the diverse societies of central Mexico integrated to become a very prosperous people  / . Unfortunately, in many communities this prosperity led to pride, social classes, and perversions, which are all quite visible in the material culture they left behind  / .
THE NEPHITES- CAPTAIN MORONI. These two great nations, the Nephites on the Mexican Plateau and the Lamanites [Maya] in Southern Mexico, Guatemala and Yucatan, began to experience greater conflicts  / . Foreseeing the coming challenges, Captain Moroni prepared his people and their lands . First, the weak lands were fortified and the southern frontier was strengthened / . Hilltop fortifications began to dot southern Mexico in Veracruz, Oaxaca, and Guerrero /  . Great urban fortresses were created  / . For example, at Monte Alban [Manti], researchers from the University of Michigan found that some leader [Moroni] inspired the people of the valley of Oaxaca to move to the top of a nearby hill in the former “no man’s land” between two warring nations, and there build a fortress with up to 10,000 inhabitants . The site has natural cliffs surrounding the city, its temples and its public buildings on three sides; on the fourth side, excavators found a two-mile long wall of earth and stone which still stands almost 30 feet tall and 50-60 feet thick  / . No wonder Mormon venerated the leadership, courage and vision of Captain Moroni and the manner in which he prepared his people for war.
After Amalickiah’s first attack, a second phase of construction was begun in which fortified cities and hilltop fortresses were built throughout the land of Zarahemla  which appears to have stretched from Oaxaca to Jalisco and from southwestern Michoacan to northern Veracruz . Also, the Book of Mormon records Moroni pushing the Lamanites out of the east wilderness and on the west, then building new cities in these areas in order to create a more defensible border . Excavations in southern and western Oaxaca and Guerrero, as well as central Veracruz are now showing such movements of peoples and the construction of new large defensive cities and fortresses .
During the time that fortifications were being built in the Mexican highland, a massive weapons production industry commenced throughout Mesoamerica, both in the Mexican Highland [Zarahemla] and in Maya [Lamanite] lands  / . To accommodate these war preparations, the peoples of the Mexican Highland [Nephites] made major breakthroughs in agriculture and built massive irrigation systems . From that time forward, urbanization and trade specialization, with accompanying prosperity, enveloped the Nephite lands  / .
The great war of Moroni’s time, and the wars that followed, are seen archaeologically in demographic and cultural movements of this time period , and in numerous monuments depicting warriors and captives in both Highland Mexico and Maya lands . The Lamanites displaced and jumbled the Nephites numerous times . There was also a great cultural mixing when groups of Lamanites converted to the Nephite religion and went to live among the Nephites , and also when groups became captives . Cities experienced occasional upheavals, but most of them changed hands without noticeable ruin  /  .
THE NEPHITES- 57 BC TO AD 33. Time brought greater prosperity , which led to ornamentation and extravagant housewares . Robbers also infested the land during this period —archaeologist have found that many of the graves of nobles and of wealthy people were broken into and the riches were stolen . The Book of Mormon teaches that as wars continued numerous groups sought refuge and peace by migrating to far-away lands . Archaeologists date the Adena people’s arrival in the Ohio River Valley at this time . The Adena cleared the land of the carnage and waste the land’s former inhabitants [the Jaredites] had left  /  , and they brought a new culture with the advancements and technologies of their Mexican homeland . Others moved to the Southwestern United States, becoming the earliest Mogollon peoples . Those who arrived in North America found a land covered with lakes and rivers—a much more lush environment than the one they had left . The Southwest Cultures are famous for their dwellings of stone and cement; cultures of the East for tents; both cultures also built simple homes of scrawny wood poles and thatched walls and roof . In a short time the continent was covered with hamlets and villages /  . The people soon turned to pagan and perverted practices, which spoiled their previously wholesome culture  /  . There is evidence that the first Polynesians reached the Pacific Islands around this same time period  /  .
THE NEPHITES- ZION. The destruction at the time of Christ was discussed earlier. As the ash settled /  , a new culture spread across the land  / . In some ways, this new culture was more monolithic; in other ways it was more diverse. Throughout the Americas a new two-room temple replaced varying former styles . A utopia of peace and prosperity is spoken of in legends  / . There is no evidence of weapons being used at this time , and the murals, figurines, and architecture show designs of nature, lines of symmetry and harmony, and displays of pleasant animals and domestic life . Gone are all signs of a military elite, governmental force, and coercion . The Hopewell, the Anasazi, the Mogollon, Teotihuacan, the Maya—continent-wide, the traits are the same . The great peace resulting “because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people” (4 Nephi 1:15).
The people were united in righteousness , yet at the same time, the culture became more diverse, as the focus turned from making a profit to making quality products and upholding the ideals of family and community . Local artisans replaced the mass-production and expansive trade networks of the preceding period . Thus there was no need to travel extensively “on business,” so people could spend more time with their families. Family gardens replaced mass-produced food. People ate a greater variety of food, but their food was of more local origin . Analysis of skeletons shows that the people were healthier and enjoyed longer life spans than during the preceding period . The arts flowered during this period . The number and variety of musical instruments greatly increased . Pottery and other goods became more useful and more beautiful, and less ornamental and extravagant . A much greater variety of artifacts is found, but in much smaller quantities than before, and with much less waste . The prosperity was great throughout all of the Americas and in all areas of human development, “because of their prosperity in Christ” (4 Nephi 1:23).
In the early classic period the church became very wealthy . The people donated their time and skills to the creation and maintenance of beautiful temples and public centers . The population exploded , but at the same time, the cities became less dense as the communities were reorganized and the people spread out across the land . Even the biggest “cities” were only lightly populated, yet they contained ceremonial centers and public buildings large enough to accommodate all the people of the surrounding villages . Social classes disappeared, yet the standard of living increased everywhere ; And “they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God” (4 Nephi 1:17) .
It was beautiful. Everything Mormon said was true. Then they lost it all. The line is not clear, but little by little it all slipped away. The late pre-classic ugliness returned, and this time it was even more vile.
THE NEPHITES- PRIDE. As the people became proud, they began to flaunt the wealth they had accumulated over many years of righteousness and prosperity . In the archaeological record, we begin to find much larger houses than existed in the preceding period , more decorated pottery, personal ornamentation (including pearls and elaborate clothing)  /  , extravagant burials of the dead , and new long-distance trade networks  /  . They painted murals showing images of power, with soldiers, weapons, kings, priests, slaves, and eventually human sacrifice . They built new cities with defense in mind , and the existing cities became more dense, decreasing in total area despite the fact that the population was still growing  /  . We see evidence of the rise of social classes, with a new elite class and a definite peasant class /  . The social classes are most apparent in the big cities.
Political players began to build up monuments to themselves, often showing off their accomplishments. We see a cultural split, as the people broke up into different groups  / . As displays of wealth and power emerged in society and later in government, the church was divided, as the people in every land sought to raise up their own version of Quetzalcoatl [Christ], and to join him with a new pantheon of gods and demigods  /  . In the major ceremonial centers, a priestly class began to exercise power and influence  / . Temples and temple complexes became colossal and extravagant , and often the priests raised themselves to the position of gods or claimed descent from the gods . Priests and government leaders began to deform the skulls of their children, and to give themselves and their children tattoos and body paint, all in an effort to separate themselves and their children from the “commoners” . Gated communities were developed to protect the elite from the lower class .
On the eve of society’s collapse, the pride turned absolutely disgusting . Most of the pottery and art became warped, lewd and pornographic . Mass production fed trade networks which branched across the continent and resources were exploited on a massive scale  / . Food production became intense, and the general health of the people correspondingly deteriorated; the incidence of disease increased significantly and life expectancies dropped drastically . Body piercing became the norm , tobacco and drugs were used widely; smoking was done in smoke houses and in private homes, with cigarettes and with pipes . Huge ball courts covered the land , in some places ball players rose to the state of gods . The ball games became very bloody , and in many places they were accompanied with mass killing and human sacrificing of the winners or losers depending on the local religion ; in other areas the losers become the slaves of the winners’ rulers . Many people wasted their income on various forms of gambling—they rooted on their favorite teams, or played games of chance with dice and bones . In many areas the workmanship of the structures built during this period was poor, but it was covered with decorative plaster, and was elaborately finished . Cultic symbols and status symbols are found everywhere .
THE NEPHITES- DESTRUCTION. Truly this society was ripe for destruction . The Book of Mormon tells us that the destruction took place quickly . Archaeology tells us that it occurred on a massive scale , larger than most probably ever imagined— although Mormon tried to help us understand.
The great war appears to have been started in central Yucatan by a group which archaeologists call the Putun Maya . As they gained power they continued west and north, and eventually attacked the Mexican highland . Great murals tell the story of their advances; they were the eagle warriors of the jaguar cult [the Lamanites], and they sought to exterminate the cult of the feathered serpent named Quetzalcoatl [the Nephites] . Eventually the great city of Zarahemla [Teotihuacan] was attacked, but the invaders were pushed back  /  . Then, as Mormon relates, Zarahemla [Teotihuacan] was laid waste . Archaeologists have uncovered the entire story: the great Teotihuacan was burned and looted, monuments were defaced, columns were toppled, temples were desecrated, and the luxurious palaces were left in ruin .
The Lamanites’ pursuit of the Nephites can be followed from Teotihuacan to Western Mexico, to sites such as Alta Vista and Chalchihuites [perhaps Angola or the Land of David]  /  and then to the seashore, to Amapa and other sites in Nayarit and southern Sinaloa [probably the land of Joshua] /  , a land archaeologists have found was filled with robbers and Maya during this period / . From there the Nephites continued their flight into the “land northward” . It appears that the massacre stopped when the Nephites reached Chaco Canyon [Shem], in New Mexico and were able to fortify it  / . There the Nephites held back their pursuers and the bloodshed stopped for a season while God sent forth missionaries and prophets to give the people one last chance . Archaeologists have found circular religious structures, called kivas, appearing throughout Anasazi lands during this period , which perhaps shows that Mormon knew some success , though his own testimony indicates that any success was short lived as the wickedness persisted .
For ten years a peace treaty was in effect ; archaeology shows that the Maya [Lamanites] of Yucatan and Maya Chichimec of West Mexico came together and began building the great Toltec kingdom . Toltec legend speaks of the war between Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent, and Tezcatlipoca, the principal god of the Jaguar Cult . The Toltecs boast Quetzalcoatl’s defeat and subsequent flight . As the population of Tula was exploding , archaeologists find an abandonment of Yucatan by that area’s elite . Recruits by the thousands flooded out of Yucatan to their new blood-thirsty, warrior kingdom centered in the Mexican Highland . Many were also moved to the battle line in Western Mexico, as archaeologists find a large influx of Toltec peoples with strong Maya ties building up fortresses and making war preparations .
The kingdom of the Nephites centered in the Southwestern United States, and although they focused on defending the land for a short time  /  , they soon turned their focus to the “god” of money. Trade networks covered the Southwestern United States , and turquoise, which was lusted after by the Toltecs, was mined on a huge scale to be traded for exotic Mesoamerican goods. Ball courts, gated communities, lewd pottery and art, body painting, body piercing, gigantic cities, social classes—the signs of pride and wickedness — have been found by archaeologists throughout the Southwest United States and Northwest Mexico [the Nephite lands] .
Then, at the end of this fragile moment of peace, destruction continued . The blood-thirsty Lamanites [Toltecs] based in a city just south of our narrow neck of land [probably La Quemada] came up against the Nephite armies which were based in Desolation [probably Zape in northern Durango] / . The Lamanites were repulsed and counterattacked, but they soon swept Desolation and later Teancum [most likely Guasave on the Pacific Coast] . From there the fleeing Nephites followed the turquoise trail to Boaz , now known as Paquime or Casas Grandes in Chihuahua. Charles C. Di Peso, the first archaeologists to conduct large-scale excavations at the site, found signs of a great slaughter at Paquime . Unburied dead bodies were strewn across the site, some had been shoved into the ducts of the water system, others sacrificed to pagan gods, but the majority were just left to rot and be preyed upon by wolves and vultures . Mormon painfully records these same events, as he stood back, watching: “And [the Nephites] fled again from before [the Lamanites], and they came to the city Boaz; and there . . . the Nephites were driven and slaughtered with an exceedingly great slaughter; [and] their women and their children were again sacrificed unto idols” ( Mormon 4:20–21).
The slaughter spread across the entire Southwestern United States . Thousands of sites from this period have been found in which the site was either abandoned or burned or the people were slaughtered  / . In many places the people abandoned their scattered farms and gathered together to build great fortified cities to defend themselves, only to be massacred  / . But this was not a peaceful, righteous people being victimized. There is evidence of cannibalism among the Anasazi and other Southwestern Cultures [the Nephites]  / . Archaeologists have found human bones in cooking vessels, necklaces made of human skin or bones, and mobiles made of human bones and skulls which seem to have been used as trophies—signs of status and prestige . They have found apparent ceremonial assemblages of skulls which were presented to false gods . At Salmon Ruin, New Mexico [possibly the tower of Sherrizah ] women and children were abandoned by their covenant protectors, and the children were burned alive, caught in the top of the tower . There are countless archaeological and scriptural evidences of the deplorable state of the Anasazi/Nephites; their brutal mutilation and total annihilation are painful to read about.
The destruction in the Southwest climaxed at a line of sites from Mesa Verde, Colorado [probably Jordan ] to Albuquerque, New Mexico . The entire Southwestern United States and Northwest Mexico was left desolate, except for a few small scattered groups of refugees who hid in caves  /  . But the destruction continued.
The line of sites mentioned above was actually a line of defense built to protect the great expanse of the American Midwest . The Nephites who covered the Midwest are called Mississippians by archaeologists. Highly influenced by Mesoamerica and the Southwest , their culture had also passed through the cycle of simple and peaceful  to ugly and proud . Their artwork from this period glorifies death and perversion .There are carvings of goules, war dances, and the murdering of captives, and these are found alongside symbols of Christ (hands with marks appearing to symbolize the crucifixion) and symbols of Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent, displaying decapitated heads as a symbol of his power . These were not ignorant people suffering for the sins of their parents; they were in open rebellion against God . They refused to repent and trust in God, but rather put their trust in the arm of flesh thinking that could protect their lives. It would not be and never has been .
Soon after the cultures of the American Southwest were slaughtered, the Mississippian culture disappeared . Huge ceremonial centers, like Cahokia in southern Illinois, built in the styles of the Mexican Highland, were suddenly depopulated without evidence of struggle or warfare—sites are not burned as in the Southwest, nor are the dead strewn across the landscape . Because of the late carbon dates obtained from these sites some archaeologist have attempted to show that the people just redistributed themselves around the local area . However, the Book of Mormon as well as the immense collections of arrowheads dating all the way back to the archaic found canvassing parts of New York State and the entire New England area speaks of a great desolation (although the final battles likely occurred in the “land of Comorah” and not around the current Hill Comorah as many have supposed) / .
Truly God is unveiling his truth in the eyes of all the world. It remains for us to read with faith, work with strength, and repent of our pride. We must go forward in a definite way and bring to pass the covenants of the Father and build up the kingdom of God upon the earth; both in small and simple ways and by making preparations for works of greatness.
Old World Cultures
OLD WORLD (BIBLICAL) ARCHEOLOGY
After I had found many evidences of events in the Book of Mormon, and had developed a revised timeline for archaeology, I became curious as to whether my timeline would also work if I used it on Old World archaeology. I found many interesting “coincidences”. Following is a very brief account of a few of my findings. An entire paper on the subject will be forthcoming.
Evidence of pre-flood cultures appear to be entirely missing from the archaeological record. It is as if Earth’s baptism literally washed her clean. She contained no trace of the former sins of her inhabitants. Most of the early homo sapiens cultures that I would label Post-Flood are in the fertile crescent, and usually at a depth of between 30 and 50 feet below the surface .
Early Egypt was below water as Abraham attests  /  , and the earth was sparsely populated. The climate during this period soon after the Flood was much milder and cooler than it is today, and the plants and animals from this period match those described in the Bible . The desert climate would not come for many generations (after many droughts and curses). When we consider the depth at which these early cities are found, we realize that the only reason these sites have been found is that either the sites were continually inhabited until modern times, or the archaeologists were extremely lucky. Many early cities exist which have not yet been found as attested as by new sites which are continually popping up.
History really starts to take place after the Exodus. Let us consider Jericho. Using the “corrected” timeline we established by studying the Book of Mormon, and extrapolating our dates backward, we find that the Jericho of the Bible must be dated at around 7000-8000 BC. During this time period there was a Neolithic city at Jericho, surrounded with a great wall, and with a massive tower built right into the wall [possibly the house of Rahab] (Pre-Pottery Neolithic A)  /  . There is evidence that the people of the city were pagans, and that they were rich and proud . The early city’s culture ends with the walls falling down and a new culture replacing Pre-Pottery Neolithic A, they are labeled Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (Sci- 6500 B.C.; Scr- 1450 B.C.)  / . Interestingly, the tower that was built into the wall survived to its full height into the next period [Rahab and her family were protected].
This new nation had simple beginnings; archaeologists call it a retrogression because of the decrease in riches and more simplified art. However, there were many advances: they had a united nation seen in the form of a new wide-spread monolithic culture, they began inhabiting many new lands and developing the land, they respected their dead ancestors, they had domesticated animals, and they built nice square plaster-floored homes , which, “coincidentally,” were similar to the homes of the early Lehites and Mulekites . After many years the nation became very wealthy (Pottery Neolithic A&B) , and then, as we can tell by studying cultural artifacts, the nation was divided. One group inhabited the north, and the other group lived in the south (Chalcolithic Period) /  .
The nation of Israel prospered during the entire period from the time it entered the Land of Canaan until the end of the Chalcolithic Period. Then suddenly the Kingdom of Israel in the north [the Ghassulian culture] was displaced, and new people from Syria and Southern Mesopotamia, labeled Proto-Urban A, were ushered into the region (Early Bronze Age)  /  .
The Kingdom of Judah in the south continued to prosper . However, she did not learn from watching Israel fall (she did not repent), and little over a century later, she was also destroyed . At the end of the Early Bronze Age every major city in the south was destroyed and depopulated—some incredibly violently . The Bible clearly teaches that this was done by the hand of God—his tool being a new empire he had risen up in southern Mesopotamia—the Kingdom of Babylon . Archaeologists also find this new kingdom in Mesopotamia but they have called it the kingdom of Akkad . Judah was left desolate. Only small scattered villages and groups of wandering nomads remained (Intermediate Bronze Age)  /  .
When the Kingdom of Akkad [Babylon] fell , Judah was repopulated by a vigorous new group of people which began to rebuild the land (Middle Bronze Age)  /  . The people prospered and the entire region flowered . The succeeding period also saw a continued prosperity, but under Indo-Aryan influence [Alexander the Great] , followed by strong Egyptian [Ptolemaic] control (Late Bronze Age) .
As the period continued, Egyptian power weakened  and a group of “adventurers” are noted as coming down from Syria and establishing an Amorite kingdom [Seleucids] . Archaeologists then find evidence of an internal revolt that occurs, led by the ‘Apiru [Hasidim under Maccabeans], in which a war commences by a guerrilla-type group of warriors that rally the principally Hebrew [Jewish] community to rise up against the Amorites [Seleucids] . Many wars follow with great destructions but the nation that remains in the end is obviously Israel. The carbon dates for these events (about 1300-1200 B.C.) lead scholars to believe this may be the time of the exodus and subsequent conquest of Palestine. Little or no archaeological evidence of Joshua or the exodus exists at this time, however, and the carbon dates assigned to the various cities’ destructions do not match the Bible which declares the conquest to have occurred around 1400 B.C.  These discrepancies have led many biblical scholars to abandon the literal interpretation of the Bible and create many diluted theories that minimalize the book . Interpreting the archaeology as evidence of the Maccabean revolt on the other hand, as we are proposing, matches almost exactly .
Next, archaeology shows the arrival of a new group of people called the “Sea People” [Romans]. They ruled every land that touched the Mediterranean Sea , and though their origin continues to evade scholars they know it was somewhere in the area of Sicily, Italy, or Greece [Rome] . The people conquer lands matching Rome’s accomplishment in Greece, Turkey, Egypt and Palestine .
Conclusions & Significance
Archaeologists and biblical scholars have long been at odds. As archaeology began to mount a horrendous amount of research, all placed by carbon dating, many biblical scholars began doubting the Bible. Scientific dates were given supremacy and new biblical scholars decided that the Bible was not completely accurate. They began trying to fit whatever they could into the archaeologists’ framework and discarded the rest as fable. The result was a great archaeological mess and a complete abandonment of the scriptures as the “Word of God” and absolute truth. Following the history of science and seeing societies turning away from God is very sad to read.
Now, our research seems to have discovered that the archaeologists are actually proving the Bible to be true and they don’t even know it because of the dating problem. So now, with the correlated time line created studying the Book of Mormon, we see the Book of Mormon proving the Bible to be true, which we are taught is one of its purposes (Mormon 7:8–9; 1 Nephi 13:38–41).
A future paper on Bible lands will show most all the fabulous stories of the Bible laid out in the dirt, just as the prophets said they happened, and just where the prophets said they happened. We will see that these wonderful stories which are disbelieved by most archaeologists, have actually been found by archaeologists!
These findings are of great importance. Our society has abandoned the scriptures. We have replaced the eighth article of faith with a new one that says: “We believe the scriptures to be the Word of God as far as they correspond with science; we believe science to be supreme truth on all subjects it chooses to address.” This cannot be. Geology, biology and archaeology cannot be allowed to replace the sure testimony we have of the creation. Psychology cannot be allowed to replace the reality of Christ as our healer. Any doctrine or teaching which denies Christ is not of God. Omitting God is denying God because God has clearly stated that he is the creator and he is the truth, the way, and the light so leaving him out is going against his word.
We need to see the scriptures for what they are—they are not exaggerated stories, and they are notjust stories told by old men who meant well but who were off on the details because they were limited to the scope of the learning of their own cultures. The scriptures are the word of God, told in truth by men who literally talked with him! They were written to warn the nations of the world to believe God and to fear God and to worship only him. The scriptural events happened just as we were taught when we were children. Moses was not just a Hebrew slave born in Egypt who had a limited understanding of time and a limited understanding of the size of the Earth, and of how the history of his people fit into the grand history of the earth. He had a deep understanding of these things because he learned them directly from God! When we realized that everything in the scriptures is literal, then suddenly we realize that we, as part of this great latter-day nation, must repent, or the destruction that has been prophesied will occur. We know that the proud and the learned who will not hearken to their Creator will be cast off forever. We must beware of those who perpetuate the Theology of Science and say there is no God because they have not seen him. These people deliberately discourage others from believing in God, and they do it using every imaginable discipline—history, archaeology, biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, and many other subjects. We must not allow people who live in sin, and therefore have not eyes to see, to lead us, for they will then be “blind leaders of the blind.” We must beware of the fanciful doctrines of Satan—precepts of men so wonderfully mingled with scripture that they appear to be true. We must beware of those who look beyond the mark. They despise plainness, and they “kill” the prophets with their words and their doctrines. God has taken his plainness away from them and has given them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it.
A new generation is being raised up, and to them God will prove all his words, because they believe. God will show them how he changed the times and seasons in order to blind the minds of the proud and the learned, that they would not understand his marvelous workings. (D&C 121: 12) This generation will prove the scriptures to be true, every whit. Fools have mocked the words of Moses and Mormon and Moroni, but they shall mourn. God’s great work will go forth!
I would plead with anyone who has ears to hear that they make the scriptures a more integral part of their education. I would encourage anyone with problems to seek from the Word of God first and only believe other teachings as they compliment the teachings of the prophets. I would encourage students to first read God’s take on every issue before diving into your studies so that you can have the spirit of prophecy and discern between truth and the imaginations of man. Throughout my studies I have had to continue to turn and return to the scriptures to keep my mind from being darkened. Science is wonderful, it is the process of seeking truth in the world around us, but it is not absolute truth, it is not infallible, and it is not the word of God. Search the scriptures specifically on the subjects you are studying and you will be overwhelmingly amazed at the wealth of information.