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A niche in time


poulsenll

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A niche in time

Niche - from Middle French, from nicher to nest (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/niche)

Olmec -- 1500 BCE to about 400 BCE (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olmec)

A Niche in time -- about 400 BCE to 250 AD

Maya -- 250 AD to 900 AD (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_civilization)

Although the above dates are approximate, they indicate a period of about 850 years when no dominate culture was present in Mesoamerica. A time during which a relatively small group of people might found a culture, archeologically indistinct from the other small and developing cultures of that period. Such a culture could exist and then disappear due to some unrecognized catastrophe.

It is precisely in this niche in time that we find the Nephite culture described in the Book of Mormon.

If Joseph Smith or anyone else at that time had written the Book of Mormon, how did they know to pick precisely this time period. The archeology had not even been studied at that time. Sure it was known that the ruins of ancient cultures had been discovered but no dating was available.

But this is exactly the time period of the Nephite culture described in the text of the Book of Mormon. The Nephite culture had is beginning when Lehi and his family left the old world about 600 BCE and ended with the catastrophic battle at Cumorah around 385 AD.

Archeologists are just now starting to take an interest in this time period but it is not likely that they will find anything definitive about the Nephite culture. This is due to the custom of later cultures to either destroy the remains of previous cultures or build over them in such a way that it is hard to distinguish where one culture ends and another begins. In addition our modern culture is doing its share of destroying ancient sites by building cities and covering others by building dams, forming artificial lakes which cover much of the land near the waterways favored by ancient cultures because of the availability of water and fertile land.

However hope springs eternal and one never knows what might come up in the future.

Larry P

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While reading your post, I first thought that if Nephite culture was the only culture in Mesoamaerica in the given time period, people would have found evidence of their existence (the first Nephite temple comes to mind, or Moroni's forts and fortified cities). Later in your post, however, you preemt this possibility by presupposing that all the evidence has been destroyed by later cultures anyway. This makes your hypothesis untestable by definition. How, then, do you want to convince anyone that the BoM time frame is anything but a coincidence?

Also, how does this relate to the current apologetic idea of supposing BoM cultures were drowned out by the "others" (at least genetically)?

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Olmec -- 1500 BCE to about 400 BCE (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olmec)

A Niche in time -- about 400 BCE to 250 AD

Maya -- 250 AD to 900 AD (http://en.wikipedia....ya_civilization)

Although the above dates are approximate, they indicate a period of about 850 years when no dominate culture was present in Mesoamerica.

While the dates are correct, the conclusion is not. The Maya dates are for the Classic, and there was a long Preclassic that is now showing more Classic traits than once thought. In this nice of time, there is the rise of Teotihuacan (starting around the birth of Christ). They were certainly increasing in dominance prior to 250AD, though their advance into the Maya area was later than that.

The next question is whether there is any validity to a generic statement about a "dominant culture" in Mesoamerica. There were widely shared traits, but it seems to be a mistake to link them to any kind of unified people. The Olmec represent a gross set of cultural elements, but it is unlikely that there was any political structure that followed the spread of those cultural elements.

In the Maya area from 400 BCE to AD250 there were Maya. Prior to 400 BCE, there were Maya and some contact with Olmecoid peoples, but the region was dont dominated by the Olmec.

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I agree with Larry that a lot of the evidence of a Nephite civilization has probably been swallowed up by the following civilizations but I do believe that there is still evidence to be found and I "Believe" there will be much more found in the future. Sites like Lamanai in Belize mystify me because it seems like the Spaniards influence never really reached that region thus no change in the name of the city. These small coincodences will eventually start adding up in the near future and will bring much more to light. Like stated in the Journey of Faith, The New World DVD, out of the 200,000 current ruins sights known in Central America only 300 are currently being surveyed by archeologists. The signs and proof will be their for the taking.

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Exactly? Isn't an overlap of about 200 years on one end and over 100 years on the other end fairly significant?

The first 200 years may or may not be significanr. If one accepts the Sorenson model, then untill Mosiah moved to the land of Zarahemla, the Nephites would have been well seperated from the Olmec heartland.

For the last hundred years the overlap may be very significant. Brant Gardner has suggested that the Gadianton robbers, described as significant in the destruction of the Nephites, were probably the warrior clans from Teotihuacan. There is good archeological evidence that these clans had already started to infiltrate the Maya culture during this time period. Teotihuacan pochteca (traders) had been trading with the Maya area for some time but were now being followed by the warrior clans who were apparently setting up puppet rulers in several of the Maya centers.

Larry P

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