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North American Metallurgy


bookofmormontruth

North American Metallurgy  

15 members have voted

  1. 1. After researching the below thread, is there enough evidence to prove that metallurgy was in North America?

    • Yes
    • No
    • Possibly
    • Anything related to Meldrum should be discounted automatically
      0


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I promised I would report back on the webinar "Book of Mormon Metallurgy" by Rod Meldrum. Now, before this becomes a Meldrum bashing thread, just move on.

I don't subscribe to any model, I subscribe to any evidence that supports the Book of Mormon. These are general "notes" that I took that you can research on your own if your consider it "worthy" enough to research.

North American Metallurgy:

Gold:

Iron:

"Forges by Indians":

  • My link in regards to "fiery furnace" in 3 Nephi 28:21

"Mighty heaps of earth":

He also showed pictures from his book: This was what was shown in the presentation.

Picture Book:

  • Breast-plate with pearls encrusted
  • Copper mountain goat horn
  • Copper bear or pig effigy
  • Copper 2-headed vultures (Alma 2:38)
  • Copper "spud" for digging
  • Hammered gold flakes
  • Copper and gold pendant
  • Copper cones, beads and medallions
  • Silver ear spool and boss
  • Silver plated copper bracelet
  • Silver bead showing metal plate making capability
  • Copper scroll - thin as a modern day heavy paper
  • Reference to "iron axes"
  • Smelting
  • Iron Age America - 35 iron copper pits in ohio that have never been "officially" investigated
  • Glazing stones
  • Iron ax head surrounded by ceramic mold
  • Brick with copper from copper smelting furnace
  • Reference to lead smelting
  • Swords:
  • Hopewell silver, copper and Iron Sword
  • Referenced in American Antiquarian Society

Also discussed:
Metal Sword vs macuahuiti:

  • Alma 57:3 - "run upon our swords"
  • 2 Nephi 5:14 "many swords"
  • Alma 17:37 - club vs sword
  • Alma 1:9 - "drew his sword"
  • Alma 44:12 - "hilt"
  • Alma 44:13 - "point" of his sword
  • Alma 24:12 - swords become "bright"

IMHO, a lot of the references are "weak", but overall the presentation at least showed that North America, in regards to Metallurgy shouldn't be discounted so quickly.

Sorry didn't know clicking the "public" option would make the votes "public", oh well.

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Thanks for reporting on his webinar, I was curious to see if there was anything new. The only thing that I saw that was not previously known was the sword. If it were authentic, I believe we would have heard about this a long time ago. Is there a reference? Other than that, everything else has been known for a very long time and well published. But, I think it should be realized that headplates, breastplates, axes, etc... are not for war but for ceremonial use. I have read countless articles on the Hopewell and have yet to see one reference to them being used in battle (they were a peaceful people anyway, and lived in such small communities with nothing bigger than a small village. You can't "war" like the BOM requires with such small populations), but were used for status and ceremony.

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I think it should be realized that headplates, breastplates, axes, etc... are not for war but for ceremonial use. I have read countless articles on the Hopewell and have yet to see one reference to them being used in battle (they were a peaceful people anyway, and lived in such small communities with nothing bigger than a small village. You can't "war" like the BOM requires with such small populations), but were used for status and ceremony.

The origin of royal crowns is, as I recall, the helmet warriors wore. As they become more decorated, they became useless for fighting, but they still represent the king's status as "Commander-in-Chief".

I doubt Queen Elizabeth's crown would serve at all for anything but ceremony. I can only imagine how uncomfortable it would be. She rarely wears it, even in public. Most would not recognize it as being the direct descendant of her long-forgotten predecessor's helm.

Lehi

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I will take all the evidence into consideration when it is coming from scientific sources who do not have an agenda to prove something. Then it will have to be peer reviewed to corroborate the findings and evidence. When that is done get back to me. Until then it it all speculation on the part of someone with an agenda.

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Metal Sword vs macuahuiti:

•Alma 17:37 - club vs sword

Clubs are intended for crushing. Macuahuitls are for slashing and cutting. Why go to the trouble of preparing and installing obsidian blades if this was a club?

Makes no sense if one were outfitting an army to do something more expensive and more labour intensive than what was minimally needed. No, function shows that macuahuitls were not clubs.

Furthermore, we have the contemporary testimony of professional men-at-arms, the conquistadors. To claim that they couldn't tell a club from a sword is untenable.

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But there is evidence for the English wearing helmets in war, yet there is none among the Hopewell. Again, the Hopewell were generally a peaceful people and weren't known for wars or battles. They got along with those around them, traded with them, and did not start warring until after the end of The Book of Mormon (even though it was a different society by then). Again, they lived in hamlets and small villages. Even if they were fighting, it would pale in comparison to the numbers mentioned in The Book of Mormon.

"the majority of all Hopewell copper axes shows no signs of use; there are several very large and exceedingly heavy implements of this kind which obviously could not have served functional purposes; copper headdresses and breast plates, no doubt, were used ceremonially." Olaf H. Prufer, "Prehistoric Hopewell Meteorite Collecting: Context and Implications," The Ohio Journal of Science 61/6 (November 1961): 348

The peaceful Hopewell “is founded in the pervasive material evidence for long-distance acquisition and/or exchange of raw materials over the midcontinent by Hopewellian peoples, previously held preconceptions (no largely disconfirmed) of the long distance exchange of finished goods and/or long-distance intermarriage, and the wide spreading of religious ideas, icons, and artistic styles. These things have evoked the picture of strong mechanisms of peaceful interaction and cooperation among neighboring and distant Hopewellian societies…Further supporting the view of peaceful cooperation are various mortuary data. Excavated skeletons from Illinois and Ohio Hopewellian sites almost completely lack embedded projectile points or their markings, parry fractures, or bashed in skulls, in contrast to later Late Woodland and Mississippi skeletons and earlier Archaic ones.”Gathering Hopewell: society, ritual and ritual interaction, 1:324-325 Christopher Carr, Troy Case.

As mentioned, I have read many, many scholarly books and articles on the Hopewell and do not see a connection with The Book of Mormon. One has to really stretch to make any substantive tie between the two cultures.

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Clubs are intended for crushing. Macuahuitls are for slashing and cutting. Why go to the trouble of preparing and installing obsidian blades if this was a club?

Makes no sense if one were outfitting an army to do something more expensive and more labour intensive than what was minimally needed. No, function shows that macuahuitls were not clubs.

Furthermore, we have the contemporary testimony of professional men-at-arms, the conquistadors. To claim that they couldn't tell a club from a sword is untenable.

I understand what you are saying and I agree.

From what I can remember and what I wanted to point out, he wasn't calling the macuahuitl a club, but making the point that the Nephites knew how to distinguish a club from a sword that was also described in having an "edge" in the stated verse. If they could make this distinction then.............. I can't remember what he finished with in the comparison. These were general notes so I apologize.

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I forgot to add this quote:

“The Scioto Hopewell individuals and communities, and their neighbors across the Eastern Woodlands, enjoyed a centuries-long period of peaceful relations among themselves, without bioarchaeological evidence of the kinds of interpersonal and intercommunity violence found in both earlier and later societies in the Scioto and the Woodlands.” The Scioto Hopewell and their neighbors, Troy Case, Christopher Carr page 37

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But there is evidence for the English wearing helmets in war, yet there is none among the Hopewell. Again, the Hopewell were generally a peaceful people and weren't known for wars or battles. They got along with those around them, traded with them, and did not start warring until after the end of The Book of Mormon (even though it was a different society by then). Again, they lived in hamlets and small villages. Even if they were fighting, it would pale in comparison to the numbers mentioned in The Book of Mormon.

"the majority of all Hopewell copper axes shows no signs of use; there are several very large and exceedingly heavy implements of this kind which obviously could not have served functional purposes; copper headdresses and breast plates, no doubt, were used ceremonially." Olaf H. Prufer, "Prehistoric Hopewell Meteorite Collecting: Context and Implications," The Ohio Journal of Science 61/6 (November 1961): 348

The peaceful Hopewell “is founded in the pervasive material evidence for long-distance acquisition and/or exchange of raw materials over the midcontinent by Hopewellian peoples, previously held preconceptions (no largely disconfirmed) of the long distance exchange of finished goods and/or long-distance intermarriage, and the wide spreading of religious ideas, icons, and artistic styles. These things have evoked the picture of strong mechanisms of peaceful interaction and cooperation among neighboring and distant Hopewellian societies…Further supporting the view of peaceful cooperation are various mortuary data. Excavated skeletons from Illinois and Ohio Hopewellian sites almost completely lack embedded projectile points or their markings, parry fractures, or bashed in skulls, in contrast to later Late Woodland and Mississippi skeletons and earlier Archaic ones.”Gathering Hopewell: society, ritual and ritual interaction, 1:324-325 Christopher Carr, Troy Case.

As mentioned, I have read many, many scholarly books and articles on the Hopewell and do not see a connection with The Book of Mormon. One has to really stretch to make any substantive tie between the two cultures.

Excellent post, thanks for sharing.

Recently I was informed that the Incan armor found in Peru were "ceremonial". Yet, the Incan people were warring people and every male was required to participate in at least one war. With that in mind, I have a hard time imaging a non-warring people would want to haul around large axes for "ceremonies".

In regards to the Hopewell, do you feel the Hopewell were incapable to have the technology for metallurgy? The general consensus for the last hundred years is that the Hopewell were unintelligent and lived in huts, basically.

And I also agree, if their numbers are not large - it is difficult to compare them to the Nephites in the large battles. I don't know how you can go around that fact.

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Excellent post, thanks for sharing.

Recently I was informed that the Incan armor found in Peru were "ceremonial". Yet, the Incan people were warring people and every male was required to participate in at least one war. With that in mind, I have a hard time imaging a non-warring people would want to haul around large axes for "ceremonies".

In regards to the Hopewell, do you feel the Hopewell were incapable to have the technology for metallurgy? The general consensus for the last hundred years is that the Hopewell were unintelligent and lived in huts, basically.

And I also agree, if their numbers are not large - it is difficult to compare them to the Nephites in the large battles. I don't know how you can go around that fact.

I should have been more clear. They weren't only used for ceremony, but also used as some sort of status symbol as well. Ear spools, head plates, celts and breast plates were all used for this. Again, no signs of battle associated with these artifacts. Wouldn't be the most comfortable, but who knows how often they actually wore them. In ceremony, it would be only briefly on few occasions. As for the axes, again, no signs of battle associated with these artifacts. It is unknown exactly what they were used for, but many were so small they wouldn't do any significant damage in battle and wouldn't be very plausible.

"Elite artifacts made of fancy raw materials and representing implements used to inflict wounds were common, but whether they functioned in war divination, hunt divination, or the sending or pulling out of spiritual power intrusions by shamanic practitioners is unclear. Moreover, these fancy implements that might have been used in war do not associate in burials or ceremonial deposits with the takings of war—the supposed trophy jaws and skulls mentioned above and effigy human parts. It is possible, however, that the implements were used in spiritual-level fighting and the sending of power intrusions among the individual, shaman-like practitioners of a certain kind, rather than as ritual paraphernalia in actual physical warfare among communities at large.” Gathering Hopewell: society, ritual and ritual interaction, 1:324-325 Christopher Carr, Troy Case.

As for the Hopewell, I don't see any reason to claim they were unintelligent, but they did live in huts. That doesn't have any affect on their intelligence, but it is a fact.

I just found this on the "copper scrolls":

“When copper was traded out of that area, it was usually hammered into thin sheets that varied from 4” to 10” in diameter. Once they reached their destination, these thin sheets were used to cover wooden ear spools, or for making pendants and other ornaments.” “Town Creek Indian Mound: a Native American legacy; Joffre Lanning Coe, Thomas D. Burke, pg 237

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Couple of thoughts. First, I'd be careful about use of the term metallurgy, which properly refers to the science and technology of metals, whereas metalworking is the crafting of objects out of metal.

Second, is there strong evidence for metalworking in North America during various time periods? Yes. Different Moundbuilder groups manufactured a variety of metal objects from native, unsmelted copper, silver, and even meteoric iron. Credible evidence for ore smelting in North America has yet to emerge. I think I've posted this before, but I highly recommend Wonderful Power, a recent book-length synthesis of prehistoric North American metalworking technology.

I have personally recommended this book to Rod Meldrum, and explained why much of the evidence he cites is problematic. He is not interested in the book or understanding why his evidence is not credible.

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Couple of thoughts. First, I'd be careful about use of the term metallurgy, which properly refers to the science and technology of metals, whereas metalworking is the crafting of objects out of metal.

Second, is there strong evidence for metalworking in North America during various time periods? Yes. Different Moundbuilder groups manufactured a variety of metal objects from native, unsmelted copper, silver, and even meteoric iron. Credible evidence for ore smelting in North America has yet to emerge. I think I've posted this before, but I highly recommend Wonderful Power, a recent book-length synthesis of prehistoric North American metalworking technology.

I have personally recommended this book to Rod Meldrum, and explained why much of the evidence he cites is problematic. He is not interested in the book or understanding why his evidence is not credible.

Do you feel that our 21st century view of metallurgy distorts what metallurgy truly was to the ancients?

Yes, it is a science and technology of metals, but it is also (namely extractive metallurgy) the practice of removing valuable metals from an ore and refining the extracted raw metals into a purer form. In order to convert a metaloxide or sulfied to a purer metal, the ore must be reduced physically, chemically, or electrolytically.

Granted the ancients were not doing this "chemically" or "electrolytically" that we know of, but physically we know Nephi did this with simply using "bellows" from the "skins of animals".

So following Nephi's example. He mined, smelted (extractive metallurgy) and possibly refined (at least the people of Nephi did this and they had to learn it from somewhere) metals which all fall under "metallurgy", the science and technology.

Here are a few examples of how "easy" metallurgy could have been to the ancients. Just imagine Nephi being the example. Even if you disagree what I am saying because I am far from an "expert", but these are truly wonderful videos to view, trust me.

  • Making a bellow. 1 Nephi: 17:11
    (can't you imagine Nephi doing this and making Laman and Lemuel compress the bellows? rofl.gif
  • How to make a tiny bloomery. My link
  • Making steel from dirt.
  • Smelting steel.
  • Smelting iron from iron ore.

After watching these videos, metallurgy is simplified for anyone to do including the ancients. Also Including Nephi and the Hopewell Indians.

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A quote from the Smithsonian Statement on the BOM may shed some light on the discusson regarding Nephi's swords:

5. Iron, steel, glass, and silk were not used in the New World before 1492 (except for occasional use of unsmelted meteoric iron). Native copper was worked in various locations in pre-Columbian times, but true metallurgy was limited to southern Mexico and the Andean region, where its occurrence in late prehistoric times involved gold, silver, copper, and their alloys, but not iron.
emphasis mine

So, iron was available as meteoric iron, which does not involved extensive mining and processing.

Now let's see what the BOM says about iron:

Mosiah 11:8 ....king Noah built many elegant and spacious buildings; and he ornamented them with fine work of wood, and of all manner of precious things, of gold, and of silver, and of iron, and of brass, and of ziff, and of copper;

So, around 120 BCE, iron was listed among the precious things, including gold and silver.

Nephi made many swords, but let's take into consideration that this shortly after they arrived, and their small group was divided between the Nephites and Lamanites. So how many Nephites were of fighting age? Thousands, hundreds, or perhaps a few dozen. At that scale, the iron was indeed abundant for the needs of a small population, but was pretty much worked out by the time of Mosiah to the point that it was a precious metal.

I have not read all of the posts on the subject, so I suspect that this has already been mentioned. So I apologize for the duplication.

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A quote from the Smithsonian Statement on the BOM may shed some light on the discusson regarding Nephi's swords:

emphasis mine

So, iron was available as meteoric iron, which does not involved extensive mining and processing.

Now let's see what the BOM says about iron:

Mosiah 11:8 ....king Noah built many elegant and spacious buildings; and he ornamented them with fine work of wood, and of all manner of precious things, of gold, and of silver, and of iron, and of brass, and of ziff, and of copper;

So, around 120 BCE, iron was listed among the precious things, including gold and silver.

Nephi made many swords, but let's take into consideration that this shortly after they arrived, and their small group was divided between the Nephites and Lamanites. So how many Nephites were of fighting age? Thousands, hundreds, or perhaps a few dozen. At that scale, the iron was indeed abundant for the needs of a small population, but was pretty much worked out by the time of Mosiah to the point that it was a precious metal.

I have not read all of the posts on the subject, so I suspect that this has already been mentioned. So I apologize for the duplication.

Correct me if I am wrong, but are you saying that there weren't steel swords because iron was "precious" by 120 BC? So hence maybe the macuahuitls came onto the scene? Can we conclude "precious" meant they were limited to it or was in limitation?

I would respectably and completely disagree with that, especially in regards to Nephi's description that "precious ores" were in "great abundance" found in 2 Nephi 5:15. Precious, in this context just means "of great value" - not "limited".

Were the Jaredites also "limited" for they also had swords and worked with metals.

In regards to the outdated Smithsonian statement:

First, please see above post to see how metallurgy truly is made "easy", even for the ancients.

The biggest discovery for metallurgy is the lead smelting in Indiana by the Hopewell or people with "slanted eyes" (according to the figurines found). Lead Smelting The Smithsonian's statement and history books will now have to be revised with this discovery!

Here is also the Mexico furnace. Furnace and Picture. Look at the pictures. It looks like a needle in a haystack to find something like this. Some claim copper pits have been found (over 35 of them in Ohio), but can anyone verify or refute their claim that they have never been "investigated"? And if they have never been investigated, why the heck not?

And according to this: Forges were used by the Cherokee.

"Last, but greatest in importance, are the ores of Cherokee. The region of the Valley river seems to be the culmination of the mineral wealth of the Alleghanies. Gold, silver, marble, limestone, and sandstone are associated with massive beds of brown ore, which yields an iron already celebrated for its malleability and strength. The breadth of the iron and marble range is from two to more than three miles, and occupies the bottom of a trough which has been scooped out by the streams. The direct valley range is about 24 miles in length, and there is a branch more than six miles long, which follows Peach Tree and Brasstown creeks, making the whole iron range upwards of 30 miles. The ores were used in forges by the Indians, and have always since been used by the country blacksmiths in preference to the manufactured iron." (1883. Zeigler, Wilbur and Ben Grosscup. In the Heart of the Alleghanies..., p. 208, 209.)

I know the Smithsonian is the "gold standard" rolleyes.gif of all research, but after their statement on the Book of Mormon, I seriously questioned why the heck they even had to come out with a statement despite numerous inquiries. We, who know the Book of Mormon is true will adamantly disagree with them. Anyway, that is a different thread.

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I have seen these before, but you and I know - no one will take these seriously because they were found by a "farmer" or the "software engineer" who made the website.

But of course. The iron weapons found by farmers in Western New York similarly fall into the same fate.

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Possibly. Anything is possible.

Bottom line: Goes to show that we have only scratched the surface in the evidence of the Book of Mormon and evidence for any ancient civilization.

I absolutely think it's possible. Joseph said the Jaredites were all over N. America, in addition to further south. They had a loooong time to branch out.

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bookofmormontruth, I think it is wonderful that you are looking for evidences all across the Americas, and not limiting it any area. Your open mindedness is a breath of fresh air. It is good to have someone who is not bias to any theory look for evidence across the entire continent, which will help in discovering the area where The Book of Mormon took place.

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Do you feel that our 21st century view of metallurgy distorts what metallurgy truly was to the ancients?

Yes, it is a science and technology of metals, but it is also (namely extractive metallurgy) the practice of removing valuable metals from an ore and refining the extracted raw metals into a purer form. In order to convert a metaloxide or sulfied to a purer metal, the ore must be reduced physically, chemically, or electrolytically.

Granted the ancients were not doing this "chemically" or "electrolytically" that we know of, but physically we know Nephi did this with simply using "bellows" from the "skins of animals".

So following Nephi's example. He mined, smelted (extractive metallurgy) and possibly refined (at least the people of Nephi did this and they had to learn it from somewhere) metals which all fall under "metallurgy", the science and technology.

Here are a few examples of how "easy" metallurgy could have been to the ancients. Just imagine Nephi being the example. Even if you disagree what I am saying because I am far from an "expert", but these are truly wonderful videos to view, trust me.

  • Making a bellow. 1 Nephi: 17:11
    (can't you imagine Nephi doing this and making Laman and Lemuel compress the bellows? rofl.gif
  • How to make a tiny bloomery. My link
  • Making steel from dirt.
  • Smelting steel.
  • Smelting iron from iron ore.

After watching these videos, metallurgy is simplified for anyone to do including the ancients. Also Including Nephi and the Hopewell Indians.

I'm still not sure what you mean when you say "Evidence for metallurgy in North America." Are you suggesting that there is evidence for mining, smelting, and refining metals in North America? If so, I would be very interested in seeing that evidence. While the Mann Hopewell site is very important and interesting, the evidence for lead smelting given in the NPR article you linked to consists of the following statement:

But there may be an even more remarkable discovery — one that could rewrite history books. Linderman says scientists are starting tests on what looks like evidence of lead smelting, a practice that, until now, was only seen in North America after the arrival of the French, 1,000 years after the Hopewell Tradition.

Lead smelting is just one of the many questions archaeologists will be targeting in upcoming digs that they hope will clear up at least a few of the Mann Hopewell Site's — and American prehistory's — mysteries.

I await the results of these studies with anticipation, but at this point, all we know is that an investigation into lead smelting has been initiated at this site.

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I voted no. I assumed the poll meant during the same time period for the Book of Mormon. I based my no vote on there is a lot of evidence for metal work but none that I know for smelting. I know the Hopewell and Adena culture and in some aspect the Clovis had only cold hammered artifacts.

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