In The Cavity of a Rock

In The Cavity of a Rock
Father Lehi

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ancient Mayan Markets and Highways another Bullseye for the Book of Mormon

 student collects soil samples at ancient bustling market site

I've been spending every spare second I've had recently reading my copy of John Sorenson's "An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon". Although this book has been in circulation for years it is still the best place to turn for Book of Mormon archaeology in my eyes. I have been re-reading many of his previous articles at the Maxwell Institute and continue to find insights that for some reason have slipped by me. The most recent piece of evidence and insight that caught my attention was the mention in Helaman 7:10 of both "highways" and "markets". It states:

"And behold it came to pass that it was upon a tower, which was in the garden of Nephi which was by the highway which lead to the chief market, which was in the city of Zarahemla; therefore, Nephi had bowed himself upon the tower which was in his garden, which tower was also near unto the garden gate by which led the highway."

As Sorenson notes, "No one knowledgeable of Pre-Columbian Mexico has had any doubt that markets were found in all sizable settlements. Cortez and his followers were amazed by the market in Tlatelolco in the valley of Mexico, by its diversity of goods, and by the complexity of its organization. Yet until recently, only little attention has been given to the fact that a number of these cities had multiple markets. It has been noted of markets in Monte Alban, Teotihuacan, El Tajin and the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. Apparently Zarahemla was no different."

Avenue of the Dead Teotihuacan
One of the most notable highways that extend to the late pre classic period of the Mayan influence is found in Teotihuacan. It is commonly known as the "avenue of the dead". This city had one of the greatest influences on almost all major Maya cities. As I have noted in older posts there are many interesting points in the city of Teotihuacan that add insights and evidences to what we know of the ancient Nephite and Lamanite cultures. 

Both the markets and highways were once thought of as obvious errors of what Joseph Smith would have known about the ancient inhabitants of America when the Book of Mormon was brought to light. This can only be seen as evidence of its authenticity as everything it proclaims itself to be, especially an ancient record written by the prophets of old on the American continent. 

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