Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Water Fight on the River - Round One.

1. Question. What was the nature of the Jaredite - Mulekite relationship? Did the Mulekites settle among the Jaredites (Olmec)? Or did the Mulekites establish Zarahemla on the periphery of Jaredite culture? See the article "Asking the Right Questions" in this blog.

1. Answer. The Mulekites did not establish Zarahemla among the Jaredites. They lived on the margins of and somewhat isolated from the strong influence of the Jaredite culture core.
1. Exhibits. We created a database of 69 known Olmec sites. Our sources included works from Bruce R. Bachand, Elizabeth P. Benson, John E. Clark, Michael D. Coe, Miguel Covarrubias ("the last of the Olmecs"), Kent V. Flannery, David C. Grove, Gareth W. Lowe, Carlos Navarrete, Robert J. Sharer, and the venerable Matthew W. Stirling. We will superimpose this data on our base map of the two rivers and determine whether there is a significant difference in the amount of Olmec influence in the Mezcalapa-Grijalva and the Usumacinta River drainage basins.
69 Olmec or Olmec-influenced Sites.
Zoomed-in view of Olmec sites within the Mezcalapa-Grijalva
and the Usumacinta River Basins.

1. Conclusion. 28 of the 69 known Olmec sites in our sample were within the Mezcalapa-Grijalva drainage basin and some of them such as Mirador Plumajillo were very important. They include the famous La Venta that many have called the "Olmec capital." Note that the Mezcalapa-Grijalva river in book of Mormon times flowed past La Venta where the Tonala River runs today. See the article "Wandering River." Olmec sites also include Chiapa de Corzo that recent excavations directed by Bruce R. Bachand of BYU-NWAF show was a powerful Olmec - Zoque regional center in the 700 BC - 400 BC time frame. Only 4 of the 69 known Olmec sites in our sample were within the Usumacinta drainage basin, and all 4 of them were relatively minor in the Olmec world. The Usumacinta River best fits the data for this criterion.

1. Running Score. Mezcalapa-Grijalva 0. Usumacinta 1.