Thursday, December 29, 2016

Big Picture Thinking

A new book is coming out soon from the University of Pennsylvania Press. Entitled The Origin of Maya States, it looks at Maya city state polities in the preclassic, beginning at ca. 1,000 BC. Contributors include LDS archaeologists John E. Clark from BYU and Richard D. Hansen from the University of Utah. The book, following standard practice in the discipline, divides the Maya area into 3 distinct cultural areas:
  • Pacific Coast
  • Highlands
  • Lowlands
If we assume that the dividing line between the Book of Mormon lands northward and southward is the Coatzacoalcos River (a boundary that many serious students of the text support) then the Maya area is roughly coterminous with the Book of Mormon land southward. And what do we find in the Book of Mormon during Nephite (preclassic) times? 3 distinct cultural areas:
  • Land of First Inheritance
  • Greater land of Nephi
  • Greater land of Zarahemla sharing a fluid border with land Bountiful
Mapping everything out according to our Book of Mormon Lands Map January 2016 correlation, we find that the latest scholarship nicely validates our model.
Maya Area with Proposed Book of Mormon Correlations
More details are in the article "Test #3 Cultural Boundaries."