As archaeology gets more high-tech, we seem to be finding more and more about the ancient inhabitants of America.
I’m fascinated to hear about discoveries of the ancient civilizations who lived right here on the American continent. I don’t remember hearing much about great civilizations the built temples and cities. I only heard about the native Americans who lived in teepees and moved around with the seasons to get food.
Recently a friend posted an article about a lost North American medieval city, Cahokia, which was bigger than Paris. It is located in East St. Louis, in Southern Illinois.
Artist’s recreation of downtown Cahokia, with Monk’s Mound at its center.
At the city’s apex in 1050, the population exploded to as many as 30,000 people. It was the largest pre-Columbian city in what became the United States, bigger than London or Paris at the time. How cool is that? A huge civilization that we know virtually nothing about.
It’s not next to Palmyra, NY, where Joseph Smith was given the gold plates, a record of ancient inhabitants, but it sheds light on a population that was here for which we do not have much information.
I have personally traveled to the Ocmulgee national monument in Macon, GA several times. I’ve walked to the top of the grand temple mound and have gone around to the other mounds. It is worth the visit. These people disappeared around 900 AD to the best of our knowledge.
These temple mounds are similar to other mounds found in Mississippi, Ohio, and elsewhere in the USA. They are also similar to Mayan temples in Central America. In Macon, GA, they found bows and arrows which were used for hunting and wars. Deep trenches were excavated around the city possibly for defense. It’s amazing to think how many people it would take to carry dirt by hand to build these mounds. This was a large civilization that engaged in commerce, war, metal work, and farming 2,000-3,000 years ago.
National Geographic recently did a video and article on a huge Mayan find in Guatemala where they found more than 60,000 previously unknown Mayan structures, part of a vast network of cities, fortifications, farms and highways. Source
So what does this all mean for the Book of Mormon? For almost 200 years, critics have scoffed at the idea that there was a large civilization in the Americas. More and more, we are finding out that there indeed were more people living here than we had previously known. But at the end of the day, that isn’t going to convince anyone of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. That will always come personally, as someone earnestly reads it, and turns to God and asks with sincerity and real intent if it is true.
I can tell you my witness has been that this Book is ancient, it is written by prophets, and it came to us just as Joseph Smith said, from an angel of God, translated by the gift and power of God. There is no other explanation. It rings true from start to finish. I read from it every day and I am continually taking notes and learning new things.
Here is a 60-second explanation:
Recently The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released new videos depicting The Book of Mormon. They give you a good idea of what the book is all about. We’ve enjoyed watching these as a family. It brings to life these ancient prophets and helps one visualize what it might have been like in 600 BC.
My hope is with all of these ancient findings, at least there can be one more thing we can check off the list that the critics point to saying the book cannot be true. For me, I’m seeing evidence everywhere to back up the claims of the Book of Mormon. But come what may, my faith is in the writings of the book, not in the things archaeologists are digging up.