Question: How do current Mesoamerican limited geographical theories fit with the existing data?

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Question: How do current Mesoamerican limited geographical theories fit with the existing data?

The question is: How does this compare to what little is known about the Preclassic Maya?

It has long been postulated that the Book of Mormon occurred within a specific, limited geographical area on the order of hundreds of square miles. The question is: How does this compare to what little is known about the Preclassic Maya?

Dr. John L. Sorenson, in his 1985 book An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, created a model in which he postulated a correlation between certain Book of Mormon locations and the geography in the area centered around the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Dr. Sorenson assumed a correlation between the ancient ruin of Kaminaljuyu (near Guatemala City) and the city of Nephi, with the surrounding land being the Land of Nephi.[1]:47 This would represent the location first settled by Lehi's party when they first arrived in the New World. Assuming, as the limited geography theory requires, that Lehi's group arrived in a land already populated, it is not unreasonable to assume that Lehi's group introduced a higher level of culture to the native inhabitants of the area. Dr. Sorenson notes,

Within this first century B.C., probably between 50 and 25 B.C., culture traits and perhaps migrating parties moved from central Chiapas to a number of distant spots. Specific evidence shows Chiapas' influence in the Maya lowland centers of Tikal and Altar de Sacrificios, the Oaxaca Valley, Tlapacoya at the south edge of the valley of Mexico, and central Veracruz. From a localized culture a hundred years before, the Chiapas pattern had temporarily become something of a model with widespread influence.

The valley of Guatemala flourished at the same time. The giant site of Kaminaljuyu was clearly the center. Roughly between 100 and 50 B.C., dramatic social differences arose there also...[1]:124

When we read the Book of Mormon story to discover that culture, we find interesting ways in which the descendants from Lehi's party plausibly relate to the Second Tradition and could even have been a catalyst in its origin.[1]:125

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City, Utah : Deseret Book Co. ; Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1996 [1985]).. Sorenson states, "The city of Nephi was probably the archaeological site of Kaminaljuyu, which is now incorporated within suburban Guatemala City; the land of Nephi in the broader sense constituted the highlands of southern Guatemala."