Sunday, March 3, 2019

LiDAR Survey Sheds Even More Light on Book of Mormon Authenticity

For decades, critics of the Book of Mormon have made the evidence-free claim that “all” the ruins we could find in Mesoamerica have already been discovered and that nothing resembling a Book of Mormon-like civilization could have existed, does now exist, or would ever be found. Furthermore, the idea of large fortifications and centuries of large-scale warfare just weren’t evident in the archaeological record the way the Book of Mormon says.

National Geographic and the PACUNAM LiDAR Initiative, likely unwittingly, beg to differ with that assessment. 
In February 2018, National Geographic broke the story of the PACUNAM LiDAR Initiative, a sweeping aerial survey of some 800 square miles (2,100 square kilometers) of the Maya Biosphere Reserve in northern Guatemala. Using revolutionary laser technology, the survey revealed the long-hidden ruins of a sprawling pre-Columbian civilization that was far more complex and interconnected than most Maya specialists had supposed.
How very wrong these critics were. We haven’t discovered a tenth of what is yet to be found. And I am confident that, within my lifetime, someone will finally find a written record of something or someone in Mayan history that directly references an event, person, place, or thing from the Book of Mormon.
Archaeologists guided by laser images of a remote region of northern Guatemala have discovered 20-foot-high walls, watchtowers, and other evidence that ancient Maya societies waged large-scale warfare over many years. The finds have upended long-established impressions of a civilization that tamed the jungle and built thriving cities, then declined and disappeared beneath the dense tropical forest.

Among the most startling discoveries was a large fortress complex now called La Cuernavilla. Built on a steep ridge between the Maya cities of El Zotz and Tikal, the heavily fortified site included high walls, moats, watchtowers, and caches of round stones that likely served as ammunition for warriors’ slings. It is the largest defensive system ever discovered in the region, “and possibly in all of the ancient Americas,” says Stephen Houston, a Brown University archaeologist and Maya scholar.

As a side note, I love the symbolic completeness of how these new discoveries are coming to “light”. It’s literally a tightly coherent light from the heavens cutting through the obscurity of the forest canopy and revealing truths hidden underneath. Isn’t that how the truth about God is always obtained? Through revelatory light from Heaven? And could it be that God has just a bit of a sense of humor in how we are coming to these new scientific truths?

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