Book of Mormon/Anachronisms/Cement
Is the Book of Mormon's mention of "cement" an anachronism?
It is claimed that the Nephites in the land northward building out of cement in Helaman 3:7-11 (circa 47 B.C.) is not valid. As John L. Smith put the claim, "There is zero archaeological evidence that any kind of cement existed in the Americas prior to modern times" (Smith, 8).
To see citations to the critical sources for these claims, click here
Cement is not anachronistic. The Book of Mormon places it in exactly the right spot and time period for Mesoamerican use of this building material.
However, composing attacks based on an 'absence of evidence' backfires. In fact, there is excellent evidence for the use of cement in Mesoamerica:
- Once thought to be anachronistic, references to "cement" in the Book of Mormon (Helaman 3:7,9,11) can be seen today as further evidence of the authenticity of the text. This is because today the presence of expert cement technology in pre-Hispanic America is a well-established archaeological fact. "American technology in the manufacture of cement, its mixing and placement two thousand years ago, paralleled that of the Greeks and the Romans during the same period" notes structural engineer, David Hyman, in a recent study devoted to the use of cement in Pre-Columbian Mexico. The earliest known sample of such cement dates to the first century A.D. and is a "fully developed product." Known samples of Mesoamerican cement work show signs of remarkable skill and sophistication. "Technology in the manufacturing of calcareous cements in Middle America [were] equal to any in the world at the advent of the Christian Era." For example, concrete floor slabs at Teotihuacan that date to about this time exceed many present-day building requirements. While the earliest known samples are from the first century A.D., scholars believe that "their degree of perfection could not have been instantaneously created, but rather would have required a considerable period of development" before then. Hyman asks, "Were these materials invented by indigenous unnamed people far preceding the occupation of Teotihuacan, or were they introduced by an exotic culture." In its references to "cement," the Book of Mormon anticipates what has now been well established.