Book of Mormon/Anachronisms/Metals/Iron

Iron in the Book of Mormon


Question: What was known about iron in ancient America?

Iron is documented among the pre-Columbian peoples: They used exposed iron sources or meteorite iron

Iron is documented among the pre-Columbian peoples. Even if they did not practice smelting (extracting iron from ore), they used exposed iron sources or meteorite iron. Production of iron artifacts from such sources is documented in San Jose Mogote by 1200 B.C.[1] Several tons of Olmec-era iron artifacts are known:[2] "the Olmec were a sophisticated people who possessed advanced knowledge and skill in working iron ore minerals."[3] Mesoamerica did use quite a bit of iron ore, but much of it was used without smelting, establishing a cultural/religious connotation that would have retarded experimentation with the ore for any other purpose (ascription of religious value to any physical artifact delays changes in that artifact).


Sorenson: "Iron use was documented in the statements of early Spaniards, who told of the Aztecs using iron-studded clubs"

John L. Sorenson:[4]

Iron use was documented in the statements of early Spaniards, who told of the Aztecs using iron-studded clubs. [5] A number of artifacts have been preserved that are unquestionably of iron; their considerable sophistication, in some cases, at least suggests interest in this metal [6]....Few of these specimens have been chemically analyzed to determine whether the iron used was from meteors or from smelted ore. The possibility that smelted iron either has been or may yet be found is enhanced by a find at Teotihuacan. A pottery vessel dating to about A.D. 300, and apparently used for smelting, contained a "metallic-looking" mass. Analyzed chemically, it proved to contain copper and iron. [7]


Sorenson: "Lumps of hematite, magnetite, and ilmenite were brought into Valley of Oaxaca"

John L. Sorenson:

Without even considering smelted iron, we find that peoples in Mesoamerica exploited iron minerals from early times. Lumps of hematite, magnetite, and ilmenite were brought into Valley of Oaxaca sites from some of the thirty-six ore exposures located near or in the valley. These were carried to a workshop section within the site of San Jose Mogote as early as 1200 B.C. There they were crafted into mirrors by sticking the fragments onto prepared mirror backs and polishing the surface highly. These objects, clearly of high value, were traded at considerable distances.[8]

See FairMormon Evidence:
More evidence related to the use of iron in the Book of Mormon


Notes

  1. 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]), 285.
  2. Richard A. Diehl, The Olmecs: America's First Civilization (Thames & Hudson, 2004), 93–94. FairMormon link
  3. John B. Carlson, "Lodestone Compass: Chinese or Olmec Primacy? Multidisciplinary Analysis of an Olmec Hematite Artifact from San Lorenzo, Veracruz, Mexico," Science 189, No. 4205 (5 September 1975): 753-760.
  4. 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]), 284.
  5. H.H. Bancroft, The Native Races (of the Pacific States), vol. 2 (San Francisco: A. L. Bancroft and Co., 1882), pp. 407-8.
  6. Rene Rebetez, Objetos Prehispanicos de Hierro Y Piedra (Mexico: Libreria Anticuaria, n.d.).
  7. Sigvald Linne, Mexican Highland Cultures, Ethnographical Museum of Sweden, Publication 7, n.s. (Stockholm, 1942), p. 132.
  8. 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]), 285.