“They Had Dwelt There from That Time Forth”

Alan C. Miner

According to John Sorenson, German scientists have examined nine Egyptian mummies by radioimmunoassay and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Cocaine and hashish were found in all nine and nicotine in eight in the hair, soft tissue, and bones. The specimens dated from approximately 1070 B.C. to A.D. 395. (see S. Balabanova, F. Parshe, and W. Pirsig, "First Identification of Drugs in Egyptian Mummies," Natur Wissenshaften 79/8 (1992): 358.) The presence of those substances in the tissues of the mummies can only mean that the Egyptian royalty were active drug-users. Since coca and tobacco plants are American, the question has now become not just of an Egyptian voyage to America but surely of at least one ship returning, with coca and tobacco seeds aboard, and those plants must have been grown where the pharaohs could utilize them over many centuries. Why those plants have not previously been identified by botanists studying Egyptian crops is a good question in itself. [John L. Sorenson, "New Technology and Ancient Questions (part 2)," in Insights, February 1997, F.A.R.M.S., p. 2]

“Across the Great Waters”

Was a transoceanic journey by Mulek's group feasible? According to an article by Stephen Jett, many of us have been falsely led to believe that Columbus was the first to conceive the idea of a spherical earth, that everybody else up to his time thought the earth was flat. That was not at all the case. In fact, the Greeks and the Chinese had already developed the spherical-earth theory, the Greeks having done so by the sixth century B.C. The Greeks had even developed a system of coordinates to describe locations on the earth, similar to latitude and longitude. As far as navigational abilities, we are not talking about finding tiny specks of land or one particular small harbor. We are talking about sailing across the ocean and hitting a continent. As one sixteenth-century Spanish navigator put it, "The most stupid can go in their embarkations . . . to seek a large country--since if they do not hit one part they will hit another."

The prevailing winds and currents of the globe also have a great deal to do with the possibilities of transoceanic voyaging. Figure 1 points out ocean surface currents. These currents are generated by major prevailing wind systems that are approximately parallel, so if sailors were aware of the existence of these persistent winds and currents, they could locate an appropriate channel and thus greatly facilitate traversing the ocean. In the Atlantic, there is a major current from Africa to the New World that comes down through the Canary Islands and then flows westward to hit the Caribbean region. [Stephen C. Jett, "Before Columbus: The Question of Early Transoceanic Interinfluences," reprinted by F.A.R.M.S. from BYU Studies, 33/2 (1993), pp. 253-4]

Omni 1:16 Across the great waters ([Illustration]): Figure 1. Generalized map of the principal ocean currents: (a) Japan-North Pacific Current; (b) California-North Equatorial Current; (c) Equatorial Countercurrent; (d) Peru-South Equatorial Current; (e) Antarctic Drift; (f) Irminger Current; (g) Gulf Stream-North Atlantic Current; (h) Canaries-North Equatorial Current; (i) Benguela-South Equatorial Current. {Stephen C. Jett, "Before Columbus: The Question of Early Transoceanic Interinfluences, reprinted by F.A.R.M.S. from BYU Studies, 33/2 (1993), p. 255]

Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon: A Cultural Commentary