“The People Had Spread Again Over All the Face of the Land”

Brant Gardner

Archaeological: At about this time period in the Jaredite history we have the transition from the Initial Olmec Period (1200-900 B.C.) to the Intermediate Olmec Period (900-600 B.C.). In the Initial Olmec Period:

“The large Olmec capital of San Lorenzo flourished and collapsed during the Initial Olmec period. San Lorenzo’s hinterland included small villages and hamlets, smaller satellite elite centers, and special-purpose shrines. La Venta, Laguna de los Cerros , and perhaps Tres Zapotes were inhabited at this time, as well, but little is known about these early occupations. Fore reasons still unclear, San Lorenzo entered a period of decline and abandonment prior to 900 B.C.” (Richard A. Diehl and Michael D. Coe. “Olmec Archaeology.” The Olmec World. Ritual and Rulership. The Art museum, Princeton University, 1996, p. 12)

The specifics of the archaeological record do not appear to have a one-to-one correspondence with the named Jaredites cities, but once again it is important to remember that we should not equate the Jaredites with the Olmec as a single entity. As noted earlier, even the Olmec did not likely consider themselves a single, unified, people (Richard A. Diehl and Michael D. Coe. “Olmec Archaeology.” The Olmec World. Ritual and Rulership. The Art Museum, Princeton University, 1996, p.11). What is similar is the emergence of cities from the villages and hamlets, and the beginnings of kingship. We also have the intimation of some ebb and flow in the political power, as the waning of San Lorenzo attests. Even without direct correlations, the overall pattern described for the Jaredites during this time period are well in accord with the patters seen in the archaeological record.

Multidimensional Commentary on the Book of Mormon