Mesoamerica and the Book of Mormon Compared
The archaeological evidence given here is greatly simplified. However, it is a fair representation of the available archaeological record.
Jaredites Arrive-First Pottery Appears
Based on Old World evidence, the Jaredites arrived in the New World sometime between 2500 and 2200 B.C. as an already civilized people (see Simmons 1986:24-26). We know that they were settled village farmers with flocks and herds and brought the knowledge of pottery making with them from the Old World.
Looking to the first appearance of pottery in Mesoamerica we find a type of pottery called Pox identified at Puerto Marquez on the Pacific coast near Acapulco. This pottery has been dated about 2300 B.C. (Brush 1965). Very similar pottery has also been found in the Tehuacan Valley southeast of Mexico City and given a similar date (MacNeish et. al. 1970:21-25). Thus, from the present evidence, we can safely say that pottery began to appear in Mesoamerica sometime between 2500 and 2200 B.C.
Chapter one of the book of Ether gives the Jaredite genealogy. In the middle of this genealogy there are four successive righteous men in the king line-Levi, Corom, Kish and Lib. An analysis of the genealogy indicates that we are probably dealing with the 1400-200 B.C. time period. The poisonous serpents are finally destroyed during the days of Lib, and the vast southern area is now opened for hunting and trade. Moroni enumerates the signs of their material prosperity and closes by saying, "And never could be a people more blessed than were they, and more prospered by the hand of the Lord" (Ether 4:78). We can only conclude that this is the cultural highpoint of the Jaredite history.
This period of time represented by the four kings ending with Lib is the longest time of righteousness in the Jaredite record. From this point on, a series of unrighteous leaders begin a spiritual decline which is ultimately reflected in the destruction of the Jaredite nation. This destruction must have occurred around 200 B.C. This date is supported by two factors-the genealogy of the kings in the land of Zarahernla and the condition of the breastplates, swords and bones found by the search party of King Limhi just before 121 B.C.