Tour Ancient America
In the early 1990s, author Duane Aston traveled over 5,000 miles along back country roads, over hills and valleys of western NY and surrounding areas, taking weeks to camp along the way. The purpose was to investigate points of local geography that he felt might give insight into what he saw as formerly ancient Book of Mormon lands. Presented here are a few examples of his extensive slide collection, accompanied with thumbnail sketches of his explanations. Interested readers are referred to the front cover and back cover maps of his book, Return To Cumorah.
Grand River, Southern Ontario, Canada
This major river flows north to south, eventually emptying into Lake Erie. Anciently many Indian settlements were located along the length of this river. This river cuts across the Narrow Neck of Land that exists westward from the Niagara River. This small neck of land is about 25 miles across.
Grimsby Beach, Southern Ontario, Canada
Not far from the city of Hamilton, this point gives a view of the Sea West mentioned in the Book of Mormon, not to be confused with other references to a West Sea, Lake Erie. From here one can look across Lake Ontario back to the area of the Niagara Falls.
The word Niagara is a Mohawk Indian word that meant "Small Neck," as in neck of land. The Niagara Falls are formed by the Niagara River, being a "place where the sea (Lake Erie water) divides the land" mentioned in the Book of Ether. These great falls can be seen as the Jaredite "waters of Ripliancum,"that are interpreted as "large, to exceed all."
A painting derived from a photograph of Hill Cumorah, dated in the 1920s. Located about 25 miles south of a Sea East (Lake Ontario), the Hill Cumorah (on Route 21) can be seen as the place where both the Jaredite and the Nephite armies fought their last battles. The Hill Cumorah can be seen as the starting place from which to identify the geography of The Book of Mormon.
A scene from inside the Sacred Grove in 1980. Many of the large hardwood trees in this grove date back to the time of the Prophet Joseph Smith. For decades the Grove was used for meeting places where religious services were held. Heavy foot traffic in the grove has been eliminated to preserve the Grove’s natural environment.