Weapons and War

Reconstruction of Sword of Laban based on the Vered Jericho sword, also made of steel circa 600 BC. See Sword of Laban.
The Vered Jericho sword and how it would have looked new. It is the earliest Israelite steel sword found to date.

1 Nephi 4
9 And I beheld his sword, and I drew it forth from the sheath thereof; and the hilt thereof was of pure gold, and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine, and I saw that the blade thereof was of the most precious steel.

2 Nephi 5
14 And I, Nephi, did take the sword of Laban, and after the manner of it did make many swords, lest by any means the people who were now called Lamanites should come upon us and destroy us; for I knew their hatred towards me and my children and those who were called my people.

Jacob 1
10 The people having loved Nephi exceedingly, he having been a great protector for them, having wielded the sword of Laban in their defence, and having labored in all his days for their welfare–

Mosiah 1
16 And moreover, he also gave him charge concerning the records which were engraven on the plates of brass; and also the plates of Nephi; and also, the sword of Laban, and the ball or director, which led our fathers through the wilderness, which was prepared by the hand of the Lord that thereby they might be led, every one according to the heed and diligence which they gave unto him.

Words of Mormon 13
13 And it came to pass also that the armies of the Lamanites came down out of the land of Nephi, to battle against his people. But behold, king Benjamin gathered together his armies, and he did stand against them; and he did fight with the strength of his own arm, with the sword of Laban.

Copper armshield found near Nauvoo, Illinois. (Daniel Lawson collection)
Front to back piece of head-plate armor.
Additional pieces of head-plate armor. Gromments are for leather or cloth fabric. Bottom pieces are ear and chin guards.
This head-plate includes the side pieces. The top has tabs for connection leather or fabric no longer extent.
Burial showing the remains of the head-plate armor on top and the breast-plate armor on the bottom left.
Skull with top plate of head-plate armor placed on top of it.
A copper breastplate. The two holes are presumably for a cord or rope attachement.
Copper breastplate. The holes are design to sinch a cord tightly to hold the breastplate in place.
Hasty mass burials have been found in many mounds in North America.
Burial mound (Ohio)

Antiquities of the State of New York, E. G. Squier, M. A., 1851
In excavating the canal through the bank bordering the flats, perhaps thirty rods south of the fort, another burial-place was disclosed, evidently more ancient, for the bones crumbled to pieces almost immediately upon exposure to the air, and the deposits were far more numerous than in that near the river. The number of skeletons are represented to have been countless, and the dead had been buried in a sitting posture. (p 144)

One of these pits discovered some years ago, in the town of Cambria, Niagara County (upper New York), was estimated to contain the bones of several thousand individuals. (Ibid, p 99)

Near the town of Fulton, on the west side of Oswego River, is an eminence called “Bone Hill” in which have been found great numbers of human bones promiscuously heaped together. They are much decayed. Intermixed with them were discovered a number of flint arrow-heads. (Ibid, p 31)

(Gennessee County) It was called the “Bone Fort” from the circumstance that the early settlers found within it a mound, six feet in height by thirty at the base, which was entirely made up of human bones slightly covered with earth. A few fragments of these bones, scattered over the surface, alone mark the site of the aboriginal sepulcher. The popular opinion concerning this accumulation is, that it contained the bones of the slain, thus heaped together after some severe battle. (Ibid, p 66)

There have also been discovered some heaps of small stones; which have been supposed to be the missiles of the ancient occupants of the hill, thus got together to be used in case of attack. (Ibid, p 69)

Alma 43
38 While on the other hand, there was now and then a man fell among the Nephites, by their swords and the loss of blood, they being shielded from the more vital parts of the body, or the more vital parts of the body being shielded from the strokes of the Lamanites, by their breastplates, and their armshields, and their head-plates; and thus the Nephites did carry on the work of death among the Lamanites.
44 And they were inspired by the Zoramites and the Amalekites, who were their chief captains and leaders, and by Zerahemnah, who was their chief captain, or their chief leader and commander; yea, they did fight like dragons, and many of the Nephites were slain by their hands, yea, for they did smite in two many of their head-plates, and they did pierce many of their breastplates, and they did smite off many of their arms; and thus the Lamanites did smite in their fierce anger.

Alma 49
24 There were about fifty who were wounded, who had been exposed to the arrows of the Lamanites through the pass, but they were shielded by their shields, and their breastplates, and their head-plates, insomuch that their wounds were upon their legs, many of which were very severe.

Helaman 1
14 And it came to pass in the forty and first year of the reign of the judges, that the Lamanites had gathered together an innumerable army of men, and armed them with swords, and with cimeters and with bows, and with arrows, and with head-plates, and with breastplates, and with all manner of shields of every kind.

3 Nephi 4
17 And it came to pass that they did come up to battle; and it was in the sixth month; and behold, great and terrible was the day that they did come up to battle; and they were girded about after the manner of robbers; and they had a lamb-skin about their loins, and they were dyed in blood, and their heads were shorn, and they had head-plates upon them; and great and terrible was the appearance of the armies of Giddianhi, because of their armor, and because of their being dyed in blood.

Ether 15
15 And it came to pass that when they were all gathered together, every one to the army which he would, with their wives and their children–both men, women and children being armed with weapons of war, having shields, and breastplates, and head-plates, and being clothed after the manner of war–they did march forth one against another to battle; and they fought all that day, and conquered not.

Alma 28
9 And this is the account of the wars and contentions among the Nephites, and also the wars between the Nephites and the Lamanites; and the fifteenth year of the reign of the judges is ended.
10 And from the first year to the fifteenth has brought to pass the destruction of many thousand lives; yea, it has brought to pass an awful scene of bloodshed.
11 And the bodies of many thousands are laid low in the earth, while the bodies of many thousands are moldering in heaps upon the face of the earth; yea, and many thousands are mourning for the loss of their kindred, because they have reason to fear, according to the promises of the Lord, that they are consigned to a state of endless wo.
12 While many thousands of others truly mourn for the loss of their kindred, yet they rejoice and exult in the hope, and even know, according to the promises of the Lord, that they are raised to dwell at the right hand of God, in a state of never-ending happiness.
13 And thus we see how great the inequality of man is because of sin and transgression, and the power of the devil, which comes by the cunning plans which he hath devised to ensnare the hearts of men.
14 And thus we see the great call of diligence of men to labor in the vineyards of the Lord; and thus we see the great reason of sorrow, and also of rejoicing–sorrow because of death and destruction among men, and joy because of the light of Christ unto life.

Ether 11
5 And it came to pass that the brother of Shiblom caused that all the prophets who prophesied of the destruction of the people should be put to death;
6 And there was great calamity in all the land, for they had testified that a great curse should come upon the land, and also upon the people, and that there should be a great destruction among them, such an one as never had been upon the face of the earth, and their bones should become as heaps of earth upon the face of the land except they should repent of their wickedness.
7 And they hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord, because of their wicked combinations; wherefore, there began to be wars and contentions in all the land, and also many famines and pestilences, insomuch that there was a great destruction, such an one as never had been known upon the face of the earth; and all this came to pass in the days of Shiblom.

Mormon 6
6 And it came to pass that when we had gathered in all our people in one to the land of Cumorah, behold I, Mormon, began to be old; and knowing it to be the last struggle of my people, and having been commanded of the Lord that I should not suffer the records which had been handed down by our fathers, which were sacred, to fall into the hands of the Lamanites, (for the Lamanites would destroy them) therefore I made this record out of the plates of Nephi, and hid up in the hill Cumorah all the records which had been entrusted to me by the hand of the Lord, save it were these few plates which I gave unto my son Moroni.
7 And it came to pass that my people, with their wives and their children, did now behold the armies of the Lamanites marching towards them; and with that awful fear of death which fills the breasts of all the wicked, did they await to receive them.
8 And it came to pass that they came to battle against us, and every soul was filled with terror because of the greatness of their numbers.
9 And it came to pass that they did fall upon my people with the sword, and with the bow, and with the arrow, and with the ax, and with all manner of weapons of war.
10 And it came to pass that my men were hewn down, yea, even my ten thousand who were with me, and I fell wounded in the midst; and they passed by me that they did not put an end to my life.
11 And when they had gone through and hewn down all my people save it were twenty and four of us, (among whom was my son Moroni) and we having survived the dead of our people, did behold on the morrow, when the Lamanites had returned unto their camps, from the top of the hill Cumorah, the ten thousand of my people who were hewn down, being led in the front by me.
12 And we also beheld the ten thousand of my people who were led by my son Moroni.
13 And behold, the ten thousand of Gidgiddonah had fallen, and he also in the midst.
14 And Lamah had fallen with his ten thousand; and Gilgal had fallen with his ten thousand; and Limhah had fallen with his ten thousand; and Jeneum had fallen with his ten thousand; and Cumenihah, and Moronihah, and Antionum, and Shiblom, and Shem, and Josh, had fallen with their ten thousand each.
15 And it came to pass that there were ten more who did fall by the sword, with their ten thousand each; yea, even all my people, save it were those twenty and four who were with me, and also a few who had escaped into the south countries, and a few who had deserted over unto the Lamanites, had fallen; and their flesh, and bones, and blood lay upon the face of the earth, being left by the hands of those who slew them to molder upon the land, and to crumble and to return to their mother earth.
16 And my soul was rent with anguish, because of the slain of my people, and I cried:
17 O ye fair ones, how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord! O ye fair ones, how could ye have rejected that Jesus, who stood with open arms to receive you!
18 Behold, if ye had not done this, ye would not have fallen. But behold, ye are fallen, and I mourn your loss.

Alma 49
18 Now behold, the Lamanites could not get into their forts of security by any other way save by the entrance, because of the highness of the bank which had been thrown up, and the depth of the ditch which had been dug round about, save it were by the entrance.
19 And thus were the Nephites prepared to destroy all such as should attempt to climb up to enter the fort by any other way, by casting over stones and arrows at them.
20 Thus they were prepared, yea, a body of their strongest men, with their swords and their slings, to smite down all who should attempt to come into their place of security by the place of entrance; and thus were they prepared to defend themselves against the Lamanites.
21 And it came to pass that the captains of the Lamanites brought up their armies before the place of entrance, and began to contend with the Nephites, to get into their place of security; but behold, they were driven back from time to time, insomuch that they were slain with an immense slaughter.
22 Now when they found that they could not obtain power over the Nephites by the pass, they began to dig down their banks of earth that they might obtain a pass to their armies, that they might have an equal chance to fight; but behold, in these attempts they were swept off by the stones and arrows which were thrown at them; and instead of filling up their ditches by pulling down the banks of earth, they were filled up in a measure with their dead and wounded bodies.

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Here are the survey drawings of two ancient sites that show fortified “places of entrance”. Gated areas are always weak spots but as the enemy soldiers enter, there are additional fortified walls for defense and narrow areas that are easy to defend – often creating a gauntlet that invaders must pass through. Notice that the second fort was designed in the shape of a menorah and also with a clay lamp — ancient Hebrew motifs. See Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley: Comprising the Results of Extensive Original Surveys and Explorations (1848) by Ephraim George Squier and Edwin Hamilton Davis.
Copper javelin points. A javelin is a light spear, designed to be thrown. A spear is a pole weapon (Burrows Cave

*Both Michigan Relics and Burrow Cave artifacts are controversial. Some assume they are all forgeries and others believe many pieces are authentic. In the case of the Michigan relics there are many thousands (est. 20,000) of relics from hundreds of people found over many years (since 1865) and in different locations, but mostly in upper Michigan. For Burrows Cave there are fewer relics (est. 3,000 rock carvings and 4,000 tablets) and fewer people involved and just one, undisclosed location, Burrows Cave, located in Illinois. For background information, see the Michigan Relics and Burrows Cave and Burrows Cave Artifacts. See also, The Mystic Symbol: Mark of the Michigan Mound Builders and Henriette Mertz. There is proof that some of the Michigan Relics, especially from the "Soper-Savage" collection were faked by James Scotford. This is enough for some to declare that any and all relics pointing to ancient civilization in America are fake, by definition. This theory is unwarranted. Many of the best relics found have a provenance completely independent of James Scotford and his acquaintances. Therefore each of the 1000s of relics, especially those with writing on them, deserve unbiased consideration without prejudice or animus. In my opinion, many relics have already been shown to be authentic in multiple ways. No proven fake artifacts are presented on this site. Let additional research continue.

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Various shapes and sizes of copper/bronze swords, and a cimeter found in North America.
Sword blade found on the shore of Lake Superior.
Clay tablet in the shape of a chariot (Burrows Cave

*Both Michigan Relics and Burrow Cave artifacts are controversial. Some assume they are all forgeries and others believe many pieces are authentic. In the case of the Michigan relics there are many thousands (est. 20,000) of relics from hundreds of people found over many years (since 1865) and in different locations, but mostly in upper Michigan. For Burrows Cave there are fewer relics (est. 3,000 rock carvings and 4,000 tablets) and fewer people involved and just one, undisclosed location, Burrows Cave, located in Illinois. For background information, see the Michigan Relics and Burrows Cave and Burrows Cave Artifacts. See also, The Mystic Symbol: Mark of the Michigan Mound Builders and Henriette Mertz. There is proof that some of the Michigan Relics, especially from the "Soper-Savage" collection were faked by James Scotford. This is enough for some to declare that any and all relics pointing to ancient civilization in America are fake, by definition. This theory is unwarranted. Many of the best relics found have a provenance completely independent of James Scotford and his acquaintances. Therefore each of the 1000s of relics, especially those with writing on them, deserve unbiased consideration without prejudice or animus. In my opinion, many relics have already been shown to be authentic in multiple ways. No proven fake artifacts are presented on this site. Let additional research continue.

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Drawing of chariot, horse, and driver (Burrows Cave).
A buckler (example shown) is a small maneuverable shield that is also used as a striking weapon. Pictured are two medieval combatants practicing with bucklers.
Cast copper arrow head. Found in Wisconsin stream bed.
Arrow head and javelin/dart point castings. Found in a stream in Manitowish, Wisconsin.
Analysis of copper weapons above, showing 1% tin. The tin makes the copper castable and also harder.

Jarom 1
8 And we multiplied exceedingly, and spread upon the face of the land, and became exceedingly rich in gold, and in silver, and in precious things, and in fine workmanship of wood, in buildings, and in machinery, and also in iron and copper, and brass and steel, making all manner of tools of every kind to till the ground, and weapons of war–yea, the sharp pointed arrow, and the quiver, and the dart, and the javelin, and all preparations for war.

Mosiah 9
16 And it came to pass that I did arm them with bows, and with arrows, with swords, and with cimeters, and with clubs, and with slings, and with all manner of weapons which we could invent, and I and my people did go forth against the Lamanites to battle.

Alma 27
29 Therefore, they would suffer death in the most aggravating and distressing manner which could be inflicted by their brethren, before they would take the sword or cimeter to smite them.

Alma 44
8 And now it came to pass that when Zerahemnah had heard these sayings he came forth and delivered up his sword and his cimeter, and his bow into the hands of Moroni, and said unto him: Behold, here are our weapons of war; we will deliver them up unto you, but we will not suffer ourselves to take an oath unto you, which we know that we shall break, and also our children; but take our weapons of war, and suffer that we may depart into the wilderness; otherwise we will retain our swords, and we will perish or conquer.

Alma 2
12 Therefore the people of the Nephites were aware of the intent of the Amlicites, and therefore they did prepare to meet them; yea, they did arm themselves with swords, and with cimeters, and with bows, and with arrows, and with stones, and with slings, and with all manner of weapons of war, of every kind.
14 And it came to pass that Amlici did arm his men with all manner of weapons of war of every kind; and he also appointed rulers and leaders over his people, to lead them to war against their brethren.

Alma 20
6 Now when Lamoni had heard this he caused that his servants should make ready his horses and his chariots.

Alma 60
2 For behold, I have somewhat to say unto them by the way of condemnation; for behold, ye yourselves know that ye have been appointed to gather together men, and arm them with swords, and with cimeters, and all manner of weapons of war of every kind, and send forth against the Lamanites, in whatsoever parts they should come into our land.

3 Nephi
26 And they were exceedingly sorrowful because of their enemies. And Gidgiddoni did cause that they should make weapons of war of every kind, and they should be strong with armor, and with shields, and with bucklers, after the manner of his instruction.

Mormon 6
9 And it came to pass that they did fall upon my people with the sword, and with the bow, and with the arrow, and with the ax, and with all manner of weapons of war.


HRG History — by Jay Mackley
HISTORY AND MISSION STATEMENT OF THE

The Heartland Research Group is a grassroots, boots-on-the-ground organization that believes that the historical narrative of the Book of Mormon took place in the Heartland of North America. The HRG is active in archaeological research and in the acquisition, restoration and display of ancient American artifacts. The HRG is currently preparing an ancient ship replica called the "Phoenicia" for display. The ships construction design is patterned after a shipwreck dating to 600 BC. The Phoenicia ship made modern voyages, first around Africa and then also from the Middle East to Florida in 2019 – proving that voyages around Africa or from Sidon to North America were feasible anciently.

Heartland Research Inc is a 501c3 private operating foundation for archaeological research and to complete preparations for the Phoenicia display. Current plans are for a museum large enough to house the Phoenicia ship and many other ancient artifacts and exhibits from North America. The location of the museum is planned to be in Zarahemla which is Lee County Iowa, near the Mississippi river and east of Nauvoo, Illinois.

Our activities are too many to list, but some recent major expeditions are listed below. Many of these expeditions are open-ended and we expect to continue research in these and other similar activities as time, resources, and volunteers become available. We have dozens of volunteers and hundreds of donors, large and small, but we need many more. Check out the websites listed below for details of Heartland Research Group projects. Our current project is is our biggest yet: to refurbish the Phoenicia ship for display.


Go to the Donation Page


We invite you to support our efforts so we can complete these worthy goals!
If you have skills or knowledge to contribute to our research and discovery projects, please contact us directly to volunteer.


  • What: Sonar scanning of Mississippi between Nauvoo and Keokuk. The purpose of the expedition was to discover a crossing route that ancient people could have taken.
  • Who: Heartland Research Inc volunteers.
  • Where: Between Keokuk and Nauvoo, Iowa.
  • How: Private donations of money, time and equipment.

  • What: Magnetic scanning of 221 acres of farmland near Montrose, Iowa. The purpose of the expedition was the discovery of fire-pits and other evidence of ancient occupation.
  • Who: Members of the Heartland Research Inc, local farmers, volunteers, plus technicians from German company SYNSYS. Signs of habitation were found with magnetometery scanning and then C14 dating.
  • Where: Near Montrose Iowa and between Montrose and Fort Madison Iowa.
  • How: Large and small donations of money, time and equipment.

  • What: A one week seminar in Fort Madison, Iowa with 25+ participants. Included visits to the Putnam museum in Davenport, Iowa. There were twelve presentations on the ancient history and written languages of the upper Mississippi.
  • Who: Members of Heartland Research Inc plus presenters and interested attendees.
  • Where: Fort Madison, Iowa.
  • How: Private donations for space, time and lodging.

  • What: Ground penetrating electrical resistivity scanning for building foundations using electrical resistivity equipment from LandVisor.
  • Who: Members of Heartland Research Inc and volunteers.
  • Where: Zarahemla in Lee County, Iowa.
  • How: Private donations and ground support.

  • What: Metal analysis for alloy content. Ancient arrow and spearhead found in Wisconsin stream of cast bronze.
  • Who: Heartland Research Group
  • Where: Sample found in Wisconsin stream by scuba diver.
  • How: Private donations for lab analysis.

  • What: High resolution LiDAR scanning by supporter Air Data Solutions of 34,000 acres in Lee County, Iowa and also part of Illinois. The focus was to create high quality digital maps showing the terrain of the land, especially in the foothill areas where large earthworks are found. Discovery of 5-10 miles of ancient earthworks from LiDAR using QGIS and ArcGIS visualization software.
  • Who: Members of Heartland Research Inc plus AirData Solutions Inc.
  • Where: Lee County, Iowa and also part of Illinois, covering the much of Nauvoo.
  • How: Private donations for services, data processing, and analysis.

  • What: Commence process of restoring the world's oldest ship replica from 600BC, which has circumnavigated Africa and crossed the Atlantic ocean from the Middle East to America.
  • Who: Members of Heartland Research Inc plus volunteers.
  • Where: Lee County, Iowa between Montrose and Fort Madison.
  • How: Private donations for materials, space, and equipment plus donations in labor.

Mission Statement

The Heartland Research Group researches archaeological evidence of the ancient civilizations of America.
Heartland Research Group activities include:

  • Field Research
    Uses archeological techniques and scanning technologies to reveal the remains of ancient civilizations.
  • Ancient Artifacts
    Encourages and facilitate study of ancient North American artifacts, including tablets, tools, weapons, metal works, and other items.
  • Geography
    Research and develop maps, using scanning technologies and other means, to identify the locations and activities of ancient civilizations.
  • Linguistics
    Analyze and translate ancient writings found in North America, especially those relating to other civilizations world wide.
  • Preservation and Display
    Collect, restore, preserve, catalog and exhibit ancient artifacts and replicas, and make them readily available to researchers and viewable to the public.
  • Archaeology, Geology, and History
    Study and research into all aspects archaeology, geology, and history that shed light on ancient North American peoples and cultures.
  • Promotion and Support
    Raise awareness of our activities. Work directly with and support individuals and groups in activities that share our same goals.
The Heartland Research Group welcomes researchers and interested parties of all backgrounds to share their analysis and findings of ancient American heartland civilizations.

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