Subsequently, the band [Lehi and company] buries Ishmael at a place not named by them- "[it] was called Nahom," and there the women "did mourn exceedingly" (1 Nephi 16:34). The Arabic root NHM means "to sigh or moan" and the related Hebrew Nahum means "comfort," Nibley informs us. In 1978, an eighteenth century map was noticed indicating a place name "Nehhm" in that region, but it was not until the early 1990s that ancient evidence of the names authenticity surfaced. In that era, a German archaeology team discovered a carved altar a few dozen miles east of modern San'a in Yemen, inscribed with a reference to the tribe of Nihm, and another with a like inscription has since been found in that area. Found in the very area Nephi's record locates Nahom, these altars may thus be said to constitute the first actual archaelogical evidence for the historicity of the Book of Mormon." (By The Hand of Mormon, pg. 120, emphasis added)
|Altar at Nahom|
Close quote. So, it would appear that Runnells is plainly wrong that there is no historical archaeological evidence for the Book of Mormon. But there is more. Nephi mentions in the book that he and his family rested for years at a place called Bountiful, which was basically a paradise within the desert (1 Nephi 17:5). This would seem unlikely to the casual observer, since we do not think of such things when we think of the desert.
However a Book of Mormon Central article notes, there is also archaelogical evidence of Bountiful as well as Nahom:
Close quote. Remember that these areas were not known by anyone in the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith, so there was no way he could have known they corresponded with modern evidence. While one may choose to reject the Book of Mormon, and ultimately believing in it like believing in Jesus of Nazareth is a choice, one cannot say there is no archaeological evidence for it today.
Twelve Requirements for the Land Bountiful
Lastly, Runnells bring up limited-geography models, but he is wrong that such models are all recent. B.H. Roberts, one of the greatest minds in Mormonism, was against such models in his life, so to say that scholars came up with them due to modern evidence is simply not the case,; limited geography models of the Book of Mormon have been around since people started theorizing about the Book of Mormon geography. And also, it is worth noting that if one looks at the Book of Mormon carefully, it is pretty clear that Lehi and his family did not colonize all of the Western Hemisphere, because when they talk about areas they travel to they talk as though it only took a number of days to get there, which would be quite a feat if they were walking from New York to California.
Further Reading: By the Hand of Mormon by Terryl Givens, Mormon's Codex: An Ancient American Book by John Sorenoson, Book of Mormon Central, An Approach to the Book of Mormon by Hugh Nibley