Skip to comments.Did ancient Polynesians visit California? Maybe so. Scholars revive idea using linguistic ties...
Posted on 06/25/2005 11:35:01 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Scientists are taking a new look at an old and controversial idea: that ancient Polynesians sailed to Southern California a millennium before Christopher Columbus landed on the East Coast.
Key new evidence comes from two directions. The first involves revised carbon-dating of an ancient ceremonial headdress used by Southern California's Chumash Indians. The second involves research by two California scientists who suggest that a Chumash word for "sewn-plank canoe" is derived from a Polynesian word for the wood used to construct the same boat.
The scientists, linguist Kathryn A. Klar of UC Berkeley and archaeologist Terry L. Jones of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, had trouble getting their thesis of ancient contact between the Polynesians and Chumash published in scientific journals. The Chumash and their neighbors, the Gabrielino, were the only North American Indians to build sewn-plank boats, a technique used throughout the Polynesian islands.
But after grappling for two years with criticisms by peer reviewers, Klar and Jones' article will appear in the archaeological journal American Antiquity in July.
If they are right, their finding is a major blow to North American anthropologists' traditional hostility to the theory that non-Europeans visited this continent long before Columbus.
Until now, few scientists have dared to speculate that the ancient Polynesians visited Southern California between 500 and 700 A.D., that is to say, in the centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire. This is known as the "transpacific diffusion" hypothesis.
"The dominant paradigm in American archaeology for the past 60 or more years has been anti-diffusionist, and our findings are already stimulating a rethinking of that paradigm," Klar told The Chronicle.
Falling out of favor
The idea that ancient North America might have received visitors from the Pacific islands and Asia has had few friends in modern times.
(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...
Wouldn't surprise me. The Polynesians located the Hawaiian Islands, tiny specks of land isolated in the middle of a vast ocean desert. And they located Easter Island, which is even more remote. You wanna tell me they couldn't find a gigantic continent further to the west?
We ought to face facts...the Chinese likely visited before Columbus. The Polynesians likely visited before Columbus. The Vikings likely came before Columbus.
And the American Indian may have to get used to the idea that white Europeans may have arrived 10,000 years ago as well.
Weren't the Chinese supposed to have visited, too, during the Fifteenth Century? Their ships, part of a great navy that was used to expand trade with India and Southeast Asia, were the most advanced in the world at that time.
That was part of a package tour.
Actually, they came, said, "Eh, we'll just wait 'till they have Wal-Mart" and went back home.
"Wouldn't surprise me. The Polynesians located the Hawaiian Islands, tiny specks of land isolated in the middle of a vast ocean desert. And they located Easter Island, which is even more remote. You wanna tell me they couldn't find a gigantic continent further to the west?"
I agree with the sentiment but has there been any DNA evidence of this (or people from any place other than North-east Asia) visiting the western hemisphere before Colombus?
I'm pretty sure they will find evidence that the Africans came to Hawaii first if we let the same professors that run the rest of the world's educational institutions continue to investigate long enough. We just have to pay them to go to Hawaii and hang out long enough where there is plenty of sand to dig. Like Waikiki. Like the rest of their lives. It'll cost taxpayer dollars, but isn't that okay, when you consider that it'll make some people feel like they're smarter and better because their ancestors might have been first at an inconsequential action, then and subsequently disappeared from any world influence whatsoever?
But as long as minorities are happy, property rights ended, and the white man's accomplishments don't amount to anything, I suppose the planet is fine. /sarc
Sure. Those Polynesians are big believers in networking.
According to the history of the Coast Salish People the village of Tofino, on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, had a colony of Hawaiian traders living on Vancouverer Island one hundred years before the reign of Chief Maquinna.
As late as the seventeenth century.
This was reported in the diaries of several English and Russian castaways.
Splendid. I imagine the Polynesians DID make it to N.America first. But for all of the visitors that came here before Columbus, nobody established the back and forth travel that he did. They may have been here, but Columbus put it on the map!
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