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New England Antiquities Research Association

Across the Pacific Migrations

ACROSS-PACIFIC- boat

We have long wondered at the Polynesian sailing ability, but not until Thor Heyerdahl's KonTiki voyage, did we accept that our human ancestors could have made such a journal.

Heyerdahl believed that pre-Columbian people from South America could have settled Polynesia, although many anthropologists believed that it was impossible. His aim in mounting the Kon Tiki expedition was to show, by using only the materials and technologies available in the remote past, that there were no technical reasons to prevent such travel and He ultimately proved that the raft could make the journey.

Over the years other researchers have pondered the migrations and appearence of materials, both manmade and natural, which could never have survived an ocean drift of such a distance.

Betty Meggers found 6,000 year old Japenese Jomon pottery techniques replicated in Ecuador, Steve Jett, southeast Asian beaten bark cloth techniques. Carl Johannessen found America Maize carved on Stupa's of the Punjab, while George Carter demonstrated the Mexicans were beting blue eggs from Chinese Chickens. Nancy Yaw Davis found enimatic traits in the Zunis and proposed that they derived from 16th century Japan, once more demonstrating that the Pacific Ocean was a bridge not a barrier across the Pacific.

THE SUBVERSIVE SIGNIFICANCE OF TRANSPACIFIC CONTACT

by Betty J. Meggers

When we suggested more than 40 years ago that pottery making was introduced to the coast of Ecuador from the southernmost island of Japan around 6000 years ago, the reaction among U.S. archeologists was mixed (Meggers, Evans, and Estrada 1965). A few thought the evidence was convincing, but the majority did not. The latter argued that the decorative techniques were simple and easy to invent; that suitable watercraft did not exist and if they did, that the trip would have required more than a year and no one could have survived; that anyone who survived either would have been killed or absorbed without making any impact; that vessels would have stopped in California rather than continued to Ecuador; and, more recently, that to suggest Native Americans did not invent pottery independently is an insult to their intelligence. Interestingly, some opponents actually admit that if the Valdivia (Ecuador) and Jomon (Japan) complexes were both encountered in the Americas—no matter how widely separated—their relationship would not be doubted.

Read full article (PDF): TRANSPACIFIC CONTACT By Betty J. Meggers, NEARA Journal Vol. 39 No.2. Winter 2005

We have long wondered at the Polynesian sailing ability but until Thor Heyerdahl's Kon Tiki voyage, did we accept that our human ancestors could have made such a Journey

Heyerdahl believed that people from South America could have settled Polynesia in although many anthropologists now believe they did not. His aim in mounting the Kon-Tiki expedition was to show, by using only the materials and technologies available to those people at the time, that there were no technical reasons to prevent them from having done so. Although the expedition carried some modern equipment, such as a radio, watches, charts, sextant, and metal knives, Heyerdahl argued they were incidental to the purpose of proving that the raft itself could make the journey.

Over the years other researchers have pondered the migration of materials manmade and natural to the new world that could never have survived an ocean drift of such a distance.

Betty Meggers found 6000 year old Japanese Jomon pottery techniques replicated in Ecuador, Steve Jett,southeast Asian beaten bark cloth techniques in Mesoamerica. Carl Johannessen found American maize carved on Stupa's of the Punjab, While George Carter demonstrated that Mexicans were betting eating blue eggs from Chinese chickens. Nancy Yaw Davis found enigmatic traits in the Zunis and proposed 16th century Japanese contact contributing these, traits once more demonstrating that the Pacific Ocean was a bridge not a barrier.

Articles

The development and distribution of the blowgun Jett, Steven C., 1971. Ann. Assoc. Amer. Geog Vol. 60 No 4

Linguistics and the problems of trans-Pacific contacts Kelly, David H., 1964. Acts. 35 th Int. Congr. Amer. (Mexico City 12: 17-19

Early Formative Period of coastal Ecuador: the Valdivia and Machalilla phases Meggers, Betty J., Clifford Evens and Emilio Estrada, 1965. Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology, Washington DC.

Books

Man Across the Sea, Problems of pre Columbian Contact, Riley,Carroll L., J. Charles Riley, Campbell W. Pennington, Robert L. Rands eds., 1971 University of Texas Press, Austin & London

Across Before Columbus? Evidence for Transoceanic Contact with the Americas prior to 1492 Gilmore, Donald Y. and LindaS. McElroy eds. 1998 NEARA, Edgecomb, Maine

The Zuni Enigma Davis, Nancy Yaw 2001