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Lord Harry

Pre-Columbian Contact with the New World

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Ever since the 1960 archaeological discovery of an 11th century Viking settlement at L 'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland, the possibility of additional instances of transoceanic Pre-Columbian contact with the New World has become a rather contentious issue in historical scholarship. While this is the only site widely accepted as evidence for Pre-Columbian contact, there is in fact a considerable body of evidence in the form of archaeological artifacts, mysterious structures, and old documents which are certainly worthy of further investigation, and may in fact call into question the currently accepted historical narrative. It is true that much of the evidence usually cited as "proof" of previously undocumented trans-oceanic contact between the Old World and the New is dubious, with some out right hoaxes. The field has also been tainted, hopefully not irredeemably so, by a cadre of charlatans hoping to make a fast buck through book sales and television "documentaries."

However, in spite of being a field marred by cranks and hoaxes, there remains some evidence which cannot be so easily explained away. Evidence from the Polynesian islands in particular has convinced even some scholars.

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/1...23340120049442

For example, sweet potatoes, which are indigenous to South America, were grown abundantly in Polynesia when the first European explorers arrived during the 18th century. Additional evidence in the form of chicken bones discovered during archaeological excavations in Chile may form another tangible link between Polynesia and pre-Columbian South America. The bones which were radiocarbon dated to between 1321 and 1407 are thought to be linked genetically to chickens found in the South Pacific islands.

Speculation about ancient Chinese contact with the Americas is also common. Evidence for this which is often presented by proponents of this theory includes the 5th century AD testimony of Buddhist missionaries led by Hui Shen, who claimed to have traveled to a location which he called "Fusang." The fact that ancient Chinese mapmakers placed this region on the Asian coast has not deterred proponents, who often cite perceived similarities between the coastline of California and Fusang as described by Hui Shen. The British historian Gavin Menzies has also made the controversial claim that the fabled Chinese treasure fleet led by the legendary Admiral Zheng He arrived along the western coast of North America in 1421. For evidence, he cites old Chinese maps which allegedly depict the North American coastline, as well as certain linguistic terms which he claims are shared by the Han Chinese and local Amerindian populations.

https://web.archive.org/web/20070317...-09/tales.html

Perhaps even more convincing, was the apparent discovery of an ancient Roman shipwreck off the coast of Brazil containing a large cache of amphora. While I personally find the most likely explanation for the presence of this remarkable ship to be that proposed by Dr. Romeo Hristov who suggests a Roman cargo ship was caught in the West African current and drifted to South America, the possibility that it was a voyage of exploration cannot entirely be ruled out, however ever improbable it may be.

There is also the early medieval Irish legend of St. Brendan and his voyage across the Western Ocean in search of paradise. Some theorize that he may in fact have described North America. The successful recreation of St. Brendan's voyage by the experimental archaeologist Tim Severin, who in 1977 crossed the Atlantic to North America in an authentic Irish Currach, perhaps lends strong credence to such claims. At the very least it demonstrates that it would have been possible for the 5th century Irish to reach North America.

There are many other examples of ancient and medieval peoples who it is claimed reached the New World before Columbus, some more convincing than others. I have started this thread in the hope of initiating a sober and scholarly discussion of the archaeological, historical, and linguistic evidence for pre-Columbian transoceanic contact with the New World. Personally, I am agnostic on the issue. I neither wholeheartedly embrace claims of pre-Columbian contact (excepting of course for the aforementioned Viking settlement), nor will I dismiss such claims off-hand. However, I do believe that the evidence for pre-Columbian contact is sufficient enough that further investigation is both a valid and necessary pursuit.

One final note before we begin this discussion. While my historical interests are quite omnivorous, and I have recently developed a strong interest in the possibility of pre-Columbian contact, I am far from being an expert on the subject. I am primarily a specialist in ancient Egyptian history and archaeology, with a considerable background in the history and archaeology of the greater ancient Near East and Mediterranean. Perhaps other members of this forum will have greater insights into the possibility of pre-Columbian contact. And it is my hope that this becomes a lively thread where the evidence from both sides of the debate can be presented in a civil and scholarly manner.
 
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Here is a paper which provides convincing evidence for ancient Roman contact with the New World.  It primarily concerns the discovery of a terracotta Greco-Roman head found in an Mesoamerican archaeological context under a burial mound, which was itself under the remains of an early 15th or late 14th century pyramid.  The mound was undisturbed when excavated in the 1970s, indicating that the terracotta head was placed there as part of the original burial ensemble. 

http://www.unm.edu/~rhristov/AncientMesoamerica1999.pdf

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Posted (edited)

 

Howdy Harry

Just a note that the Inuit who lived on both sides of the Bering strait would discover the 'New World' on a weekly basis - but I'm sure that is not what you meant.

I've been following the Chicken story for quite some time at present the ball is in the court of the 'no chicken' but we have hopes! I suspect the Polynesians pushed on from East Island colonized the islands of northern Chile but were absorbed or wiped out by the much larger land based nations that existed

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/03/140318-polynesian-chickens-pacific-migration-america-science/

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2014/03/18/291182073/study-the-chicken-didnt-cross-the-pacific-to-south-america

The Sweet potato remains an interesting possibility.

Lots of people MIGHT have made it to the new world but a boat load of illiterate dudes would have had little impact on that world so our evidence for such contacts seems limited. As the Norse contact show evidence does show up if you look for it. The waters are murky though due to the actions of many hoaxers and frauds.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Hanslune
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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Lord Harry said:

Here is a paper which provides convincing evidence for ancient Roman contact with the New World.  It primarily concerns the discovery of a terracotta Greco-Roman head found in an Mesoamerican archaeological context under a burial mound, which was itself under the remains of an early 15th or late 14th century pyramid.  The mound was undisturbed when excavated in the 1970s, indicating that the terracotta head was placed there as part of the original burial ensemble. 

http://www.unm.edu/~rhristov/AncientMesoamerica1999.pdf

Thank you for the link. I recall reading further scholarly discussion about it and will try and find that link for you. I find the MesoAmerican, Amazonian, and Andean cultures far more interesting than Egyptian studies the majority of the Levant any time after Sumer.

http://www.unm.edu/~rhristov/calixtlahuaca.html

That page is updated and contains a link to concerns about the find

Edited by Jarocal
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Greetings Hans and Jarocal,

     Thank you both for the information and links you have posted.  Personally, I believe the Polynesians and Romans are the two most convincing candidates for pre-Columbian contact.  Though the Irish and Chinese are also distinct possibilities.  The latter due to the archaeological experiment which has proven such a voyage would have been possible, and the former due to the extensive explorations of Admiral Zheng He.

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3 hours ago, Lord Harry said:
Ever since the 1960 archaeological discovery of an 11th century Viking settlement at L 'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland, the possibility of additional instances of transoceanic Pre-Columbian contact with the New World has become a rather contentious issue in historical scholarship. While this is the only site widely accepted as evidence for Pre-Columbian contact, there is in fact a considerable body of evidence in the form of archaeological artifacts, mysterious structures, and old documents which are certainly worthy of further investigation, and may in fact call into question the currently accepted historical narrative. It is true that much of the evidence usually cited as "proof" of previously undocumented trans-oceanic contact between the Old World and the New is dubious, with some out right hoaxes. The field has also been tainted, hopefully not irredeemably so, by a cadre of charlatans hoping to make a fast buck through book sales and television "documentaries."

However, in spite of being a field marred by cranks and hoaxes, there remains some evidence which cannot be so easily explained away. Evidence from the Polynesian islands in particular has convinced even some scholars.

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/1...23340120049442

For example, sweet potatoes, which are indigenous to South America, were grown abundantly in Polynesia when the first European explorers arrived during the 18th century. Additional evidence in the form of chicken bones discovered during archaeological excavations in Chile may form another tangible link between Polynesia and pre-Columbian South America. The bones which were radiocarbon dated to between 1321 and 1407 are thought to be linked genetically to chickens found in the South Pacific islands.

Speculation about ancient Chinese contact with the Americas is also common. Evidence for this which is often presented by proponents of this theory includes the 5th century AD testimony of Buddhist missionaries led by Hui Shen, who claimed to have traveled to a location which he called "Fusang." The fact that ancient Chinese mapmakers placed this region on the Asian coast has not deterred proponents, who often cite perceived similarities between the coastline of California and Fusang as described by Hui Shen. The British historian Gavin Menzies has also made the controversial claim that the fabled Chinese treasure fleet led by the legendary Admiral Zheng He arrived along the western coast of North America in 1421. For evidence, he cites old Chinese maps which allegedly depict the North American coastline, as well as certain linguistic terms which he claims are shared by the Han Chinese and local Amerindian populations.

https://web.archive.org/web/20070317...-09/tales.html

Perhaps even more convincing, was the apparent discovery of an ancient Roman shipwreck off the coast of Brazil containing a large cache of amphora. While I personally find the most likely explanation for the presence of this remarkable ship to be that proposed by Dr. Romeo Hristov who suggests a Roman cargo ship was caught in the West African current and drifted to South America, the possibility that it was a voyage of exploration cannot entirely be ruled out, however ever improbable it may be.

There is also the early medieval Irish legend of St. Brendan and his voyage across the Western Ocean in search of paradise. Some theorize that he may in fact have described North America. The successful recreation of St. Brendan's voyage by the experimental archaeologist Tim Severin, who in 1977 crossed the Atlantic to North America in an authentic Irish Currach, perhaps lends strong credence to such claims. At the very least it demonstrates that it would have been possible for the 5th century Irish to reach North America.

There are many other examples of ancient and medieval peoples who it is claimed reached the New World before Columbus, some more convincing than others. I have started this thread in the hope of initiating a sober and scholarly discussion of the archaeological, historical, and linguistic evidence for pre-Columbian transoceanic contact with the New World. Personally, I am agnostic on the issue. I neither wholeheartedly embrace claims of pre-Columbian contact (excepting of course for the aforementioned Viking settlement), nor will I dismiss such claims off-hand. However, I do believe that the evidence for pre-Columbian contact is sufficient enough that further investigation is both a valid and necessary pursuit.

One final note before we begin this discussion. While my historical interests are quite omnivorous, and I have recently developed a strong interest in the possibility of pre-Columbian contact, I am far from being an expert on the subject. I am primarily a specialist in ancient Egyptian history and archaeology, with a considerable background in the history and archaeology of the greater ancient Near East and Mediterranean. Perhaps other members of this forum will have greater insights into the possibility of pre-Columbian contact. And it is my hope that this becomes a lively thread where the evidence from both sides of the debate can be presented in a civil and scholarly manner.
 

Why is it no one ever mentions the parts with magic fish, talking dogs, or psalm-singing birds when they want you to take the story of St. Brendan seriously?

--Jaylemurph

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Posted (edited)

15 minutes ago, jaylemurph said:

Why is it no one ever mentions the parts with magic fish, talking dogs, or psalm-singing birds when they want you to take the story of St. Brendan seriously?

--Jaylemurph

Well, in all fairness I haven't actually read the account of St. Brenden.  Like I said in my above post, I recently developed an interest in pre-Columbian contact but am far from being an expert in the subject.  Though I must say, in spite of the obvious embellishments in his account that you point out, it should be noted that the experimental archaeologist Tim Severin successfully navigated a period Irish currach across the Atlantic, conclusively proving such a voyage would have been at least possible.

Edited by Lord Harry
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I thought someone was trying to resurrect the sorry cocaine-and-tobacco nonsense in ancient Egypt, and nearly hurled my computer across the room. Then I saw the OP was written by Lord Harry, and breathed a sigh of relief.

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1 minute ago, kmt_sesh said:

I thought someone was trying to resurrect the sorry cocaine-and-tobacco nonsense in ancient Egypt, and nearly hurled my computer across the room. Then I saw the OP was written by Lord Harry, and breathed a sigh of relief.

Thank you for reminding us of even more evidence for TransAtlantic contact in antiquity.

There was also the Solutrean Culture that may also have crossed even before the Egyptians.

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Jarocal, don't make me spank you!

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4 minutes ago, kmt_sesh said:

I thought someone was trying to resurrect the sorry cocaine-and-tobacco nonsense in ancient Egypt, and nearly hurled my computer across the room. Then I saw the OP was written by Lord Harry, and breathed a sigh of relief.

LOL!  Nope, no debunked cocaine mummies here.  Neither do I find claims of Egyptian treasure "discovered" in the Grand Canyon convincing.  Though I do believe the evidence for Roman, Chinese, Polynesian, and Irish contact is convincing enough to warrant further investigation.

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By the way, Kmt Sesh, our History Channel Restoration Society is holding its second official meeting on the club webpage if you are interested.  Though traffic has slowed down some what for the past half an hour.

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You could have at least left the Solutrean part.:angry:

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1 minute ago, Lord Harry said:

LOL!  Nope, no debunked cocaine mummies here.  Neither do I find claims of Egyptian treasure "discovered" in the Grand Canyon convincing.  Though I do believe the evidence for Roman, Chinese, Polynesian, and Irish contact is convincing enough to warrant further investigation.

But regarding that Egyptian treasure in the Grand Canyon, wasn't it all just hidden by the Smithsonian? A lot of fringies seem to blame the Smithsonian for stuff like that. And for hiding the bones of giants. About the same way fringies blame Zahi for pretty much everything related to Egyptology. Just look at your good buddy cladking and what he posts.

It was years ago already but my uncle sent me Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel. We had discussed the book at a dinner party and I hadn't read it. He thought I should. He was right. I really enjoyed this book and found a lot of Diamond's premises to be plausible. Anyway, in the book I remember his stating that it's possible the wrecks of one or more Roman vessels had been found off the coast of South America. I can't remember the details but it was something like that. I can believe that, probably by misadventure, one or more Roman vessels may have found themselves in the West. That's plausible. Ancient Egyptian vessels? That sort of thing is pushed by pie-eyed fringies who don't understand ancient Egypt.

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2 minutes ago, Jarocal said:

You could have at least left the Solutrean part.:angry:

I have no idea why that post was hidden. I didn't do it. I've never removed a single one of your posts, myself. I've queried the other Mods to see if one of them did it.

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1 minute ago, kmt_sesh said:

But regarding that Egyptian treasure in the Grand Canyon, wasn't it all just hidden by the Smithsonian? A lot of fringies seem to blame the Smithsonian for stuff like that. And for hiding the bones of giants. About the same way fringies blame Zahi for pretty much everything related to Egyptology. Just look at your good buddy cladking and what he posts.

It was years ago already but my uncle sent me Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel. We had discussed the book at a dinner party and I hadn't read it. He thought I should. He was right. I really enjoyed this book and found a lot of Diamond's premises to be plausible. Anyway, in the book I remember his stating that it's possible the wrecks of one or more Roman vessels had been found off the coast of South America. I can't remember the details but it was something like that. I can believe that, probably by misadventure, one or more Roman vessels may have found themselves in the West. That's plausible. Ancient Egyptian vessels? That sort of thing is pushed by pie-eyed fringies who don't understand ancient Egypt.

Yeah, personally I don't find the idea of ancient Egyptian contact with the New World to be particularly plausible.  Have you ever watched Scott Wolter's series America Unearthed?  He proposed that the son of Mark Antony and Cleopatra, Alexander Helios, escaped the Roman invasion by fleeing to the New World.  For "evidence" he presented a rather cartoonish carving of a quadrupedal canid that was claimed to represent Anubis. Never mind that Anubis was never depicted in such a manner.

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Just now, kmt_sesh said:

I have no idea why that post was hidden. I didn't do it. I've never removed a single one of your posts, myself. I've queried the other Mods to see if one of them did it.

Ok now back to the spanking topic...:P

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1 minute ago, Jarocal said:

Ok now back to the spanking topic...:P

I restored that post. It happened to someone else's post, too, and to one of mine. There's some kind of bug at play and I don't think Raid will kill it.

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4 minutes ago, kmt_sesh said:

I restored that post. It happened to someone else's post, too, and to one of mine. There's some kind of bug at play and I don't think Raid will kill it.

Blame it on the Mafdet Sphynx leaving the Geyser turned on.

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Just now, Jarocal said:

Blame it on the Mafdet Sphynx leaving the Geyser turned on.

That's it, carbonated geyser water got all over everything. Bad for the electronics. And the Mafdet Sphinx isn't housebroken. 

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Posted (edited)

15 minutes ago, Lord Harry said:

Yeah, personally I don't find the idea of ancient Egyptian contact with the New World to be particularly plausible.  Have you ever watched Scott Wolter's series America Unearthed?  He proposed that the son of Mark Antony and Cleopatra, Alexander Helios, escaped the Roman invasion by fleeing to the New World.  For "evidence" he presented a rather cartoonish carving of a quadrupedal canid that was claimed to represent Anubis. Never mind that Anubis was never depicted in such a manner.

Yes and as amusingly fringe as his conjectures are he is waaayyyy too hung up on the "hooked x" and Templars. I would rather hear about sphynxes guarding geysers or idiots digging below the water table for a fabled treasure on some island...

Edited by Jarocal
Cladking translations are from the natural language

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Just now, Jarocal said:

Yes and as amusingly fringe as his conjectures are he is waaayyyy to hung up on the "hooked x" and Templars. I would rather hear about sphynxes guarding geysers or idiots digging below the water table for a fabled treasure on some island...

Exactly.  Also, I found him to be too quick to accept anything as evidence for pre-Columbian contact, no matter how unlikely.  He wasn't skeptical in the least.  While one shouldn't arbitrarily dismiss evidence, neither should one accept any and all "evidence" without question.  A healthy dose of skepticism is essential in investigating any claims of pre-Columbian trasnoceanic contact with the New World.

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I've never seen America Unearthed so I don't know what kind of quality it has (or hasn't). But it's been some time since I've thought of the idiots digging below the water table on that TV show. I remember watching a couple of episodes of it while sitting in dialysis sessions because I simply had nothing better to do. The show did not impress me, and why anyone with two brain cells would believe there's vast treasure down there is beyond me. All for TV ratings, I suppose.

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1 minute ago, kmt_sesh said:

I've never seen America Unearthed so I don't know what kind of quality it has (or hasn't). But it's been some time since I've thought of the idiots digging below the water table on that TV show. I remember watching a couple of episodes of it while sitting in dialysis sessions because I simply had nothing better to do. The show did not impress me, and why anyone with two brain cells would believe there's vast treasure down there is beyond me. All for TV ratings, I suppose.

The program was made by the same guy who believes there's a link between Akhenaten, the Knights Templar, and the Founding Fathers.  It's all nonsense, of course.

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Just now, Lord Harry said:

The program was made by the same guy who believes there's a link between Akhenaten, the Knights Templar, and the Founding Fathers.  It's all nonsense, of course.

Well, that would have to be all nonsense. I don't know of this guy, but where did he get his education? Saturday morning cartoons?

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