Trans-0ceanic Travel and the Americas before Columbus

Over the last six or seven decades evidence has been building up about trans-oceanic travels to and from pre-Columbian America. Just a few examples today. Thor Heyerdahl spectacularly showed it could be done with his voyage from Peru to Raroia in eastern Polynesia on the balsa-raft Kon-Tiki in 1947, as did his following trip in the Egyptian-style reed-bundle raft Ra II in 1970. Trans-Atlantic crossings were shown to be possible when a scientific team led by Tim Severin crossed from Ireland to Newfoundland in a hide-covered wooden boat in 1977. Genetic researchers have found recently that a woman from the Americas probably arrived in Iceland 1,000 years ago, leaving genes that have been detected in about 80 Icelanders today.

In the 1950s Gordon Ekholm documented close resemblances between the wheeled toys of Central America and some Asian toys. He also suggested a possible Chinese origin of Teotihuacan cylindrical tripod pottery. The German scholar Robert Heine-Geldern did the same for the pottery of Mexico, Central America and Columbia. He and Ekholm found significant parallels in the symbolic arts of southern Asia and Middle America. Meggers, Evans and Estrada found exact parallels between pottery unearthed on the coast of Ecuador and some Neolithic pottery in Japan. All  of this strongly suggested trans-oceanic voyaging. Predictably this was dismissed contemptuously by the majority of isolationist-minded American scholars of the time.

To be Continued….

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