[This is a section from Nyerges' "Ancient Writing on the Rocks," which describes a site in the Angeles National Forest with two rocks whose inscriptions can be translated into a Western European language, in a style of writing that died out about 1500 years ago. The book is available on Kindle, or as a pdf from the Store at SchoolofSelf-Reliance.com.
Remember, there was a challenge when this first appeared in the local newspaper. I was asked, “How did (they) get all the way over here?”
Of course, my answer was “boats.” (How else?!!)
Trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic travel almost certainly occurred, bringing various travelers to North and South America in the pre-Columbian days.
Even one of the biggest skeptics of diffusionism, Eric Lurio, author of “A Fractured History of the Discovery of America,” admits that oceanic voyages to North America occurred. Lurio did his research, and seems to know of every theory of contact with the Old and New World, and generally only discusses the aspects of these theories which help to debunk each one. For example, although the average 3rd grader will look at the giant Olmec heads from Mexico and tell you they look African, Lurio will tell you that certain features we regard as “African” aren’t actually that rare south of the Rio Grande. Really? Should we wonder why? Most of Lurio’s arguments are not objectively scientific, but rather involved lots of fun and ridicule.
To be fair, Lurio’s premise is that just getting to America doesn’t constitute a “discovery” – he lists his 3 “rules” which he regards as the basis for a discovery by his definition, and based on those rules, Columbus wins.
Nevertheless, he admits that folks sailed all the way across the Atlantic to the L’Anse Aux Meadow in Newfoundland around 986 A.D., but he dismisses any evidence that folks may have sailed further south. The Kensington Stone, the Newport Tower, Saint Brendan, and Madoc are all regarded as hoaxes, frauds, or fairy tales.
But when it comes to sweet potatoes, he recognizes that they are native to North America and somehow became popular with Polynesians before 1492. “Just how the Polynesians got them is a mystery,” writes Lurio. “Either an Amerindian must have gotten to Polynesia, or a Polynesian must have gotten to America,” he admits.
On page 49 of his book, he describes artifacts that were found in 1975 at the tip of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington which have continued to perplex archaeologists. At the site, called Ozette, there was apparently a massive landslide around 1495 to 1500 which buried everything, and even such perishable things as baskets were preserved.
Archaeologists found a few dozen smelted iron knives blades and pieces of bamboo in the excavation. According to Lurio, the current theory is that “some poor Japanese sailors got caught in a storm and were blown out to sea. They drifted along the Kirusiro, or Japanese current, for six months or so before being shipwrecked on the American west coast. It’s been estimated that there were two or three such shipwrecks per century…
“Transpacific contact happened. But it was nothing like what its advocates say. The plain fact is that except for the Arctic – where the Pacific is only 56 miles across and there was plenty of contact, trans-Pacific contact was limited to tiny incidents that, with the exception of the Polynesian discovery of the sweet potato and maybe some 5,000-year-old pottery designs, left absolutely no impact on either the Asians or the Amerindians. So this cannot qualify as a ‘discovery’ of America.”
Indeed! I was never arguing about “discovery” here, just that ancient people could and did travel the oceans, and that ample evidence shows that they could, and did, get here to the west coast of the U.S.
That’s what Thor Heyerdahl spent his life trying to prove, and he did it with little reed boats.
Back in the days of Julius Caesar, battles were fought on the Mediterranean using huge ships, not small reed boats like Heyerdahl. Two Roman era ships recovered in Lake Nemi were about 230 and 240 feet long, with 37-foot-long oars, putting to rest the debate whether or not the Romans actually could have built ships as big as they described in their writings. Clearly, these were vessels capable of sailing the open sea. [See also Julius Caesar’s descriptions of Celtic boats in Book 3 of his De Bello Gallico (Gallic Wars), written in 56 B.C.E.]
To buttress the idea that people from afar have been to North America, one should read the following books:
“Pale Ink” by Henriette Mertz. Mertz examines two ancient Chinese books, one from 2200 BC and the other from 500 AD, which describe two voyages of exploration. Mertz shows how the geographical data closely match certain areas on the west coast of America. A fascinating read. How’d they get to America? Boats, of course.
“The Zuni Enigma” by Nancy Yaw Davis. [This is the description on Amazon] “Did a group of thirteenth-century Japanese journey to the American Southwest, there to merge with the people, language, and religion of the Zuni tribe? For many years, anthropologists have understood the Zuni in the American Southwest to occupy a special place in Native American culture and ethnography. Their language, religion, and blood type are startlingly different from all other tribes. Most puzzling, the Zuni appear to have much in common with the people of Japan. In a book with groundbreaking implications, Dr. Nancy Yaw Davis examines the evidence underscoring the Zuni enigma, and suggests the circumstances that may have led Japanese on a religious quest--searching for the legendary "middle world" of Buddhism--across the Pacific and to the American Southwest more than seven hundred years ago.”
And how would these Japanese have gotten across the Pacific? Boats, of course.
“Maya Genesis” by Graeme Kearsley. [This is the description on Amazon] “The prime theme of this work is a comparison of the iconography of the remarkable Mayan civilization of central and south America, with that of India. It goes on to delineate the similarities between the mythologies of the Mayan people and those of the Mediterranean, China and Japan, Polynesia and ancient Egypt, amongst others. These similarities cannot be labeled coincidental. Did these mythologies erupt spontaneously from the collective unconscious of mankind, or is the more prosaic explanation to be found in the study of oceanic trading routes and sea-borne migrations? Presents a convincing and deeply-researched case that the mythology and iconography of Mesoamerica were widely and deeply influenced by those of India -- and the Ganges Delta in particular.”
How would people from India have gotten to the Maya lands in the distant past? Boats, of course.
“1421: The Year China Discovered America” by Gavin Menzies. This one is all about boats! [This is the description on Amazon] “On March 8, 1421, the largest fleet the world had ever seen set sail from China to "proceed all the way to the ends of the earth to collect tribute from the barbarians beyond the seas." When the fleet returned home in October 1423, the emperor had fallen, leaving China in political and economic chaos. The great ships were left to rot at their moorings and the records of their journeys were destroyed. Lost in the long, self-imposed isolation that followed was the knowledge that Chinese ships had reached America seventy years before Columbus and had circumnavigated the globe a century before Magellan. And they colonized America before the Europeans, transplanting the principal economic crops that have since fed and clothed the world.”
Yes, a controversial book, but well worth reading.
In Gloria Farley’s book, “In Plain View,” she devotes an entire chapter to New World inscription that appear to show Old World boats. Farley tells you her opinion on who drew the inscriptions, and where they came from.
Clearly, ancient people were well aware of boats and they traveled far and wide upon the waters.