Heyerdahl's ideas about Polynesian history Author: Yuri Kuchinsky Date: 1998/07/02 Forums: sci.archaeology, sci.anthropology, rec.arts.books _________________________________________________________________ So many people are rushing to criticize Heyerdahl without actually having bothered to read him. What did Heyerdahl propose about the original homeland of the Polynesian-speakers? What Thor actually proposed was that the Polynesian speakers came from the American Pacific North-West, i.e. the area around the British Columbia. Here's a brief summary. What Heyerdahl has actually been proposing for the last 60 years or so is that there were two big waves of eastern and central Pacific human settlement. The first big wave came from S. America, from the area around Ecuador and Peru. This wave were ocean-raft sailors and also megalithic builders. They constructed those very sophisticated giant stone constructions of various types. EI, and other Eastern Polynesian islands have plenty of such constructions, including pyramids. These were the "long-ears", i.e. the peoples practicing ear-extension, they were the stone-masons. They started to expand into the eastern Pacific ca. 400 ad, and even earlier perhaps. Here's what Heyerdahl writes about the giant stone statues as found in various places in S. America and eastern Polynesia: "There is a whole series of strong and compelling reasons for believing that the statues in eastern Polynesia are the result of foreign inspiration rather than of local evolution. Firstly, the archaeology of the islands where they have been raised, like Easter Island, Pitcairn, the Marquesas, etc., show no local signs of experiment and evolution in method and skill. The monolithic figures have been carved and erected with a clear and mature idea in the mind of the sculptor, and certainly by experienced hands." (AMERICAN INDIANS IN THE PACIFIC, p. 360) He adds that there have been found no traces of any "evolutionary period" for such skills. And the same of course applies to the the megalithic stone walls, and other such artifacts made of giant stone blocks. The second wave of human settlement, according to Heyerdahl, was that of the Polynesian-speakers, and they came from the Pacific North-West. First they settled the Hawaii, going with the currents that naturally prevail in that area of the Pacific, and later spread around, reaching the New Zealand last. They were the canoe-sailors and the wood-workers, as opposed to the stone-masons. These tribes were rather war-like, and they waged wars of conquest in their highly maneuverable canoes that were far more suitable for combat than the rather difficult-to-manoeuvre sailing rafts. Some of their war flotillas included as many 10,000 warriors in canoes that held up to 150 each. Polynesian-speakers were conquering and displacing the earlier settlers on various islands as they moved along around the Pacific. All this started happening possibly around 600-800 ad, the time when Hawaii, Samoa, and Tonga were settled by the Polynesians. New Zealand is believed to have been settled ca. 900 ad. Polynesians apparently arrived in force to EI ca. 1000-1200 ad, possibly from Rarotonga (Cook Islands). Heyerdahl accumulated great amounts of evidence for these theories, most of it still unknown to an average academic scholar, including even the specialists. Witness Greg's sorry attempts to present Heyerdahl's views here of late... My main intention in these discussion at this time is to demonstrate EI to SA links. These links are so obvious and so strong that even someone as wilfully obtuse and biased as Greg can do absolutely nothing to counter all this evidence. So far he's only been picking on the sidelines, finding a little problem here and a little glitch there in what Heyerdahl wrote. At this point, I don't have either time or the inclination to go any further in defending these Heyerdahl's more general theories. Perhaps some other time. But this little bit of general background may be necessary to understand better all these debates about the early history of the Pacific that Greg has now touched upon. I'm aware that there may be many critics of these ideas of Heyerdahl. These views are not generally accepted. But I plead with the critics that in their criticisms they do not distort what he actually said. Yuri. Yuri Kuchinsky -=O=- http://www.globalserve.net/~yuku If ignorance is bliss, why aren't there more happy people? _________________________________________________________________Click here to go one level up in the directory.