Re: Polynesian origins and Lapita deception 
   Author:   Yuri Kuchinsky
   Date: 1998/09/24
   Forums: sci.archaeology, sci.anthropology,

Ross Clark <[17]> wrote in article
> Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:

> In this review (or whatever it is) Yuri takes up a stance that reminds me

> of a Creationist railing against Darwinism. "Aha!" he says, "they don't
> agree with each other!", "Aha! They have unresolved research
> problems!". Like the Creationists too, he recycles exhausted
> arguments and outdated objections until they make no sense. Like a small
> boy flinging pebbles at a large building (which he's never ventured
> into), convincing himself that it's about to come crashing down.

Nice rant, Ross. It is you and your cohorts who are Creationist-like, since
you, just like the Creationists, cannot agree upon the very basics of your
theories. If you had real science backing you up, you wouldn't be spouting
incoherent and mystical nonsense like you do.

So please, will you once again tell us about your mystical view of the
kumara history? "It's a Great Mystery that does not even allow constructing
any coherent hypothesis whatsoever to explain itself -- beyond Someone
brought it to Polynesia Sometime.". Is this your position basically?

Verrry Crrreationist...

[Yuri quoted Terrell:]
> > "By now most of us are tired of saying there are two ways of looking at
> > Lapita--the Fast Train and the Melanesian Homeland models (or some
> > compromise). We want better things to do with Lapita. It is never too
> > to be happy but first we need to break old habits. How to test your
> > IQ and find what really matters."
> >
> > To me, this sure indicates some disunity in the ranks.
> SHOCK! HORROR! Disunity in the ranks!

Just like among the Creationists!!!

> This of course is surprising only
> to someone who has convinced himself that Pacific prehistorians are a
> bunch of marching robots.

Not too far from what I really think...

> >And one of the main
> > loci of this disunity is the question of How long exactly did the
> > Polynesians spend in Melanesia? Believe it or not, but the scholars
> > haven't figured this one out! So what would it be, the esteemed
> > Authorities, the Fast Train or the Melanesian Homeland? Will they make
> > their minds, please?
> And if they don't?

Then they appear just like the Creationists.

> ... the argument you made yourself a couple of sentences ago, that
> because the ancestral Polynesians used the earth oven, they could not
> have made pottery. Makes no sense at all.

Not at all. This certainly increases the probability that they were
aceramic at their place of origin.

> > Characteristic Lapita pottery disappeared well before 2000 bp (before
> > present).
> >
> > "In strictly archaeological terms, Lapita comes to an end between the
> > middle and the end of the first millennium BC throughout its entire
> > of distribution (Kirch, 1997, p. 77).
> >
> > While some other forms of plain pottery continued in the area for some
> > time, it basically disappeared by the time the Polynesian dispersal is
> > believed to have started after 2000 bp. So it doesn't make sense that
> > Polynesians derived from the Lapita.
> So even though there's continuity in every other aspect of material
> culture in the archaeological record,

Bald assertion.

> you'd rather postulate an invasion
> by non-pottery-making Kwakiutl/Hawaiians than entertain the idea that
> they might have stopped making pottery.

Non-pottery-making Kwakiutl/Hawaiians are supported by plenty of other
evidence. Such as distinct continuity in every other aspect of material
culture in the archaeological record. Plus ethnographic record.

> > ITEM: The lack of a money-system


> What we might want to call "money" has a patchy distribution in Oceania,
> and involves various types of objects (feathers, shells, stone disks).
> The idea that it's some evolutionary milestone that people either have or
> don't have is

Pure basic Anthropology 100. Tell us the use of a money-system is
unimportant. Now Ross is going into New Ager hyper-relativism. How

> pure Old Time Heyerdahl.

Well, I suppose Old Time Heyerdahl will need to give you some pointers
coming out of basic Anthropology 100...

Too bad your clued out colleagues never even considered this stuff before.
I sympathize.

"H. Petri (1936), in his study of Pacific monetary systems, shows that
stone and shell money belonged in SE Asia to the younger Stone Age and had
an almost universal distribution throughout Indonesia, Micronesia and
Melanesia. He was accordingly surprised at the sudden and total absence of
any monetary form throughtout Polynesia; he found no other explanation but
to speculate about possible "cultural retrogression". (Heyerdahl, EARLY MAN
AND THE SEA, p. 154)

But the American Pacific North-West, also lacking a money-system, provides
a fine explanation for why this may be so.

> > ITEM: The loom.
> >
> > The knowledge of the loom, and of woven clothing, was widely present in
> > ancient Melanesia/Fiji. But the Polynesians didn't have the loom and
> > clothing other than bark-cloth. Another problem for Melanesia/Fiji
> > homeland.
> Not widely present in fact. Not in Fiji, and a limited distribution in
> Micronesia and northern Melanesia.

So could these "early Polynesians" not travel between northern and southern

> And how is this argument supposed to work anyway? Polynesians (like many
> other people in Oceania) don't use looms. Why is this a "problem"?

It's a problem because they would have picked up the loom in Micronesia if
this is where they originated.

Captain Cook, while visiting Canada, on the close parallel between the
American NW coast and NZ:

"In most of the houses were women at work, making dresses of the plant or
bark mentioned, which they executed exactly in the same manner that the New
Zealanders manufacture their cloth." (Heyerdahl, EARLY MAN AND THE SEA, p.

So why did the Polynesians not use the loom, seeing that spinnable cotton
was found growing wild in the Marquesas group, the Society Islands, Hawaii
and parts of Fiji by earliest European visitors? This cotton was the same
as American cotton and was probably human-introduced. Who introduced it,
and when? Those who introduced it probably also used it, but they were
surely non-Polynesians?

I suppose the dumbing-down school of historiography will not be able to
answer this one...

> > ITEM: The domestic animals
> >
> > Lapita had the chicken and the pig. In fact, the chicken was very big
> > the Lapita (Kirch, 1997, p. 211). But Polynesians did not get the
> > until quite late.
> >
> > In NZ there was no chicken or the pig, meaning that Polynesians did not
> > receive them until the connection with NZ was severed.
> ...unless your imagination can expand to grasp the possibility that they
> simply failed to establish them across the long and difficult distance to

> NZ.


Why, did the chicken get sea-sick, or something?

> > Kirch's 1997 review of the state of affairs in this area (p. 100ff)
> > about a certain number of Lapita skeletal remains that we have
> > perhaps not as many as we would like). He reviews four Lapita sites
> > the human remains, the best one on Watom Island, in the Bismarcks (p.
> > 108). But Kirch, in spite of some fudging, admits that these Watom
> > are not really a lot like the Polynesian type! Strange goings on,
> > indeed...
> And why would you be expecting to find Polynesians at Watom?


No, my dear confused friend. They found the Lapita remains at Watom. And
they were not very similar to Polynesian type. Too bad for the Mystical
Historiography school...


> > What a bunch of nonsense. Instead of supporting the mainstream dogma,
> > turns out that what seems like the most important and direct evidence
> > this area is actually... going AGAINST the establishment dogma!!!


> > All this makes things pretty clear, I believe.
> Does it really? Perhaps you could explain. I didn't see anything about
> "Lapita myth shattered" in the above abstract.

So the skeletal and the DNA evidence does not support you. Is this a
problem? I guess not if you want to continue living in your dream world.

Yours as always,


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