Lapita conundrum
   Author:   Yuri Kuchinsky
   Date: 1998/09/29
   Forums: sci.archaeology, sci.anthropology, soc.culture.new-zealand

   _________________________________________________________________
   
Ross Clark ([17]drc@antnov1.auckland.ac.nz) wrote on Mon, 28 Sep 1998 12:10:32
+1300:
: Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:

: > My dear Ross, the joke is on you. We have all kinds of evidence that the
: > Polynesians didn't get the chicken until very late. But you were ignorant
: > about it. Sorry.

: Yuri, how can you be so cruel? You abuse people for not knowing about all
: the evidence, and then you won't tell them what it is! Last time this
: came up, IIRC, you claimed that chickens were very late on Easter Island.
: When pressed for a reference, you referred to a picture caption in
: Heyerdahl 1987 which stated that evidence of chickens appeared late in
: _one site_.

Once again, Ross, your memory is failing. It WAS NOT ONE SITE. I've
corrected this gaffe of yours already, but you insist on repeating it. So
this is the fellow who loves to dump on Heyerdahl and to accuse him of
similar sins of which he is himself guilty...

[quote]

Email: [18]yuku@mail.trends.ca
Date: 1998/07/11

According to Heyerdahl, who cites an archaeologist Helene Wallin, the
chicken bones were not found in old layers of EI excavations.

"[H. Wallin] ...made an important discovery that chicken bones were
present only in the uppermost layers of refuse. The expedition's
stratigraphic excavations revealed quite clearly that poultry, a
Melanesian-Polynesian type of livestock, was unknown to the original
inhabitants of EI and was introduced very late, presumably at the end of
the Middle Period. This discovery confirmed the Eeaster Islanders' own
account that seabird's eggs had been an important part of their
forefathers' diet until they acquired poultry." (Heyerdahl, 1989, p. 228)

Also this happens to refute the mainstream historians' tall tale that EI
did not have any contact with the outside world after having been settled
originally.

[end quote]

: Please, give us more.

Why, Ross apparently has trouble absorbing even what I gave already... And
now he wants more for some reason...

But I will give him more about the chicken, and also about the coconut, as
per his request.

Here are more nails in the coffin of the Lapita derivation of Polynesians
theory.


CHICKENS COMING HOME TO ROOST

The Lapita had the chicken, as Kirch (1997) indicates clearly. And yet,
surprisingly enough, the chicken was apparently not known to early
Polynesians. So how come the mainstream dogma claims that the Polynesians
derived from the Lapita?

I already cited the cases of NZ and of Easter Island above. Here's more
supporting data from elsewhere.


HIVA:

[19]http://leahi.kcc.hawaii.edu/org/pvs/hivaprehistory.html

Periods of Hivan prehistory were devised by Robert Suggs after his
work in the islands from 1956-58 and elaborated upon by Yoshihiko
Sinoto in the 1960's and 70's.

Settlement Period (150 B.C. to 100 A D.): Artifacts from the earliest
period of settlement suggest that the first settlers lived near the
sea and depended heavily on marine resources for survival, rather than
on farming or livestock (Sinoto). Arti facts include fishooks,
sinkers, and adzes. Pottery fragments suggest the first settlers came
from the Lapita cultural area in Western Polynesia, or that there was
contact between Western and Eastern Polynesia. Few utensils for
preparing vegetables for cooking have been found from this early
period. No pig or chicken bones have been found...


COOK ISLANDS

According to David W. Steadman (in HISTORICAL ECOLOGY IN THE PACIFIC
ISLANDS, P. V. Kirch and T. Hunt, eds., Yale UP, 1997, p. 58), at
Tangatatau Rockshelter on Mangaia in the Cook Islands, the chicken and pig
remains are absent in the oldest layer. The stratigraphic record at this
shelter begins ca. 1100 ad. _Gallus gallus_ (chicken) appears ca. 1200 ad,
and the bones are very few at first until they increase gradually to be
very numerous ca. 1500 ad.


TAHITI

Also, M. Orlac writes (ibid, p. 219) that chickens were completely absent
in Tahiti (Putoa Rockshelter). The record there begins ca. 1300 ad (and
yet pig is present there).

-----------

And now the coconut.

COCONUT ARRIVES LATE TO HAWAII.

It is very clear that the Lapita had the coconut (Kirch, 1997, p. 209). So
why was the coconut not present in early Hawaii? This seems to provide
more support for Heyerdahl's theory that Hawaii received an early influx
of peoples from the Canadian Pacific northwest, who later became the
Polynesians.

I have researched the history of the coconut over the years. The early
history of coconut is still surprisingly little understood at this time.
For instance, we are not even sure if coconut originates in Asia or
perhaps in America (some valid but little known evidence exists for this).
Also, we are not sure to what extent coconut can diffuse without human
assistance. (It has been postulated that some varieties of coconut can
diffuse without human assistance, while others cannot.) And also --
perhaps the biggest surprise of all -- it is generally believed by the
scholars of American prehistory that coconut was absent from America
before Columbus. This view is clearly incorrect, although I've often came
across this belief being expressed by various scholars.

In any case, it is clear that coconut did not arrive to Hawaii until very
late. (This of course significantly reduces the possibility that coconut
is a self-diffusing plant.) Prof. Athens is certain that coconut was
human-introduced to Hawaii, and that it arrived to Hawaii very late.

J. Stephen Athens, HAWAIIAN NATIVE LOWLAND VEGENTATION IN PREHISTORY, in
HISTORICAL ECOLOGY IN THE PACIFIC ISLANDS, P. V. Kirch and T. Hunt, eds.,
Yale UP, 1997.

"_Cocos nucifera_: The coring data has repeatedly indicated the lack of
coconut pollen in pre-Polynesian contexts. This is a wind-pollinated tree
and a high pollen producer. To date we have not seen coconut in the coring
records until after AD 1300." (p. 268)

[The above only establishes that coconut was human-introduced. Athens
assumes, but of course cannot prove, that the first humans on Hawaii were
Polynesian speakers.]

Would any of my critics like to suggest that there was no human settlement
on Hawaii before AD 1300? Of course not. So who were those earliest
settlers who did not have the coconut? One can safely assume that they
were not "Lapita-derived Polynesians".

Regards,

Yuri.


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