Lapita conundrum Author: Yuri Kuchinsky Date: 1998/09/29 Forums: sci.archaeology, sci.anthropology, soc.culture.new-zealand _________________________________________________________________ Ross Clark (email@example.com) 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: 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.Click here to go one level up in the directory.