Subject:      Re: AZTLAN list: who are the "American Isolationists"?
From:         yuku@mail.trends.ca (Yuri Kuchinsky)
Date:         1997/02/17
Message-ID:   <5ea0dd$bvr$1@trends.ca>
Newsgroups:   sci.archaeology,sci.anthropology,sci.archaeology.mesoamerican

Peter van Rossum ([22]pmv100@psu.edu) wrote:
: In article <5dt2kt$av2$1@trends.ca> [23]yuku@mail.trends.ca (Yuri Kuchinsky)
writes:

[begin quote]

>From David H. Kelley, AN ESSAY ON PRE-COLUMBIAN CONTACTS BETWEEN THE
AMERICAS AND OTHER AREAS, in RACE, DISCOURSE, AND THE ORIGIN OF THE
AMERICAS, Smithsonian, 1995

Comparative mythology is tied to comparative religious studies, to
the role of astronomy in ancient religion, and to comparative
calendrics. All such comparisons involve partial systemic
correspondences. Such evidence is quite acceptable to linguists, for
they are constantly dealing with parts of systems that have
themselves frequently undergone regular and specifiable changes.
Such partial systemic correspondences are disliked by
archaeologists... (p. 118)

I have done a great deal of work on Mesoamerican and Eurasian
parallels in calendar system. These parallels fall entirely in the
realm of partial systemic correspondences. Of the day-names of the
Mesoamerican calendar, all have parallels in one of four Eurasian
systems, three of which are attested in northern India. (p. 119)

[end quote]

So there you go, Peter. To say that all these are "coincidences" is truly
going into the realm of "science fiction". The Aliens shouldn't be far
behind... Wasn't some chap talking about "science fiction" recently here?

        ...

: It's not meant to be an ad hominem attack.  The fact is that you have
: regularly mischaracterized archaeologists as claiming that transoceanic
: contacts were impossible,

So are the Aztlan folk saying that it is possible and should be
discussed? You know, Peter, they provided the best proof of what I said
that I could think of...

	...

So while we're at it, here're some more quotes from that Kelley article
that deal with the points you raised specifically.

[begin quote]

Underlying all other factors is an intellectual bias that has
entered, directly and indirectly, into the training of most
anthropologists and archaeologists, at least in North America. This
bias of early training continues to affect even those scholars who
have adopted theoretical positions of a rather different nature.
This is the view that, since culture in the Americas evolved without
any outside contacts, the archaeology of the Americas provides us
with a "cultural laboratory" in which we can see how human cultures
evolve, and which of our characteristics are natural to human
beings. ... It is not surprising that scholars whose training was
based on this premise -- often explicit, but even more often
implicit -- are not willing to give up this view without
exceptionally good evidence. (p. 104)

The importance of diffusion is not that it introduces concepts that
local people were too stupid to word out, but rather that it
restricts further and wider developments and constrains future
activity. (p. 105)

[On p. 105, Kelley cites a passage from Bruce Trigger (A HISTORY OF
ARCHAEOLOGICAL THOUGHT, 1989, Cambridge UP, p. 315). Kelley sees
that passage as]

...a good example of the orthodox position and of why
"establishment" archaeologists are reluctant to consider seriously
any opposing interpretations suggesting intercontinental cultural
contacts. ... To Bruce Trigger _any_ examination of the possibility
of external relationships of any part of the culture of American
Indians seems _inherently_ racist, whatever the personal position of
a particular writer, and therefore is to be opposed. (p. 105)

[end quote]

So you see, Peter, this is how the critics of the prevailing paradigm are
silenced. This is how things are.

But with the recent research about maize arrival to India before Columbus,
the tables are reversed. Now it is the people who reject such a
possibility out hand who are minimizing the creativity of the American
Native, and the contribution of American cultures to the world at large.

The Isolationists on Aztlan-l must bear their Eurocentric burden now, IMO.

Regards,

Yuri.

Yuri Kuchinsky   | "Where there is the Tree of Knowledge, there
     -=-         | is always Paradise: so say the most ancient
 in Toronto      | and the most modern serpents."  F. Nietzsche
 ----- my webpage is for now at: [24]http://www.io.org/~yuku -----
   _________________________________________________________________


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