Re: The Anthroplogy of th

whittet (
18 Dec 1994 19:35:08 GMT

In article <3ckthn$>, (Scott C DeLancey) says:
>In article <>,
>Rab Wilkie <> wrote:
>> -=> Quoting Scott C Delancey to All <=-
>> SCD> Several people, from Paul Radin up through Greenberg, have
>> SCD> argued that linguistic evidence shows that all the rest of the New
>> SCD> World languages represent a single migration.
>> They may represent the influence of one language, spoken by a people
>> who settled in the New World as a result of a single migration, but
>> this need not imply that there were no other occupants & languages here
>> beforehand who subsequently were subsumed.
>True. Anyway, the linguistic evidence isn't and never will be conclusive
>on this point; as far as I can see, if we're to have an answer to the
>question of how many migrations it will have to rest primarily on
>evidence that the physical anthropologists come up with.
>> SCD> In my opinion, shared with almost everyone who knows much of anything
>> SCD> about the subject, no one has yet produced linguistic evidence which
>> SCD> makes a very convincing case for this.
>> Are you familiar with Merritt Ruhlen's work as presented in "The Origin of
>> Language", Wiley, 1994?
>I haven't read the new book, but yes, I'm quite familiar with Ruhlen's
>and Greenberg's work, and I stand by my opinion that there's no convincing
>case for the genetic unity of the "Amerind" languages. (Let me hasten
>to add, before the Greenberg apologists start screaming, that I think this
>is a very plausible idea; all I'm saying is that Greenberg and Ruhlen have
>not proven it).
>> Would Beringian passage ever have been much of an obstacle, even during
>> times when the strait existed? The Timor Sea didn't prevent the arrival of
>> the first Australians -- 50,000y ago. (Or 120,000y BP, if the pollen analyses
>> /fire regimen correlations are an indication of VERY early settlment).
>Good point. Actually someboey in sci.anthropology just a week or two
>ago was saying that it's not at all clear that the original settlement
>of Australia was by sea; something about an intermittent land bridge ...
>But you're right, it's certainly imaginable (to me anyway, but I'm
>not an archeologist) that even the earliest migration(s) to the New
>World involved boat travel across the strait.

Why would people using boats need to go as far north as the Bering Strait?

If you get out an Atlas and follow the chains of islands from the East
China Sea, north through the Japanese home islands, the Kuriliskiye Ostrova,
Kamchatka and the Komandorskiye Ostrova, east from Glinka to Cape Wrangle,
and on home along the Near, Rat, Andreanof and Elizabeths, particularly
at a time of lowered sea levels, it is unnecessary to ever go out of
sight of land any farther than is normal for the kind of fishing that
produces swordfish beaks in the Red Paint shell middens.

With the exception of the 300 miles which separate Glinka and Cape Wrangel,
which if you follow the 200 m sea bed contour is about half that, the
journey is well within the capabilities of the equivalent of the Dorset
and Thule maritimes..

One objection to this
>hypothesis might be the fact that except for the Northwest Coast,
>Native Americans don't seem to have been much for sea-going boats or
>maritime activity; you'd think if they already had boats & maritime
>skills sufficient to get across the Bering Strait 12,000, or 25,000,
>or whatever years ago, that you'd still find that culture & technology
>at least along the West Coast.
>Scott DeLancey
>Department of Linguistics
>University of Oregon
>Eugene, OR 97403, USA