Re: The Anthroplogy of th

whittet (
18 Dec 1994 20:01:09 GMT

In article <>, (Rab Wilkie) says:
> -=> Quoting Scott C Delancey to All <=-
> SCD> Date: 13 Dec 1994 11:43:51 -0800
> 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.

I think that if a large number of early American populations were reduced
by disease prior to their languages being sampled, and if lanquages were
to some extent the result of attempting to communicate with other groups,
that first the total sampling range is limited and secondly subject to
assimilation and diffusion.
> RW> They may represent the influence of one language, spoken by a people
> RW> who settled in the New World as a result of a single migration, but
> RW> this need not imply that there were no other occupants & languages here
> RW> beforehand who subsequently were subsumed.
> SCD> True. Anyway, the linguistic evidence isn't and never will be
> SCD> conclusive on this point; as far as I can see, if we're to have an
> SCD> answer to the question of how many migrations it will have to rest
> SCD> primarily on evidence that the physical anthropologists come up with.
> I understand and can share your view, although I entertain other views from
> time to time.
> RW> Are you familiar with Merritt Ruhlen's work as presented in "The Origin of
> RW> Language", Wiley, 1994?
> SCD> I haven't read the new book, but yes, I'm quite familiar with Ruhlen's
> SCD> and Greenberg's work, and I stand by my opinion that there's no
> SCD> convincing case for the genetic unity of the "Amerind" languages. (Let
> SCD> me hasten to add, before the Greenberg apologists start screaming, that
> SCD> I think this is a very plausible idea; all I'm saying is that Greenberg
> SCD> and Ruhlen have not proven it).
> Is their case that much weaker than the cases made for some Old World
> linguistic groupings that have more or less been accepted? Even some
> "Indo-European" connections.
> RW> Would Beringian passage ever have been much of an obstacle, even during
> RW> times when the strait existed? The Timor Sea didn't prevent the arrival of
> RW> the first Australians -- 50,000y ago. (Or 120,000y BP, if the pollen analyses
> RW> /fire regimen correlations are an indication of VERY early settlement).
> SCD> Good point. Actually someboey in sci.anthropology just a week or two
> SCD> ago was saying that it's not at all clear that the original settlement
> SCD> of Australia was by sea; something about an intermittent land bridge
> I don't think there was ever a direct land connection. Not according to
> the maps I've studied. Australia & New Guinea are separated from the rest
> of Indonesia by some very deep waters.

There is a growing amount of evidence for a world wide interconnected
"Sea People", living as aquaculturists and Fishermen from relatively
early dates, perhaps 30,000 years BP. If that is the case, many of their
sites were probably coastal areas settled at a time of lowered sea levels
and now flooded.

The evidence which remains comes from islands, Frequently
the islands would be settled as temporary fishing camps and then, act as
a base from which new temporary fishing camps would spread as
stocks of fish were depleated.

The islands chosen are often small, close to larger islands or a mainland,
and exhibit shell middens and rocks charred by fire.

Sites on islands include structures, burials, tools, and other artifacts
dated prior to 6,000 BC and in some cases considerably earlier than that.

In the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Indian Ocean, Sea of Japan, Pacific, Northwest
United States, Mexico, Chile, Straits of Magellen, Argentina, Brazil
Northeast United States, Canada, Newfoundland, Labrador, Greenland,
Atlantic coasts of Europe and Africa, Mediterranean, Aegean, Crete, Malta,
Cyprus, Madagascar... evidence exists that the use of boats was widespread
and the basis for a maritime culture at least as well organized as it's
land based equivalents.
> SCD> ... But you're right, it's certainly imaginable (to me anyway, but I'm
> SCD> not an archeologist) that even the earliest migration(s) to the New
> SCD> World involved boat travel across the strait. One objection to this
> SCD> hypothesis might be the fact that except for the Northwest Coast,
> SCD> Native Americans don't seem to have been much for sea-going boats or
> SCD> maritime activity;

I have found swordfish beaks in the Red Paint shell middens on Monhegan
Island, located 10 miles off the coast of Me. in New England. The Red
Paint culture is dated from 7500 BC to about 2000 BC.

you'd think if they already had boats & maritime
> SCD> skills sufficient to get across the Bering Strait 12,000, or 25,000,
> SCD> or whatever years ago, that you'd still find that culture & technology
> SCD> at least along the West Coast.
> Mmmm. The loss of earlier technologies after radical adaptations to a new
> habitat is not infrequent.
> Incidentally, Anna Cameron in "Daughters of Copper Woman" says she came
> across an old Northwest Coast navigation song, that according to local
> tradition was used at one time for paddling from near Vancouver Island to
> Alaska, and beyond.
>___ Blue Wave/QWK v2.12