Monday, August 01, 2005

Evidence Suggests that Ancient Polynesians Visited Native American Tribes

Linguist Kathryn A. Klar and archaeologist Terry L. Jones believe than ancient Polynesians sailed to Southern California 1,000 years before Columbus landed in America. Their report will be published in American Antiquity this summer. New research suggests that the Native American tribe Chumash word for sewn-plank canoe is derived from a Polynesian word for the wood used to construct the same boat. The Chumash and their neighboring Native American tribe, the Gabrielino, were the only tribes who built sewn-plank boats, a technique used on the Polynesian Islands. The Chumash word for sewn-plank canoe is tomolo'o, while the Hawaiian word for useful tree (the type used for building the boat) is kumulaa'au. The Polynesians colonized Hawaii before the year 1,000 AD, and their language evolved into the Hawaiian language. Many Hawaiian words that start with "k" originally began with "t." Replace the "k" in kumulaa'au with a "t" and the similarity is so great that it is highly unlikely to be a coincidence according to Klar.

Revised carbon-dating of an ancient Chumash headdress has been dated to 400 years earlier than originally thought. The headdress is fashioned from abalone shells and the skull of a swordfish which is a deep sea fish. Earlier carbon-dating placed it at 2,000 years old. That date implied the Chumash were fishing in deep-sea waters 400 years earlier than the Polynesian-Chumash contact that Klar and Jones believed. As it turns out, the original carbon-14 date was wrong, and new testing places the headdress at 600 AD, in the same time period Klar and Jones believe ancient Polynesians sailed to Southern California.

Another piece of evidence was found more than a decade ago when archaeological evidence proved that ancient Polynesians ate sweet potatoes, which are native to South America. Presumably, Polynesian sailors ventured to South America, obtained sweet potatoes and brought them back to their home islands.

For other interesting information on Native American culture, see Native American Art Information Articles.

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