Talk:Pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact theories

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Mormon archaeology? Seriously?[edit]

Why not list Scientology sources as well? I'm sure that there are some. After all, we all came here in spaceships or whatever.-- (talk) 18:30, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

Once upon a time I deleted that section, based on the logic that the purported immigration to America, as featured in the Book of Mormon, wasn't "contact" because the immigrants didn't go back. However, others saw fit to put the section back, based on the understandable argument that this is a notable "theory" (much more so than anything that Scientologists may have said). I have no problem keeping it, based on notability.--Other Choices (talk) 04:00, 28 April 2014 (UTC)
It should be on the project, based on notability of the issue, and it is discussed prominently in Mormonism and likely elsewhere. However, it's incredibly dubious that it belongs in this article, based on WP:Weight, given the historical/empirical validity given to the claim is not at all supported in expert literature on such matters, and it is thus WP:Fringe as a matter of historical record (as opposed to the Mormon scriptural record that gives it relevance to articles in that vein). The tone of that section muddies the water even further by not making this distinction clear. It's a pity you've resolved yourself to that section staying, because I'd fully support an effort to see it go (or at least reduced to short reference Wikilinking to Mormonism or another appropriate article. Again, it's a matter of weight, and WP:NPOV broadly -- serious research on the topic of trans-oceanic contact does not talk about the Mormon claim, or only does so to dismiss it as unsupportable; thus our article should not discuss it, or should only do so to note that it has been dismissed. Snow (talk) 21:02, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
I like the idea of trimming it to a short reference linking to Mormonism, with a note that it has been dismissed in the academic community.--Other Choices (talk) 03:45, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
I know this fight has been going on for years. All I'm saying is put it in or take it out, because the current status of having it in there couched in non-academic hit piece links to how stupid it is is POV and inappropriate. Like it or not, there are millions of people who believe it (unlike the other legends in the article), and Mormons are well-represented in archaeological circles. So being an armchair quarterback and calling them all idiots unless you academically outrank them is (again POV and inappropriate.) --Mrcolj (talk) 20:20, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
I think I'd have to agree with the "removal" camp as well. The book of Mormon on it's own doesn't count as evidence. Hell, the section itself is pretty much just a refutation of the ideas presented in Mormon archeology. I Feel Tired (talk) 22:08, 16 November 2014 (UTC)

Most of the above posters have completely misunderstood the inclusion of Mormon archaeology on this page. It is NOT about Joseph Smith himself, it is about Mormons going on digs to try and substantiate claims. The claims of these archaeologists, even if one considers them pseudo-scientific, are well-documented, fairly well funded and have a considerable literature. (Scientology is a straw man here - it doesn't do archaeological digs, and AFAIK makes no claims about trans-oceanic contact, with a supposed academic base.)

Secondly, Mormon archaeologists have made claims and finds which are not directly tied into the Book of Mormon. The interpretation is the controversial part. (There are supposed linguists doing research in this area). This knocks down the argument - "The book of Mormon on it's [sic] own doesn't count as evidence".

Yes, it is perfectly viable to question the scientific credentials of these people, but to ignore this matter completely is silly in this context. The better solution is to mention these claims, and then discuss how they are not accepted outside that community.-MacRùsgail (talk) 14:49, 10 February 2015 (UTC)

Multiple serious issues with regard to WP:V, WP:RS, WP:OR, WP:SYNTH and WP:WEIGHT in subsection "claims based on linguistic evidence"[edit]

I'm surprised this one got by the astute, and generally WP:Fringe-wary, fact checkers that are frequently active on this page, actually. This paragraph is a mess of insufficiently verified claims. First off, the entire thing is based off of one primary source, which is not nearly significant enough to support the notion that such extraordinary linguistic claims are indicative of an established theory significant enough to warrant mention here (see verification, reliable source, primary sourcing, and weight guidelines). We'd need mutliple substantial independent, secondary sources that support these claims in order to add them and I rather tend to doubt that even a significant minority of linguists would endorse these claims since two cognates is not going to be seen by most academics in this field as constituting "near proof of incidental contact". Again, this is an extraordinary claim requiring extraordinary sourcing. Presently, we have no (appropriate) sourcing.

Even worse yet than these issues, there are more specific claims being made on the basis of nothing more than POLLEX listings that are textbook cases of original research/synthesis: "According to POLLEX-Online, Proto-Polynesian *toki 'adze, axe'[11] has an accepted Proto-Austronesian etymology, which implies that the similarities are either accidental, or at most, in some cases, the word was borrowed from Polynesian into South American languages. Nevermind the fact that this statement is skeptical in the same direction that I am skeptical with regard to the previous claims made, it's still original research. So is the above point about *kumala unless it's representative of a source (in which case the POLLEX links still should go as they still represent inappropriate sourcing).

In truth, I'm doubtful this section can be salvaged at all. I think it ought to probably be removed in it's entirety unless additional sourcing is supplied. Snow talk 06:50, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

Eh, you want to be more specific? How does one primary source establish that this is a theory considered to have significant weight in mainstream academia? Sorry, but I don't see the policy argument there. In any event, we're not talking about WP:Notability, we're talking about WP:Verifiability (and a host of other policies this content is not really consistent with. Snow talk 14:26, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
Verifiability is obviously not in question since Adelaar mentions it in Languages of the Andes, which is the main scholarly work about Andean languages. The question is if it is notable enough to include per WP:WEIGHT. And the fact that Adelaar mentions it in this highly important book means that is.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 14:30, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
It's an extraordinary claim that receives no broad treatment in academia and is only mentioned in one academic's (primary) works. I don't see how that makes for anything but a shortfall with regard to WP:V. No matter the prominence we do or do not ascribe to the book in question, that's a sourcing issue. But, all of that being said...(see bellow) Snow talk 14:53, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
  • I do tend to agree that devoting a section to Adelaar and Muysken's mention of these two words is undue - basically we give it more space than they do in the book. A line would likely be enough.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 14:34, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
...that does seem like a good compromise solution. It addresses the SYNTH and WEIGHT issues, which are the most significant to my mind. I'm not so sure the theory is mainstream enough to warrant any mention at all, but I'll support this reasonable middle-ground approach all the same. Snow talk 14:53, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
This would be another source to include:
    • Adelaar, W. F. (1998). The name of the sweet potato: A case of pre-conquest contact between South America and the Pacific. TRENDS IN LINGUISTICS STUDIES AND MONOGRAPHS, 116, 403-412. User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 14:35, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
The problem is the nature of this article....its a dumping ground for others articles. -- Moxy (talk) 18:42, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
I agree. The consistent instability and recurrent issues of this page have made me more than once question the encyclopedic value of grouping all of these disparate topics into one loosely affiliated article, with the result that someone wants to add every little fringe theory in between the significantly accepted or widely-discussed events and claims. I think the rule of thumb we ought to be operating under here is that if a given theory couldn't support its own article in terms of sourcing and notability requirements, it shouldn't be treated here. Snow talk 07:39, 31 January 2015 (UTC)
We just have to deal with the issues. As a topic, it's discussed in enough sources to be notable. But I agree that if a given theory/hypothesis doesn't have its own article it doesn't belong here. Dougweller (talk) 11:56, 31 January 2015 (UTC)
I was actually examining the sources earlier to see if the concept of an over-arching approach to these various accounts and theories is actually reflected within them. If not, I think there's an argument to be made for not combining the various disparate events covered here. But I did so mostly out of abstract interest; I know it would certainly be a WP:SNOW issue to try to remove this page on such a nuanced interpretation of WP:N. Frankly it will be all we can do just to remove those theories which do not (and could not) support their own articles. (And needless to say it will be a constant battle to keep them from working their way back in, but that's the nature of the beast). Snow talk 15:13, 31 January 2015 (UTC)
A conversion to something along the lines of an Subject Index page might be appropriate. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 18:40, 10 February 2015 (UTC)

North Pacific Crossings[edit]

"Claims of contact other than the Norse settlement of Greenland and the L'Anse aux Meadows settlement in Newfoundland[2] are generally controversial and considered debatable. These claims are often based on circumstantial or ambiguous evidence. The scientific responses to such pre-Columbian contact claims range from dealing with it in peer-reviewed publications to outright dismissal as fringe science or pseudoarcheology.[3][4]"

I am being a pedant here, but as I understand it, there is some mainstream acceptance of North Pacific crossings. These would entail boat crossings from Kamchatka, say, to continental North America, through the Aleutians instead of across the Bering Strait. The Aleutian arc and Bering Strait may look close together on the map but in actual fact they are hundreds of miles apart, as far apart as California and British Columbia. In a small boat in rough weather. the distances would feel formidable. This crossing counts as being as much "trans-Oceanic" as Norse island hopping was. (As for the Bering Strait itself, there was continuous traffic across it for millenia, except during the Cold War) -MacRùsgail (talk) 15:00, 10 February 2015 (UTC)


Under the section on the Romans we have this:

"The Bay of Jars in Brazil has been yielding ancient clay storage jars that resemble Roman amphorae[63] for over 150 years. It has been proposed that the origin of these jars is a Roman wreck, although it has been suggested that they could be 15th or 16th century Spanish olive oil jars."

I thought these jars have been conclusively identified as Roman amphorae by a Dr. Will. Furthermore, WHO suggested that they could be 15th or 16th century Spanish olive oil jars. This statement is made without any citation. Here are some articles on this.

The whole approach to this article is to slant the discussion away from any possibility that anyone other than the Norse arrived before Columbus.

The amphorae found off the coast of Brazil would seem to be solid evidence that Romans were in America well over a thousand years before Columbus. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:45, 10 March 2015 (UTC)

If they are Roman, we still don't know if they got there in Roman vessel that sailed there deliberately, was blown off-course across the Atlantic and was shipwrecked there, possibly with all hands lost, or was brought there as ballast (something that is actually quite possible) by post-Columbus ship. Dougweller (talk) 20:05, 10 March 2015 (UTC)

When you say there these amphorae may have been brought as ballast--"something that is quite possible"--what is your citation for this? The author of the second article I posted points out that there are "thousands of data points" that support pre-Columbian contact, and establishment archaeologists find some way to dismiss them all. Why? And why would explorers 12 hundred years later being using ballast from ancient Roman societies?

There's always something. The Roman head must have been put there as a joke, etc, etc... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:06, 10 March 2015 (UTC)

I've let myself get sucked into an arguement that doesn't belong here. We simply base our article on reliable sources which means in most cases for this topic academic. And not stuff like your blogspot. Dougweller (talk) 21:57, 10 March 2015 (UTC)

This is exactly where the argument belongs, because we are talking about the veracity of the claims made here. Dr. Elizabeth Will is an academic archaeologist. She identified the amphorae as Roman from 2000 years ago. She is a reliable source. For political reasons, the government of Brazil shut down further archeological investigation of the site, covering over the finds with silt. This is the same kind of censorship you seem to be advocating. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:39, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

please take your conspiracy theories elsewhere. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 13:46, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

This is not a conspiracy theory. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:50, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

But the tone is not Encyclopedic.[edit]

Such proposals are often based on wild claims about archaeological finds, cultural comparisons, comments in historical documents, and narrative accounts that seem to be about trans-oceanic voyages. As for the word WILD, which should not be there, it does not occur anywhere in the body of the article. Also "comments in Historical documents" What does that mean, and Narrative accounts that seem..". It is not properly written and needs serious revision just in terms of good prose. --Inayity (talk) 21:19, 2 April 2015 (UTC)

Evidence of trade with East Asia 1000 years ago[edit]

See [1] Bronze artefacts and some obsidian which came from Russia ""We're seeing the interactions, indirect as they are, with these so-called 'high civilizations' of China, Korea or Yakutia," a region in Russia, Mason said." Dougweller (talk) 18:55, 18 April 2015 (UTC)

I would vote in favor adding this to this article (under "East Asian-Alaska contact" if it can't fit under any pre-existing section). Though it is stated in that Live Science article you cite that the team at the Rising Whale site will be presenting their research at the Canadian Archaeological Association on April 28-May 2 so it might be wise to wait until after that time in which hopefully more details will be revealed. Fuelsaver (talk) 20:14, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
We should wait. I said that earlier about the discovery of tools older than any found before (3.5mya I think). It's too early. Dougweller (talk) 20:55, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
The Conference has passed. Does anyone know if Dr. Mason and his team revealed any other findings?

Some theories over Polynesias, brought chicken and potato. Trade links with Yakutia, Polynesia, Korea and China. htm — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:54, 28 June 2015 (UTC)

This is as least the 2nd time someone's tried to promote I'm not sure what it is, looks crowd sourced. In any case, the only source that comes close to meeting WP:RS is the last one. When there's a an official report about the Alaska work and some response we can use it. That there was trade across the Bering Strait seems a certainty. How much, where from, who did the trading, all interesting questions. Doug Weller (talk) 15:45, 28 June 2015 (UTC)