Talk:Pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact theories

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Fringe Theory Section[edit]

Because there is a label called Fringe theories does it mean everything inside of it is Fringe? Ivan Van Setima might be fringe but why is the Atlantic adventures of the Mansa included in Fringe? Nothing there is fringe, it is a historical report. It also does not say they made contact. It just say this is what happened. The problem i have is everything in that section is tainted with the word Fringe, even when some of the evidence is not fringe. While it might be used by Fringe historians. --Inayity (talk) 12:54, 1 June 2013 (UTC)

"Fringe" is inappropriately pejorative. Although called "theories", these are really hypotheses. Renaming the section "Hypotheses" would correct both problems. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:28, 13 October 2014 (UTC)

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)

Please restructure to oldest first[edit]

Which should allow some clarity. As it is, its a mish mash of various ethnicities. I support G Mendez claim and feel it has sufficient offered proof. He has much antagonism when he has talks at national institutions here in America. Wiki burying his info in much later claims does a disservice to Wiki.-- (talk) 21:08, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

Possible new genetic evidence of Polynesian/South American contact[edit]

I just read an article on Reuters (here) which seems to demonstrate conclusively that there was contact between the inhabitants of Easter Island and South America around the time of Columbus (1300 to 1500). It seems like they've demonstrated it fairly conclusively, but I don't want to jump the gun by making edits to the article (especially since I'm already inclined to believe in Polynesian contact, and therefore can't be certain of my objectivity). Nevertheless, I figured I'd link the article here for review by other editors in the event that this claim is indeed substantiated and (eventually) deemed to warrant moving the Polynesians from "possible" to "confirmed" on the list.--Witan (talk) 01:50, 27 October 2014 (UTC)

Addendum It appears the two studies which are referenced in the article were both published this month (October 2014) in the journal Current Biology, which Wikipedia does list as being a peer-reviewed journal.--Witan (talk) 01:57, 27 October 2014 (UTC)
Use them in the article. Much better than news reports. Dougweller (talk) 10:15, 27 October 2014 (UTC)

Erdogan's comments[edit]

Well, now that Erdogan said that he believes that Columbus saw a mosque in Cuba, we can expect a lof of visits to this page. A nice starting point for trying to disprove the usual arguments in favour of it would be this page (I'm not saying it should be included in this article -- I'm just pointing to it here because it is relevant this month). --leuce (talk) 22:34, 15 November 2014 (UTC)

we should only include fringe viewpoints that have a measurable following / widespread and enduring notice not every crackpot who says something unbelievable. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 23:08, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
I see your point, but I would agree with The Almightey Drill that this deserves at least a passing mention, since the president of Turkey is not usually a crackpot (unlike the presidents of some other countries). The specific myth that Erdogan holds to is not yet mentioned in this article, and it comes from a published source (other myths that have only one published source are also included in this page). -- leuce (talk) 23:50, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
It may not be necessary to mention Erdogan at all, but the article does lack a section on the various claims of contact by North African muslims. If I remember, I'll write it in the next few days. -- leuce (talk) 23:59, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
to my surprise, i found it stated as fact in here. i thought Adams was generally a decent publisher? it looks like its also being made in [1] and [2] -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 00:07, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
The author of the book published by Adams is a converted Muslim[3] but it's inexcusable for a reputable publisher to allow that, calling Fell and Van Sertima examples of noted historians and archaeologists. Amazing. Jocelyne Cesari is even more shocking though. leuce, don't forget WP:SUMMARY as we have some relevant articles. I thought this might be about Khashkhash Ibn Saeed Ibn Aswad which was just edited by someone removing an unsourced statement (which sadly I can't source) but it seems to relate more directly to the Sung Document which is also mentioned at Pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact, 1170s and 1178. Also mentioned in the article is Abu Bakr II. These could all benefit from more watchers.
  • I dont think it is necessary to mention Erdogan, given that he is not an expert in anything remotely related to the topic.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 02:17, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
Referring to a more reliable source one could perhaps add something like "In 2006 the Turkish historian of science Fuat Sezgin argued that several Islamic sources and early-European maps suggest that the American continent had been known to Muslim seafarers as early as the 10th cent.[1]" AstroLynx (talk) 13:48, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
  1. ^ Sezgin, Fuat (2006), [The Pre-Colombian Discovery of the American Continent by Muslim Seafarers].

Only 26 km from Greenland to Canada[edit]

Removed from the article... although the shortest distance from Greenland to Canada is only 26 kilometres (over the Nares Strait to Ellesmere Island), the shortest distance from Greenland to Baffin Island (which is thought by some to be the Norse Helluland) is 330 kilometres, and the shortest distance from Greenland to Newfoundland (which is thought by some to be the Norse Vínland) is 1,100 kilometres. The "26 km" figure is not really relevant to the Norse contact. The Norse contact is perfectly plausible without it. -- leuce (talk) 23:35, 15 November 2014 (UTC)

Norse trans-oceanic contact[edit]

The section used to be called "Confirmed Norse trans-oceanic contact" but I removed the word "confirmed" because the section deals with both confirmed and non-confirmed contact. I also moved the second paragraph (which is about the sagas) down to join the fourth paragraph (which is also about the sagas), so that the first two paragraphs of the section relate to actual historical and archaeological evidence and the last two paragraphs deal with evidence that is at a similar level as many other claims, i.e. oral traditions and tales of trans-oceanic voyages.

I accept the Norse claims, but let's be honest: the sagas are oral traditions, and we don't know for certain that Helluland, Markland and Vinland are lands that are separate from modern-day Greenland (for that to be true, we'd have to assume that the Vikings circumnavigated Greenland and Baffin Island and we have to assume that the Vikings have used the name "Greenland" for the whole island of modern-day Greenland).

The only thing that links Vinland to L'Anse aux Meadows is the fact that there is an archaeological site at L'Anse aux Meadows and the fact that L'Anse aux Meadows is south of Baffin Island. That's it. No-one doubts that L'Anse aux Meadows is a Norse settlement, but linking it to the sagas is simply speculation. --leuce (talk) 23:55, 15 November 2014 (UTC)

I removed a large section of the L'Anse aux Meadows information because it is duplicated from the L'Anse aux Meadows article itself. -- leuce (talk) 00:01, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
good edit. thanks. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 21:13, 16 November 2014 (UTC)

On Bartolomé de las Casas' claims[edit]

I've removed this text: "According to Bartolomé de las Casas, two dead bodies that looked like those of Indians were found on the Portuguese Flores Island in the Azores. He said he found that fact in Columbus's notes, and it was one reason why Columbus presumed that India was on the other side of the ocean.<ref>De Las Casas, Bartolomé; Pagden, Anthony (September 8, 1999). A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indias. New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-044562-5.</ref>" because I find no mention of this story in Bartolomé de las Casas' account (which is available at Gutenberg Oh, and why is the date given as 1999? The account was written by Bartolomé de las Casas in 1552. -- leuce (talk) 08:46, 29 November 2014 (UTC)

Polynesian "claims" still being called "claims"[edit]

With the genetic testing of the sweet potatoes, the radiocarbon dating them from well before the 15th century I think we can all safely say that the skeptics are just being stubborn. There are few things in this field of study that are absolute but genetic testing and radiocarbon dating is pretty absolute. Unless someone can tell me why Sweet Potatoes would be in Polynesia literally centuries before Columbus than the only conclusion I can reach is that they landed in South America and traded for them. At this point I think we can safely say that the Polynesians did make it to the New World. I find it bizarre that the article still thinks this is up for debate.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 10:32, 20 December 2014‎

Provide a WP:reliable source please and then we can discuss the particulars. Snow talk 05:38, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
  • They are still unsubstantiated claims that have not been met with general acceptance. Untill general sources on the history of precolumbian Latin America start referencing this as fact, we will have to continue calling them claims or something similar.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 12:54, 30 January 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)