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Valdivia, jomon fishermen, and the nature of the north pacific some nautical problems with meggers, evans, and estrada's (1965) transoceanic contact thesis
Valdivia, jomon fishermen, and the nature of the north pacific some nautical problems with meggers, evans, and estrada's (1965) transoceanic contact thesis
Valdivia, jomon fishermen, and the nature of the north pacific some nautical problems with meggers, evans, and estrada's (1965) transoceanic contact thesis
Valdivia, jomon fishermen, and the nature of the north pacific some nautical problems with meggers, evans, and estrada's (1965) transoceanic contact thesis
Valdivia, jomon fishermen, and the nature of the north pacific some nautical problems with meggers, evans, and estrada's (1965) transoceanic contact thesis
Valdivia, jomon fishermen, and the nature of the north pacific some nautical problems with meggers, evans, and estrada's (1965) transoceanic contact thesis
Valdivia, jomon fishermen, and the nature of the north pacific some nautical problems with meggers, evans, and estrada's (1965) transoceanic contact thesis
Valdivia, jomon fishermen, and the nature of the north pacific some nautical problems with meggers, evans, and estrada's (1965) transoceanic contact thesis
Valdivia, jomon fishermen, and the nature of the north pacific some nautical problems with meggers, evans, and estrada's (1965) transoceanic contact thesis
Valdivia, jomon fishermen, and the nature of the north pacific some nautical problems with meggers, evans, and estrada's (1965) transoceanic contact thesis
Valdivia, jomon fishermen, and the nature of the north pacific some nautical problems with meggers, evans, and estrada's (1965) transoceanic contact thesis
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Valdivia, jomon fishermen, and the nature of the north pacific some nautical problems with meggers, evans, and estrada's (1965) transoceanic contact thesis

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  • 1. Society for American Archaeology Valdivia, Jomon Fishermen, and the Nature of the North Pacific: Some Nautical Problems with Meggers, Evans, and Estrada's (1965) Transoceanic Contact Thesis Author(s): Gordon F. McEwan and D. Bruce Dickson Source: American Antiquity, Vol. 43, No. 3 (Jul., 1978), pp. 362-371 Published by: Society for American Archaeology Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/279391 . Accessed: 25/04/2011 23:28 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at . http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=sam. . Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission. JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. Society for American Archaeology is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to American Antiquity. http://www.jstor.org
  • 2. VALDIVIA, JOMON FISHERMEN,AND THE NATURE OF THE NORTH PACIFIC: SOME NAUTICAL PROBLEMS WITH MEGGERS, EVANS, AND ESTRADA'S (1965) TRANSOCEANICCONTACTTHESIS Gordon F. McEwan and D. Bruce Dickson Meggers, Evans, and Estrada's (1965) thesis, that storm-tossed Jomon fishermen drifted across the North Pacific to the coast of Ecuador and introduced pottery-making at the Valdivia site, is presented. The thesis is examined from the standpoint of the mechanics of such a voyage. The nature of the surface current patterns in the North Pacific are discussed, together with the weather conditions found along the presumed route, the types of vessels known archaeologically for the early Jomon, and the suitability of such vessels for a trans- Pacific crossing. Finally, the survival problems faced by a crew adrift in an open boat on the North Pacific are presented. It is concluded that contact between Jomonand Valdivian peoples was unlikely to have occurred in the manner suggested by Meggers, Evans, and Estrada. Several possible alternative routes and explanations are advanced. IN THEMID-SIXTIESMeggers, Evans, and Estrada (1965) published the results of their work on the Valdivia site of coastal Ecuador. This site displayed an early, sophisticated ceramic sequence that appeared around 3000 B.C., apparently without local developmental antecedents. To explain this abrupt appearance, the authors evoked the mechanism of diffusion from the Jomonculture of Japan by means of waterborne contact across the Pacific. Since the first publication of their work, the Valdivian trans-Pacific contact thesis has been strongly challenged on archaeological grounds. While Ferdon (1966) noted the general paucity of archaeological data from northwest South America as a whole, Coe (1967), Bischof (1967), and Pearson (1968) pointed to weaknesses in the supposed ceramic parallels; Lyon (1972-1974) scored certain errors and inconsistencies in the report itself; and Lathrap (1967, 1973) and Muller (1968) made telling criticism of the authors' stratigraphic interpretations. In addition, archaeological work in Columbia at Puerto Hormiga (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1965, cited in Lathrap 1973: 1761) and more recently in Ecuador at Real Alto (Lathrap, Collier, and Chandra 1975; Marcos, Lathrap, and Zeidler 1976) has revealed evidence both of ceramic manufacture and of an agrarian subsistence base in northwestern South America probably earlier than the heretofore anomalous Valdivia wares. The type site itself has produced a ceramic ware apparently antecedent to Valdivia A (Bischof and Viteri 1972; Bischof 1973a, 1973b). Yet despite the close scrutiny that the archaeological portions of the Meggers, Evans, and Estrada thesis has received, little scholarly attention has been paid to the difficulties inherent in their postulated mechanism of contact-the accidental sea journey of Jomon fishermen to Ecuador at around 3000 B.C. This paper questions their thesis in light of the nature of the North Pacific and suggests that the occurrence of such a voyage is highly improbable. Meggers, Evans, and Estrada (1965:167-168) propose the following scenario: sometime during the months of October and November around 3000 B.C., a group of Jomonfishermen, who had set out in a hand paddled dugout to go deep-sea fishing off the southern coast of Japan, were caught in a typhoon and carried far to the northeast. Due to a combination of storms and ocean currents, they were unable to return to Japan but were borne by the currents across the Pacific in a great circle route to the northern coast of Ecuador. Upon making landfall they became friendly with the natives and eventually taught them to make pottery in the Jomon style. Gordon F. McEwan, Department of Anthropology, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78703 D. Bruce Dickson, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, Texas A &M University. College Station, TX 77843 362
  • 3. McEwanand Dickson] Although this reconstruction seems plausible on first approach, we believe it is based on a misunderstanding of the mechanics of navigation and the nature of ocean currents and fails to consider some of the real physical obstacles to such a voyage. What follows is an examination of the Meggers, Evans, and Estrada thesis in light of (1) the nature of current flow patterns in the North Pacific, (2) the weather conditions along the fishermen's presumed route, (3) the types of vessels archaeologically known to have been available to the early Jomon peoples and the characteristics of these vessels in relation to the current weather conditions encountered in the North Pacific, and (4) the survival problems faced by a crew adrift in the region in an open boat. When ththesefactors are taken into consideration, it becomes apparent that the authors' engaging- ly simple thesis demands the acceptance of a complex web of dubious assumptions. CURRENTFLOW PATTERNS IN THE NORTH PACIFIC Meggers, Evans, and Estrada (1965:167-168) posit 3 conditions concerning the fishermen's voyage: 1. The fishermen were trapped in a free-drifting boat which had no means of propulsion available to it and were carried out to sea on the ocean currents. 2. The course described by the drifting vessel was a "great circle route." 3. The ocean's surface currents carried the vessel directly to the coast of Ecuador. The authors' first condition, that the boat had lost its means of propulsion in the storm that drove it off course, is basic to their scenario. If the fishermen had possessed a means of directing their vessel following the storm, they would have realized that they were heading out to sea by observing the position of the sunrise and would have reversed their course and returned to Japan. Their second assumption, that the boat's course described a "great circle route" from Japan to Ecuador, is less easily accepted. From the mathematical standpoint, a great circle route may be defined as the shortest distance between 2 points on the surface of a sphere. On a Mercator pro- jection, where the sphericity of the earth's surface must be represented on a plane, such a route appears to be curvilinear. However, the prevailing currents in the Pacific do not flow in an arc or a great circle between Japan and Ecuador. Instead, mariners following a great circle route be- tween the 2 countries must cut across several currents that flow in opposite directions. Although this is not difficult for a vessel under power, it is clearly impossible for the drifting Jomon fishing boat to have followed a "great circle route" to Ecuador. Meggers, Evans, and Estrada presumably did not mean to use this term in its mathematical or navigational sense. Instead, they were referring to the great arc described by the prevailing cur- rents that flow northeastward from Japan toward the Bering Straits and down the coast of North America. By "great circle route" perhaps these authors mean the convex poleward path that a current-borne, floating object would take in the North Pacific. This may seem a minor point, but it illustrates Meggers, Evans, and Estrada's unfamiliarity with the maritime problems faced during a Pacific crossing. The authors' third assumption, that the currents in the North Pacific would carry a drifting boat directly to the coast of Ecuador, is even more questionable. Two factors determine the course of a free-drifting object such as a vessel on the surface of the ocean: the prevailing winds and the surface currents. In the open ocean, the surface currents are controlled by a combination of the wind and the Coriolis effect caused by the rotation of the earth. In the North Pacific there are 2 major wind belts that drive current circulation: the prevailing westerlies between the latitudes of 30O?Nand 60?N, and the northeast trade winds between the equator and approx- imately 25? N latitude. These wind belts, in combination with the Coriolis effect, direct the prevailing current flow in a clockwise, circular pattern (U.S. Hydrographic Office 1966:718-725, 794-800). The drift current in the North Pacific is divided at about the longitude of Hawaii into 2 circulating cells or "gyres," the western being the larger (Freeman 1951:17-21). This was the nature of the North Pacific at 3000 B.C., unless early post-Pleistocene climatic oscillations were of sufficient magnitude to have altered these wind current patterns. JOMON FISHERMEN 363
  • 4. AMERICAN ANTIQUITY Ocean currents are often described as rivers or streams that carry everything inexorably in their grip across the sea (Edwards 1971:302). Meggers, Evans, and Estrada have apparently adopted this view in constructing their trans-Pacific contact scenario. Unfortunately, this analogy is not strictly correct, since it ignores the effects of weather and other factors on current behavior. Let us accept the river analogy for the moment, however, and suppose that a seaworthy Jomonvessel was in fact caught in the Japan current, or Kuroshio, and was carried into the North Pacific on an eastward heading. At about longitude 160?W, a major portion of the current veers to the south (see Figure 1).It is quite probable at this point that the vessel would have been carried in this southward drift toward the westward-moving North Equatorial current. This current would in turn have carried it back to the Japan current and thence to the coast of Asia. Suppose, however, that the vessel missed the southward drift and continued along in the North Pacific current. At about longitude 135?W, the North Pacific current splits into the northward- moving Alaskan current and the southward-moving California current. If the vessel entered the former, it would have ended up on the coast of Alaska. If it entered the California current instead, it would have been carried southward until it reached the approximate latitudes of southern California and northern Mexico. At this point the current turns sharply back to the west and joins the North Equatorial current. The vessel might then have made landfall or have been carried back across the Pacific to the Japan current and from there to its starting place. The only way that the vessel could have arrived in Ecuador would be for it to have crossed the westward-moving North Equatorial current and entered the eastward-moving Equatorial Counter current. Although it lacked a means of propulsion, the drifting Jomonfishing boat might have been blown into the Equatorial Counter current by one of the common and often severe hurricanes that occur along the western coast of Mexico and Central America between May and November (Van Dorn 1974:13, 90). However, even if the fishing boat survived the storm and reached the counter Figure 1. Path of Jomon drift voyage postulated by Meggers, Evans, and Estrada (1965), superimposed over the winter current circulation pattern of the North Pacific (after U.S. Hydrographic Office 1971). 364 [Vol. 43, No. 3,1978
  • 5. JOMONFISHERMEN current intact, it would not have washed up on the coast of Ecuador. Between May and December the Peru or Humboldt current deflects the Equatorial Counter current northward away from the coast of South America and into the North Equatorial current. It is only during the months bet- ween January and April that, due to the seasonal shifting of the thermal equator, the Equatorial Counter current is deflected along the coast in a southerly direction (Smith 1973:41, 210). One can argue that a freak storm occurring unseasonably early or late in the year might have pushed the Jomon fishermen into the Equatorial Counter current during the requisite months, but at this point the number of assumptions needed to sustain Meggers, Evans, and Estrada's thesis cry out for a swift application of Occam's Razor. A pertinent example which supports our contentions is the experience of Maurice and Marilyn Bailey, who were cast adrift in a life raft for 118 days after the sinking of their yacht in March 1973 (Bailey 1974). Their yacht sank between the northern coast of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands at a point corresponding with the final leg of the proposed Jomon voyage. The Baileys drifted approximately 1500 miles to the northwest during their 118 days at sea, and their approx- imate course roughly parallels the one postulated for the Jomon fishermen by Meggers, Evans, and Estrada. The Baileys, however, drifted in the direction away from the coast of Ecuador and were finally picked up far out at sea moving westward, as we would have predicted, in the North Equatorial current. In addition, Charles Brooks (1875), in his summary of reported instances of Japanese mariners wrecked in the North Pacific, indicates that a significant number washed ashore on islands near the equator or were picked up at sea in that region. He concludes: . . .thattheyhadbeen sweptnorthwardfromJapanbytheKuroshio,andthencesouthwardalongthenorth- west coast of Americauntilthey fell intothe equatorialwesterly current,where in companywith redwood logs, and driftwood from Oregon,they must have reached these islands in the equatorialbelt (Brooks 1875:61). Although Brooks reviewed some 60 reported cases of such Japanese drift voyages in his attempt at an exhaustive examination of the problem, he did not record a single instance of Japanese mariners washing ashore along the coast of South America or even farther south than Acapulco, Mexico (see also Sittig 1896). WEATHER CONDITIONSALONG THE PRESUMED ROUTEFROM JAPAN TO ECUADOR Weather would also have played a very important role in the proposed voyage. During winter in the Pacific, north of a line from southern Japan to Vancouver Island, B.C., gales occur 20-30% of the time and precipitation 25-45% of the time (U.S. Hydrographic Office 1972:105, 115). The highest statistical concentration of typhoon tracks in the world occurs between Manilla, in the Philippines, and southern Japan. The tracks of these storms generally curve to the northeast (Van Dorn 1974:13, 90). Now let us suppose, as Meggers, Evans, and Estrada (1965:167) suggest, that the vessel survived the typhoon, was blown out to sea in a northeasterly direction, and was car- ried eastward across the ocean by the North Pacific current and the prevailing westerlies in a zone that falls between 40?N and 55 ?N latitude. As the dugout drifted across the Pacific, gales would have been encountered on the average of 1 every 8-10 days with winter temperatures rang- ing between 35 ?F and 55 ?F (U.S. Hydrographic Office 1971:chart). If the vessel arrived on the eastern side of the Pacific and made its way down the west coast of Mexico and Central America, it would have encountered another area where tropical cyclones of hurricane intensity occur. During the months from May to November the average frequency of such storms is 1.1 per month (Van Dorn 1974:13, 90). These storms would have had the same destructive effect on the vessel as the typhoons of the western Pacific. Overall, the weather encountered at any stage of such a voyage could have been extreme enough to prevent the survival of either the men or their craft. McEwanand Dickson] 365
  • 6. AMERICAN ANTIQUITY TYPES OF VESSELS KNOWN FOR THE JOMONAND THE SUITABILITY OF SUCH VESSELS FOR A TRANS-PACIFICCROSSING The data available on vessels of the Jomonperiod is extremely limited. According to Ploszanjski (1963:88-89) the vessels employed by the Jomon around 3000 B.C. appear to have been simple wooden dugouts manufactured with stone tools. The earliest known vessel of this period has a shallow, rounded cross-section with a width-depth ratio of approximately 4.5. The next oldest dugout found dates from about 1000 B.C. and was 5 m long, with a width-depth ratio of 1.6. The type of vessel we are dealing with appears to have been little more than a hollowed-out log. Following Ploszanjski, Meggers, Evans, and Estrada (1965:167) propose that the craft used by the Jomon fishermen was dugout canoe propelled by hand-held paddles. They further speculate, on the basis of bones found in Jomonrefuse in Japan, that canoes of this type were employed in deep- sea fishing (Pearson 1968:85 feels this is unlikely). A dugout can be a reasonably effective craft in calm waters, but in rough weather an open vessel this small would be extremely unseaworthy. By the nature of its construction, a dugout has very limited freeboard and would ride very low in the water. If it were to be struck broadside, even by a relatively small wave, it could be swamped or capsized. While a wooden dug-out might float for some time just below the surface in a swamped condition, it would eventually become waterlogged and sink. During the winter off theewstcoast of Japan 60-70% of theaoe seas have been observed to be in excess of 5 ft, 40% in excess of 8 ft, and 20% in excess of 12 ft in height (U.S. Hydrographic Center 1972:Chart 159). In a typhoon or prolonged gale, waves up to 55 ft in height are not uncommon (Knight 1960:426). In a heavy storm it would be impossible to prevent such a vessel from swamping. Actually it does not seem probable in the first place that experienced fishermen would take a dugout canoe so far offshore that they would have been unable to return in the event of ap- proaching foul weather. Reliance on hand paddling would also have limited the distances normal- ly traveled in such crafts. However, the waters surrounding Japan are of great depth (Van Dorn 1974:13), and Jomon fishermen would not have had to venture particularly far out to sea to have caught the deep-sea species found in the middens of their habitation sites. SURVIVALPROBLEMSFACEDBY A CREWADRIFT IN AN OPEN BOAT IN THE NORTH PACIFIC Ultimately one comes to the most crucial question of this discussion: Could the dugout's crew survive such a voyage? As previously discussed, the chances of the dugout itself surviving are very remote. However, supposing the dugout could have remained afloat, let us examine the con- ditions and problems of survival that the crew would have faced. In the scenario proposed by Meggers, Evans, and Estrada (1965:167), the Jomon fishermen em- barked on their long drift voyage to Ecuador following an October or November typhoon. There is no way of precisely predicting the duration of such a voyage, but one can be certain that it would have lasted a very long time. The shortest distance between Japan and Ecuador is in excess of 8000 nautical miles. Data assembled by the U.S. Hydrographic Office (1969) indicates that the average speed of the current across the North Pacific is approximately .6 knots. A vessel drifting at this speed over a 24-hour period would cover about 14.4 nautical miles. Given this as a rough average daily drift speed, and presuming ideal conditions, the trip would have taken a minimum of 556 days or more than a year and a half. It should be noted that such speed estimates for a drifting vessel in the North Pacific are dif- ficult or impossible to make. For example, let us examine a portion of the North Pacific Current between longitudes 155 ?E and 155 ?W, at approximately 40?N latitude, during the month of November. This section of the current would have been traversed by the fishermen's vessel dur- ing the proposed voyage. The prevailing direction and speed of the current in this area is 366 [Vol. 43, No. 3,1978
  • 7. McEwanand Dickson] eastward at an average of .6 knots or 14.4 miles per 24-hour period. This means that most of the time (which in this case is about 33% of the time) the current flows in this direction at this speed. However, the current also flows to the west at an average speed of .34 knots 18% of the time, to the south at an average speed of .34 knots 14% of the time, and in various other directions during the remaining 35% of the time (U.S. Hydrographic Office 1969). Thus the course of a vessel depen- dent entirely on the currents for propulsion cannot be predicted with any hope of accuracy. Suf- fice it to say, that while ideal conditions might bring the fishermen to port in 556 days, it is pro- bably more likely that the drift voyage would have taken 3 times that long. Obtaining food and water and keeping warm, especially during the winter portion of their voyage, would have been the major problem faced by the crew. Presumably they could have caught sea birds and if they had been able to retain their gear, they no doubt could have fished. Fishing and bird catching in bad weather from such a boat would by no means have been easy. But even if these efforts proved successful, they would not have ended the voyagers' troubles. Ac- cording to Captain J.D. Walters of the Royal Naval Institute of Naval Medicine (Bailey 1974:125), the type of diet that is generally the lot of drift voyagers only meets the immediate energy re- quirements of the human body with little left for the repair and replacement of body tissues. Fur- thermore, a bird and fish diet would consist primarily of protein and thus require large amounts of water for digestion and the elimination of waste products (Bailey 1974:124). According to Wolf (1956:75-76), fish tissue also contains a high percentage of nitrogenous tissue which must be eliminated from the human system through the excretion of relatively large quantities of urine. Finally, the dehydrating effect of constant exposure further increases the need for fluid intake. Although according to Wolf (1956:76) some recent evidence suggest that castaways might drink sea water under certain circumstances, he notes that "tradition and physiology" generally argue against doing so. The literature of the sea aboundsin tales of how this drinkleads to sickness, diarrhea,unutterableex- tremitiesof thirst and madness .... Andthe U.S.Navy sternlyenjoinsits men:"Neverdrinksea water!" (Wolf 1956:75). At first glance, a ready source of potable fresh water would seem to be the constant rainstorms which could be expected along the Jomon fishermen's route. However, catching and storing an adequate supply of fresh water free of salt water contamination would have been extremely dif- ficult; rough seas coincide with rainstorms, and the bulk of the crew's energies would have been directed toward remaining on board and bailing out the vessel. Yet, the single greatest obstacle to the crew's survival would have been hypothermia, a condi- tion that results in death due to the lowering of the body's temperature below 78.60?F(U.S. Hydrographic Office 1972:Chart 159). The crew of the vessel would have remained continuously wet and partially immersed in water during their constant struggle to keep the craft afloat in the rough sea. The sea water temperature in the North Pacific between 40?N and 50?N latitude during October, November, and December varies between 40 ? and 60 ?F. Immersion in sea water rang- ing in temperature between 40? and 50 F results in unconsciousness within 30-60 minutes and death within 1-3 hours (U.S. Hydrographic Office 1972:Chart 159). As previously mentioned, the air temperature ranges between 35? and 56?F; this would have the effect of appreciably lower temperatures due to the wind chill factor. Under these conditions, it seems probable that the men would have died from exposure before starvation claimed them. The successful, historically known drift voyages across the Pacific have invariably been under- taken by mariners whose craft were far more advanced in design than the postulated Jomon dugout canoe. As already noted, shipwrecked Japanese fishermen were found at sea or along the coast of North America with some regularity during the nineteenth century (Brooks 1875). However, before we consider this as evidence that similar crossings were common in 3000 B.C., let us recall that the decked, watertight Japanese fishing junk of the nineteenth century would have provided protection and safety for a crew to a degree impossible in a Jomon dugout. Despite the seaworthiness of their boats, however, Brooks (1875:64) reports a high death-rate among the crews due to exposure and starvation during long months at sea. JOMON FISHERMEN 367
  • 8. AMERICAN ANTIQUITY A SUMMARY EVALUATIONOF MEGGERS,EVANS, AND ESTRADA'S THESIS Our examination of the nature of the North Pacific leads us to conclude that a trans-Pacific con- tact between Japan and Ecuador at the postulated time is highly improbable. Contrary to the assumption of these authors, the current patterns in the region are not such as to make drift voyage between Japan and Ecuador likely even under the best circumstances. To accomplish such a voyage, a drifting vessel would be required to cross currents that flow in directions opposite to one another. Presumably a vessel lacking means of propulsion could not do this unless driven across the prevailing currents by a severe storm. It seems more plausible that a storm severe enough to drive the vessel across the current would also be strong enough to destroy it. Weather conditions along the proposed route tend to be severe. In the northwestern Pacific the vessel would probably have encountered typhoons. As the vessel crossed the North Central Pacific heavy gales would have to be expected. On the eastern and final leg of the journey, hur- ricanes are common. The probability of a Jomonvessel surviving or avoiding all of these weather hazards seems remote. Furthermore, the archaeological data on the subject suggest that the Jomonmaritime technology in 3000 B.C. was characterized by the dugout canoe, a watercraft not sufficiently seaworthy to accomplish a North Pacific crossing. The physical hardships imposed on the crew of such a vessel would be so extreme as to virtual- ly preclude any chance of survival. Food and water would be very difficult to obtain, and the crewmen would suffer from constant exposure to the elements. It seems probable that a crew would die of starvation, if not exposure, before completing a voyage which might have taken a year and a half or more. Unless archaeological evidence of a more advanced Jomon seafaring capability is discovered, it does not seem reasonable to conclude that such a drift voyage from Japan could have been accomplished around 3000 B.C. or that the northern coast of Ecuador would have been a logical or probable landfall. POSSIBLEALTERNATIVEEXPLANATIONS OF THE VALDIVIA CERAMICCOMPLEX To the authors of this paper, the most compelling alternative explanation of the early Jomon-like ceramic complex at the Valdivia site is the one advanced by Lathrap (1967, 1973), Zavallos et al. (1977), and others that the complex is not an isolated site-unit intrusion, but instead represents an in situ cultural development whose antecedent forms inland in northwestern South America are only now being recognized and understood. Yet, if one remains convinced that the complex is most easily and parsimoniously explained as a result of trans-Pacific contact, several routes other than the one proposed by Meggers, Evans, and Estrada might be more likely possibilities. For example, it might be more logical to postulate a southerly route in the vicinity of the equator, or perhaps an island-hopping course through the southern Pacific from the Phillipines and Polynesia (cf. Sittig 1896; Ferdon 1963). However, the Levinson et al. (1973:48, 50, 59-61) computer simulation of the populating of Polynesia seems to indicate that contact between Asia and the New World across the South Pacific could only have been effected by intentional, rather than drift voyages. Of course Carl Sauer, in his classic work, Agricultural origins and dispersals (1952), does in fact assume that early intentional travel between southeast Asia and northwest South America oc- curred along this route. Perhaps Meggers, Evans, and Estrada unnecessarily weaken their argument by assuming that the vessel in question was a dugout canoe. According to Ploszanjski (1963:89-90), sailing ships or rafts of a more sophisticated nature were known to the ancient Chinese. Ling (1970:70-71) infers the existence of sailing rafts as early as 3300 B.C., although the inference is based on tenuous evidence gleaned from ancient Chinese texts. In summarizing recent work on the problem, Schneider notes: Students of southeast Asian and Chinese prehistory, such as Dunn (1970), Heine-Geldern (1966), and Needham (1971:IV, 439 ff), claim that the Chinese by at least 600 B.C. had seafaring vessels able to reach 368 [Vol. 43, No. 3,1978
  • 9. JOMONFISHERMEN Oceanic Islands and return .... Dunn believes that competent seafaring began between 3000 and 1000 B.C. And Edwin Doran (1971) argues that the distribution of seagoing sailing rafts, which are apparently the oldest form of seagoing vessel, represents a genetic connection extending from Africa through southeast Asia, across the Pacific, and to the northwest coast of South America (1977:20). Thus it seems possible that either (1) sailing rafts or ships were known to the Jomon peoples also, or (2) as Carter (1973:21) suggests, the supposed contact originated not from Japan at all but from another part of Asia. Possible alternative sources for such contact include southeast Asia (cf. Gorman 1969, 1971; Solheim 1964, 1967, 1972), Taiwan (cf. Chang 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970:181; Chang and Stuiver 1966), or the south coast of China (cf. Chang 1968, 1970:184). Not on- ly would these ceramic-making peoples have been more likely to have possessed the sailing craft and maritime technology necessary to accomplish such a voyage (Edwards 1956, 1971), they are also closer to the less-rigorous southern route mentioned above. Thus, while the Meggers, Evans, and Estrada thesis of a Jomon dugout drift voyage appears highly improbable, our rejection of it does not mean we altogether rule out the possibility of trans- Pacific contacts at Valdivia or elsewhere in the New World. Rather we suggest that those who would seek to demonstrate convincingly such contacts will have to do additional archaeological work in northwestern South America, more closely examine early Asian ceramic traditions besides those of Japan, and most importantly, develop a greater understanding of the physical nature of the North Pacific. Acknowledgments: Considering the subject matter of this article, it is important to note that the senior author is a former merchant sailor who holds a Chief Mate's License and has sailed portions of the proposed routeof the Jomonfishermen.Bothauthorswouldliketo thankthe followingindividualswho kindlyread and madenumerousandoftendetailedcriticismof thiswork:W.T.McMullen(Commander,USMS)oftheDepart- ment of MarineTransportation;GeorgeF. Bass of the AmericanInstituteof Nautical Archaeologyand the Departmentof Anthropology,Texas A&MUniversity;GeorgeF.CarterandEdwinB.DoranoftheDepartment of Geography,and WilliamMass of the Departmentof Oceanography,all of Texas A&MUniversity;and Donald Lathrap of the Department of Anthropology of the University of Illinois. In addition, Terri Alford proof- read the manuscript, and Robert Buckner drew the map in Figure 1. We greatly appreciate all their helpful comments and suggestions, although the responsibility for the shortcomings of this work is ours alone. REFERENCES CITED Bailey, Maurice and Marilyn Bailey 1974 Staying alive. Ballantine Books, New York. Bischof, Henning 1967 Review of early formative period of coastal Ecuador: the Valdivia and Machalilla phase. American Journal of Archaeology 71(2):216-219. 1973a Una investigation estratigrafica en Valdivia (Ecuador): primeros resultados. Indiana 1:157-167. 1973b The origins of pottery in South America-recent radiocarbon dates from southwest Ecuador. Proceedings: International Congress of Americanists 40(1):269-281 Bischof, Henning and Julio Viteri Gamboa 1972 Pre-Valdivia occupations on the southwest coast of Ecuador. American Antiquity 37:548-551. Brooks, Charles W. 1875 Report of Japanese vessels wrecked in the North Pacific ocean from earliest records to the present time. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences: 50-66. Carter, George 1973 A hypothesis suggesting a single origin of agriculture. Paper presented at the IXth International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, Chicago. Chang, Kwang-Chih 1967 The Yale expedition to Taiwan and the southeast Asian horticultural evolution. Discovery2(2):3-10. 1968 The archaeology of ancient China. Yale University Press, New Haven. 1969 Fengpitou, Tapenkeng and the prehistory of Taiwan. Yale University Publications in Anthropology 73 . 1970 The beginning of agriculture in the Far East. Antiquity 44:175-185. Chang, Kwang-Chih and M. Stuiver 1966 Recent advances in prehistoric archaeology of Formosa. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 55:539-543. Coe, Michael D. 1967 Directions of cultural diffusion: review of Ecuador. Science 155:185-186. McEwanand Dickson] 369
  • 10. AMERICAN ANTIQUITY Doran, Edwin, Jr. 1971 The sailing raft as a great tradition. In Man across the sea, edited by Carroll L. Riley, J. C. Kelley, C. W. Pennington, and Robert L. Rands, pp. 115-138. University of Texas Press, Austin. Dunn, Fred L. 1970 Cultural evolution in the late Pleistocene and Holocene of southeast Asia. American Anthropologist 72:1041-1053. Edwards, C. R. 1956 Formosan sea-going raft and its origin in ancient China. Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica Bulletin 1:1-54. 1971 Commentary: Section II. In Man across the sea, edited by Carroll L. Riley, J. C. Kelley, C. W. Pennington, and Robert L. Rands, pp. 293-305. University of Texas Press, Austin. Ferdon, Edwin N. 1963 Polynesian origins. Science 141:499-505. 1966 The prehistoric culture of Ecuador. Science 152:1731-1732. Freeman, Otis W. 1951 Geography of the Pacific. John Wiley and Sons, New York. Gorman, C. F. 1969 Hoabinhian: a pebble tool complex with early plant associations in Southeast Asia. Science 163:671- 673. 1971 Hoabinhian and after: subsistence patterns in southeast Asia during the late Pleistocene and early Recent periods. World Archaeology 2(3):300-320. Heine-Geldern, Robert 1966 The problem of transpacific influences in Mesoamerica. In Handbook of Middle American Indians, edited by G. F. Ekholm and G. R. Willey 4:277-295. Knight, Austin M. 1960 Knight's modern seamanship. D. Van Nostrand Co., Princeton. Lathrap, Donald W. 1967 Review of "Early Formative period of coastal Ecuador: the Valdivia and Machalilla phases." American Anthropologist 69 (1):96-98. 1973 Review of Gordon Willey: An introduction to American archaeology. Volume 2: South America. American Anthropologist 75:1755-1767. Lathrap, Donald W., Donald Collier, and Helen Chandra 1975 Ancient Ecuador: culture, clay and creativity. 3000-300 B.C. Field Museum of Natural History Chicago. Levinson, Michael, R. Gerard Ward, and John W. Webb 1973 The settlement of Polynesia: a computer simulation. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis. Ling, Shun-sheng 1970 A study of the raft, outrigger, double and decked canoes of ancient China, the Pacific and the Indian Oceans. Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica Monograph 16. Lyon, Patricia J. 1972- "Early Formative period of coastal Ecuador": where is the evidence? Nawpa Pacha 10-12:33-48. 1974 Marcos, Jorge G., Donald W. Lathrap, James A. Zeidler 1976 Ancient Ecuador revisited. Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin 47(6):3-8. Meggers, B. J., Clifford Evans, and Emilio Estrada 1965 Early Formative period of coastal Ecuador: the Valdivia and Machalilla phases. Smithsonian Contri- butions to Anthropology 1. Muller, Jon D. 1968 A comment on Ford's review of "Early Formative period of coastal Ecuador." American Antiquity 33:254-255. Needham, Joseph 1971 Civil engineering and nautics. In: Science and civilization in China 4(3). Pearson, Richard 1968 Migration from Japan to Ecuador: the Japanese evidence. American Anthropologist 70:85-86. Ploszanjski, J. A. 1963 A history of ships and boats of Japan. Kultuurpatronen, Bulletin van het Etnografisch 5-6:85-120. Reichel-Dolmatoff, Gerardo 1965 Excavaciones arqueologicas en Puerto Hormiga, Departamento do Bolivar. Publicaciones de la Universidad de Los Andes, Anthropologia 2. Sauer, Carl 0. 1952 Agricultural origins and dispersals. The American Geographical Society, New York. Schneider, Harold K. 1977 Prehistoric transpacific contact and the theory of culture change. American Anthropologist 79:9-25. 370 [Vol.43, No.3,1978
  • 11. JOMONFISHERMENJOMONFISHERMEN Sittig, O. 1896 Compulsory migrations in the Pacific Ocean. Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smith- sonian Institution, 1895:519-535. Smith, F. G. W. 1973 The seas in motion. Thomas Y. Crowell Co., New York. Solheim, W. G. 1964 Pottery and Malayo-Polynesians. Current Anthropology 5:360, 376-384, 400-403. 1967 Southeast Asia and the West. Science 1957:896-902. 1972 An earlier agricultural revolution. Scientific American 226:34-41. U. S. Hydrographic Office 1966 The American practical navigator. U. S. Hydrographic Office Publication 9. 1969 Atlas of North Pacific currents. U. S. Hydrographic Office Publication 569. 1971 Pilot chart of the North Pacific. U. S. Hydrographic Office Publication 55. 1972 Planning guide for the North Pacific. In: Sailing directions. U. S. Hydrographic Office Publication 152. Van Dorn, William G. 1974 Oceanography and seamanship. Dodd, Mead and Co., New York. Wolf, A. V. 1956 Thirst. Scientific American 194:70-76. Zevallos, M. Carlos, Walton C. Galinat, Donald W. Lathrap, Earl R. Leng, Jorge G. Marcos, and Kathleen M. Klumpp 1977 The San Pablo corn kernel and its friends. Science 196:385-389. ERRATUM In the review of Prehistory of the Far West: Homes of Vanished Peoples, by L. S. Cressman (American Antiquity, Vol. 43, No. 2, April 1978, pp. 315-316), the last three lines of the review and the name of the reviewer were inadvertently dropped. The last paragraph of the review should read as follows: In short, this volume is an easily read and intellectually stimulating com- pendium of facts and ideas bearing on western prehistory. I certainly recom- mend it to students, to archaeologists, and to the informed public. The reader also, to be fully up-to-date, should, however, consult two Mercury Series monographs (National Museums of Canada; National Museum of Man) which synthesize more recent data: Fladmark, A Paleoecological Model for North- west Coast Prehistory (1975), and Borden, Origins and Development of Early Northwest Coast Culture to about 3000 B.C. (1975). ROY L. CARLSON Department of Archaeology Simon Fraser University Burnaby, B.C. Sittig, O. 1896 Compulsory migrations in the Pacific Ocean. Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smith- sonian Institution, 1895:519-535. Smith, F. G. W. 1973 The seas in motion. Thomas Y. Crowell Co., New York. Solheim, W. G. 1964 Pottery and Malayo-Polynesians. Current Anthropology 5:360, 376-384, 400-403. 1967 Southeast Asia and the West. Science 1957:896-902. 1972 An earlier agricultural revolution. Scientific American 226:34-41. U. S. Hydrographic Office 1966 The American practical navigator. U. S. Hydrographic Office Publication 9. 1969 Atlas of North Pacific currents. U. S. Hydrographic Office Publication 569. 1971 Pilot chart of the North Pacific. U. S. Hydrographic Office Publication 55. 1972 Planning guide for the North Pacific. In: Sailing directions. U. S. Hydrographic Office Publication 152. Van Dorn, William G. 1974 Oceanography and seamanship. Dodd, Mead and Co., New York. Wolf, A. V. 1956 Thirst. Scientific American 194:70-76. Zevallos, M. Carlos, Walton C. Galinat, Donald W. Lathrap, Earl R. Leng, Jorge G. Marcos, and Kathleen M. Klumpp 1977 The San Pablo corn kernel and its friends. Science 196:385-389. ERRATUM In the review of Prehistory of the Far West: Homes of Vanished Peoples, by L. S. Cressman (American Antiquity, Vol. 43, No. 2, April 1978, pp. 315-316), the last three lines of the review and the name of the reviewer were inadvertently dropped. The last paragraph of the review should read as follows: In short, this volume is an easily read and intellectually stimulating com- pendium of facts and ideas bearing on western prehistory. I certainly recom- mend it to students, to archaeologists, and to the informed public. The reader also, to be fully up-to-date, should, however, consult two Mercury Series monographs (National Museums of Canada; National Museum of Man) which synthesize more recent data: Fladmark, A Paleoecological Model for North- west Coast Prehistory (1975), and Borden, Origins and Development of Early Northwest Coast Culture to about 3000 B.C. (1975). ROY L. CARLSON Department of Archaeology Simon Fraser University Burnaby, B.C. 371371McEwanand Dickson]McEwanand Dickson]

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