Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A word about diffusion and stone structures in New England

I was criticized for being anti diffusion. I actually believe that lots of European ideas got to America by boat. I also suspect information and people also went the other way across the Atlantic. I do not trust the genetic analysis comparing Indians with Europeans because the standard results appear to change every time archaeological orthodoxy shifts. Same seems to be true of linguistic analysis. They are interesting techniques but I don't trust the results.

That being said, I think that any Europeans that got here before Columbus rapidly became American Indians or died out. So the story of our landscape again becomes a story about how the Indians modified it. Although the European contacts do become part of that history and although it is fascinating how conventional academics ignore the obvious evidence for European diffusion, still in the end there is not that much more to it. I do believe that ideas developed independently here in America. So you still have to understand the stone structures and try to find out about who built them and why.


Norman said...

I also believe people and their ideas migrated from one continent to the other thousands of years ago. Ted Timreck's film "Mystery of the Lost Red Paint People" addresses this by pointing out the similarity of the Maritime Archaic tools to those made by people in northern Europe some 7000 years ago. And recently, Dennis Stanford of the Smithsonian Institution proposed that Solutrean people came by boat to North America around 17,000 years ago. When the evidence is compelling, I'm willing to listen.

pwax said...

Why be skeptical? European visits both deliberate and accidental seem likely. So, absent compelling evidence to the contrary, it should be the default assumption, I think.

Norman said...

I didn't say I was skeptical. As I said in my opening sentence, I believe others have visited this continent over the past thousands of years. However, some claims are rather far fetched, and of those I need to weigh the evidence -- and approach them with a jaundiced eye.