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21.01.2018 Feature Article

West Africa & The Atlantic In Antiquity: Why They Couldn’t (get There)

West Africa & The Atlantic In Antiquity: Why They Couldn’t (get There)
LISTEN JAN 21, 2018

It seems there are six main theories of how early people(s) got to the Americas in Before the Common Era (BCE) times but also running into Common Era (=CE) days. They run (a) Bering Sea/Straits (= Siberia/Beringia/Alaska then overland spread); (b) Pacific Coast (West-coast Americas & a coastal spread via Holocene ice-free pockets/refugia); (c) Pacific Crossing (from Australia to West-coast America); (d) North Atlantic Crossing (the north Atlantic crossed via Holocene ice-floes as islands); (e) Middle Atlantic Crossings (= the later Middle Passage); (f) Viking/Norse voyages.

The Middle Crossing prompts hostile criticism, thus if Africans reached Caribbean/Mesoamerican parts of East-coast Americas, where are the signs of diseases so devastating for Post-Columbian Amerinds? Given there was Polynesian contact with Amerinds (= Amerindians = American Indians = Native Americans) and Polynesian canoes unwittingly took rats to even the remotest Pacific islands, where are the bones of the rats spreading the diseases showing Africans in East-coast Americas?

Do the Colossal/Great Heads by Amerind sculptors of the really portray Africans? Among expert critics are Bernard de Montellano, Gabriel Haslip-Viera plus Walter Barbour (Ethnohistory 1997; Current Anthropology 1997). They and others explain Great-Head traits as showing errors; intended “baby-faces”; depiction of were-cats/jaguars; of genetic throwbacks; of congenital diseases; of Mesoamerican (=M/american) ball-game players; basaltic spheres too hard to carve with soft copper tools; carving in certain ways to avoid fractures, etc.

A mistake noted by our Ethnohistory trio would be Ivan Van Sertima (They Came Before Columbus 1976; Af. Presence in Early America 1992; Early America Revisited 1998) saying African braided hair was echoed on Olmec Great Head No. 2 at Tres Zapotes (= TZ, Mex.). Another is to regard the epicanthic fold of the eye that has led to such comments as slitty-eyed, Mongoloid or Chinese fold is present in Africa. They say figurines in the collections of Alexander Von Wuthenau do not represent Africans as “Unexpected Faces in America 1989”. Africans in Olmec graves studied by Andrej Weircinski are denied by Pete Rossum as “Olmec Skeletons? : No, Just Bad Science” (online)

Sculptures across Asia perhaps helping any African-to-Olmec sequence may include the Buddhas that can be enormous, the Zinjirli (Syria) stele, etc. Yet Marilyn Reidel (Peopling the Americans online) says this is thought to be yet another mistake as the African-like hair of the Buddhas depicts snails on the head. A head carved on a rock (nr. Medina, Saudi Arabia) is called “Ishmael” by messrs. Chandler and Rashidi (in African Presence in Early Asia edd. Rashidi & Van Sertima 1995) may belong here but rock-art is hard to date. Osiris statues of Egypt seen as African because of size plus they may be black has been doubted since at least the 19th c.

The most famous ancient statue is the Great Sphinx at Giza (Eg.). Its head has long been felt to too small relative to the body but its supposed African look has been denied. This does accord with the hefty criticism of such Africa-centred/Afrocentric views that Egyptians were Africans led mainly by Mary Lefkowitz (Not Out of Africa 1991; Black Athena Revisited 1995, etc.). More of this could fill these pages but the reader will get the general idea. This is that these writers will not allow African influences on Egypt any more than our Ethnohistory trio allow the same for Mexico.

The head of an African carved on the Zinjirli stele is seen to be another mistake according to expert sources cited by Peggy Brooks-Bertram (in Egypt: Child of the Nile ed. by Van Sertima 1991). Heads of “Memnon” may show white Caucasians not black Africans (acc. to Bernal’s Vol. 2 of Black Athena 1991). Legends of the Vikings (= Norse) are best known by the tales called sagas. They tell of many voyages to such as Helluland (= Baffin Island? Can.); Vinland (= Newfoundland? in Canada), etc. They are given archaeological respectability by the Ingstad excavations at L’Anse-aux-Meadows (Newfoundland), those by Jane George (Kimmirut suggests Early European contact online) at Kimmirut (Baffin Island), etc.

Certainly, the presence of ironworking in west Africa and its apparent lack in the Americas does not suggest east-to-west voyages by Africans. A surprise here is that voyages in the opposite direction have not been latched on to by anti-Afrocentrics to any great degree. Jack Forbes (Africans & Native Americans 1993; The American Discovery of Europe 2007) has cited experienced sailors saying east-to-west voyages across the Atlantic are very difficult. He lists none from west Africa to the Americas despite doing so for several times for Amerinds getting to Europe. Nor does Forbes (1993) have much time for claimed Pre-Columbian Africans in the Caribbean, saying they are probably black-painted Amerinds. Forbes (2007) does cite suggested bringing of American tobacco, cocaine, etc, to part of Africa.

Douglas Edin (A look at the Evidence for Cocaine online) also discusses the drugs. He says plants yielding traces of tobacco plus cocaine grow in India besides Africa, so notes American claims may be as moot as those of Africa. A Buckland & Panagiotopakulu (Antiquity 2007) study points to infestations of tobacco beetles in Egyptian mummies (esp. that of Ramesses II), 19th c. use of tobacco-based insecticides, 19th c. inspection of mummies by pipe/cigarette-smoking Egyptologists and subsequent contamination, etc.

Another pest is Pulex irritans It supposedly originally infested guinea-pigs in the Andes Mountains in Chile/Peru parts of South America, infested clothing, evolved into the human flea then was transported by man to North America, across Beringia and Asia reaching Tell Amarna (Eg.) by ca. 1500 BCE according to Eva Panagiotopakulu (Antiquity 2001). This removes out any direct route to west Africa.

A larger pest of humans is the rat. Sources cited in “Ancient India, West Africa & the Sea” (online), Indian ships carried Rattus rattus (= black rat) across the Indian Ocean to the island of Madagascar. According to Nigel Davies (Voyagers to the New World 1979), Rattus exulans (= Pacific rat) was taken over the vast Pacific to the remotest islands of New Zealand, Easter Island, Hawaii, etc. Indian and Pacific sea-craft were open vessels, whereas the Viking knarr (= round-ship/merchantman) is held to have had 35 holds that may be something of an exaggeration but clearly the presence of holds would provide hidey-holes for small rodents. Now excavation of L’Anse-aux-Meadows and Kimmirut show Vikings in Canada and Kimmirut shows rats, again where are the rat-borne diseases of African origin?

Getting there (a)
Black rat supposedly only reached the British Isles with 11th c. Normans and the Irish term of luch Fraincc (= French mouse) may attest Norman-French ships but messrs. Rackham (London Archaeologist 1980-4) and Armitage et al (Antiquity 1979) prove rat-bones in Roman Britain (ca. 1000 years than Norman Eng.). Should face-to-contacts of about this date shown by “Icelanders descended from Native Americans” (Discover online), Greenland, Kimmirut, L’Anse-aux-Meadows, excavations, Kimmirut rat-bones, etc, prompt us to ask if rats only came from Africa?

Cats killing rats not only helped prevent diseases widespread across Viking and the rest of Europe but also stopped rats eating the stored grain that would tide communities over harsh winters. This would apply equally to crews as communities aboard ships. With messrs. Adalstein and Blumenthal (online) saying the Viking Skogkatt (= Norwegian Forest Cat) evolved into the Maine Cat of North America, we may ask where is the evidence for the Old-World diseases among New-World Felidae to which the latter had no resistance?

Norse sagas, bones at excavated sites in Iceland plus Greenland, online sites about the Newfoundland breed of dogs, etc, speak of large dogs accompanying their Viking masters on voyages. They also state that from matings of the dogs of the Skraelings (= Inuits/Eskimos? Or Amerinds called Beothuks?) and Vikings came the Newfoundland breed. If correct, where are the signs of the canine diseases brought from the part of the Old World called Europe brought to the New World otherwise named as the Americas?

Probably the most complete saga account of the Vikings in North America is the Groenlandsaga (= Greenland saga). It tells of Vikings trading milk to Skraelings, of Skraelings frightened by a bellowing bull, etc. If we are to believe the excavations at L’Anse-aux-Meadows, Kimmirut, etc, they demonstrate the Viking sagas are now proven to be authentic, this will attest cattle taken to the Americas. Did Old-World Bovidae affect those of the New World and if so, where are the signs of the effects of the Old-World Bovidae on New-World Bovidae?

Polynesian contact with the Americas is probable, that of the Vikings seems proven over centuries and those from east Asia over millennia (& only stopped by Soviet diktat in the 1920s). So to pose the question again, is it the case that Inuit, Polynesian or Viking sea-craft brought no Old-World nasties with them? Or are we to assume this again only applies to removing the argued-for case of west Africans having reached parts of the New World/Americas in Pre-Columbian times?

The only large anthropoid having fleas is Man. This is because we have permanent homes, whereas the great apes construct overnight temporary nests. This makes it likely that once the guinea-pig flea came to infest humans, Man is the most likely vector for transporting fleas. However, the long stretch of entire West-coast Americas, survival in the intense cold of the north Canadian Shield, the repeating of that cold in Beringia and Siberia plus the entire length of the largest of all our continents in Asia and on to Egypt seems open to doubt. Much to be preferred is the shorter route across the Atlantic Ocean to west Africa then an appearance on the far side of Africa.

It may be no coincidence that New-World drugs occurred in Old-World mummies in Egypt and Old-World drugs in New-World mummies in Peru. Online works by such as John Sorenson & Carl Johannessen; Stephen Jett plus others note internal parasites of Old-World origin in pre-Columbian graves in the New World. This includes such as hookworms, hairworms, giant roundworms, etc. They appear in bodies appear in South American graves of decidedly Pre-Columbian date. Here we are surely back with what is by far the shorter of the two routes by which the humans who are the means of the probable transporting of these parasites got from the Old-World to the New-World, namely the Middle Atlantic Crossings between west Africa and East-coast Americas.

These pests are plainly part of human movements but leave relatively little for archaeologists. In the Austronesian homeland, pigs also reveal such movement and are an integral part of cult-rites there plus those of their Polynesian descendants on the Pacific islands of Micronesia. This shows they loom large in the Austronesian psyche and attest long-distance movement of pigs by sea was not difficult for them.

So that Austronesian migrants evidently not taking their pigs with them to Madagascar is a surprise. The evidence for this is mainly linguistic not archaeological and such intangibles as “empires of the mind” (= intellectual colonisation = cultural stimulus) leaves even less testimony where the sources so often are literary. This is recognised by Benedict Fitzpatrick (Ireland & the Foundations of Europe 1927). He included the Greek impact on Rome; that of Ireland on Gaul becoming France according to Gesta Caroli Magna (= GCM = History of Charles the Great), etc.

Fitzpatrick (ib.) cites Plato (5th c. BCE Greek) on Hipparchus, Proclus, Protagoras, etc, coming to Athens to found the Academy there; Plutarch (1st c. CE Greek) on such Greeks as Critolaus, Carneades, Diogenes, etc, as intellectually colonising Rome; GCM on such Irishmen as Albinus, Clement, etc, doing so in early Post-Roman Gaul not yet become mainly France. We need not go all the way with Thomas Cahill (How the Irish Saved Civilisation 1995) but we can note that the Greek victory over the Persians at Marathon has been compared to the Irish conversion of Scotland and England for impact on European civilisation.

These “empires of the mind” prompt suggestions this includes Africans by Anne Christie (The Magic of the Pharoahs 2007), Flora Lugard (A Tropical Dependency 1906 & 1997) and others. Christie (ib.) cited “Se-Osiris & the Sealed Letter” and Lugard cites Abd el-Sadi’s (16th c. Magrebi) Tarikh es-Sudan ((= Hist. of Sudan) about east and west Africans as participants in religio/magic contests in Egypt. This seems directly echoed by the equally priestly “Magicians” also from west Africa that Frederick Peterson (1959) says reached “Prehistoric Mexico”.

Probably also belonging here are the early days of Buddhism outside India. It seems this was probably trader-led and peaceful; whereas the Islam that largely replaced it in most of what today is Malaysia and Indonesia was mainly point-of-sword conversion(s). Empires of the mind would be largely intangible but rather more tangible signs of Buddhism are statues of Buddhas that are often of immense size from India to China yet we saw the African look of Buddhas have been seen as errors.

In like vein are the giant Buddhas; the Medina Ishmael; an African in the Zinjirli stele; the head of the Great Sphinx; the Olmec Great Heads. Snails on the heads of the sweaty Buddha, chakras (= blessings), hair pulled out at the roots, etc, have been put forward as “explaining” the traits of Buddhas. This does not explain the combination of black colouration, snub noses, thick lips, tightly-coiled hair, etc, that are worldwide conventions for displaying most Africans.

An African connection is not just maintained but is reinforced by gods of the Indian religion called Hinduism, most notably aspects of Krishna. Thus Krishna (= Black One), Shyama (= Great Black One), Juggernaut (originally a black log), Skandar/Murugan, etc. The last was seen by Geoffrey Parrinder (African Traditional Religions 1953) as originating in the east African deity variously spelt as Murugan, Murungu, Mulungu, etc. An east African chief of the Nuba from Kenya is seen in photos in books by Van Sertima and shows how alike he is to the Medina Ishmael.

. Of the three figures carved on the Zinjirli stele, the claimed African was seen to have been seen as a sculptural blunder. Zinjirli was one of four known stelae that were important propaganda pieces celebrating victory over Kush and any errors on it would be seen as an insult to the gods and the Assyrian king as the man of the gods on earth. The sculptor would redeem his sin with his execution. The no problem with two Zinjirli figures makes it hard to understand why there is one with the third one. The more so given that it is the son of one of the African or Kushite kings the 25th Dynasty of Pharoahs ruling both Kush (= north Sudan) and Egypt.

Heads of he known as Memnon were shown to have been known as Thracian and white according to authors cited by Bernal (ib.), so fit with Memnon as king of Kush to the east of Africa. Semitic scribes from Assyria plus Israel had good reason to know that Kush was in Africa south of Egypt. In any case, depictions of Memnon as white are very scarce. Easily the bulk of them show him in the form of standard depictions of Africans that is of black colour, snub noses, tightly-coiled hair, of such as the giant Buddhas, the Zinjirli Kushite, the head of the Great Sphinx, etc.

Doubts that Osiris came from Sub-Saharan/Black Africa dates back to at least Christian Bunsen (Egypt’s Place in History 1867) feeling this was just random. Yet the original of Osiris was as black a log as the Indian Juggernath and being deliberately painted black, just cannot be something random. The prototype of Osiris being African is reinforced by one holy trinity of Egypt apparently being Osiris, Isis and Horus and all being seen as black and African. Further would be that Ta-Neter/Punt in east Africa was the home of the Egyptian gods and the small mountain at Jebel Mountain (Sudan) as that of the god named Amun.

East Africa is where the graves of the Kenyan giants called the Wardai are found. A monolith that is part of the mountain at Jebel Barkal was just seen as having been the home of the giant human-like god named Amun. Pharoahs as gods are shown by the giant statues of Egypt (esp. the giant head giving Belzoni so much trouble in the early 19th c.). Heads only of prisoners-of-war occur as gigantic reliefs at Tanis (Egypt) and Egypt also has the giant head of the Great Sphinx.

Undoubtedly the most famous Great Head of Africa has to be that of the Great Sphinx. That it is too small relative to the body has long been accepted, so leads to conclusions of remodelling or of it being a later addition. The African connection of Egypt was well known to Herodotus (5th c. BCE Greek) and was continued by messrs. Volney (18th/19th c. French), Denon (18th/19th c. French), etc. The drawings of Vivian plus Frank Domingo have been taken to demonstrate the head of the Great Sphinx is that of an African. The same is true of the photographs by Willard Johnson published in works by Van Sertima.

A giant turned to stone lies behind the myth of Umlindi at Cape Town (South Africa). Human heads are suggested to be seen in stone at Zuma Rock (near Abuja, Nigeria); Blo Degbo (near Monrovia, Liberia), etc. A giant statue in “Guinea” is referred to by al-Maqrizi (14th c. Egyptian) of a Pharoah that said to be marked by an inscription on the coast saying no further may indicate Blo Degbo. More giants turned to rock include those reported by Carl Reindorf (History of the Gold Coast & Asante 1895) plus Atlas in Morocco according to Greek myths.

Between them, Umlindi and Atlas more or less bracket the extent of Atlantic-facing parts of Africa. They also share a major feature. The full name of the former is Umlindi Wemingizimu (= Watcher of the South) and being fully Bantu also provides the Bantu name for Table Mountain overlooking Cape Town Harbour (South Africa). He was turned to rock by a goddess and another female was responsible for Atlas to stone. Having met Hercules, Atlas met Perseus who turned Atlas to rock by turning the face of female Gorgon named Medusa towards him.

Another giant who met Hercules was Geryon. Hercules cut his head off in the southwest of Iberia (= Spain & Portugal). Graham Campbell-Dunn (The African Origin of Classical Civilisation 2005) shows African face-mask sources for Iberian giants called Gigantes (= Giants) plus Cabezos (= Giant Heads), especially those of the Toledo parades. The opposite end of west Iberia from the southwest is Galicia in the northwest. Here are not only the fiercest seas of Atlantic-west Europe but also local legend telling us the giant head of Geryon was buried under Torre d’Hercule near Corunna (Galicia) that recognises those fierce seas of the Bay of Biscay.

Northwest Gaul/France is at the opposite end of continental Atlantic-west Europe from any part of west-facing Iberia. The fierce seas off Galicia are recognised by the Torre d’Hercule lighthouse compared by Richard Hornsey (Oxford Journal of Archaeology 1987) to Le Grande-Menhir (Brittany) and Tuir Bregoin (tuir = meaning tower or menhir in Irish). Confirmation of the fierce seas is provided by the massive ships of the Veneti of Brittany described by Julius Caesar (1st c. BCE Roman). Hereabouts was where the head of the Spanish Giant was beheaded according to Geoffrey of Monmouth (12th c. CE British).

Cornwall/Devon in southwest Britain has a Land’s End echoing those of Galicia plus Brittany. The southern tip of the Cornish Land’s End bears the giant’s name of Beler in Greek as Belerion/Bolerion. Myths of his beheading are unknown to me but a Land’s End neighbour was that well known beheader of giants, Jack the Giant-killer. Charles Thomas (National Trust Studies 1979) tells the story of Lord Trevelyan escaping encroaching seas on white horse. Thomas (ib.) also says another name for Land’s End was Vestaeum with an Anti-Vestaeum in the Scilly Isles opposite and that dangers of the seas were marked by signal-fires.

Ireland abounds with myths about giants and Daniel Donovan (Sketches of Carbury, County Cork: antiquities, history, legends & topography 1876). He says Cork in Munster (= sth. Ireland). Irish giants include the Fomhoire (= From the Sea) or Fomorach Afraicc (= F. from Africa). Fomorach kings included Tethba of Mag Mor (= Great Plain = Iberia), Elatha (K. of Ire. & who emerged from the sea), Balor/Balar (K. of Ire. who was beheaded by Lugh), etc. Balar was the grandson of Net/Neit (Celtiberian war-god) buried at Carn Ui Neit (= Cairn of the Grandson of Neit) or Mizen Head (west Cork) in Munster (= southern Ire.).

From this it emerges that giants said to have strong African links by non-African myths attest the most southwesterly points of Britain plus Ireland respectively. There is some connection with the Basques in mainly northwest Iberia with myths about giants that they called Mauriaks (= Mauri/Moors =Africans) and/or Gentiliaks (= Gentiles = Outsiders).

Otherwise that non-African myth is mainly Celtic. Celts once occupied much of middle Europe, Gaul/France plus most of Iberia in southwest Europe and continued into Britain and Ireland. The oldest known legends of Celtic Britain south of Hadrian’s Wall appear to have been tapped by Geoffrey of Monmouth. He tells us that African giants hefted stones from Africa to Ireland that were whizzed off magically by Merlin to became part of what formed Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain (Wilts., Eng.).What has been called the Scottish Stonehenge is at Callanish (on the Hebridean island of Lewis). Lewis tradition has it that Africans wearing cloaks built Callanish. Bryan Sykes (Blood of the British) shows an African DNA strain at Stornoway (Lewis) that he found puzzling.

More Africans were further noted in the oldest Irish legends, most notably in Munster as the southernmost province of Ireland (esp. Cork/Kerry parts of west Munster). The largest of Irish stone rings is in west Munster at Rothana Cruim Dubh (= Wheel/Ring of Black Crom = Grange Circle, Limerick), so relates to the huge Mogh Ruith/Roth (= Servant of the Wheel). Mogh not only wore a feathered cloak but was also the Chief Druid of Munster and linked to a menhir at Cleghile (Tipperary). We need not fuss too much about Classical sources not writing about Iberian Druids or Druids as priests, as nor do they mention Irish Druidism but Irish texts do mention Iberian Druids. Another stone ring is Crom Cruach (= Circle on the Mound = Killycluggin, Cavan).

Serge Plaza et al (Joining the Pillars of Hercules: mtDNA shows multidirectional gene flow in the Western Mediterranean online) emphasise the voyages from Guinea/Senegal bypassing Morocco direct to Iberia. This matches the routes from Guinea to the Caribbean. We have seen giants that legends regard as Africans were seen in Iberia, Gaul/France, Britain plus Ireland. According to Irish tradition, Black giants were seen to associate with standing stones in the form of stone rings and/or menhirs and not only do such stones form the basis of Roth Ramach (= Oared Wheel/ Ring [& recall Merlin & his stones]) but also these giants were Druidic priests. The feathered cloaks they wore were held to be seen to be noted in Scotland.

Such cloaks are noted in west Africa and Mesoamerica by Michael Bradley (Dawn Voyage: The Black Discovery of America 1991). These were worn by what Peterson (Prehistoric Mexico ib.) saw as the priestly/shamanic “Magicians” of the Olmec Culture of mainly Mexico. However, the major feature of the Olmec Culture are the Great Heads but the Great Heads denied as representing Africans was the major characteristic of the nay-sayers cited at the beginning of this article.

Getting there (b)
What is especially important to observe is the welter of views about what the Great Heads represent. Absolutely salient about this is that whatever the opinion expressed, there is only agreement that under no circumstance is an African component ever to be allowed as having been among the many elements coming among the overwhelmingly Asian-derived Amerindian population(s).

Taking the objections as listed above and looking at other views, we begin with (a), (b) and (c). The points there are fully answered in various works by messrs Van Sertima and Winters. Between them, they demonstrate the faces of the “baby-faces”, the shaman-cum-jaguar, carvings, etc, do not resemble those of the Olmec Great Heads nor present-day Amerinds of the same region.

Coming to (f), this involves the helmeted players of the M/american ball-game almost certainly beginning with the Olmec Culture. There will probably not be many more comprehensive studies of what apparently the Maya called Pok-a-Tok than “The Sport of Life & Death: The Mesoamerican Ball Game” (ed. Michael Whittington 2004). Its illustrations attest very little similarity of the helmets of the players and those of the Olmec Great Heads. On the other hand, there are good comparisons of those of the Tanis/Taharquo form of Kush plus Egypt and the Great Heads of Olmec-era Mesoamerica according to Rafique Jairazbhoy (Ancient Egyptians & Chinese in America 1974) and Clyde Winters (Olmec & African Heads online).

As to (h) and (i) is also good evidence the Great-Head does not result from the needs of carving hard basalt into Great Heads or for certain techniques meeting the needs of avoiding fractures, as the Great-Head form is known as wall-art at Ixmal (Mex.). Moreover, that the Negro was known to the Amerind sculptors seems shown by a Cerro de Piedra (Alvaredo, Mex.) mural; paintings at the Temple of the Warriors at Chichen Itza (Mex.); the terracottas of Von Wuthenau, etc.

However, the Ethnohistory trio of de Montellano, Haslip-Viera & Barbour cite a Reader’s Digest article saying the Wuthenau figurines are fakes, so would not confirm this. Yet the Alvaredo mural consists of an Amerind chief with a tied Negro in front of him to parallel much later scenes in Panama a long way to the south.

Here at Barriles (Panama) was a statue held to depict a man with an Amerind face being carried by another with African features. It may be no coincidence that it was also in Panama that there was the much later scene when Vasco de Balboa (14th/15th c. Span.) noted prisoners in Panama where Amerinds report Blacks as present before Amerinds were there. Another comparison is with Zinjirli which shows an Assyrian king with another bound African prisoner in front of him as part of the overall scene.

Thus it seems the difficulty alleged by experts in (f) does not really exist. This is once again proven by the comments of messrs Melgar (as Stirling 1938), Matthew Stirling (National Geographic 1938 & elsewhere), Frederick Peterson (ib.), Weircinski (An Anthropological Study on the Origin of the “Olmecs” online), Clyde Winters (Skeletal Evidence of African Olmecs online), etc.

Peterson (ib.) pointed to skeletal material that he attached to Negroes having arrived from Africa as the “Magicians” or shamans/witchdoctors of a cult that evolved into one based on felines. Something similar would be shown by Weircinski’s study of Olmec bones but he has been seen as a duff scientist in charges that are echoed by those levelled against Svetlana Balabanova (see below). Yet contributions to several scientific papers reveal that perhaps his science was not so bad after all. His Olmec research showed ca. 15% were Negroid in the Proto/Early Olmec and that this dropped to ca. 5% by the Late/Post Olmec.

Anti-Afrocentrics may want to divide any part of Africa from Olmec Mexico/Mesoamerica but Great Heads in both attest several comparisons. One would appear to be the attaching of Great Heads to royals in parts of Africa and M/america. Livio Stecchini (re. Hanno online) wrote of Hanno wanting to contact what he describes as “ancient Benin” and Carl Christian Reindorf (History of the Gold Coast & Asante 1895) of an extensive Benin seaboard. To these implied long sea-voyages and antiquity is added Emma Ross (Benin Hip-masks & Benin Commemorative Heads online) saying Great Head is a title of the Oba (= King) of Benin (Nig.)

More of the same seems shown in Egypt and Mexico, where again they attest large size and probable depiction of Royals. They were probably also of multi-era construction in that the head of the Great Sphinx seems out of true with the rest of the monument for size and it seems the Olmec sculptures began as thrones that were then converted into the Great Heads. The prone body plus human head of the Great Sphinx is shared by Monument F at Tres Zapotes (Mex.). Tres Zapotes F (= TZ F) is not only nicknamed La Negro but also compares very directly with the head of the Nuba chief already noted.

Dynastic Egypt and Olmec Mexico at this time would also have had in common the epicanthic/Chinese fold of the eye but our expert trio say it does not exist in Africa. Yet messrs. Strouhal (JAH 1973); Meek, Evans-Pritchard, Seligman (as Van Sertima ib.; Van Sertima 1992); Hadingham (online) show it across Africa and across the Atlantic on Olmec sculptures that include Great Heads. The yellow skin plus Chinese eye-fold of the Khwe were part of what led past efforts at showing Mongoloid/Chinese influence on Africa and Evan Hadingham (Ancient Chinese Explorers) was still doing so at much later dates. Eugen Strouhal (ib.) takes it as part of the “Evidence for the Early Penetration into Prehistoric Egypt”.

Dynastic Egypt and Olmec Mexico would also share braided hair but for the fact that our Ethnohistory trio feel able to state very firmly that the braiding of hair does not exist in Africa. However, braided hair is shown as both widespread and ancient in Africa and on TZ Great Head No. 2 by such as The Egyptian Type, Egyptian Hues (online); Ewoki Kenyatta (Locks online); Van Sertima (Early America Revisited ib.). Messrs De Montellano et al are respected academics with years of experience behind them. They also have a tendency to want to put others right in the light of their own views, so it is surprising to say the least that this is yet another feature that they get so wrong and this is far from being the only one.

Egypt and Mexico have both been subjected to anti-Afrocentricism. That on Egypt has been led by Mary Lefkowitz and on Mexico by Bernard de Montellano. The latter, Gabriel Haslip-Viera plus Warren Barbour are our Ethnohistory trio and we may conclude that if you are programmed to not seeing certain things, you will not do so. Their comments are all the more astonishing when the antiquity of the discussed traits in Africa is noted. Indeed, given that the Khwe/San (& a welter of other labels) had the “Chinese” eye-fold; it may well that the Khwe-type “Accas” in Egypt may be remnants of one of the Out-of- Africa movements using Egypt plus Sinai as a conduit. It is apparently not racist to consider Amerinds as incapable of absorbing non-native elements and making the whole as their own.

Nor does it appear to be regarded as racist that Amerind sculptors had no trouble portraying one of his own but could not accurately do so with Africans. This inability to sculpt Africans properly was highly chronic and international according to the experts we cited above. This could be because of the supposed Amerind no-contact with the non-Amerind world also explaining why the Americas remained largely in the Stone Age. What this does not explain is why this does not equally apply to Australia, Micronesia, Polynesia, etc. that also remained stubbornly in the Stone Age but did have contact with metal-using cultures. This contact was probably irregular but did take place and was decidedly prior to European arrivals but then consistency by those opposed to the line taken here is too much to expect.

In like vein would be would be Columbus happily quoted about the distance between west Africa and Mesoamerica as ruling out any Africans on the Atlantic before Columbus. There seems to be nothing like the same enthusiasm for citing those early Europeans in the Americas saying something like the reverse. The thinking this represents is given nice point by advice given to two would-be anthropologists.

One of those two young men was the British Africanist named Basil Davidson. He was advised to shy away from anything African, as this would be a waste of his career as nothing had happened there. Keith Jordan (in Van Sertima 1992) reports a conversation between two eminent German anthropologists named Erwin Palm and Alexander Wuthenau. Wuthenau was advised to never use Negro but Negroid, so as to avoid attributing anything positive to Africa or Africans.

The terms of Aithiopian/Aethiopian (= African) plus “Amazingly Negroid” were used of early-found Olmec Great Heads by Jose Melgar (the first re-discoverer of an Olmec Great Head) and Matthew Stirling respectively. Neither are Africans and Stirling (ib.) having had a career that included fieldwork in southeast Asia at about the time that Great Heads called Negroid were being found but mainly around the Gulf of Mexico. So he was in a unique position to judge the connections shown by the Olmec Great Heads.

Having seen that his fieldwork included southeast Asia and that southeast/east Asia is often suggested as a possible point of origin for the Olmec Culture, that he plumped for Africa must be significant. Not only that but his opinion the Olmecs were Pre-Maya went against Establishment views. Stirling has been proven to be correct. Here again we see the suggestion Africans were capable of going on long journeys. This fits with west Africans called Magicians going over hundreds of miles to Egypt plus those Peterson (ib.) saw as going for hundreds of miles to become a substratum of the Olmec Culture in Mexico.

Southeast Asia also figures in another worldwide phenomenon when Austronesians migrated and one was picked as husband by a local princess (& was ancestor of the Malagasy of Madagascar). The story of the Doomed Prince seems to have been very popular in ancient Egypt and again he seems to have been another outsider chosen as husband-to-be by a local princess. More seaborne migrants were Greeks reaching south France where local Celts of the Saluvii led by Nanus who had a daughter named Glyptis choosing to marry Protis and getting the nucleus of Marseilles as a dowry.

A direct Amerind parallel for the latter is Powhattan (chief of the Powhattans) having a daughter named Pocahuntas who chose the English John Smith as husband and obtained Roanoke (= later Fort Raleigh, Virginia, U.S.) as a dowry. What is at work here is what German anthropologists term Fremde heeren (= the foreign man/husband). This means high-status females choosing their own husbands. It may explain the African males in the same graves as Amerind females, as reported by Weircinski (ib.). This may also explain how the much later Africans became masters of large portions of Panama, Ecuador, etc.

The separate domains in Panama and Ecuador may have involved Africans marrying into native ruling families. This would mean that methods marital as much martial were a reason why small groups of Africans could become rulers in so short a time thousands of miles from their homelands, especially if parcels of land came as part of the deal. Another factor may be the difference of height between African males and Amerind males. Van Sertima (1976) points out this may be up to 18 inches.

We have seen that greater height does not always ensure military success, as witness the prisoners we saw the prisoner depicted on the Alvaredo stele and those noted by Balboa in Panama. What this merely attests are the joys and snags of going to war, thus success at one time but failure on another occasion.

Yet it can be assumed male physique and/or warrior prowess would also play some part here. It is always useful when something visual marks the trail, as when there are African influences on such as the formative stages of Buddhism well shown by John Moores (The Black Buddha online). Unfortunately, this does not always happen. Thus it may well be that for Egypt, Punt was to the south but we have no real idea where Punt was and nearly all that we know about it is from Egyptian texts. Yet archaeologists have little trouble accepting Punt actually existed.

We have literary mentions of west Africans having crossed the Sahara to Egypt but so far is known to this writer, there is little archaeological proof. This takes us into the realms of empires of the mind leaving little for the archaeology of the ground but does have interest for the archaeology of the mind (= folklore). Especially given a magic/religious background suggested to have taken west Africans hundreds of miles across the sea of sand known as the Sahara Desert to Egypt and those suggested to have taken hundreds of miles across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas.

Another line of testimony may be animals. Until very recently, it was accepted that among Polynesian influences on West-coast Americas was poultry but a Wikipedia entry on chickens says there are serious doubts about this, so leaves wide open where the first Americas chickens came from. David Thomas (Animal Calls of Great Britain 1939), Ahmed & Ibrahim Ali (The Black Celts 1991), etc, say the African call-sign for poultry is kuit-kuit, kkr-kkr, etc, and say they reached the Magreb then the British Isles. Kay Williamson (in The origin & development of African livestock edd. Blench & MacDonald 2000) shows kkr-kkr also occurs in the Americas. It may be significant her contribution to the book edited by Roger Blench and Kevin MacDonald (ib.) was titled “Did the chicken go west?”

If certain parts of Africa are where some cats were first domesticated, east Africa from Somalia up to Egypt in the northeast looms large. Cats in the African heat appear to have evolved into having thin bodies, erect ears, whippy tails, plus possible nearly hairless coats. The Mexican Hairless breed and the modern Rex breeds take this to almost the stage reached by the Sphinx breed. Desmond Morris (Catworld: A Feline Encyclopedia 1997) shows the royal link of Egyptian cats is echoed by that of the Mexican Hairless with Amerind princesses in Mexico where ceramic wheeled toy-like animals have similar ears.

Human migration has long been accompanied by dogs to almost everywhere, as shown by the Vikings. Thus Austronesian Indo/Malays plus their Polynesian descendants took dogs to almost all but the remotest Pacific islands plus to the great Indian Ocean island of Madagascar. An ancient breed in Africa is the Basenji (= Barkless/Silent or Congo) Hound. Wikipedia puts it among the oldest breeds. Van Sertima (1976) cites Columbus on something similar in the Caribbean islands. He also makes a direct comparison of the small wheeled objects.

Perhaps less tentative is what is to be said about Musas (= the banana family). Wikipedia says the earliest cultivated bananas are probably on the west Pacific islands of Papua/New Guinea plus Indonesia. They then came to Madagascar and east Africa but some varieties are held to not to have east African parallels but do appear in west Africa. This is felt to attest direct sea-routes, as again the occurrence of the nasty Indian Ocean disease called elephantiasis plus certain types of musical instruments. The bananas and the disease were in place between ca. 1000-500 BCE.

As far back as messrs. Allen (de Banana 1887) plus Popenhoe (Origin of the Banana 1914), a Mexico to Brazil spread reported by early Europeans there was thought too great for anything other than native sources for American musas. This would be confirmed by the profusion of bananas seen along the Amazon by the Orellano expedition plus words that Baron Humboldt (18th/19th c. German) felt confirmed this.

There is considerable criticism of Afrocentric views on this (as with all in any case) and the more specific Van Sertima (ib.) arguments particularly so (no change there then). Yet it is the case that the words latched on to by Humboldt at least would indicate something Pre-Columbian. Despite objections that the remains of bananas in Peruvian graves may be uncertain, it remains the case that with the words latched on to by Humboldt being of non-Amerind words indicates something Pre-Columbian. The more so given that Dan Koeppel (Banana: The Fate That Changed The World 2008) points to the reports of Maya word that are of Pre-Columbian origin.

A historian of the Spanish conquest of his part of South America was Garcilaso de la Vega (16th). As someone who was half Inca and half Spanish, it can be expected that he would have would the past glories of the Incas in mind or that of the Spanish Empire in mind. Certainly, at a time when Africans were regarded as little more than beasts of burden, Africa would not have loomed large in his mind. so he would have followed the views of his contemporaries.

Therefore, it is unexpected that Garcilaso attributes the arrival of so useful a plant as the banana to Africans. It is this opinion followed by Van Sertima (ib.), especially when showing a raft of words coming via west Africa to the Americas that on this line would be of Pre-Columbian date.

Getting back
Sources cited in my other papers provide good examples of vessels of the “simple” or “primitive” category. Such classes may lead us to wonder if anyone putting to sea in one was ever in their own mind. Yet Egyptians raft-like vessels were very seaworthy on the Indian and Atlantic Oceans for Eratosthenes (3rd c. BCE) and Thor Heyerdahl (The Ra Voyages 1971) respectively.

More of the same comes with Ganeswar Nayak (The wisdom of “tied logs”: The traditional boats of India’s Orissa Coast” (online) says tied-log rafts were taken east of India to Indonesia. Further is that the unknown author of the Maris Periplus Erythraei (PME = Voyage on the Erythrean Sea) describes more such rafts west of India to Madagascar and east Africa.

Vessels taking Indonesians/Austronesians to Madagascar may have been the rati (= rafts) described by Pliny (cited by Blench [in The Indian Ocean in Antiquity ed. J. Reade 1996]). Rafts also seemingly took Austronesian ancestors of the Micronesians and Polynesians on to the west Pacific according to Haddon & Hornell (The Canoes of Oceania 1936-8).

Severin records going most of the Pacific “The China Voyage: A Pacific Quest by Bamboo Raft 1995) towards America. Log-rafts were the one-time basis of commerce between Peru/Ecuador and west Mexico according to Dorothy Hosler (The Sounds & Colours of Power: The Sacred Metallurgy & Technology of West Mexico); Richard Callaghan (Antiquity 2003).

Still with West-facing Americas but rather further north were skin-boats of umiak/kayak form used by Inuits on Siberia/Alaska and east Canada/ Greenland runs. Other skin-boats are of the Celto/Irish class called a currach have probably their most famous member in that taken successfully across the Atlantic Ocean on “The Brendan Voyage 1978” by Tim Severin.

What may also have been a skin-boat is that of snake-skin of Kukulkan. His home across the sea and reported Olmec ties with the US southeast would clearly hint at seafaring. This is settled by Uixtotin shown by Philip Arnold (Mesoamerican Voices 2005) in “The Shark-monster in Olmec Iconography” as an alternative for Olmec. It means People of the Salt-water.

Eric Thompson allows that that the Miskito neighbours of the Olmecs/Maya may have used skin-boats of coracle type in “The Canoes & Navigation of the Maya & their Neighbours” (Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 1951). This presumably does something to confirm the Olmec ancestors of the sea-going Chontal/Putun Maya also did so.

Olmecs and Mayas as far south as Panama were part of the Mayan Southeast Periphery defined by Nicola Maestri (online). Panamanian gold was known in Olmec/Mayan parts of Mesoamerica. Completing the spread of the Mesoamerican coast for Olmec sailors would be the suggested Olmec affinities in southeast United States. Then there is the concept of Kukulkan having a homeland towards the rising sun (i.e. the east). Just how old worship of Kukulkan is discussed by Garth Norman (Izapa Sculpture 1973); Douglas Peck (Yucatan: Prehistory to the Great Revolt 2005; Origin & Diffusion of Mayan Civilisation 2007 & elsewhere); Clyde Winters (Atlantis in Mexico 2005) plus others.

The Olmec origin of Kukulkan (= the Quetzalcoatl of the Mexica/Aztecs) is part of the Peck (ib.) thesis that the Olmec should be renamed the Pre-Maya but the Izapan Culture is Post Olmec. It was just shown to be the subject of research by Norman (ib.). This especially means what Norman calls the Supernarrative Stele (= Izapa Stele No. 5). Norman relates this to the seven (or eight) and 12 (or 13) of the tales of what Norman calls “those famous old men” but admits sometimes 13 occurs in what Norman terms as Guatemalan Chronicles. Whether this is to be seen as a version of the 12 plus one seen in the Crom Cruach myth of the Irish Celts or that of Jesus and his 12 disciples has to remain moot.

Izapa-5 is the most famous artifact of the Epi/Post Izapan Culture. It also displays at two of the components making up a suggested Mesoamerican trinity of snake, bird plus feline. Norman tentatively felt the 12/13 referred to chiefs but Winters holds the 12 as the routes by which the seven clans led by Kukulkan came and that this makes Izapa-5 a visual record of their arrival. This he regards as symbolised by the Tree of Life as having 12/13 roots plus seven branches. The Mesoamerican Tree of Life is generally seen as the silkwood (= Ceiba) and on Izapa-5 all the scene occurs on what seems to be a barge-like vessel.

Spirals under a vessel decorate the “frying-pan” objects of Aegeo/Greek contexts denote the action of waves under the boat. The “Great Wave of Kanagawa” is the most famous painting of Katsushika Kosukai (18th/19th c. Japanese) and shows the sea as a spiral overwhelming fishing-boats. Africa gives us the emergence of the swirling spiral of the Milky Way and home in the sea here on earth of the gods of Dogon myth; the combining of spirals and confluent rivers on an Ikom megalith, etc. Amerind versions came from Chimu (Peru) to Izapa (Mexico) again have the spirals underneath the vessel, so does much to confirm this is a watercraft.

The normal depictions of Kukulkan are as combination of snake and bird with gaudy feathers and brings together the Mayan words of kuk (= Nahaua/Aztec quetzal) and kaan/kan. Winters mentions that birds appear on Izapa-5. This imagery would be of a kuno-tigi (= humano/avian) having a shaman/witch-doctor or medicine-man change into a bird presumably linked to impundulu (= heaven-bird) of the “Myths & Legends of the Bantu” by Alice Werner (1933). A third part of the suggested Mesoamerican trinity of snake/bird/feline is the feline. On Izapa-5 is carved a scene under a jaguar glyph. This is taken to attest a nama-tigi in which an amatigi (= cult-master/witch-doctor) turns into were-cat of jaguar type.

The oldest snake-cults are African, as at Tedosilo (Botswana). Bradley (ib.) says the yellow python of this area is replaced by the cobra in Egypt. Rainbows as bright-hued snakes in the sky may explain the concept of the Flying/Feathered-snake. Thus Abuk (Sudan), the Solkar aspect of Osiris (Egypt), Buki (Congo), Ayida-Quedo (Benin (= ex-Dahomey), Osumare (Nigeria), Anyweio (Ghana), etc. To this can probably be added the pheasant (?) noted in by Werner (1933). Further is the bright feathers of the avian messenger of the gods in Olmec-era Mexico plus Winters (ib.) adding Mande and Mayan ka/kan/ka’an (= snake; sky; height).

The kuno-tigi is seen to have a shaman turning into a bird. Frederick Wicker (Egypt & the Mountains of the Moon 1991) sought a bird’s-nest/twig-stiffener origin for the conical headgear worn by royalty in Sudan and Egypt. Cheikh Anta Diop (The African Origin of Civilisation 1984) shows this headgear worn by royals, religious, nobles, etc, in west Africa (esp. among the Mande.) and seems repeated by the amatigi of the kuno-tigi sculpted on Izapa-5. A change from the bright feathers of such as the pheasant in Africa to those of the kukul/quetzal of Mesoamerica is moot but the Izapa-5 amatigi/shaman adds to Peterson’s comments about Negro magicians in Mesoamerica.

Feline cults do attest a change in species, thus mainly lions in east Africa, mostly leopards in west Africa and jaguars in Mesoamerica. Izapa-5 has activity depicted under a jaguar-glyph, so has been interpreted as another cult-master/leader initiating his novitiate into his faith, this time that of the were-cat/jaguar. In his hand he holds what seems to be a writing-stylus that on the one hand may take us to Tlallapan and on the other to the philological practice of marking now-lost words by an asterisk. He also seems to sport an example of what was an ancient and worldwide artistic convention for depicting the bulk of Africans, tightly-coiled hair.

Tlallapan is relevant on the counts of being both the land of red and black or land of land of writing (Mayan writing being mainly in red & black) and homeland of Kukulkan according to the Popol Vuh (Counsel-book of the Kiche/Quiche Maya). With that homeland being to the sunrise or the east, there is Winters (Atlantis in Mexico 2005) calling attention to one of the ghost-words noted just above as marked by asterisks. In this case it is Mande ce’be that he coupled with Mayan c’ib as both translate as script and/or writing.

The Popol Vuh in Giraud’s version tells of black giants; as does the Mexican folklore cited by Nicholas Leon (ib.); this being related by Leon (as Van Sertima 1976) to the Great Heads fitting here because of African looks; others look Africoid/Negroid; similar traits are shown by Wuthenau/Stevenhagen figurines.

Great Head is also a title of the Obas (= Kings) of Benin (Nigeria) according to Emma Ross (Benin Bronze Hip Masks & Benin Commemorative Heads online). Ivan Van Sertima (They Came before Columbus 1976) compared one the head of a young Yoruba woman and that of a terracotta in the collection of Alexander Von Wuthenau (Unexpected Faces in America 1981) and the Yoruba goddess-name may be echoed by that of Yemoye (a Pre-Spanish spelling of Jamaica).

There are matching traits of both sides of the Atlantic not touched on here but are oft-used to support the theory of the island-empire called Atlantis in the middle of the Atlantic. Apparently the first references were Egyptian, passed to Plato (ca. 450 BCE Greek), was revived in Utopia by Sir Francis Bacon (17th c. Eng.) but more especially in “Atlantis: the Antediluvian World 1876) by Ignatius Donnelly (19th c. American).

Believers in Atlantis run immediately into problems. Not the least of them is matters of chronology. Such believers also tend to equivocate about Plato writing about Atlantis being the size of Asia and Africa combined. Taking Plato’s words at face value, it will be obvious that a continent just would not fit the Atlantic. Moreover, anyone with even the slightest knowledge of Continental Drift looking at a map of the Atlantic Ocean will quickly realise just snugly the Bulge of west Africa and the shoulder of northeast South America would once have fitted.

The removal of Atlantis from consideration will mean the comparable traits on both sides are probably most explicable in terms of direct contact. Jack Forbes (The American Discovery of Europe 2007) gives chapter and verse for that of Amerinds reaching Europe but has little time for any such connection with Africa.

Among other works that do look for such contacts are by John Heaviside (American Antiquities: The New the Old; The Old World the New 1868); the Donnelly work (ib.); Auguste le Plongeon (Queen Moo & the Egyptian Sphinx 1896); William Siddis (The Tribes & the States 1938) plus others. Clearly some will be taken more seriously than others but it should not escape attention that the part of Africa that the linkage being sought is Egypt.

The above-noted Forbes book traces the bronzed “Redskins” making voyages on the Atlantic but Forbes was seen to regard little of this in Africa. Earlier efforts at “explaining” held that some blacks were merely darker members of the “Great White Race”. When it is realised what behind such terminology, this becomes almost comical. It is even more ironic when recognising that what lies behind the terms of the Greek Aithiopes (= Burnt-faces) and Arabic Sudan (= Blacks) was applied to the darkest-skinned Africans and some of them are included as members of the Great White Race. What can be said about “Red” skins of African populations is that they belong with such as the elongated noses plus such traits as the braided locks and epicanthic fold of the eye that our learned Ethnohistory trio flatly maintain did not appear in the African past.

All are traceable in Africa for those who bother looking for them and stand with the black skins of most of Sub-Saharan Africa and all result directly from the African circumstance but then this is all part of something Establishment academics are remarkably good at. Instructive here is what a (1985) copy of the San Francisco Chronicle described as “unusual”. Being referred to is the Klar/Jones article on possible Polynesian contact with West-coast Americas. Among the comments are that the wonderful process called peer-review was achieved only after nine pairs of eyes had looked at it. However what is really unusual is the attention given to something Academia is usually very good at keeping well hidden.

Superbly demonstrating the point about keeping unwanted opinions buried are the seen-above conversations involving two young would-be anthropologists from parts of Europe. One of these two young men was Basil Davidson strongly being strongly advised not to study the Pre-Contact history of sub-Saharan Africa, as it doesn’t exist.

The other young would-be anthropologist was a German named Alexander Von Wuthenau who tells us about a conversation he had with Erwin Palm, another prominent German anthropologist. Palm advised Von Wuthenau to never describe anything as Negro but only ever as Negroid. This was to simply avoid any need to attribute any elements of higher civilisation to Africa or Africans. This conversation is further reported by Keith Jordan (in Van Sertima 1992). He also shows what happened when he wanted to look at Von Wuthenau’s book at the library of the Natural History Museum (New York). Despite the book being listed as their having it, a long wait for his request to be met, he was told the library did not have it then was told that yes they did have it but that it was out to the anthropology department.

Von Wuthenau is basically treated as an idiot when our Ethnohistory trio (De Montellano et al) tell us that despite his having been a collect for 40+ years, he only bought fakes. They say nothing about the tests for authenticity that he and Kurt Stevenhagen paid for. Also not to be overlooked is many of their figurines are now part of the Mexican National Collections, unless we add the Mexican Archaeological Service to the list of fools spending money unwisely.

Our expert trio may want to correct the “errors” of Afrocentrics on various grounds that include selectivity of sources; we find they evidently feel able to ignore the research into Olmec skeletons by Andrej Weircinski. Nor is this the only case where skeletal studies inconvenient for Establishment academics have been ignored. This was equally so in the case of the case of the results of the examination of the skeleton of Ramesses II by Michelle Lescot.

Having done so, Lescot more or less found her results being ignored. However, the similar results of Svetlana Balabanova were less easy to dismiss because of her status. Instead the weapons used against were those familiar to anyone reading what has just been said about messrs Wuthenau, Weircinski, etc, namely fakery, duff science, etc. If this was so as a forensic scientist working for the German police, it can be expected she would have been sacked, her career destroyed, German courts would be clogged up with appeals against wrongful convictions, subsequent claims for compensation, etc. The fact that none of this has happened surely speaks for itself.

The co-authored work by messrs. Balabanova, Parsche and Pirsig and the later “Drugs in Ancient Populations” by Pirsig (Lancet 1993) are discussed by many others. Among them are Edin (as above); Rand & Rose Flem-ath (The Curse of the Cocaine Mummies online); Michael Fleming & Robert Clarke (Physical Evidence for the Antiquity of Cannabis sativa L online); Paul Buckland & Eva Buckland (Ramesses II & the tobacco beetle), Rosalie David (Conversations with Mummies 2001).

Between them they report on not just the skeleton and mummy of Ramesses II but also on ca. 130 Kusho/Egyptian mummies plus around 80 Peruvian ones. The dates range from 4000/3500 to ca. 2500 BCE. So all are decidedly Pre-Columbian and they reveal some of the mummies contained tobacco that may be of American/New-World origin, cocaine that definitely is and Old-World hashish (=THC) in Peru.

Something else emerging from these several and other works is an attempted follow-up to the Lescot/Balabanova tests by David. She had worked on mummies in the Manchester (Eng.) Museum and wanted to follow that of Balabanova on those in the Munich (Ger.) Museum. This was refused by the Director Grimm on the grounds that this dishonoured the mummies. This followed the controversy of the earlier work.

It is difficult to escape the conclusion this owed more to not wanting more of the same. It should not go unnoticed that the Director’s reasoning does lead to the logical conclusion that the mummies should be returned to their country of origin to prevent any more dishonour. This also resembles Cheikh Anta Diop (The Origin of Civilisation 1984) wanting to test mummies for melanin content. Permission was first granted but then suddenly withdrawn without explanation.

Academic scepticism has been responsible for doubts about seafaring from Nordic Europe or any part of Africa. From Nordic/Viking Europe (esp. Norway) to Greenland and Iceland was not a difficulty but there were doubts about Vikings further west in North America which were denied as being little more than fairy-tales. Excavation has disproven the latter point and now academics fall over themselves to accept the results and to attest their open-mindedness.

The part of Africa that has been most often touched on in connection with maritime history is in the northeast. Here is Egypt. Messrs. Smith/Perry in the 1920s/1930s wanted Egyptian ships to be the fount of all things nautical as part of the Children of the Sun theories. Yet this part of Africa as the single source of world civilisation is no more valid than the Acholonu case for this all to have emerged from Iboland (Nigeria) in west Africa.

Without doubt the great mariners of ancient times would have to be those colonising the Pacific. There is a tendency to overlook just how immense this ocean actually is but we saw a Chinese raft made it over most of the Pacific but it ultimately failed to make the full distance. Just how vast is this ocean is nicely shown when so practical a sailor as Thor Heyerdahl (American Indians in the Pacific 1951) wrote that just getting from one side of Micronesia in the west Pacific to the other involved distances that are more twice the distance across the Atlantic.

As also seen, some expert opinions saw the primary phases of Pacific colonisation as achieved on rafts. Raft-first and canoe-next phases not only took the primary Austronesians to the islands of the west Pacific but probably westwards to Madagascar too. There was once some belief in in non-stop voyages of ca. 4000 miles. This has long seemed to me to be unlikely but this does not us admiring Austronesian maritime achievements.

Dugout canoes of the Bismark Islands (now part of Papua/New Guinea) in the southwest Pacific or west Melanesia were compared by Bjorn Landstrom (The Ship 1961) to the ships of the Catalogue of Ships compiled by Homer (9th c. BCE acc. to Bernal ib.). When Landstrom (ib.) adds their long narrow form means stability was probably achieved by outriggers, it should be quickly realised that the famous black ships were no more than canoes.

George Rawlinson (History of Phoenicia 1889) famously described Phoenician vessels as “frail & small” and no larger than an English fishing-smack (= ca. 50ft.?). It was in such “ships” that Phoenicians went forth to found such several cities. On the Chami (ib.) argument, Phoenicians, Carthaginians (= Phoens. at Carthage), Gaditanians (= Phoens. Gades/Cadiz, Spain), etc., all went round Africa. This included the very simple hippos.

Bradley (ib.) referred to the Viking drakarr (= longship) as probably shorter than the longest African canoes (ca. 80 ft.). There is also an interesting comment made by the captain of the recreated Viking ship found at Gokstad (Norway).That captain says the hull of the ship (also called the Gokstad) “worked a lot” (= leaked a lot). As a mainly single-piece construction, the west African dugout-canoe was rather less prone to such leakages.

In this way, it seems that the vessels of some of the great maritime peoples were not markedly superior to west African canoes. The ships of the Homeric Greeks were certainly not and join the comparisons of west African and Viking craft. If Chami (ib.) could be proven to be correct and the Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Gaditanians did circumnavigate Africa, a Gaditanian hippos found in east Africa brings to mind that the hippos was described anciently a very poor type yet is also regarded as capable of doing so.

Bradley (ib.) had water-tank tests done on model African canoes, so provides what can be taken as theory made practical by voyages noted by Hannes Lindemann (Alone at Sea 1958) and Harold Lawrence (in African Presence in Early America ed. Van Sertima 1992). Lawrence (ib.) refers to Columbus writing of blacks in laden canoes leaving west Africa and more on the far side of the Atlantic trading from canoes. The Lindemann (ib.) voyage has not received the kind of attention that those of messrs. Severin and Heyerdahl have but he too was successful in crossing the Atlantic. His vessel was a typically west African dugout-canoe, a dugout-canoe normal for fishing and en route he ate the all-fish diet that led ancient Greeks to name some Africans as Ichthyophagi (= Fish-eaters).

Then there are Islamic reports. Al-Maqrizi wrote of west African magicians going thousands of miles across the Sahara to Egypt and Peterson was seen to do so of more west Africans going thousands of miles to America. The Malian Empire put massive resources into the rulers also going east to Egypt (en route to Hajj) and west on to the Atlantic (with the Americas in mind?) according to Chihab al-Umari. The latter further says that of the first Malian expedition, only a single vessel made it back and came home telling of a stream under the sea in what is called here “The Returned Captain”.

A story titled “The Shipwrecked Sailor” (2200/2100 BCE Egyptian) resembles “Captain” in many ways. Both concern (a) parts of Africa; (b) voyages from their respective parts of Africa; (c) return to their African homes; (d) being sponsored by their respective rulers; (e) being told to their respective rulers; (f) being long-distance voyages; (g) both coming via Egyptian sources (Amenaa being the source of Sailor & the Governor of Cairo being that of Captain for al-Umari); (h) both the Sailor and the Captain being unnamed; (i) serious difficulties being encountered; (j) these being destructive for ships; (k) single survivors (the lone Egyptian Sailor & the single ship of the Malian Captain).

More hints of antiquity come from comparing Atlas and Captain. Ancient Greeks regularly put Atlas in northwest Africa and his “daughters” even further west as the Atlantides (= Atlantic Isles); Hesperides (Western Isles); Pleaides (= Islands to sail to?), etc. When that most ancient of named Greek writers Homer (ca. 9th c. BCE for Bernal 1991) wrote about Atlas it was not in terms of the giant moron that Hollywood does. He describes Atlas as a master navigator knowing of “the depths of the sea”. Chihab al-Umari (14th c. Syrian) also reports Captain also knew the deeps of the sea when noting the “stream under the sea” too. This is held to be near where the Canarian Current became that named the North Equatorial. He too is to be seen as a master-pilot shown by his returning to his home port in Mali/Senegal.

A favourite timber used for the vessels of west Africa is that of the silkwood/Ceiba tree. It was seen as the Tree of Life in Mesoamerica but in it is constantly confused with the baobab in Africa according to Roger Blench (The Intertwined history of the silk-cotton & baobab trees online). He puts the appearance of the American silkwood in west Africa on the horizon when the some Niger/Congo tongues were becoming languages of the Bantu family. Going the other way was the African palm-oil en route to becoming the American palm-oil.

The bibliography attached to the Blench article makes obvious this exchange was not alone. As much is further shown by John Sorenson & Carl Johanessen (Scientific Evidence for Transoceanic Voyages to & from the Americas online), James Guthrie (Human Lymphocyte Antigens: Apparent Afro/Asiatic; Southern Asian & European HLAs in Indo-European Populations online).

If canoe-making was one by-product of this exchange yet another would appear to have been that already seen of hallucinogenic drugs. Good analogies do exist elsewhere. Hosler (ib.), Callaghan (ib.) plus others have put forward as evidence of Peru/Ecuador linked by shaft-tombs, mortuary offerings, metallurgy, its technology, ceramics, their technology, clothing, language, design motifs, other traits. One of those other traits was what may have led to the northward path being taken, namely over-fishing for the Spondylus the southern Amerinds found so precious. Another was the apparent seeking of peyote-/peyote-like plants for shamanic and other drug-taking despite plants growing back home giving identical effects.

An African parallel for these Ecuador/Mexico trips that appear to have occurred sporadically ca. 1500 BCE (?) to ca.1500 CE are those of Egypt to Punt. There is some evidence of Red Sea trade with Pre-Dynastic Egypt and this again probably continued from ca. 4000 BCE to ca. 1000 BCE (?). The best evidence is shown by the reliefs at Deir el-Bahari. Among other things, flora was taken to be replanted in Egypt. Yet despite this transplanting, Egypt undertook these expensive journeys time and time again. So there clearly was something drawing the Egyptians on so many occasions and for them to have done so over so many hundreds of years.

Not a lot is written about the psychoactive nature of these plants but they are generally held to include myrrh, frankincense, etc. Both are psychoactive plants, as is another east African plant called khat/kat. The writer of the Wikipedia entry on khat says it was grown in Egypt where it made the user feel “god-like” and seems to have been the east African equivalent of the South American coca plant.

More relevant online papers are by messrs. Kapoor (Opium Poppy: Botany, Chemistry & Chromatography), Aggrawal (The Story of Opium), Aleff (Sheshat & her tools), etc. Aggrawal says Homer (9th c. BCE Greek) and Kapoor says Galen (1st c. CE Roman) attribute the spread of opium use to Egypt. So it was not just grown in Egypt but even the oldest of Classical authors attest that its use spread from there. Kapoor and Aleff point to the Egyptian mythological pairing of Thoth and Sheshat tied to both the latter and the opium-poppy shaped Cypriote pottery called bilbils. The bilbil (= the base-ring jugs of archaeologists) has the opiate linkage confirmed by analysis and are the most common Cypriote export to Rammeside Egypt.

There is here the plainest evidence that from the remote past, great efforts were made to obtain hallucinogens by two entirely separate groups. They also have in common that these events died out and were revived over millennia and long distances to obtain these plants of religio/shamanistic significance were covered. Something else these two groups now appear to have in common that some Egyptian mummies have New-World drugs and some Peruvian mummies have Old-World drugs. If the probable location of Punt being furthered by it also being Ta-Neter (= Land of the [Egyptians] Gods) and “Se-Osiris and the Sealed Letter” reinforce the east African ties of Egyptian magicians, al-Maqrizi and Peterson between them confirm the west African links of yet more links of west African magicians of both Egypt but of part of Latin America too.

Comparing routes that can be suggested for the arrival of the human flea reaching Egypt and of New-World drugs must have interest. A form of flea is claimed to have infested guinea-pigs in South America then became attached to human clothing and evolved to into the human flea. It is then supposed to have travelled the thousands of miles of West-coast Americas from western South America to western North America; survive the cold of the Canadian/Alaskan ice-sheets; then survive the cold of the Siberian tundra then the even longer thousands of miles across the largest of our continents (Asia) and finally, Egypt.

African canoes were the subject of “The Canoe In West African History” by Roger Smith (Journal of African History 1970). It was seen that South American rafts were capable going on long voyages and that in doing so went against prevailing currents. Phoenico/Punic ships (??) were seen to have included the very simple hippos that not only is regarded by many expert opinions as having rounded Africa but having done so the “wrong way” round by going west/east not the easier east/west. This they shared with west African canoes on the southward run known about from the time of at least Jean Barbot (17th c. French) and described by Smith (ib.) as again going against prevailing currents.

To this is added the west African canoes used to penetrate the Namibian swell so dangerous to European ships; the pride of west African canoe-makers in their vessels from Mahongwe/Mpongwe of Gabon to the Krio/Kru of Sierra Leone/Liberia; etc. Having seen west African canoes in transatlantic mode, we also have shown that information reaching non-Africans from Homer to al-Umari indicate that west Africans knew how to navigate home from some distance out to sea, there is also Pacheco Periera (14th c. Port.) cited by Bradley (ib.) as saying west Africans were fishing ca. “100 leagues” out to sea.

This approximates to the distance of the Cape Verde Islands to the mainland of coast of Senegal. Bishop Luis Feijo of the Cape Verdes (as Reclus ib.) noted Senegalese fisher-folk of the Serer, Wolof and Lebou peoples using the islands as fishing-bases. It may be no coincidence the Egyptian name of Djahi for Phoenicia is matched the Wolof word of Djahi for Senegal and Diop (ib.) says both mean Land of Navigation. The more so given that the Senegal part of the massive Malian Empire was where the Returned Captain navigated back to.

Not only is the antiquity of two-way nature of voyages across shown convincingly by Blench when detailing the history of trees also crossing the Atlantic. That they involved the building of canoes is to be especially noted, the more so given that the west African canoe has been proven to be capable of coping with such crossings.

Here it seems a much shorter route can be offered for the drugs found in Egyptian mummies plus the remains of the human flea found at Amarna (Egypt). As to the drugs, a much later for instance is provided by the career of Jaime de Ferrer (15th/16th c. Spaniard). He was the chief negotiator for Spain at the Council of Tordesillas that divided the New World between the Catholic powers of Spain and Portugal. His position there was because of his expertise with the “Equinoctial” regions. What is meant by the Equinoctial regions is made very obvious by this very phrase used by Alexander Von Humboldt in the title of the account of his adventures in South America.

In something of a parallel to Columbus noting blacks at both ends of evident transatlantic trade-trips, Ferrer wrote about blacks in Africa telling him about blacks in the Americas. Given that the Tordesillas Council occurred only two years after Columbus had sailed “the ocean blue”, it will be very obvious Ferrer’s expertise with the Americas acquired through trade with Africa and the Americas over many years cannot have been so acquired in just two. Among the commodities he handled were drugs of various sorts and all this strongly suggests that here we have another case where earlier history seems to be echoed by that of later times.

As to the human flea in parts of Africa, the date of the arrival of another pest infesting humans seems very instructive. Al-Umari told of Malian fleets sent out to “find the other shore of the ocean”. The first was that from which our Malian Captain returned and that the second was led by none other than the Malian Emperor himself. It was following the non-return of that ruler that led Mansa Musa to ascend the throne of that Empire and who was the informant of the Governor of Cairo himself already seen as the informant of al-Umari.

An interesting sidelight of voyages to that other shore and returns from it is the evident arrival of another pest in Africa. Messrs. Sorenson & Johanessen (ib.) wrote that the South American foot-chigger may have arrived at this date and affected the feet of those on the Hajj being undertaken by Musa en route via Egypt. Clearly, the parallel with the flea in an earlier era could not be plainer. The more so given the distance across the Atlantic is so considerably much shorter than the above-noted one. It approximates to that of from Guinea/Senegal, bypassing the west Magreb direct to Iberia suggested by Serge Plaza et al (Joining the Pillars of Hercules… online).

Harry Bourne (mainly 2006 & added to 2011)

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