Paths Across the Pacific Abstracts
“POLITICAL CORRECTNESS” AND
PRE-COLUMBIAN AMERICAN INFLUENCES ON THE OLD WORLD
Stephen C. Jett
University of California, Davis
There have been many reasons for widespread resistance to the notion of pre-Columbian transoceanic interactions, some intellectual, some subjective. In light of diffusionist scholars’ almost always speaking in terms of Old World influences on New World societies rather than the reverse, critics have contented that diffusionists are racists, who denigrate Native American creativity and who allege that to form their cultures American Indians needed help from more talented folks from overseas. I provide extensive quotations exemplifying this accusation. I then raise the question as to what such critics would say about racism if it were shown that considerable Native American inputs to the Old World took place. In this context, I inventory what look likely to be among such contributions. These include a long list of economic plants as well as a significant number of cultural usages that seem to have originated in the Americas and to have been transferred to Eastern Hemisphere societies. My overall conclusion is that the truth of what happened in history is not altered by perceived cultural insults or plaudits.
CROSSING TWO OCEANS: THE CHRONOLOGY AND PATHWAYS OF THE MALAYO-POLYNESIAN EXPANSION
Richard T. Callaghan
Dept. of Anthropology and Archaeology University of Calgary
The expansion of the Malayo-Polynesian languages across both the Indian and Pacific Oceans is one of the most remarkable feats of seafaring in pre-industrial times. People originating in Southeast Asia speaking closely related languages spread to the north as far as Taiwan and Hawaii, to the south as far as New Zealand and nearby islands, to the east as far as Easter Island, and to the west to Madagascar, the Comoros, and East Africa. The west-to-east distribution covers over 60% of the circumference of the Earth, and there is evidence that voyagers reached east to the coasts of North and South America. The north-to-south distribution covers 65o of latitude or about 18% of the Earth’s circumference. It includes expansion into Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. Expansion was at times rapid and at others slow, taking roughly 4500 years. The chronology and pathways of the expansion are examined here, using archaeology, linguistics, and seafaring simulations.
THE DYNAMICS OF DISASTERS
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The historian Will Durant said that “civilization exists by geologic consent, subject to change without notice.” Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, tsunamis and rogue waves, severe weather, floods, droughts, cyclones, and wildfires cause great human misery and combined to cost the world over $300 billion dollars in 2017. Understanding the basic science of these events is imperative for policy makers so that they can produce informed decisions, and for individual citizens so that they know their risks and can act to keep themselves, their families and their communities safe. In my book “The Dynamics of Disaster” (Norton Press, 2013), I discuss the science that underlies many of these disasters: the fact that the earth has an enormous reservoir of stored energy that it lets loose both slowly and episodically. In this talk, I’ll highlight three hazards of relevance to Alaskans: earthquakes, landslides, and volcanic eruptions. The format will be “science-light” and anecdotal.
SEARCHING FOR EVIDENCE OF LATE PLEISTOCENE HUMAN OCCUPATION ALONG THE WESTERN MARGIN OF THE CORDILLERAN ICE SHEET
Duncan McLaren and Gitla (Elroy White)
Assistant Professor Archaeology, Department of Anthropology, University of Victoria BC Canada
Central Coast Archaeology, Bella Bella Village BC Canada
HISTORY OF SEAFARING IN THE NORTHWEST PASSAGE
Arctic Institute of North America, University of Calgary, Canada
MAPPING ISLAND MOKA:
ASSESSING THE SPATIAL PATTERNS OF CUSTOMARY FISHING WEIRS IN THE FIJI ISLAND GROUP
Anthropology Department, University of Oregon
Customary Fijian fishing weirs, known locally as moka, are an archaeological feature type that can be readily identified due to their large size, uniform shape, and conspicuous location on the tidal flats and shorelines of both high and low islands. Recent advances in remote sensing technology have allowed for an improved survey of Fijian fishing weirs adding to the existing inventory and informing upon early settlement patterns in the Fiji Island group. While moka do not play a major part in the local economy today, they likely served a significant role in early Fijian subsistence and knowledge of this customary practice is valuable to current socioenvironmental studies. This paper will discuss the preliminary results of an archaeological investigation that utilized satellite imagery and kite aerial photography, along with pedestrian survey, to map 683 customary fishing weirs on 79 Fijian islands. The spatial configurations and physical characteristics of these fishing weirs have been documented and are being explored statistically at the regional and island scale as part of a doctoral thesis to better understand Pacific Island settlement patterns as they might apply to cultural adaptation, social complexity, and human evolution in an island-coastal setting.