Paths Across the Pacific Archives

Ebbesmeyer, Curtis., Ph.D. and James Ingraham, M.S., Physical Oceanographers
Using Computer Models to Track Container Spills
Finney, Ben, University of Hawaii
History of the Rediscovery of Polynesian Voyaging
Meggers, Betty J., Ph.D., Smithsonian Institution
Evidence of Early Japanese Jomon Pottery Found in Valdivia, Ecuador

Davis, Nancy Yaw, Cultural Dynamics, Anchorage, Author of The Zuni Enigma: A Native People’s Possible Japanese Connection
Priests Across the Pacific: Linguistic, Cultural, and Archeological Evidence – and Questions
Ebbesmeyer, Curtis, Ph.D., Physical Oceanographer, Editor of the Beachcombers’ Alert
Overview of Logs, Derelict Jars, WWII Mines, and All that Floats Across the North Pacific
Geddes, Gary, Author, Sailing Home
Writing as a Transoceanic Bridge
Iizuka, Fumie, Graduate Student with Dr. Betty Meggers
Heyerdahl’s Legacy
Ingraham, W. James Jr., NOAA-NMFS
Computer Simulations of Cross-Ocean Drift of Plastic Debris from Asia and North American Coasts for 20 Years
Jett, Steven C., Professor Emeritus, University of California, Davis
Addressing Nautical and Navigational Objections to the Notion of PreColumbian Transoceanic Contacts
Kirk, Ruth, Author and Photographer, and Richard Daugherty, Archeologist with Washington State University
Ozette Prehistory
Meggers, Betty J., Ph.D., Smithsonian Institution
Transpacific Introductions from Asia to America: 4000 and 1200 BC
Steinbright, Jan, Alaska Native Studies, Sheldon Jackson College, Author of Qayaqs and Canoes: Native Ways of Knowing
Revitalization of Traditional Boat Building in Alaska

Baldi, Michael
Video: Primary Navigational Baseline
Dixon, E. James, Professor of Anthropology, University of Colorado and Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research
The Human Colonization of the Americas at the End of the Last Ice Age: Evaluating the Coastal Migration Hypotheses
Ebbesmeyer, Curtis, Ph.D., Oceanographer and James Ingraham, Oceanographer
Drift Across the North Pacific from Japan to North America for the Past 10,000 Years
Heatherington, Renée, School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Climate Modeling Group, University of Victoria, British Colombia
The Influence of Climate on the Peopling of the Americas
Iizuka, Fumie, Graduate Student, University of California, Santa Barbara
Identifying Contacts through Ceramic Decorative Techniques and Motifs: Ceramics of Valdivia and Jomon Compared to Early Ceramics of North Africa and West Asia
Keddie, Grant, Curator in Archaeology, Royal British Colombia Museum
Expansion and Contraction on the Eastern Pacific Coast
Lee, Craig M., Department of Anthropology and Institution of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder
Discussion of Obsidian Artifacts from On Your Knees Cave, new information from Chuck Lake and Thorne River, and what this might mean in terms of population movement versus the diffusion of ideas
Meggers, Betty J., Smithsonian Institution
Difficulties in Distinguishing Diffusion from Independent Invention and Convergence
Moreno, Phil, Poet
            Sitka Sunset
Norick, Frank, Ph.D., Curator Emeritus, Phoebe Hearst Museum, University of California, Berkeley
Reflections of a Museum Anthropologist: A Skeptic Examines the Evidence for Pre-Colombian Trans-Pacific Migrations
Wilson, Michael, Department of Geology and Department of Anthropology, Douglas College, Canada
Coasts, Caves, and Animals: The View from Vancouver Island
Panel: Indigenous Knowledge and Scientific Implications
Hope, Fred
Karras, Bertha Jacobs
Sam, Robert
Johnson, Steve

Sitka Maritime Heritage Society Presentation

Davis, Nancy Yaw, Anthropology, Cultural Dynamics, Anchorage
            Disasters and Dispersals
Douglass, Don, BSEE, MBE, author, sailor
A Logical First Route to the New World: Island Hopping Following the Pacific Rim of Fire
Ebbesmeyer, Curt, Ph.D. Physical Oceanographer
Currents, Wind, and Beach Debris
Gruhn, Ruth, Ph.D., Archaeology, University of Alberta
            Linguistic Evidence for a Pacific Coastal Entry Route
Hope, Gerry, President, Alaska Native Brotherhood Sitka Camp #1
Introduction of Tlingit scholars
Lee, Craig, M.A., Archaeology, University of Colorado
New Investigations into the Origin and Function of Microblade Technology in Southeast Alaska
Meggers, Betty J., Ph.D., Smithsonian Institution
PreColumbian Chinese Navigation and Its Implications
Motivation for the Jomon Exodus ca. 6000

Moreno, Phil, Poet
A Short Trip
Norick, Frank, Ph.D., Retired Anthropologist, former Principal Scientist at the Lowie Museum of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley
1421: The Year China Discovered America! Historical Breakthrough or Hysterical Balderdash?
Poulson, Rebecca, Sitka Maritime Heritage Museum
            Boat Building in Sitka 1805-1955
Royer, Thomas, Ph.D., Physical Oceanography, Department of Ocean, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences, Old Dominion University, Norfolk Virginia, Professor Emeritus University of Alaska Fairbanks
            A Maritime Window of Opportunity for Human Migration During the Last Glacial Maximum
Thornton, Thomas, Ph.D.
Names on the Beach: What an Anthropological Perspective on Indigenous Places Names Can Teach Us About the North Pacific Coast
Wilson, Michael, Ph.D., Geoarchaeology, Department of Geology and Department of Anthropology, Douglas College, New Westminister, BC, Canada
Explanations Beyond Horizons: A Landlubber Stares at the Sea
Natural Disasters and Prehistoric Human Dispersal: The Rising Wave of Inquiry

Wyatt, Steve, M.S., Independent Scholar
Transpacific Voyaging from Old World to New During the Late Pleistocene by Way of Now Latent South Pacific Islands

Craig, Robi, Education and Employment Director, Sitka Tribe of Alaska
Craig, James, Kiks. ádi, student, Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO
Peratovich, Joseph, Kaagwaantaan, student, Sitka Blatchley Middle School
Joint Presentation: Current Sitka Tribe Research on Salmon
Davis, Nancy Yaw, Ph.D., Cultural Dynamics, Anchorage
            The Bending Paradigm: Scientific Research Relevant to Ocean Migrations, 2000-2006
Ebbesmeyer, Curtis, Ph.D., Physical Oceanographer, Editor of the Beachcombers’ Alert
            Tub Toys in Orbit: Drifters, Water Properties and Modeling Display
Finney, Ben, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, University of Hawaii, Co-founder of the Polynesian Voyaging Society
Sailing Junks, Rafts, and Canoes Across the Pacific from Fou Po, Kon-Tiki and Tahiti Nui to Hokule’a, Hawaiknui and Hawai’iloa

Gondo, Masakatsu and Nirai Kanai, Tokyo, Japan
Voyage of the Toy Tops: The First Year 2005-2006
Heatherington, Renée, Ph.D., Research Scientist, University of Victoria, School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Climate Modeling Group
Climate and the Viability of Migration Paths to the Americas

Hope, Andrew III, author
Indigenous Knowledge of Salmon Across the Pacific: One Reel’s Project
Hope, Fred, Kiks.ádi, Tlingit scholar
Kitka, Herman, Kaagwaantaan, Tlingit scholar
Panel of Tlingit scholars

Ingraham, W. James, M.S., Physical Oceanographer, Retired NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center
The Great Garbage Patch of the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre
Jett, Stephen C., Professor Emeritus, University of California, Davis
Ancient Transoceanic Crossings: The Old Evidence and the New Proofs
Langdon, Stephen, Ph.D., Anthropologist, University of Alaska Anchorage
Intertidal Stone Fishing Structures
Meggers, Betty J., Ph.D., Smithsonian Institution
TransPacific Voyages from Japan to America
Omata, Donna R., M.A. Asian Arts and Culture Center, Towson University, Maryland
Joseph Heco: The American Odyssey of a Japanese Castaway (1836-1897) and Other Tokugawa Period Japanese Castaways Who Reached the Americas
Royer, Thomas, Ph.D., Physical Oceanographer, Professor Emeritus, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Commissioner U.S. Arctic Research Commission
Session on Coasts, Boats, and Currents
The North Pacific Ocean Climate During the Last Glacial Maxim

Stenger, Alison, Ph.D., Institute for Archaeological Studies, Portland, Oregon
A Culture Preserved in Clay: Japanese Influenced Ceramics in Precontact Washington
Thompson, Gunnar, Ph.D., Director of the New World Discovery Institute, Port Townsend, Washington
            Marco Polo, Zheng He and Francis Drake: Secret Voyages to the West Coast
Thornton, Thomas, Ph.D., Anthropologist, Portland State University
Symposium: Maritime Adaptations: The Case of Salmon – Collaborative Archaeological and Ethnographic Research
Introduction: Salmon Relations, Adaptations, and Management Systems

Ager, Thomas A., Research Geologist, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO
            Vegetation Changes in Southern Southeast Alaska Since Deglaciation: Implications for Interpretation of Archaeological and Vertebrate Faunal Records
Baichtal, Forest Service Geologist, Tongass National Forest, Ketchikan
Paleogeography of the Late Pleistocene and Quaternary Coastlines of Southeast Alaska and Their Potential for Early Maritime Occupation
Burwell, Michael, Poet, Minerals Management Service, Department of Interior, Anchorage
Reading from The Cartography of Water
Ebbesmeyer, Curtis, Ph.D., and W. James Ingraham, M.S., Physical Oceanographers
Flotsam on the Subarctic Gyre from Asia to Alaska: Derelict Vessels, Ceramic Jars, and Container Spills
Fifield, Terry, Forest Service Archaeologist for Prince of Wales Island, Tongass National Forest
Coasts and Caves of Southeast Alaska: Historic Overview
Hamada, Shingo, Ph.D. Candidate, Indiana University
            Herring is God Fish: Historical and Cultural Importance of Herring in Hokkaido, Japan
Heaton, Timothy H., Paleobiologist, Professor, Earth Sciences and Physics, University of South Dakota
The Ice-Age Animal History of Southeast Alaska
Higraff, Torgeir S., Norwegian Expedition Leader
Early History of Pacific Voyages and the Results of the Tangaroa Expedition from Peru to Tahiti in 2006
Hope, Fred, Tlingit scholar, Kiks.ádi Point House
Jett, Stephen C., Geographer, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Davis
            From Custardapple to Chicken: Archaeological Finds of Domesticates in the “Wrong” Hemisphere
Karras, Bertha Jacobs, Tlingit scholar, Dakl’aweidí Killer Whale House
Kitka, Herman, Tlingit scholar, Kaagwaantaan Box house
Katayama, Kazumichi, Physical Anthropologist, Kyoto University, Japan
Early Ocean Navigators and the Peopling of the South Pacific
Kehoe, Alice, Archaeologist, Professor Emeritus, Marquette University, Wisconsin
American Exceptionalism and Archaeological Isolationism
Kemp, Brian M., Molecular Anthropologist,, Assistant Professor, Washington State University
The Entrance of Humans into the Americas: A Genetic Perspective
LaPerriere, Marcel and Connie, Forest Service Volunteers, Sitka
            The Role of Volunteers in Significant Cave Discoveries and Management
Littlefield, Roby, teacher, Kaagwaantaan
Makinen, Ethel, L’uknax.ádi elder
Meggers, Betty J., Ph.D., Archaeologist, Smithsonian Institution
Transpacific Voyages from Japan to America
Norick, Frank, Retired Museum Ethnographer, Phoebe Hearst Museum, Berkeley
Davis, William, Secretary, Cook Inlet Historical Society, Anchorage
Panel: Assessing Evidence for Human Migrations Across Oceans and Along Coasts
Sam, Robert, Tlingit storyteller
Thornton, Thomas, Anthropologist, Portland State University
            Herring Synthesis: Bridging Traditional and Scientific Knowledge Across the Pacific on a Critical Species in the Marine Food Web
Truitt, Gil, Educator and Writer

2010 links open in new pages.



Colwell, Rita R., Ph.D., Chairman Emerita and Senior Advisor, Canon US Life Sciences Inc.; President, Cosmos ID, Inc.; Distinguished Professor, University of Maryland at College Park and Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health; former director, National Science Foundation
Oceans, Climate and Infectious Diseases
Callaghan, Richard, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Calgary, Alberta
Japanese Shipwrecks on the Northwest Coast and Implications for Early Crossings of the North Pacific
Crockford, Susan J., Ph.D., Adjunct Professor, University of Victoria; Pacific Identifications Inc., Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Dogs Across the Pacific
Ebbesmeyer, Curtis, Ph.D., Oceanographer and Author
Flotsametrics and the Floating World
Jett, Stephen, Ph.D., Geographer, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Davis
Ancient Transoceanic Crossings: Evidentiary Developments during the Past Decade
Kemp, Brian, Ph.D., Molecular Anthropologist, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Biology, Washington State University
Mitochondrial DNA Variation Among Native Southeastern Alaskans
Rofkar, Teri, Culture Bearer
People of the Tides
Stenger, Alison T., Ph.D., Archaeologist, Director of Research, Institute for Archaeological Studies, Portland, Oregon
Evidence of a Foreign Presence in Northwest Prehistory
Williams, Judith, Assistant Professor Emeritus, Fine Arts Department, Studio Division, University of British Columbia and Author
Clam Gardens: Aboriginal Mariculture on Canada’s West Coast
Meggers, Betty J., Ph.D., Archaeologist, Smithsonian Institution
Jett, Stephen C., Ph.D., Geographer, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Davis
Norick, Frank, Ph.D., Museum Ethnographer, Phoebe Hearst Museum, Berkeley, California
Davis, William E., Retired Senior Policy Analyst, U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment
Panel Discussion: Assessing the Current Evidence

Davis, Herman, Coho
Hope, Fred, Kiks.ádi
Riley, George, Clan House: “The House that Floated Ashore”
Littlefield, John and Roby
Panel Discussion with Tlingit Scholars: Local Native Perspectives

Callaghan, Richard T., Ph.D., Department of Archaeology, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada
From West to East Polynesia: Bottlenecks and Possible Solutions
Dunis, Sergis, French Anthropologist, University of French Polynesia, Tahiti
Human Migrations Across the Oceans: The Mythological Routes
Ebbesmeyer, Curtis, Ph.D., Oceanographer
Japanese Tsunami Debris: Drift of Boats, Gods, and Houses from Japan to Alaska
Jett, Stephen, Ph.D., Geographer, Emeritus Professor, University of California, Davis
Why Leave Home? Motives for Transoceanic Crossings
Kemp, Brian, Ph.D., Molecular Anthropologist, Assistant Professor, Washington State University
The Entrance of Humans into the Americas: A Genetic Perspective
Kennedy, Tori R., Director, Zuni Tourism Program, Zuni, New Mexico
Delicately Dancing Along Main Street: Cultural Tourism and Economic Development at Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico
Norick, Frank A., Ph.D., Retired Anthropologist/Archaeologist, University of California, Berkeley
Beyond Beringia: Facts, Fantasies, and Skepticisms
Popov, Alexander N. Director of the Museum of the Fareastern Federal University, Vladivostok and
Tabarev, Andrei V. Division of Foreign Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Novosibirsk
Dancing Shamans, Snakes and Drugs: On the Similar Motives in the Art of Ancient Cultures of the Far East and Northern Andes  [ read by Rebecca Osborn West]

Royer, Thomas, Ph.D., Oceanography, Professor Emeritus, University of Alaska Fairbanks 
Convergence of Technology, Materials, Mariner Skills and Desire: Early Boat Voyages to Alaska

Ruskamp, John,  Ed.D., M.B.A. Naperville, IL 
Asiatic Echoes - The Identification of Chinese Pictograms in
North American Rock Writing

Ryan,  Donald P.,  Ph.D., Division of Humanities, Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Washington
Transpacific Contacts: Current thinking and the perspective of Thor Heyerdahl

Stanford, Dennis J. Ph.D., Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.  Director, Paleoindian/Paleoecology Program.
Ancient Voyagers to a New World. When and by how many routes did humans enter the Americas?
Thornton, Thomas F. Ph.D., Director, MSc Environmental Change & Management and Senior Research Fellow, Environmental Change Institute, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, U. K.
Environmental Shocks, Refuge, and Resilience: The Role of Alpine Stacked Rock Features in Southeast Alaska   [read by Anne Pollnow]

Tully, Darina,  Marine Archaeologist, Ireland Co-ordinator of Maritime Archaeology Studies at Saor-Ollscoil Nah Eireann and Senior Tutor in Ireland for the Nautical Archaeology Society.
The Use and Tradition of Skin Boats in Ireland in the 21st Century

  • Clay Antioquia grew up in The Village in Sitka and served as the Regional Area Director in Juneau for the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs during critical times in Alaska Native Land Claims negotiations in the 1970s.
  • Richard Callaghan, University of Calgary, has numerous publications on currents, winds, and oceans from around the world. His presentation will focus on the conditions for a successful eastern migration across the Southern Pacific.
  • Nancy Yaw Davis is the author of The Zuni Enigma: A Native American People’s Possible Japanese Connection. Yaw Davis will summarize evidence of a 13th Century contact in the American Southwest, and add new questions in her talk Priests Across the Pacific.
  • Curtis Ebbesmeyer, editor of Beachcombers’ Alert newsletter and author Flotsametrics and the Floating World will present Flotsam in Southeast Alaska, new information on Malaysia Airlines 370 research, the garbage patch and tsunami debris. He is also holding a Public Beachcombers’ Fair on Saturday, and leading a cruise and beach tour on Sunday, August 21.
  • Don Ryan, an expert on the life of Thor Heyerdahl, will narrate a movie night, with popcorn, showing the new Norwegian film, Kon-Tiki. Ryan will provide insights on the making of the film. In a separate presentation, he will address the concept of diffusion, an anathema for archaeology, but a useful tool for understanding trade in the past and globalization in the present.
  • Harriet Miyasato Beleal Ms. Miyasato Beleal was born in Wrangell, Alaska and is of Tlingit and Japanese anestry. She attended Mt. Edgecumbe High School in Sitka. She raised her seven children in Anchorage where she remained active in in the Tlingit/Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska and in the Alaska Native Sisterhood (ANS). Harriet went to college at the age of 64, receiving a degree in Social Work.
  • Ian Hudson, a scholar and best-selling author from England, will speak first on August 18 about the blockbuster book 1421: The Year China Discovered America? by Gavin Menzies. A second talk on Saturday, August 20 about the 2014 book he co-authored with Gavin Menzies titled Who Discovered America? The Untold History of the Peopling of the Americas.



Island coasts and tidal zones. Ocean currents, gyres and eddies. Catastrophes and human responses. Navigational knowledge and maritime mobility. Native traditions, continuity, and new information. We are connected by our shared seas and their resources. Thoughtful discussion enhances our common humanity.


Rich, renewable foods along the tidal areas; sea mammals, birds and fish in front of glaciers; uplifted coasts, changing sea levels, periodic earthquakes and tsunami. This interdisciplinary discussion engaged indigenous knowledge, oceanography, geology and anthropology to assess new information and raise new questions.


Native oral traditions, modern sailing experiences, maps and distances, contemporary sciences on fisheries, currents and winds provided topics for this discussion.


Amerind and Austronesian? Mayan and Chinese? Japanese and Zuni? Phonemes and Vocabulary. Syntax and grammar. Borrowed words or accidental similarities? Possible connections in the past? Or indicators of human capacity for independent linguistic innovations? How shall we begin these conversations?


If there is evidence from botany, if there are similar words associated with the plants, if there are specific genetic features and cultural items suggesting prehistoric connections, how do we establish criteria and paradigms to assess significance? At what point is the evidence compelling? How much data in how many different sciences does it take to have a case worth investigating further?


What does it take to navigate ocean coasts and seas? If homo sapiens were coastal dwellers 50,000 years ago with the same genetically-based intelligence as modern humans have today, what would have prevented them from venturing out on the oceans -- and surviving?
If we can manage coasts and seas today in simple craft, why not also during prehistoric times? Perhaps a case can be made we are dumber now than we were then. Certainly navigational skills, survival knowledge, and information on tracking distances through stars have atrophied in the last century as global urbanization captures and confines us in dense city masses often far away from the seas. Recent revitalization of small watercraft reminds us of what fun they can be, and challenges us to reconnect with our shared oceans.


What roles have periodic disasters played in the distribution and redistribution of people across the planet? How many times during our hominid pasts have massive earthquakes set off destructive tsunami, wiping out coastal communities and forcing survivors to relocate? Might tsunami of the past sent humans, clinging to debris, safely to islands near and far? The lessons of the 2004 Sumatra Earthquake and Tsunami sharpen our awareness of our vulnerability to surprises. Disasters present a challenge to think about how hazards of the past rearranged our species and related ecosystems. Might volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunami, droughts, epidemics, and El Ninos be major sources of dispersal across oceans and along coasts?


Human Migrations across and around the Pacific
New Genetic Evidence and Southern Routes
Navigational knowledge: old, new, and revitalized
Disasters, Disruption, and Dispersal

Paths Across the Pacific VIII conference in 2013 continued a unique exchange of ideas from many academic sciences in the magnificent, friendly setting of Sitka, a small town on Baranof Island in Southeast Alaska. Knowledge from Oceanography, Native Americans, Archaeology, Molecular Anthropology, Coastal Ecology, Geography, and Marine Biology will merge and mix through our special interest in human migrations on, across and around our planet’s oceans. Water, time, genes, history and ideas link us all, differently, creatively and periodically. In what directions might our explorations take us next?