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Diffusion into the New World

October 13th, 2014 · No Comments

Before Columbus
How Africans Brought Civilization to America
by GARIKAI CHENGU
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/10/13/how-africans-brought-civilization-to-america/

This interesting article makes me feel vindicated: WHEE took on a lot of controversies, beginning with Darwinism, but not far behind was the issue of diffusion into the New World and New World contact with the old before Columbus, a subject that once produced frenzy in scholars. Chasing down the literature here in a college library was a challenge, and even finding the information was hard. But a first rate scholar brought the case into discussion up to a point, Cyrus Gordon. One problem of course is the volatility of the subject matter in the sense of getting the right answer wrong with egregious speculative versions.

http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap4_3_1.htm: Fields of Diffusion This interpretation has been sitting around for fifteen years, but now is coming into its own.

The article has the exact model used in WHEE: new successor civilizations are fed by diffusion from the mainline of the macro sequence: here Egypt/Sumer ca. -3000 BCE, as the endpoint of the first great transition that we have in writing (the earlier phases discussed go back much further, but are not as clear).
The effect of these two was about like that of modern civilization on the global oikoumene in what we now call ‘globalization’. But globalization of some kind was also characteristic of the ‘first’ great transition. The point might have been obvious given the evidence, but somehow the question lingered long in controversy.

If we look at the model we see the mainline transitions beginning to spawn or amplify successors: (like ancient Israel from Egypt and Sumer). Another classic case is Greece where we see first a diffusion field from the mainline (via Crete, often, from Egypt), and then a new transition zone in the next cycle. In every case we can follow the diffusion track from the mainline. The primary diffusion feeds an ‘out of mainline’ ‘frontier’ nexus, and this often becomes a transition hotspot in the next cycle: Israel/Judah! becomes a new transition zone, like Greece.
So the question of diffusion to the New World should have been a no-brainer. Everything fits: the diffusion trail in parallel with, e.g. Israel is the Olmec. And this has been shown to show a large African influence, next to that of Egypt, a complex picture. The stupendous Olmec megalith heads clearly show African influence. It is a pity we don’t have also more knowledge of the diffusion field from Egypt into Africa. It is hard to grasp this influence of the Old World on the Americas given the prejudice but the structure is identical to that of the old way: including we must add the precise emergence of analogous new restart at the next cycle: the Mayans. Unfortunately it is not so easy to analyze this case. But, technically, we can see the complete isomorphism of the Olmec (middle era diffusion) and Maya (transition hotspot) to the case middle era pre-Israel (mostly confused myths, starting with Abraham) and its hotspot in the new cycle (Axial Age) from around -900 to 600++.
So, although we can’t be sure with such a complex and little documented case the Olmec (around -1200)/Maya (around -600) are an exact analog to the ‘Axial Age’ hotspots from diffusion field starts. So we are left with the strange question, was the Mayan a parallel phase to the Old World Axial Age, which stretched across Eurasia from Rome to China? Answer, the data fits perfectly but it is so strange to many that the very question is disorienting. I left the issue on the sideline concentrating on the near certainty of diffusion to the New World.
We should note that the New World suffered isolation none the less: the civilizations that arose didn’t have the influx of mutual influences that kept Eurasia civilizations in a constant state of diffusionist influences, greatly accelerating development. And the New World was a ‘relative beginning’ in the middle of a sequence that went back to the Neolithic. The new world of course had a Neolithic and we hardly know if was diffusion was the case: but we must suspect so. If all the Neolthic zones start up several millennia later after -8000 in proportion to distance, we might suspect diffusion for the Neolithic also. We don’t know yet. The period from around -5500 to -3000 was highly seminal, and one stage of complexification in and then beyond the Neolithic. But it is absent in the new world which starts out of the blue in the second millennium. The overall field of New World civilizations are hard to understand and in the case of the Mayan world we can see that with mathematical precision it went into decline around 600 AD (?) at almost the same time as the Old World Occident. This example provokes the question of how to understand civilizations, and the model of WHEE is apparently too strange as yet for most scholars, so we can simply look at the probability of close diffusion into the New World from the Occident, with analogous influences from East Asia into the western side of the New World.

On Monday, America’s government offices, businesses, and banks all grind to a halt in order to commemorate Columbus Day. In schools up and down the country, little children are taught that a heroic Italian explorer discovered America, and various events and parades are held to celebrate the occasion.

It has now become common knowledge amongst academics that Christopher Columbus clearly did not discover America, not least because is it impossible to discover a people and a continent that was already there and thriving with culture. One can only wonder how Columbus could have discovered America when people were watching him from America’s shores?

Contrary to popular belief, African American history did not start with slavery in the New World. An overwhelming body of new evidence is emerging which proves that Africans had frequently sailed across the Atlantic to the Americas, thousands of years before Columbus and indeed before Christ. The great ancient civilizations of Egypt and West Africa traveled to the Americas, contributing immensely to early American civilization by importing the art of pyramid building, political systems and religious practices as well as mathematics, writing and a sophisticated calendar.

The strongest evidence of African presence in America before Columbus comes from the pen of Columbus himself. In 1920, a renowned American historian and linguist, Leo Weiner of Harvard University, in his book, Africa and the Discovery of America, explained how Columbus noted in his journal that Native Americans had confirmed that “black skinned people had come from the south-east in boats, trading in gold-tipped spears.”

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