|Early Man and the Ocean 2010
- Social significant of Ocean Voyages
Re-evaluation of some possibilities of contact between the Ancient Mediterranean and Mesoamerica”.
Romeo Hristov, Ph.D.Visiting scholar, University of Texas at Austin. USA
This paper deals with two principal topics: the first is recent archaeological evidence for Phoenician, Punic and Roman visits to the Canaries between XI century BC and IV-V century AD. The following implications of these finds are related to the possibility of ancient trans-Atlantic voyages, and worthy close consideration: 1) after five and a half centuries of polemics and uncertainties, a considerable number of contacts between the archipelago and the Mediterranean mainland have been attested archaeologically; 2) the contacts in question, although restricted in scale, have spread over a period of millennium and a half, thus suggesting a high probability of some, at least accidental, voyages across the Atlantic and 3) the cross-cultural interaction has been limited almost entirely to the borrowing of few plants and religious beliefs, without any significant technological transfer (for example, the pottery wheel or the metallurgy). An analogous pattern of cross-cultural interaction may also be linked to a contact between the ancient Mediterranean and Mesoamerica, if such is decisively proven.
Secondly, the results of one hundred computer simulations of drifts from the Canaries across the Atlantic for each month of the year are discussed. These simulations demonstrate approximately 90% probability of successful trans-Atlantic crossing and, although most of the landfalls are in the Antilles or South America, for certain months up to 21% of the drifts have ended on the Central American and the Mexican coasts. And finally, several continuing issues and plans for field survey are summarized.