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    Re: Navigational reinvention
    From: Trevor Kenchington
    Date: 2004 Nov 26, 16:10 -0400

    You raise one of the obvious objections, which has also been raised by
    professional archaeologists who don't like to contemplate the idea that
    Homo erectus was capable of conceiving a sea-going boat. The other
    obvious objection is that the evidence for a human presence on Lombok
    around 600,000 may have been misinterpreted from some combination of
    natural features and anthropogenic ones from much later.
    I haven't seen a serious arguments of the pros and cons on the latter
    point. The counter to your argument, among professionals (which I am
    not), seems to be that the scale of the site on Lombok and the low
    probability that the one and only site there just happens to have been
    found make it unlikely that accidental drift across the Strait can
    explain what has been found. Whether that conclusion will hold up to
    further investigation or not, only time will tell.
    The Lombok Strait isn't wide by our standards. (I would happily attempt
    it in my own 22-footer, operating under sail and oar alone.) But it
    isn't exactly an easy bit of water, with strong currents sweeping south
    -- feeding water from the Pacific Equatorial Current system into the
    Indian Ocean. For half the year, the wind blows in the same direction,
    which certainly doesn't help. Whether there is any time of year when a
    log would drift from Bali to Lombok (rather than from Bali into the
    Arafura Sea), I have no idea.
    There has been a recent attempt to build a vessel that could have been
    constructed using Palaeolithic tools. The archaeologist who published
    the work, a guy called Bednarik or something like that, saw the result
    as a vessel of circa 600,000, suitable for reaching Lombok, but at least
    one of his associates has told me that the boat was really intended as
    one of circa 60,000 which could have been used in the settlement of
    Australia. The paper is in the International Journal of Nautical
    Archaeology but I'd have to search for volume and page numbers.
    Trevor Kenchington
    You wrote:
    >  I don't see why a crossing of 20+ miles should amaze anyone, even in
    > 600KBC. Someone gets washed out to sea by a flood, grabs a log, floats in
    > terror for 36 hours and swims ashore. If one of the opposite sex has the
    > same adventure within the decade...there's a colony.
    Trevor J. Kenchington PhD                         Gadus{at}iStar.ca
    Gadus Associates,                                 Office(902) 889-9250
    R.R.#1, Musquodoboit Harbour,                     Fax   (902) 889-9251
    Nova Scotia  B0J 2L0, CANADA                      Home  (902) 889-3555
                         Science Serving the Fisheries

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