Section 1, Section 2, Section 3, Section 4, Section 5, Section 6, Section 7, Section 8

16/7/01

Subject: Re: The layperson's approach


Hi Martin

I start with some specifics, move on to generalities outside linguistics and then discuss (mainly) linguistic issues at the end.

Early colonial writers such as Tregear were not usually trained in linguistics, and indeed the subject was not well developed at that time. I know of no recent authorities who would endorse such a view (genetic links between Maori/Polynesian and 'Aryan' = Indo-European). I would be grateful if you could give me the relevant references.

The examples of allegedly related pairs which you provide are not persuasive, for reasons given in earlier emails and below. If the case for a link is built only on such examples (even if there are many), it is, therefore, not at all strong.

In any case, links between Maori/Polynesian and Egyptian or other North African languages - while they would be dramatic - would be irrelevant to alleged links with Indo-European specifically, because Egyptian and other such languages are clearly not Indo-European (if Tregear thought they were, he was wrong).

What is the full title of the journal ESOP in which Brunner's work appeared? I know of several journals with similar titles and I would like to check this reference.

I know of no serious scholar who would endorse the view that there are ancient loans from Greek dialects into Polynesian. Script is in large part a separate matter from language; but, again, I know of no scholar who endorses the idea of a common ancient script in North Africa, Indonesia and the Pacific and similar dialects contain the same script.
I have to suspect that this entire set of claims is again based on inadequate knowledge of the subject. Quite a few academics publish outside their areas of expertise, especially when their views are non-standard. Barry Fell, much of whose work is easy to refute, is an obvious example.

But, even if there should be one or two people with real linguistic training who have views of this kind, they should not be referred to as if their views represent what most experts believe. If laypeople want to know what linguists think about language families, there are very many texts available at various levels of sophistication. In seeking endorsement from linguists, you - like most writers in your position - are forced to focus on amateurs and the fringe. If you did not know that you were doing this, you do now; and I suggest that it would be fairer to your readers to note that the people you are citing on linguistic matters are a small minority and typically not those with genuine expertise (even if you yourself continue to believe what they say).

There are many stories about people surprisingly understanding supposedly unrelated languages. I have never heard of any such case actually being demonstrated. This has become a 'modern myth', and in the absence of direct evidence it cannot be taken seriously. (One might, at best, understand the odd word which has been borrowed into either or both of the languages, or one of the words which are similar by pure chance.)

The point is not whether proper published reports on those skeletal finds are 'muted'; I asked if they existed. Please give me references to Davidson's books and I will try to locate them. I will also search for Adkin's book. I am close to several archaeologists and can obtain their views also. Tregear's claims (as quoted) are rather vague and given the early date I am not sure that much weight can be placed upon them.

If the specimens themselves are not available, only careful reports are of much use. Photographs are usually quite inadequate, since so much interference and so many divergent interpretations are typically possible.

I know many academics, including (as I noted) archaeologists, and I do not believe that they would conceal the truth for the reasons which you suggest. Archaeologists, like linguists, work in a rapidly changing discipline. At any given time, much of what was believed five years ago is outdated. That is the nature of science, and it does not show that there is anything amiss with the subjects in question (calling them 'inexact', with the pejorative connotation of this term, is thus rather tendentious). But this does NOT mean that there is or should be a free slather. Those proposing new theories or claims must show with strong evidence and argumentation that they should be embraced or at least entertained.

For instance, in 1998 evidence was published involving Flores which suggested that humans arrived there - necessarily by sea, given what was believed about sea-level changes - before 700,000 BP. This date implies homo erectus or similar, not homo sapiens. The conclusion emerged that homo erectus could sail or canoe, and lots of ideas regarded as well established went up in the area. Note that this was a reaction to strong evidence. In the interim, the dating of the level has been questioned and so has the evidence on sea levels, so the case is now doubtful again; but that's the way it goes.

If I thought I had really good evidence that there was (even probably) a significant pre-Maori/Moriori human population in NZ, or that Indo-European was a factor in the SW Pacific before modern times, I would know that I was going to be famous, get ahead very well in my career & probably make a lot of money. If anyone tried to suppress such evidence, I'd resist them strongly. I think almost all of us would do the same. Having our earlier theories disproved is not frightening; it happens to us all the time! The image of hidebound, mindlessly conservative academics applies only to very few, most of whom are in late career.

I don't think Cremo would have thought of trying to build a case on such weak evidence if he had NOT been influenced by Vedic ideas. And most of the 'admissions' which he cites are, it seems, specious. He perhaps mistakes academic caution on the part of other scholars for unreasonably loose open-mindedness. But yes, his work is better than that of the typical creationist. It could hardly be worse! You are unwise in quoting Feder (out of context) to me, though. I know Ken Feder, and he thinks that Cremo's work is nonsense. You are misinterpreting the tone of his discussion.

Cremo's material may be more useful in examining the methodology and epistemology of archaeology; but even in these respects writers such as those whom you cite are NOT saying that his own ideas are, or even might be, CORRECT. Cremo himself, as you note, recognises this. Perhaps, despite this disclaimer, you yourself are mistaking scholarly politeness and an interest in drawing whatever may be useful out of maverick material for a degree of endorsement which is simply not present.

In this context, I return to my own discipline. I have to say that - unless a logical error or the like can be found in a scholarly argument - the untrained layperson's opinion has no weight in technical scholarly disciplines such as historical linguistics. I stress that this is not a matter of formal qualifications but of expertise; in each discipline there are a very few people without qualifications whose expertise demands respect. But most amateurs are not in that position. In 1775 linguists worked as you, Brunner etc propose; but we have now studied these things for 200 years, learning more all the time; and we now KNOW from evidence that isolated, unsystematic, superficial similarities between linguistic forms (especially short ones like RA) cannot prove that the forms themselves or the languages in which they appear are linked genetically or by contact. If one relies on such examples it is possible to 'show' that ANY two languages are related; there is a wonderful spoof piece linking English and Mayan in this way. 'False friends' are very numerous. German HABEN and Latin HABERE have the same meaning (and the languages themselves ARE known to be related); but the two forms are known NOT to be related. The Cantonese equivalent for English PAY is the similar-sounding BEI, but thus is derived from a very different Sino-Tibetan word. Etc, etc. In many cases we do not know whether forms are linked or not (lack of hard evidence), but cases such as these indicate that we cannot assume from mere similarity that they are. Even extreme linguists like Ruhlen, who use looser criteria than most (and are regarded as near-fringe), do not accept words as connected unless there are repeated, fairly specific patterns across large bodies of words.

The same applies to simple written characters and the like, especially in cases where the language (if there is one) is long dead and where the meaning of the symbol is not actually known. Such forms appear all over the world, and where their meanings are known these are very varied; sometimes they are not even linguistic in nature.

Linguistic forms are typically more specifically characterisable than other cultural manifestations; what applies to the former generally applies a fortiori to the latter (though there are exceptions).

Strong physiological evidence of 'racial' connections is more impressive. But of course 'racial' connections do not actually prove cultural or linguistic connections, since 'racial' groups can adopt new cultures and new languages (think of Hungarians or African-Americans) and since 'racial' diffusion could occur before the development of cultural or linguistic features.

The 'glaring parallels' observed by laypersons, in linguistics at least, are thus of no real importance. If anyone wants to uphold such an approach, they should first study historical linguistics and epigraphics. If, having demonstrated proficiency in these subjects, they still reject the mainstream consensus and can argue in support of their own position, they are then entitled to a hearing. But not otherwise. This is why most linguists (etc) will not pay any attention at all to such claims.

In my view, my comment 'But it is ridiculous to suggest that oral traditions referring to events thousands of years old are more authoritative than the results of scientific investigation...' stands, and its application includes Maori and other such traditions. (a) The fact that in recent times adherence to form has been strict does NOT show that this was always the case. A change in this respect clearly happened in the case of Greek oral literature, for instance. And (b) even a tradition faithfully adhered to since its inception need not be ACCURATE. The traditions reported by Deloria are often quite clearly mistaken if interpreted as accounts of prehistoric facts. Naturally, oral traditions and scientific findings often agree; but, where they do disagree, I consider that one should prefer the latter (always provisionally, of course).

I would just like to emphasise again that Matlock's attempt at linguistics is nowhere near even on the 'Cremo' level. Matlock simply does not know what he is talking about; his ideas represent a huge step backwards, ignoring everything that has been learned. Historical linguistics may undergo 'paradigm changes' in the future - but NOT in the Matlock direction!

Mark

23/7/01

Subject: some further comments

Dear Martin

I have now obtained Tregear (1885). The book is not without interest, but as far as I can see Tregear's philological approach was the usual pre-scientific one, which was already badly dated even when he wrote; his linguistic claims should not be taken seriously. There are similarities here with the approaches of Fell and others in that tradition of (mainly amateur) work on epigraphics and historical linguistics in the context of alleged inscriptions etc in the Americas. Tregear also ignores the enormous grammatical differences between Maori/Polynesian and Indo-European, which suggest that there can be no
observable relationship between these language families. I will report further on this book if this seems to be called for.

I have been in touch with Kerry Howe (Massey Uni) and am obtaining copies of his comments on non-standard claims about early New Zealand involving archaeological and alleged epigraphic evidence. When I have seen these comments I may have some of my own to add. I will look at Adkin's book in due course.

I have also conferred with Colin Groves (Anthropology, Australian National Uni), Vicki Hyde (NZ Skeptics and herself of partly Maori extraction) and Garry Law (NZ Archaeological Association). Not at all to my surprise, they are all in agreement with me in regarding oral traditions about the distant past as too uncertain to be upheld against strong evidence on other fronts.

A member of NZ Skeptics comments that there are huge variations in widely-spread Maori stories, which would not be expected if oral traditions were as inflexible as you claim. The Maori language itself is very varied (as one would expect) and has clearly changed considerably over time, in some cases so rapidly that communication between groups separated only for a century or so is very difficult. This militates against long-term reliability, even if some specific archaic words are preserved.

I have still to see Janet Davidson's material, but I am reliably informed that she would reject your interpretation of her data. If you use her data, you should acknowledge this and should take care not to suggest otherwise. By citing her without doing this, you are arguably misleading readers; this is like Viewzone's quoting of Bednarik out of context as apparently endorsing their alphabetic interpretation of the Panaramitee rock-art tradition (though I admit that this present case is not as bad as that one).

I would be interested in careful reports of properly conducted work on 'bodies in mummified form.in New Zealand... sometimes in mummy cases' or 'ancient skeletons in remote burial caves'. Or can you at least provide a list of all such cases which (for whatever reason) have not been properly investigated?

Through Law, I contacted Bruce McFadgen, who conducted a careful study at Lake Poukawa. As far as I can see, McFadgen demolished Russell Price's case for very early human settlement (unless Price subsequently responded; did he?). McFadgen's report is in Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 1979, vol 9 (3), pp 375-382. If you have not read this, you should; I can send you a photocopy if you wish. I have read the paper, and I present here McFadgen's own summary: 'The pedologists confirmed the overall tephra stratigraphy but were careful to say nothing about the cultural affiliations. Wellman in particular was very sceptical about claims of early man. I investigated the site with a team of archaeologists and specialists in pedology, tephra, pollen analysis etc. Price was unable to recognise disturbance and we found that all of his claims about early man at Poukawa could be explained in terms of events that had occurred on the site since about 1930 CE. For example, he had a beautiful circular fireplace just above the Waimihia Ash and when it was radiocarbon dated it gave an age consistent with the stratigraphy. However, the fire had occurred in about the 1940s. There was a big peat fire then and we were able to recognise it as a burnt band that in some places was deep enough to contact a layer of wood buried in the peat, hence the wonderful circular fireplace. The site had also been giant disced in about the 1950s (after the fire). We found the disk marks preserved in marl deposits and in the upper surface of the burnt peat. The disking had over-turned large clods containing Taupo Pumice lapilli onto genuine archaeological remains (it had been a site occupied about the time of European contact) which led Price into claiming occupation below Taupo Pumice.' Prima facie, this seems decisive. If you have any objections to McFadgen's account, I would like to hear them.

Hyde reports that it is generally agreed that the 'Kaimanawa Wall', which is widely reported on the fringe as among the best evidence of very early human settlement in NZ (non-Polynesian?), is in fact plain rock. Is there any reason to suppose that this view is mistaken?

Regarding the date of Polynesian settlement in NZ, I am aware that there has been debate in recent years concerning the apparent arrival of the kiore (Polynesian rat) prior to the dates normally given for Maori arrival. This issue is not yet settled; but in any case rats may have come with a group of wind-blown Polynesians who did not represent even an attempt at systematic colonization. As far as Maori genetic origins are concerned, there is an article in NZ Science Monthly (October 1998) which argues persuasively that the Maori came to NZ from Central Polynesia at around the consensus date and that
the Polynesians came earlier from Asia (ie, that these data agree with the existing mainstream account). Even if correct, this does not, of course, prove that Maori culture and language came by the same routes (see my earlier comments); but the nature of the populations concerned and the clear linguistic evidence that Maori had no observable non-Polynesian features prior to modern contacts conspire with the genetic data to support the consensus story.

On the overall evidence. it does look as if Polynesian settlement of NZ dates back only a millennium or so (and that there was no substantial human settlement before that).

A few other points:

It is no surprise that different groups should arrive independently at values such as that of pi or at Pythagoras' theorem. Any group which gets its geometry and basic mathematics right will inevitably arrive at these values.

It is apparently possible to revise physical theory to the point where major-planet catastrophism (Velikovsky etc) is feasible; but this implies that such a vast amount of well-established theory is mistaken that few serious scholars are willing to go that far, especially when there is no positive evidence which unequivocally indicates such catastrophes. (Minor-planet catastrophism is another matter.) And, again like Viewzone, many catastrophists imply that some leading astronomers whose views differ in some ways from the mainstream consensus support their theories, when they do not. The Neo-Velikovskyan Saturnists keep citing Halton Arp, who disagrees with the mainstream interpretation of quasars and with some other consensus
views; but Arp still thinks that major-planet-catastrophist ideas are ridiculous.

It is unwise to proceed, as some of your correspondents do, on the assumption that one particular highly complex non-standard account of early human history is clearly correct. This approach tends to exclude from discussion all those (even those who would be supportive in general terms) who do not accept the specific account in question. That point should perhaps be made to the relevant contributors.

Professional archaeologists can hardly be blamed for resisting amateurs' proposals for the excavation of important sites, which could well wreck the sites and deny them to future generations who can be expected to have access to improved techniques. I agree that the professionals should excavate controversial sites themselves; but funding priorities are an issue, and what appears controversial or even potentially decisive to amateurs dedicated to non-standard accounts of the past may not appear especially important to professionals. Failure to excavate (etc) does not necessarily imply a desire to avoid confronting damaging evidence. And, as I said earlier, most academics in fact LOVE to find evidence that overturns established ideas.

Mark N
Monash

 

Hi Mark,

Not a lot of what you're saying is new to me, or to any of us doing so-called "alternative" research in New Zealand ...it's a case of, "same old, same old" regurgitation's that issue forth from the academic community, ad infinitum.

Indeed, no body of evidence seems to "blow up the skirt" of the entrenched professionals and they remain eternally unimpressed by anything that challenges Isolationism. Let's reconsider some of our topics of discussion to date:

Indo-Aryan (Sanscrit)................................................ Maori.

Tu (to grow, increase)………………Tupu (to grow); Katua (full grown, etc).
Dhi (to shine)………………………..Hihi (ray of sun); Hiko (begin to shine).
Pa (to protect)………………………..Pa (fortified town); Kopani (to enclose).
Pat (to fall)……………………………Patapata (falling in drops).
Ar (noble)……………………………. Ariki (chief).
Gone (an angle)…………………….. Kononi (grooked); Kokonga (an angle).
Guha (secret)…………………………Kuhu (conceal).
Manas (heart, mind)…………………Mana (divine) Manawa (heart).

But why not trace this last word (mana) a bit further, as it occurs in various forms, with the same basic pronunciation, meaning and associations, on several continents.

Renditions of Mana or Manna, in its many related guises and derivatives, is found throughout Polynesia, as well as North America amongst the widely distributed Indian tribes.

The Great Spirit was Manido, who sent to earth Manabozho, common ancestor to all tribes and creator/ preserver of earth and heaven.
In the Indian Midewiwin initiation rituals, a young brave would swallow a white shell called "Manna". This act has startling similarities to the Manna tradition of the Israelites or the follow on, "holy communion" tradition of the Christians.

The names Manannan Mac Lir, Mannanan and Manawydan a Lyr are the "God of the Sea" to the Irish, Scots & Welsh, respectively. In this regard the concept is not very different from Polynesia's Tangaroa/ Tangaloa veneration (God of the Sea and ocean migrations…described in oral traditions of Polynesia as white complexioned with sandy coloured hair…whose offspring were fair skinned and who came from a land where the leaves stayed on the trees for only half the year).
Manassa, in Hebrew, means, "He shall forget his home…(wanderer)".
Many holy or sacred mountains in New Zealand are called Maunganui.

In view of the overall evidence, I would have to go with the concept that there has been very ancient diffusion of language across the world, spanning the great oceans.

Somehow in the course of commenting on extremely remote archaeological evidence, the discussion got detoured into talking about personalities.
I really don't care one way or the other if Michael Cremo is, in actual fact, a bug-eyed reptilian with scaly green skin… I'm only interested in his presentation of evidence. Cremo & Thompson eloquently introduce anomalies that have to be addressed…many of which have been hanging around for decades.
Why not concentrate on his evidence, rather than on Vedic beliefs or other distractions to do with individuals? Here's a pre-Cremo anomaly or two:

The trouble is, such anomalies are reasonably common. Let me make an account of one of my own "hearsay" experiences, back in the 70's.

I was working on renovating a house in the suburb of Devonport, Auckland, New Zealand in about 1977 and adjacent to my project there was another carpenter building a small cottage. We used to get together at lunchtime and converse over a sandwich or two.

The carpenter had a close friend who flew a Cessna 172 and took people on weekend scenic flights out over the Hauraki Gulf...a stunning spectacle, with picturesque Islands in every direction.

During one of the lunch breaks the carpenter told me of a strange experience his pilot friend had the weekend previously. A lady booked in to take a flight, but when she turned up she appeared to be withdrawn, upset and stressed out. The pilot assumed she was nervous about going airborne and hoped she'd come right after they were in the air. As the flight around the gulf progressed she relaxed somewhat, then began to open up and tell the pilot about recent circumstances that weighed heavily on her mind.

She'd been a part of an archaeological team working in the Himalayas where her group had entered a cavern system. Cached within the caves were very ancient, high tech devices. No sooner was their find reported to their superiors than their group was replaced by another, special archaeological team. The original team was hurriedly disbanded, with each member sent home. The lady was, by her own admission, in a state of shock inasmuch as what she had seen went utterly against the grain of all her training.

Of course nothing is verifiable and maybe she'd read too many Lobsang Rampa books... nevertheless my carpentry colleague was a person of integrity and I had no reason to doubt his veracity.

Here's another pre-Cremo anomaly:

A lady in South Africa, with whom I correspond, went up to the Klerksdorp Museum recently and saw the 2.8 billion year old, limonite metal "cricket balls" on display there. The balls were obviously made by an intelligent species (so they can't have been used for cricket) and have a central design circumnavigating their mid sections. This is what Marianne wrote in two consecutive emails:

'Hi Martin
I have managed to make contact with the curator at Klerksdorp Museum. He apparently only has 1 and a half of those balls. He never had more. But anyway, I will be driving there as soon as he can see me. He said I may take photographs. So, that is good. I also got details from him on the company that has been mining there since 1937. I will follow that up as well. My ancient ship research has also produced some new info...'

...'went to see the "balls" on Saturday (2hour 45 minutes drive in 36 degree C heat) - saw them with me own two eyes.'

I have no problem with these finds, nor am I surprised that intelligent life has emerged then disappeared on this planet many times over, throughout a span of billions of years. One doesn't have to be a 'Neo-Velikovskyan Saturnist', as you put it, to realise that the face of the Earth is a pockmarked mess. It has been the unfortunate recipient of some massive impacts from space debris, some of which, undoubtedly, annihilated all or most life, from time to time.

Again, this is a person whose work commands my respect. I have no problem with the fact that his Harvard Professorship (Biology) was in a field other than linguistics. He simply gathered information, assessed it logically and without bias, then stated the obvious in his many publications.

Barry Fell represented a "breath of fresh air" to the stagnant, Isolationist dominated scene of North American archaeology. The onus of responsibility for interpreting photographic evidence or precisely reproduced illustrations of glyphs, does not fall back solely on Fell, as the evidence is there for all to see. He's thrown his glove into the arena, presented his case and has a major following of people who agree with him, based upon excellent, exhaustive research on his part. If the evidence doesn't mean what Fell says it means, then the academic community, at large, has been unable to come up with plausible counter-explanations to set the record straight. To date, Fell's analysis is the best we have. Your reference to his finding "alleged inscriptions" should relate to the "actual, identifiable inscriptions", which are very much in evidence within the confines of the United States, as elsewhere, on continents where they, supposedly, have no right to be. There's an ancient Iberian script carved into a stone of West Virginia. There are the "Ten Commandments", appearing in "Old Hebrew" on a tablet in New Mexico, etc., etc.

Again, I don't care if Barry Fell was an ex-dishwasher in the wayside truckstop where Elvis is still flipping burgers. His evidence is the only point of importance...I find his raft of detail to be compelling in the extreme and backed by many solid, logical arguments. Others are following on in the steps of Barry Fell and drawing the selfsame conclusions.

The New England States are covered with stone structures of clear European pedigree and pre-Columbian incised script, much of which is recognisable...I've viewed some of it with my own eyes. I recall seeing a Viking stone at "Viking, Minnesota", which gave an account of an ill fated crew led by Eric the Red, who came partially to grief at the hands of the Indians. Whether any of them got back to Scandinavia is unknown...what were they doing there before Columbus?

It has long been possible to sail to North America from Europe, mostly within sight of land over the entire route. Saint Brendan did it long before Columbus and amongst the European evidence of association with North America is a pre-Columbian wall panel depicting a North American Turkey (Germany).

The pre-Columbian Viking settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland, discovered by Norwegian archaeologists, Helge and Anne Stine Ingstad in 1961, is no longer in dispute. Yet older, similar expressions are all over the eastern seaboard of the continental United States and further inland, down the major tributary rivers.

About 500 million pounds of copper were removed from mine workings on the northern shores of Lake Superior and there's nothing to suggest that it remained in North America. It seems probable that it ended up at Enzion Geber (smelters and copper slag found) or other refining smelters at the base of the Mediterranean... during the reign of King Solomon. Phoenician roundships are known to have exported tin from the mines of Cassiderites (Cornwall, England) since 1300 BC or earlier and much evidence around the world suggests that they traded very far from home. Some of that evidence relates to the Sarina Beach site, up the road from you in Queensland.

That site was first discovered in 1990 by Val Osborn. He has a brief video about the place, available by writing to Val Osborn, Lot 8, Armstrong Beach Road, Sarina, Queensland 4737, Australia. The location is described as a typical Phoenician colony settlement, similar to sites at Carthage and Tyre, from 2000BC to about 400BC.

Val Osborn writes, 'The Freshwater Point complex is uniquely Phoenician, as are adjacent sites on the Queensland coast. The two artificial harbours meticulously engineered are quite large and represent the labour of many over centuries. Near a ruined jetty are slag heaps from furnaces of gold, mercury and copper ore. Evidence of refining exists on the Sarina Inlet area with a sluice race and an artificial reservoir of water lined with clay, some two acres overall...Mining was carried out by heating the rock then quenching with water to crack the ore body, levering the ore out and then crushing and refining into ingots,. Over a million tonnes of ore have been removed and processed with placer deposits carefully cleaned out...A further bonanza for a colony could have been the worth of cowries in the area, known as "money cowries", worth their weight in gold in antiquity. As well, murex shells indigenous to Phoenicia and the Sarina area exist in abundance, from these shells the famed Tyrean purple dye was extracted... The geology within Sarina shrine embraces almost every variation of rock development and mineral formation known to science. Rare earths exist in the ancient sediment as well. Very rare minerals are present along with the rare metals and tiny gemstones. The entire area is known to be an unexploited gold and silver field...The Sarina inlet covers some 3 kilometers of coastline with a shipyard, complete with slip; revelments, walls and gigantic stone fish traps. The cemetery was actually for cremation, bones being interred in ampora...Reject quarried ore was used to surface roads and landing areas. Slag cement from the blast furnaces on the beach was recycled in jetty construction. In the east jetty, huge andesite boulders taken from adjacent beaches were set in slag cement...Among the artefacts found is a cast iron tool which is identical with boat building tools depicted on a chiseled stone facade at an ancient shipyard on the Nile. And some granite pieces have handsaw marks identical to ancient Egyptian handsaw marks in granite...The extent of labour required to construct the walls at the north harbour alone has been estimated by a marine engineer at approximately 1000 men working for one year. However the richness of the ore bodies and gold placer deposits would have justified this outlay of labour...The customs of east coast tribes show Mediterranean, African and Indian associations that have long mystified anthropologists...'

There is ample evidence of a Phoenician presence in Australia, the two large stone heads of the Phoenician Sun God and Earth mother, dug up near Hawkesbury River, NSW, being a case in point.

Whereas the Isolationists continue to maintain there's no evidence of Pre-Columbian European settlement in North America, the opposite is true...there's far too much to assimilate in the short term and enough to keep droves of archaeologists busy for generations. Fell is but one of many very competent authors who has plumbed the depths of what's so obviously there...with European type, "standing stone circles" and other megalithic structures scattered profusely from Nova Scotia to Florida.

If you'll look in my website section devoted to the Waipoua Forest Archaeological Dig of the mid 70's to mid 80's you'll see that our archaeologists are very much into concealment of evidence in this country. They intended that the archaeological report devoted to the Waipoua Forest dig be witheld from the general public, who funded the project, for 75-years. We are in contact with parties who were employed by our Department of Conservation to cover the mouths of particular burial caves where the red headed, tall skeletons were known to be non-Maori.

According to the Australian research society, "Archaeological Anomalies", there were mummified remains examined in a cave in New Zealand in 1931 by Sir G. Elliot-Smith. Smith's papers were deposited at the Australian Academy Science Library in Canberra...but haven't been seen or accessible for a long time. I know the general area, in remote country, where mummified remains are still locatable. This is a difficult subject to broach, but I assure you that our archaeologists know of many ancient non-Polynesian skeletons, within New Zealand, whether they'll admit it or not in today's climate of academic survival.

There is absolutely no doubt about the relatively easy access to pre-Maori, non Polynesian skeletons. Here's a comment by Sir Peter Buck, famous Maori anthropologist and historian:

"In the Auckland Museum there is a hank of beautiful wavy red hair, obtained from a rock shelter in Waitakerei. That it belonged to pre-European days is proved by the root ends being plaited together and bound round with fine braid prepared from the same hair. Curiously enough, the only other specimen of hair in the same case is also bound round with fine hair braid and is dark brown in colour...As another example of the Maori belief in the inheritance of fair hair from certain ancestors, we have the proverb, 'He aha te uru o to tamiti? Kapatau he uru korito, he korako, he uru ariki no Pipi'. 'What is the hair of your child? Were it flaxen hair or whitish, it would be the hair of high chieftainship from Pipi'. Pipi was a woman of high rank who flourished twenty-four generations ago and was the ancestress of the Ngati-Ira tribe" (see American Indian in the Pacific, pg. 190).

The evidence on all fronts is that there was a huge pre-Maori population in New Zealand. Perhaps it's time for these people to get out in the field, open their eyes and look carefully at the New Zealand landscape. Reading a wide range of older books, based upon actual observations and first encounter interviews with 1800's Maori Tohungas would benefit them greatly. The oral traditions reliably report about the original, pre-Maori people who were referred to as the Tangata-whenua. The bodies of these more ancient people have been seen countless times in the past 200-years. Have your colleagues ever heard about the Tameana and Hineana burial caves at Port Waikato? Really Mark, I must admit to being a little exasperated by these conclusions on their part. The country is covered in Megalithic Age type structures, which are easy to detect and the oral traditions clearly speak about the stonebuilders who put them there.

Purpose erected trig stones atop Moehau Mountain.

Something that your colleagues appear to be oblivious of is that there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of these laboriously transported and erected ancient trig markers on many important hills all over New Zealand. They were used for landmapping and surveying purposes, in much the same way as in Great Britain. The fact is that we have multiples of standing stone circles all over the country, as well as the remains of Beehive house villages, navigable canals, huge wetlands fishtrap/ drainage/ intensive agricultural systems, pre-Celtic type palisaded hillforts (numbering over a thousand or two), etc. Some of the hillfort structures are vast complexes, requiring the modification of entire hills. Fort sites like Turuturumokai would have needed a minimum of 5000 defenders, or the like, just to stop a breach in the perimeter inward from the defensive trenches. There are uncountable, linked overland features related to astronomy...for example see within my website: http://www.celticnz.co.nz/newsletter_files/Newsletter_march.html

A small part of the pre-Maori intensive gardening and eel trap complex on the alluvial flats near Kaitaia, shown in a 1944 photo. This very fertile, high maintenance area would, long ago, have provided a huge amount of food for a vast local population. There were many similar trenching/ drainage system across ancient New Zealand, including canals. These systems are now only faintly in evidence, having lain abandoned and mostly unmaintained for centuries.

In a 1928 edition of the Journals of the Polynesian Society, Edwin Harding wrote of his families long-standing association to yet another district where a huge complex of similar drains were found. He recalled his early shepherding activities in a belt of coast, extending over 25-miles, between Maunganui Bluff down beyond Dargaville. Harding wrote, '...almost every hollow which had once been a lake or swamp had been similarly drained, noteworthy features being that the drains were perfectly straight and cut to the most direct outlet, involving in some cases, cuttings over twenty feet deep. The largest work is, I think, over a mile in length straight as a dart...a good many of the drains have now been obliterated by gum digging, cultivation or drifting sand, but some of the more striking works remain' (vol 37, no. 4, pgs.367-368, Dec. 1928).

The fact of the matter is Mark, that if your learned colleagues, with all of the archival material, libraries, equipment, funding and training at their disposal, can't see what's on the landscape or put two and two together sufficient to make four, then there's not a thing I or anyone else can do to help them. The degree of modification that the New Zealand landscape has been subjected to is huge and present population models, based upon some Polynesians arriving here, as Kerry Howe boldly suggests, even 1000 years ago (generally accepted as 1250-1350 AD), would never have been sufficient to do a small percentage of these engineering feats.

Coupled with the lack of time is the high rate of infant mortality, the short life span (about 40-years) contributed to by disease or other rigor's, as well as the heavy loss of life due to constant inter-tribal warfare, utu (revenge) and rampant cannibalism. The land mapping and trig referencing systems show that there was tremendous interaction and cooperation between regions and a general preoccupation of people using the same standing stone or cairn marker systems right across the country.

Vicki Hyde needs to get out more. The Kaimanawa wall is reasonably unspectacular and there's not a lot exposed to look at. I've visited it and have positively seen at least one 6-sided cube block. Root pressure has pushed one block forward and I ran my fingers along the protruding top, turned 90-degrees and came down the side, turned 90-degrees and went along the bottom, turned 90-degrees and went up the side...so that's 5-sides including the face. A mirror can be slipped down the right hand side of the same block and the back can be seen. About 30-yards up the road, someone's done an illegal dig and exposed yet another nice looking cube block. I'm satisfied that I was looking at some purpose built blocks.

The importance of the Kaimanawa wall is that it's covered by pumice ash from the 186AD Taupo eruption, and there wasn't supposed to be anyone in the country in 186AD. If Vicki Hyde wants to see walls in profusion, then there are many hundreds of them to choose from, some very long and reasonably high...oftimes in rugged bush country, with exemplars in remote regions of the South Island of New Zealand. A polite request to tribal elders within her Iwi might lead to her being shown some of these anomalies...then she'd have less need to be skeptical.

Hyde or Howe might also like to proffer some explanation to you concerning the unique style of South Island rock art, which has no recognisable affiliation to the Polynesian, especially the earliest examples executed in red ochre. It's quite ridiculous to suggest that the strange art found in remote rock shelters of the South Island is of wholly Polynesian origin and put there within the last millennium.

Yes, the crumpled and crestfallen man tried to respond and will, ultimately, be vindicated. Price's career and life's work was ruined by Bruce McFadgen's gloss over of many years of hard, careful analysis. It's a long, sad and sordid tale of woe, best summed up by author John Tasker in his book, Chain of Evidence (pgs.138 - 155). Here are some excerpts, which describe the true chronology of events:

'As a result of the great Hawkes Bay earthquake of 1931 the whole valley floor was lifted bodily upwards, and as the water drained away and the valley began drying out, landowners were quick to realise the value of the rich new ground...'

'He (Price) knew the old lake beds were rich in moa bones but wasn't prepared for what the machines uncovered (excavators digging drainage channels)...Excavations revealed a thick deposit of remains on a two kilometre front. There were so many bones it was difficult to comprehend the enormity of the deposit, and when on close inspection many were found to have been broken by suspected human agency he knew he was on to something. The sheer volume suggested long-term human occupation sites nearby, and his efforts now became focused on finding these...But there was something else revealed by the drainage works. Price noted that newly exposed ground profiles featured two bands of pumice ash separated by a layer of peat...They were ashfall deposits from ancient Taupo eruptions, and would be critical elements in a debate about the length of time man had been in New Zealand...'

'Price surveyed the valley floor for obvious signs of old human occupation and eventually settled on a site...It was a headland rising a metre or two above the old lake bed and in ancient times would have been a peninsula surrounded by water. At the tip of this finger of land shallow depressions indicated fireplaces and behind was sufficient space for living quarters...Operations began seriously on 6 October, at the foot of the spur and an area totaling 112 square metres was thoroughly excavated, this opening dig being designated 'Site No 1'. Twelve different layers of material were identified in the ground; the ever present ash bands being found at Nos 2 and 4 positions counting down from the surface. The volume and variety of fauna remains was amazing. All 219 bones recovered belonged to long extinct birds such as the giant swan, notornis, goose, heron and of course moa. Most were found beneath the lower ash-band.'

'Also found at the lowest levels were items indicating the presence of man. One split slab of matai was found to be cut neatly in half with a sharp instrument. One piece of totara had been sharpened by man and also been partly bored through. There were also crude sandstone and greywacke tools, plus a moa skull cleft by an oblique blow also by something sharp'

'The first sods were turned at Site No 2 on 23 February 1963...A total of 223 square metres was excavated... The volume of material present exceeded their wildest expectations. All 2095 bones or portions thereof recovered belonged to extinct birds, some of which were exceedingly rare. There were also 2037 moa crop stones, comprised mostly of rock material not normally found in Central Hawkes Bay. Almost all this material came from below the two pumice bands, as did the human cultural objects. There was an obsidian cutter, oven stones, one soapstone foreign to the area and a pumice disc worked by hand...It was becoming clear that both Sites 1 and 2 were in reality part of a vast kitchen midden related to the fireplaces at the top of the peninsula. Most bones recovered were broken, or charred, which indicated disposal by human agency...One large moa bone leg bone found in virgin blue pug below all the layers exhibited obvious cut marks made by man...'

'Meanwhile it was time to get on with Site 3...The ground to some depth on that occasion was found to be composed of almost solid cultural material. But now square after square was laid out and excavated in a controlled and orderly manner and a strict record kept of all items found, of which there were many.'

Leading Pedologist Alan Pullar joined the dig on 30 December 1964.

'Pullar next turned his attention to volcanic ash bands in the ground, having come to the conclusion that they were capable of offering important stratigraphic datums to field archaeologists. The three that he singled out for particular study were the Kaharoa ash-fall of ca 1100 AD, the principle Taupo shower of ca 186 AD and the Waimihia fall of ca 1320 BC. Each showed up in the ground with their own distinctive colours and textures, and each had at one time been ejected by a volcano as an ash shower. Kaharoa from Mount Tarawera and the other two from the vicinity of Lake Taupo. They were assigned a date by the simple method of retrieving charcoal or peat samples from immediately above and below each band and dating them by the C14 method. Thus bracketing the layer between two known dates, and cementing in place a given point in time. Numerous repeats of the process enabled more precise dates to be allocated to each of the volcanic events, and the chronology of archaeological and cultural sequences in the ground could now be arrived at with greater ease and accuracy as a result.'

'Pullar took charcoal samples from above and below each of the two ashfall layers for dating purposes and these eventually confirmed his findings. He had been right, and as far as he was concerned, Price's discovery was the most astounding yet in terms of New Zealand archaeology. According to the evidence, man had been in New Zealand at least 3,300 years...he knew in his heart he was right, yet realised at the same time he had better exercise restraint when writing up his report for his fellows (NZAA, Vol 8, No1). They were an ultra-conservative lot, and would do their best to shoot him down in flames'.

'If the lower layer is indeed Waimihia lapilli' , he wrote gingerly, 'then the discovery by Price of items related to man found below the pumice band raises implications almost too daring to be true'.

'...the knocking machine swung into immediate action. The first objection concerned the placement of ash-bands. It was alleged they must have been water-borne centuries after the volcanic events and that Pullar had mis-read them. Nice try, but Pullar had sorted that out long ago. He was well aware of the difference between 'water-borne' and 'air-laid' (NZAA, Vol. 4, NO 2)... Under the microscope the air-laid particles were sharp and angular at the base of the band. The water-laid particles above were rounded and worn. To his expert mind there was no doubt whatever. The lower band was Waimihia and it had been air-laid 3,300 years ago. Which meant that any human cultural material found beneath it had to be at least that age'.

'These conclusions were confirmed in full when three geologists visited the site. They had come to determine whether the ash layers as found 'may have been artificially re-deposited centuries after the Taupo and Waimihia eruptions'...Wellman, Kohn and Vucetich independently identified the ash showers and agreed with Pedologist Pullar that they were indeed air-borne deposits from the Taupo eruptions, and that their original placement was as seen today. They were satisfied from the structure of the showers. And the consistency throughout the district that there could be no mistake about it'.

The knocking machine tried other tactics to discredit the work.

'One of the assertions about material recovered from below the Waimihia ash was that 'it might have fallen through the ash showers from above'. The matter was straightened out by Price himself...'The showers of ash have been undisturbed above the earliest artefacts, he said in 1966, 'and in places a concrete-like matrix lies above them, deposited by later inhabitants'...thus making it impossible for objects from an upper layer to seep down and lodge themselves in a lower layer'.

'Dr. Richard Holdaway confirms this sort of thing as well. In a 'Listener' article (Rat Revisionists', 7.12.96) he said'...'most archaeologists have never actually excavated through two feet of ash. It seals everything underneath it. You can see every last wormhole in it and you can see where there is damage to it. So if something is underneath you know it was there before the ash fell...'

'Some insisted that ancient moa bones showing evidence of human manipulation at the lowest levels of the site 'might have been deposited naturally'. They must have been kidding. Almost all were broken open to extract the marrow, most had been burned in a fire and some had cut marks on them made by a sharp stone implement. All of which indicated a heavy human involvement. 'Unless, as Price observed at the time, 'ANCIENT MOAS SPENT THEIR TIME BREAKING THEMSELVES UP AND COOKING EACH OTHER'. (Emphasis added).

'Another objection put forward was that 17th and 18th century Maori might have dug down through the ash layers to retrieve old moa bones for fashioning into tools. And in that process a certain amount of juggling occurred in the ground. Those actually present at the site laughed at this idea. Nowhere had either of the two ash mantels been pierced in this way, and since all bones concerned had been through a fire they would have been totally unsuitable for the manufacture of artefacts anyway. A third clinching point against this particular objection was that over the whole site no moa bone artefacts of any type were found. There were a lot of bone artefacts in evidence, but these were all fashioned from sea mammal, small bird or human remains'.

'None of the objections were capable of withstanding close scrutiny in the 1960s, and today they are made to look even more ridiculous by documents harking back to those days'.

'THE STATEMENT OF BELIEF'

'What almost nobody realised in the late 1960s is that a hard core of top scientists who had visited the Poukawa site were totally behind Price and Pullar. They could see the obvious. However, to openly stand beside these two would have cost them too much so they did the next best thing. A number allowed their names to be associated with a secret 'Statement of Belief', marked across the top 'RESTRICTED - NOT FOR PUBLICATION'. And because it vindicates Price and Pullar, and because the conclusions drawn go way beyond what these two could ever have envisaged, parts of it will be quoted now in such a manner as to leave the writers unidentifiable - with two exceptions. In order to demonstrate the high-level nature of the Statement it should be known that both Drs Flemming and Rafter had a hand in its composition...'

'The data Mr Price has slowly accumulated...has demonstrated that the results have to be taken seriously', the Statement began.'

'W A Pullar of Soil Bureau, Whakatane, visited the site earlier this year, examined ash layers contained within peat and collected radiocarbon samples from above and below the ash layers. The dates from these confirm his identification of the Taupo and Wamihia pumice ashes'

'The controversy over 'water-laid and air-laid ash was settled in a few sentences...'

'Within the peat are two pumice layers; the lower about 1½ inches thick, has a sand-size lower half and a fine silt-size upper. In the exposure we saw it was entirely air-laid. About a foot above the rhyolite ash horizon is a second layer of course grit-sized rhyolite pumice lapilli; this is only about ¼ inch thick in the higher parts of the wedge, but is irregularly thickened lower down. In these lower parts the bulk of the lapilli are rounded and the thickening is clearly due to transport of lapilli by water, perhaps lake water. In the higher parts the lapilli are angular and occur with sand and dust grade particles and is clearly air-laid although continuous with the water-laid part'.

'A series of Post holes at all levels also spoke eloquently to the scientists. Speaking of one such hole the Statement says that...'

'The post was ca 4" in diameter, had rotted off and the hole then infilled before the Taupo ash-fall...Similar post holes are reported below the Waimihia ash with the ash continuous across the top...The post hole we saw has every appearance of being undisturbed, and convincingly demonstrates human occupation of the site prior to the Taupo shower...The discoveries of artefacts and ovens...below one or other of the ash showers give a similar demonstration'.

'After discussing a likely geological history of the area the Statement gets straight into conclusions...'

'Occupation of this site has continued over a long period. The older occupation appears to have commenced prior to the commencement of the peat formation and hence also before the water level of ancient Lake Poukawa had reached its highest level. If the rate of peat formation has been substantially uniform peats commenced forming at about 'post'-glacial sea level maximum, say 4,500 years ago. The stratigraphically lowest discoveries lie below this peat and may conceivably pre-date ca 4,500 years ago'. 'The site demonstrates human occupation of this area of much greater antiquity than anything previously anticipated'.

'It does not yet, however, demonstrate anything about the ethnological relationships of the earlier inhabitants and the later Maoris. Although the stratigraphically lowest material is all of a flaked nature, artefacts of this type are cosmopolitan and persisted in the Neolithic cultures, so do not necessarily indicate a Paleaeolithic culture...'

'This is a most interesting document, its chief significance being that four pre-eminent scientists of the day saw fit to formalise their concurred view of the implications of Price's work at Poukawa. There are criticisms of course. And even charges of forgery against the paper. But these charges are baseless and cannot be sustained'.

'According to Price's biographer, Bevan Greenslade...the papers key is 'slowly accumulated'. It indicates patience and care, and a reserve difficult to falsify. Pullar's fortuitous involvement is also commented upon. This ground-breaking geologist was experienced and independent, and it was good to have a reliable bald statement asserting positive, unconditional dated identification of Waimihia and Taupo ash tephra. On the subject of post-holes, scientists of this calibre saying words such as '...convincingly demonstrates human occupation of the site prior to the Taupo shower' is pretty staunch collateral support for Price's own ideas. Such words lifted Price out of the 'misguided or speculative amateur enthusiast' category'.

Enter Dr. Bruce Mc Fadgen and his team, made up of members of the Victoria University Geological Society and the Wellington Archaeological Society.

' The team dug in an area already dealt with by Price and in his report in the 'Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand', (Vol. 9, No. 3, 1979, pp 375- 382) McFadgen proceeded to demolish all Price's claims and to make it difficult for anyone else to stand alongside the beleaguered farmer and still retain his or her credibility'.

'Thus all Price's post holes became 'root channels of old trees'. Disking of the area in the past mixed introduced snails and pig bones with extinct heron and notornis remains, fooling everyone in the process. Tree roots made the 'file marks' noted on some old bones. After the land was raised by the 1931 earthquake and the peat began to dry out, it cracked, and allowed surface material to fall down to sub-ash levels - in every case. The shrinking ground was also responsible for all broken bird bones as well. It was all too pat'.

'Mc Fadgen's conclusion was that 'because the peat is cracked, and things have fallen down the cracks, and because the site has been bulldozed and disked, and artefacts have been disturbed, the Poukawa site does not provide evidence for the antiquity of man in New Zealand, and is extremely misleading'.

He further stated that the site 'was probably occupied between 150 and 300 years ago' and 'there is no evidence for human occupation before the Taupo pumice eruption'.

'Tutored ones who previously wavered, now largely embraced the 'new light' provided by the team, while the public at large - or at least the members of the public interested in such things - jumped the opposite way, taking the view that McFadgen's simplistic dismissal of claims made for Poukawa were a 'jack-up', that he had approached the task of 'dealing with' Poukawa with his mind already made up, and that his conclusions ran counter to all previous indications from the site'.

Personally, I wonder how McFadgen can sleep nights in consideration of the gross disservice he's rendered to the New Zealand public and the worldwide research community. History, in the final analysis, isn't going to be kind to McFadgen, but Price will, ultimately, be vindicated and receive his much deserved recognition. There seems to have been a plague of suppression in that era of McFadgen's unfortunate intervention into the Poukawa developments, as it coincides with the suppression of information issuing forth from the Waipoua Forest archaeological dig. The government or other interested parties in this country with an agenda, seem to have no trouble in gaining the services of a "rent-a- prick" to proffer disinformation or throw cold water over emerging truths.

The very comprehensive work of another, earlier archaeologist, Leslie Adkin, extended over a period of 50 years. His conclusion, based upon his regional digs, was that New Zealand had been occupied since about 300 BC. Mc Fadgen intervened there also to cast doubt upon such an untenable concept.

I'll try to maintain some integrity in the matter... I simply referred to a photo I saw in one of her books. If I find the book anew I'll show you the photo in question and the features that caught my attention. I'm well acquainted with her views and understand that she must maintain them if she's to survive in her career.

They also arrived at the same universally used measurement standard and with it encoded the same astronomical numbers...defined by the same specific lengths and angles... within structures scattered from Egypt to New Zealand.

I would consider that to be "no mean feat", for the great civilisations, or distant scattered peoples, to have arrived independently at the same precise astronomical, navigational and calendar systems without having contact. This is one area of emerging science that cannot be trivialised and which isn't going to lie down and die. Mathematics is the most eloquent of all languages and was the primary pursuit of advanced ancient peoples, who needed it for optimising their regional societies or for traveling the globe in search of resources.

I think Mark, we are just going to have to agree to disagree and devote attention to our specialised areas of research.

Best wishes,

Martin.

25/7/01

Dear Martin

Thanks. I've read your latest on the site. Here I'll comment mainly on my own area of expertise, where I'm very sure that you are on the wrong track. Please respond to this or the previous if you wish.

I'm afraid that Tregear's linguistics was a joke, even for 1885. Anyone who takes it seriously - or linguistics as practised by other such writers, including most of those who are involved with ESOP - is simply displaying their ignorance of the subject (unless they can show that they do in fact know the subject, and can offer at least some arguments against the consensus that has arisen out of 200 years of careful scholarship - which VERY few can).

Indeed, if you continue to do linguistics as Tregear did and as you do, you will never get a hearing from those who know what they are talking about. It is more or less certain that the methods of inter-language comparison which you are using are invalid. As I have explained, in most cases there is no good reason to suppose that these allegedly corresponding pairs & sets of words really correspond.

Why have you shown no interest in hearing the argument against these methods at any greater length? You have not even commented on my very brief explanation of the case (HABEN/HABERE etc). This is something that you should be taking very seriously. If you want to talk linguistics, learn some: if you do so and still believe as you now do, your opinions will command some respect, at least. Otherwise you have no real business publishing on the subject and must expect negative
feedback - or silence - from those who do understand it. The same applies to Viewzone, especially Matlock (which is where I came in; I was trying to HELP you avoid gross error).

I am NOT especially 'conservative' - just unwilling to overturn a huge body of well-established ideas on what I judge to be weak evidence. As I have said, I would LOVE to find convincing evidence of unrecognised linguistic connections of the kind you propose. But I find none.

Other issues (briefly):

Most of Cremo's anomalies are spurious in one way or another, and have been so identified by his critics. I do not know of a single Cremo anomaly which is both well-established and genuinely threatening to standard models of palaeontology. So far I have seen no good evidence of technologically advanced humans (or other species) on Earth in the remote past. Hearsay, naturally, is of no value at all in such matters:
people often make mistakes and sometimes lie. Any such case would have to be properly followed up before it could be 'brought into the equation'. If you were to give me a list of such cases - and of other anomalies which you think have not been properly accounted for by mainstream scholars - I would ask around for comment on all of them.

There is a big difference between minor-planet impacts (which have undoubtedly occurred) and Velikovsky-style major-planet-catastrophism (which involves huge theoretical problems and for which there is no strong evidence).

Like you, I am not concerned with what degrees or positions writers do or do not hold. I am interested in EXPERTISE, however acquired. And Fell's linguistics, in particular, was not at the right level. He was a good language-learner, but that is not the same thing. He was also, doubtless, a good zoologist; but again that does not entitle him to respect in other, largely unrelated fields. Matlock too makes this mistake. The world is full of experts in one subject setting up maverick theories in other subjects. One cannot claim authority in a new subject without first learning that subject. Fell clearly did learn quite a bit about writing systems, but his linguistics per se remained amateurish. The evidence for most of his claims is not up to normal standards. In most cases there is no need for 'alternative explanations' (other than very mundane ones); for instance, many of Fell's 'inscriptions' are not necessarily inscriptions at all. The onus is on the supporters of Fell to produce better evidence for their claims.

The Norse site at L'Anse aux Meadows was accepted because the evidence was overwhelming. All other claims of this kind are suspect on current evidence. Of course the Norse COULD have gone further; they very probably did, at least into the Maritimes. And other Europeans/West Asians too MIGHT have crossed the Atlantic - or visited Australasia - in
early times. But that is not the same as saying that they DID. Show us some really good evidence and we'll be very interested indeed!

In this context: I know about Val Osborn, and we are following up that case.

I will ask around about the Waipoua digs. I think it is very unlikely that your interpretation is correct, but I will see what I can find out. Ditto re the 1931 find - although Elliot-Smith himself was a very extreme diffusionist and is not taken seriously nowadays. Ditto re the Buck quote. I'll read what Tasker says about Price's response to McFadgen (what you give here and in Tasker's book) and I'll ask around.
It sounds to me as if Price was simply out of his depth and was misinterpreting what experts in other disciplines were saying. But maybe there's a bit more to it than that. I will also look at Adkin in due course & will circulate queries.

As far as I can see, and of course subject to the above, there is no good evidence at all of a pre-Maori population in NZ. There is no dogma of 'isolationism'; just the view that as a matter of fact this is where the evidence points, in this particular case.

Re this: what epigraphic evidence would you draw to my attention?

Most of the archaeologists who reject your views ARE experienced field-workers. It is not that they are not used to looking at things on the ground; it is just that their interpretations of what is found differ from yours. For instance, the so-called megalithic structures are not so interpreted. In their view, it is YOUR interpretations which are (often clearly) mistaken. Of course, they MIGHT be wrong. But what I have seen suggests that (in most cases at least) they are probably
right.

As I have said, it seems very clear to me that oral traditions cannot be treated as reliable in the way you treat them. Unless I see compelling reason to change this assessment, I have only very limited interest in that side of the matter.

Vicki Hyde's opinion on the 'Wall', as I made very clear, is not just her own; it's a consensus view (whether it be right or wrong).

OK re Janet Davidson: just be careful with your wording! But I know of no reason to doubt that Davidson is entirely sincere in her interpretation of the archaeological evidence - just as I am sincere in my interpretation of the linguistic evidence. If we thought otherwise, we'd say so; if the evidence were such as to convince us that you were right, it would be such that - even if some others disagreed - our careers would NOT be at risk. Just as I have to accept that fringe
linguists sincerely believe what they believe (surprising as I might find it), you should accept that people like Davidson sincerely believe what THEY believe, however wrong-headed you think they may be. It is an unworthy slur to suggest that archaeologists like Davidson (or linguists like myself) really think (or at least guess) that views such as yours are demonstrably correct but refuse to say so. For my part, I KNOW that the evidence against your way of doing linguistics is very strong; I would not need to pretend to believe this for the sake of my job, even if that were an issue.

The notion that many peoples independently identified pi etc is well established. But claims such as your claim that they also arrived at the same universally used measurement standard are, I know, seriously disputed. You should not present them as undisputable fact.

Mathematics is not, literally, a language (of course). You are talking metaphorically here. Perhaps that is unwise when so much is at stake.

I agree that you and I are probably going to continue to disagree. My problem is that I think that much of your 'specialised research' is probably invalid. This is more or less certain in the case of your use of linguistic data. But, if you will not heed my warnings, that is up to you. You are condemning yourself to a permanent place on the fringe, at least as far as linguistics is concerned. The subject will doubtless change in the future - but not in your direction (we got past that around 1825).

Mark N

Hi Mark,

There are many avenues or approaches to gaining some understanding of history, and linguistics happens to be but one of them. As I stated in an earlier response, it is not my forté or passion and I have only a passing interest in that category of science.

I can read Victor Hugo's translation of the works of William Shakespeare into French fairly well, but have difficulty with "un livre de pôche", where I have to contend with French colloquialisms and slang. I can also speak sufficient German to get myself to the Bahnhoff or can greet a woman in Navajo...never did learn how to greet a man.

My passion is in analysing very precise archaeological surveys and all of the marked or prominent positions within a site, in an attempt to extract the mathematical meanings encrypted by the original architects. There are a myriad of scientific subjects that one can devote their time to and I found out long ago that I have little hope of embracing them all or of gaining any degree of proficiency in most of them.

Linguistics is your area of expertise, but many others within your profession publish their opinions on meanings or trends and I have access to their works. I have no knowledge of who's considered to be "in with the in crowd"...or ostracized beyond the tolerable fringe, but very obviously there's division and differing opinion within your ranks... even at the highest echelons of your profession.

You will concede that the Norse site at L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland is acceptable, 'because the evidence was overwhelming.'... but then caution that 'All other claims of this kind are suspect on current evidence.'... then leave the door slightly ajar with, 'Of course the Norse COULD have gone further; they very probably did, at least into the Maritimes.'

One scholar who supports Prof. Barry Fell in part, if not wholly, is Prof. David Kelly of the University of Calgary. Prof. Kelly has an impressive track record in archaeo-astronomy and epigraphy, with particular expertise in Mayan glyphs or the prehistory of the Celts. In his fields, he is recognised as one of the most renowned scholars in the world.

Prof. Barry Fell stated that many North American inscriptions, that other scholars dismissed as "plough marks" were ogham scripts, typically found in Great Britain amongst the Celts. Kelly agreed in stating, "I have no personal doubts that some of the inscriptions which have been reported are genuine Celtic ogham." Inasmuch as these inscriptions are found from Vermont to Oklahoma we can assume that Europeans, other than latter era Vikings, got well beyond the maritime regions of Canada or New England and ventured deep inland.

Far from seeing Prof. Barry Fell as a heretic, Prof. David Kelly states:

'Despite my occasional harsh criticism of Fell's treatment of individual inscriptions, it should be recognized that without Fell's work there would be no [North American] ogham problem to perplex us. We need to ask not only what Fell has done wrong in his epigraphy, but also where we have gone wrong as archaeologists in not recognizing such an extensive European presence in the New World' (Review of Archaeology).

I'm interested in inscriptions or pictographs that other experts can interpret. The migration of words and their meanings from region to region is a moderate interest, which I can partially read in such papers as Jeff Marck's, Eastern Polynesian Subgrouping Today. I have this in my library, but admit that I find it to be very involved and a hard read. I think Mark, this will have to remain your passion and not mine.

The Viewzone group are photographing inscriptions or pictographs and making comparisons with similar looking inscriptions from continent to continent. Whereas I have no personal expertise in this field, I would not wish to curtail their activity of gathering in and documenting finds. They're not "couch potatoes" swilling amber liquid and watching baseball all weekend, but are out in the desert or up a canyon somewhere gathering historical information for analysis. What they find will be argued about, back and forth, for years and that's healthy enough...eventually the dust will settle and there'll be areas of agreement...much like what happened with Fell's work.

If you have serious problems with their activity and wish them to halt, then I suggest you take it up with them directly. On the other hand, if I come across any further inscriptions during the course of my forays into the back of beyond, I'll most certainly photograph and ship my finds to them for the record, wenn Sie haben kein einwand. Nevertheless, thanks for your genuine concern and well intentioned desire to help...I just don't see that there's anything to worry about, as truth will prevail in the longrun and they're allowed to make some mistakes in the interim.

So who says you have to? We're all doing the best we can to find out the truth about history...and that's a process that takes time. No-one owns the franchise, although I often get the impression that there are some control freaks in positions of influence who think they do... and tailor or hide the evidence to suit their in house politics...or are forever trying to curtail new exploratory incentives. You're free to take any position you want, based on the best evidence at your disposal...just like the rest of us.

It wasn't too many years ago that leading anthropologists saw their careers go belly up for having the temerity to suggest that humans had been around for about 200,000 years. The Boxgrove find took it to 500,000 years. There are human footprints traipsing through the same primeval mud, now solid rock, contemporaneously with dinosaurs. Today's heresies are tomorrow's truths...it's just a shame that the brightest and the best, who spearhead change, have to risk all to introduce a new idea... 'threatening to standard models of palaeontology'.

So I take it that you believe the pre-Cremo photos I posted are fakes or that Marianne was mistaken in assuming that she was looking at 2.8 billion year old, fabricated metal balls? In some instances it is fully a case of "habeas corpus" and the item in question stands tangibly before the judges and awaits in-depth examination. I fully believe, despite your protestations to the contrary, that there are many of your colleagues who could look into the face of the sun and state, 'there is no sun!'...if their peers so deemed it.

I think someone should take your colleague, Prof. Kerry Howe aside and tell him then, as he rails against heretical, 'new diffusionism' with all the zeal of an evangelist... He sees an insidious 'new learning' running rampant, which is based upon three things ...'new diffusionism, new age and new geology', all culminating in a 'dangerous anti-intellectualism'. Professor Howe, as a "Defender of the Faith", seems to view it as an "us and them" situation, between the franchised and astute Isolationists (independent inventionists) and the illegitimate, unkempt Diffusionist rabble. Thank goodness he's not running the Inquisition. You might be tainted with the same brush, as you dismiss Sir G Elliot Smith because he, 'was a very extreme diffusionist and is not taken seriously nowadays'. To me it seems both Prof. Kerry Howe and yourself equate diffusionist concepts with intellectual leprosy and the afflicted need to be "cast out" from your midst.

The Kaimanawa Wall got considerable media attention in 1996 and it's primarily the independent inventionist faction that make it a case in point for a "failed attempt" to introduce new historical perspectives. In a sense, the wall is now an object of derision promoted as, "the best they can come up with". In actual fact there are many structures or clusters that are far more dynamic, like items amidst the 2000 stacked stone structures of the Waipoua Forest or the multiples of standing stone circles. The consensus you speak of is only amongst the independent inventionists, probably because they don't know any better. All of my genre of colleagues know of far more exciting structures.

They see what their training tells them to see. This is what Jon Polansky, an editor of the Epigraphic Society Occasional Papers says:

'Polansky concedes that orthodox archaeologists are certainly competent to perform excavations and to document the physical details of any artifacts they may find. He believes, however, that they are neither suitably trained nor philosophically inclined to test new hypotheses when it comes to nontraditional forms of evidence. "They're just not concerned with methods they don't use," he argues. As a result, he says, mainstream archaeology is missing -- perhaps even obscuring -- many opportunities for discovering transoceanic contact by limiting the academic specialties deemed fit to evaluate the evidence (Mark Stengle... The Atlantic Monthly, Jan. 2000)'.

One of the areas where traditional archaeology, in New Zealand as elsewhere, is totally missing the boat relates to astronomy and navigation. It hasn't as yet clicked with mainstream archaeologists just how important these sciences were, to ancient civilisations, from continent to continent. In most cases, the primary reason for building any large community structure was for preserving knowledge (numbers) related to these two categories of science. The numbers were extractable by the common measurement standard migrating between continents.

My work, Mark, is less to do with the actual "megalithic structures" persay and more to do with the deliberately inbuilt geometric relationships amidst those structures. Developing my dossier of information has taken many years of very hard work, preceded by training within the building industry in surveying. My mathematical analysis of sites is always completed within the exacting confines of AutoCAD. The findings are posted as articles within my website for anyone to test mathematically, if they're interested.

Because the Northern Hemisphere astronomical/ navigational mathematics, are absolutely in evidence within pre-colonial New Zealand sites, I can state with utter conviction that Northern European and Mediterranean influences abounded in this country long before the advent of the Maori. Janet Davidson does not know this, nor does Kerry Howe, Bruce McFadgen or Vicki Hyde, because their training leads them in an altogether different direction. They might discover this in time, if they are prepared to do a very in-depth probe and test of the evidence. If they choose not to do this, then it is of absolutely no consequence to me whatsoever...I honestly don't care.

Let's just agree to disagree.

Best wishes, Martin.

Mark has expressed a grave concern that 200-years of very intensive scientific work related to the migration of languages is being overlooked by amateur researchers, when presenting evidence of language or cultural diffusion. Many researchers are unaware of this category of science, called "Historical Linguistics". For some introductory insights into just how much effort has been devoted, by generations of scientists, to tracking language families please have a look at: http://www.speech.kth.se/~kjellg/kg_historical_linguistics.htm

Mark Newbrook cautions: '...some scholars think that the evidence for certain views is so weak, and/or that the evidence against them is so strong, that their annoyance when those views are presented as equal or superior to those which they deem very well supported boils over into sheer anger. I do not condone this, but I understand it. There is a real fear that some intellectual domains may be swamped by what are judged to be irrational fringe views.

My own view, and that of all the careful scholars I know, is that some similarities arise independently and some by way of diffusion. But we mostly think that most who identify themselves as 'diffusionists' accept evidence for diffusion, in many particular cases, which is too weak to sustain that hypothesis. I know that this is DEFINITELY true in respect of much of the linguistic evidence adduced in support of diffusionist claims, because we know of so very many pseudo-cognates. In other domains it may be stronger; my impression is that it is typically not that much stronger, but in these domains my own grasp is naturally less sure.

How annoyed I get at such claims depends on how exaggerated I think they are, given the evidence. In my courses I would not dream of teaching the linguistic side of most such claims as a plausible alternative, and I would object if a colleague did this. And I confess to being VERY annoyed when people who clearly know virtually no linguistics (or none at all) present pseudo-cognates as if they were good evidence. If anyone does this, and I become aware of it, they will find me posting objections along the lines of those I have posted here, because - although I am sure that most such writers are sincere - I feel obliged to protect laypersons from what I judge to be nonsense. I do undertake to be as fair as I can in doing this.'

Senior Lecturer Mark Newbrook Phd., teaches Historical Linguistics at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.

Following this exchange with Mark, I wrote the following letter to Professor Kjell Gustafson, of Stockholm, Sweden after perusing his exhaustive website devoted to Historical Linguistics and the mapping of language families:

From: Martin Doutre
To: kjellg@speech.kth.se
Sent: Thursday, July 26, 2001 10:21 PM
Subject: Origins of the Maori language.


Dear Prof. Gustafson,
I am a New Zealand based researcher attempting to identify elements of New Zealand's pre-Maori (Polynesian/ Melanesian) history. My research is mostly related to stone structures, such as standing stone circles, which have no known affiliation to Maori culture.
Recently I got into a lively discussion with an Australian professor about the complex subject of historical linguistics.

I attempted to address the fact that about 1000 words in the Maori language have, more or less, identical meanings and pronunciation as words in Egyptian/ Libyan dialects or Indo-Aryan Sanskrit.
In the Maori Wharewaenanga (school of learning) where the oral traditions are memorised and passed down, some genealogies link back to India.

The professor, with whom I spoke, said that there is no evidence that links New Zealand Maori to these regions and that the 1000 words, identified by Prof. Linus Brunner of Switzerland or early New Zealand anthropologists like Edward Tregear (The Aryan Maori, 1885), are purely coincidental.
I have been through your lists in an attempt to find out how the Maori people fit into the language sequence, but have failed to find their reference.
My work in New Zealand shows me that there was a vast pre-Maori population, who were later annihilated by the Maoris. It appears that the Maori was brought to New Zealand on ships from other nations, trading in the Pacific and that they are a very diverse mix of peoples. I believe that much of their language was derived from their centuries of association with the earlier people.
Could you please look at the two brief lists provided and express an opinion as to whether or not these occurrences are purely coincidental.
The first list gives Egyptian/Libyan (Eg/Lib) to Maori (Maor) and the second list relates to Sanskrit and Maori comparisons. The meanings of words are identical between regions. There are, as stated, something like 1000 similar words.

ai, ake (above, below) ...Eg/Lib ... iho, ake ...Maor.
dua, tua (adore) ...Eg/ Lib ...tua ...Maor.
ratah (aflict) ...Eg/ Lib ...rata ...Maor.
tapui (ancestor) ...Eg/ Lib ...tapuna ...Maor.
na (because) ...Eg/ Lib ...na ...Maor.
tahu (beloved) ...Eg/ Lib ...tahu ...Maor.
tike (burn by the sun) ...Eg/ Lib ...tika ...Maor.
menfitu (army) ...Eg/ Lib ...mene, whitu ...Maor.

Indo-Aryan (Sanscrit)................................................ Maori.

Tu (to grow, increase)………………Tupu (to grow); Katua (full grown, etc).
Dhi (to shine)………………………..Hihi (ray of sun); Hiko (begin to shine).
Pa (to protect)………………………..Pa (fortified town); Kopani (to enclose).
Pat (to fall)……………………………Patapata (falling in drops).
Ar (noble)……………………………. Ariki (chief).
Gone (an angle)…………………….. Kononi (grooked); Kokonga (an angle).
Guha (secret)…………………………Kuhu (conceal).
Manas (heart, mind)…………………Mana (divine) Manawa (heart).

Best wishes,

Martin Doutré.

10/8/2001

Dear Martin,

My immediate reaction is to be extremely sceptical. I have taken the trouble to locate your question-and-answer page (http://www.celticnz.co.nz/hot_mail.html). Some of the discussion relates to topics of which I have little or no expertise and I have not had the time to read through all of that. However, I'll give you some comments on issues that I feel I'm competent to talk about. I note with interest some of Mark Newbrook's comments.

As Maori is a language that I am reasonably well acquainted with, the question you raise is of some personal interest.

My first, and general reaction, would be to agree wholeheartedly with Mark on those topics that I have some expertise in. Historical linguistics is a well established science with quite a strict methodology, and a wealth of indisputable results. One of the clearest findings is that superficial similarities normally carry no weight. If anyone wishes to show that two words (or other linguistic units or features) are genetically related, then he should do this by means of the well established methodology of historical linguistics. This is a fascinating area of study, and it takes time to master it, but there exist some good textbooks. If anyone wishes to challenge the views and methodology of this science, he is of course welcome to do so, but only after acquainting himself with the methodology and the facts of that discipline. Otherwise it's a bit like making astronomical claims without having recourse to a telescope, or claiming that the earth is flat - because it looks flat.

A general observation is that if two words separated by a great geographical and temporal distance are very similar, then they are probably not related genetically. This is because: 1) 'words', in the sense of a sequence of speech sounds (or rather: phonemes), tend to change their meaning over the centuries or millennia, and 2) the phonetic representation of these 'words' nearly always changes as time goes by. This way, the words of the Indo-European proto-language of a few thousand years ago has changed their phonetic shape in various directions to result in scores of mutually unintelligible languages today, as for instance English, German, Russian, Albanian, Hindi. It is quite rare to find two words in either two of the more distantly related Indo-European languages that are virtually identical in phonetic shape and have the same meaning.

A good example of the fact that it is easy to be misled by a similarity of sound and meaning of a word in two different languages is the Persian (Farsi) word for 'bad', which can be transcribed as "bad". It is known that these two words are unrelated. (Compare Mark Newbrook's example of German 'haben' and Latin 'habere', another example of a pair of words with identical meaning and similar sound shape, but which are etymologically unrelated).

Now, you don't exactly claim that Maori is genetically related to Ancient Egyptian or Sanscrit, only (as I understand) that there are elements of Maori that go back to these languages. How could one interpret such a claim? There are several ways a language can be influenced by another. The most common way is probably that of linguistic loans (normally in the form of loanwords) which is usually the result of some cultural contact with the people of the language from which the loanword is taken. Loanwords can initially "stand out" as being of different stock from the main core of the language, as when English uses the French word genre, which in British English (for instance) is pronounced in a way that no "native" English word would be. However, as the millennia tick by, even such loanwords nearly always begin to conform to the phonological development of the language. About five hundred years ago English borrowed the word scene from the Latin scena. At that time this word would have been pronounced as two syllables and the first 'e' would have been pronounced as a long /e:/, not as now as a long /i:/. Most likely the 'c' would have been pronounced too. But the pronunciation of the word developed exactly as if this had been a true English word all along. (The Chinese elements in Japanese, with their own phonology, is a special case, an exceedingly interesting one, but that is another matter.) The point I'm making is that if Maori had borrowed a substantial part of its vocabulary from the sources you claim, then most of these words would have developed phonologically to assume a shape which would have made them quite dissimilar to the original forms during the two and a half millennia that have passed.

To take some of your examples:
Guha (secret)…………………………Kuhu (conceal)
1) The basic meaning of this Maori word seems to be 'insert'; 'conceal' seems to be a secondary meaning (you insert something into something and it thereby becomes hidden; this kind of semantic shift is very common).
2) Sounds of the type 'h' tend to be very short-lived in the histories of languages. They tend to develop out of other sounds and some centuries later, disappear. It would be extraordinary if an 'h' in an ancient Indic language and an 'h' in modern Maori were to correspond etymologically. On the contrary, as far as I have been able to ascertain, the 'h' in Maori has developed out of sibilants, i.e. 's' and similar sounds. (There is no 's' or 'sh' in Maori today - when sheep were introduced to New Zealand and the Maoris needed a name for them, the English 'sheep' was borrowed into Maori in the shape of 'hipi'.)

na (because) ...Eg/ Lib ...na ...Maor.
Function words ("grammatical words") come and go. They tend to develop out of non-function words (compare how English 'will' as an auxiliary has developed out of the full verb 'will' (meaning "want to") and how the indefinite article 'a'/'an' has developed out of the numeral 'one' (this has happened in very many languages). The Maori 'na' is part of a whole set of function words: a - o; na - no; ma - mo. The meaning of 'na' as "because" is only a semantic specialization of a more general meaning in the direction of "from", "out of".

Your example
ai, ake (above, below) ...Eg/Lib ... iho, ake ...Maor.
is good to use to illustrate a couple of points. I will ignore the ai - iho part of this: it is extremely likely that out of the 7000 or more languages of the world a few hundred or more languages will have a word for 'above' beginning with a vowel being followed by another vowel, possibly with a consonant in-between. The only thing that recommends this particular comparison is the fact that they are so dissimilar … As for ake, this Maori word means something like 'from below', i.e. 'up', 'upwards', rather than 'below'. But that is not serious.
What is serious is the following: it has long been established, beyond any possible doubt, that Maori is genetically related to a large group of languages, the Polynesian languages, which are a sub-group of the Austronesian languages. This fact is established on the basis of a vast number of 'cognates', i.e. 'words' in one language which are systematically similar to 'words' with the same or related meanings. It is this systematicity which forms the basis of the establishment of cognateness. For instance, you will find a large number of words in Maori containing a 'k' where other Polynesian languages also have similar words with similar or identical meanings containing a 'k' in the same position. However, in Samoan there will be a glottal stop (or some glottal articulation) instead, indicated in writing with an apostrophe. Unfortunately, Maori is the only Polynesian language that I have a fair knowledge of, so I can't give much comparative evidence for this claim here. But looking in my Samoan sources, lo and behold, there is a word a'e, meaning something like 'up' or 'to climb'. I would expect to find many other similar cognates for this in the Polynesian languages. If one has these facts, no serious linguist would hit upon the idea of tracing just the Maori word ake to a hypothetical influence from Egypt.

menfitu (army) ...Eg/ Lib ...mene, whitu ...Maor.
'mene' in Maori can mean something like 'being assembled' and I assume this is what you have in mind here. But a sequence of two nasals with a vowel in-between is such a common thing - in Finnish the root 'men(e)-' means 'to go', which would be equally fitting, I think, so why not assume that the Maoris had had a visit by some prehistoric Finns? But, more seriously, 'whitu' which can be used to signify 'an indefinite number of persons, band, force' (Williams's A Dictionary of the Maori Language), really is the word for the numeral 'seven'. As such this word has a clear Polynesian history, and certainly doesn't come from Egypt. Of the many hundred Austronesian languages and main dialects the vast majority have a form of the word for 'seven' which is something like 'pitu', 'fitu', 'hitu', 'itu', 'fit', 'fik'.

What Mark Newbrook writes makes very good sense. He is clearly very much au fait with current linguistic research. I can only join in when he cautions against the temptation by non-specialists to jump to conclusions from (incidental) superficial similarities between languages.

My conclusion is: It would take a whole lot more of stringent evidence to convince me that there is the kind of linguistic link that you suggest. But I fear that you will go on trying to find someone who is willing to support your linguistic views. The best thing I can recommend is that you yourself acquaint yourself with the discipline of historical linguistics.

I hope this helps.
Kjell

11/8/01

Dear Prof. Gustafson,
many thanks for your very detailed response to my letter.
There are many facets to Maori culture that have puzzled researchers since "first contact" in the late 1700s and speculations related to "outside influences" remain to this day.
It is very evident that the Maori language is fully a part of the Malayo-Polynesian family of languages. Maori people can converse quite freely with people from the Cook Island group. The similarities to Samoan, Tongan or Polynesian dialects extending all the way to the Hawaiian Islands are striking, with many pronunciations and word meanings either the same or similar.
This language migration aspect, related to the primary cultural origin and predominant lineage of Maori, has never been in dispute by those of us doing research into pre-Maori human occupation of New Zealand.
Our overall approach is very much in the vein of Dr. Thor Heyerdahl in his investigations of our region. In his book, American Indians in the Pacific, he looks at a wide range of very compelling evidence devoted to outside, archaic influences found in Oceania.
You state,
'There are several ways a language can be influenced by another. The most common way is probably that of linguistic loans (normally in the form of loanwords) which is usually the result of some cultural contact with the people of the language from which the loanword is taken'.
We have simply left the door slightly ajar to accommodate this possibility...that some word forms might have circumvented the normal "domino-like", stepping stone route and been injected by direct contact with Pacific traversing mariner-traders from distant locations. We are beginning to see that ancient shipwright skills and the ability to navigate very far afield were far more developed than heretofore accepted by our scientists. The oceans represented highways rather than barriers and very impressive voyaging to far-flung climes has occurred for thousands of years.
Another possibility that we entertain is that an earlier people, in residence in New Zealand when the PA or fortress Maori arrived, might have influenced the Maori language in part.
It was because of many observed, anomalous idiosyncrasies found throughout Maori culture that early colonial authors like Edward Tregear were moved to comment on the similarities to other cultures half a world away. Although Tregear's methodology was, according to Mark Newbrook, 'dated even in 1885' and worthy only of a, 'philological laugh', it did attempt to address an outwardly apparent, multi-faceted, anthropological mystery. That mystery lingers to this day and Pacific peoples still tell of the strange former groups who preceded the present-day inhabitants. The more ancient people were the stone-builders, who made precisely cut stone stepped pyramids and other strange structures throughout the Pacific... before being vanquished by ancestors of the present populations. These anomalous structures extend all the way to New Zealand at the base of the South Pacific.

Inasmuch as Historical Linguistics is not my forté, I will proceed with appropriate caution and not latch onto whatsoever maverick linguistic views support my stance. I'm more interested in the pedigree of ideas that occur within Maori culture; the origins of religious beliefs, astronomical knowledge, story forms, etc...and have never made word-forms a serious part of my argument or body of proof.
It's a pleasant surprise to find that you've devoted such an in-depth study to the Maori language and are so conversant with it. Obviously our region has not escaped your attention and it's heartening to know that we are not a totally forgotten, isolated backwater.
Again, my sincere thanks for your valued contribution.
Best wishes,
Martin Doutré.

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