New Evidence Ancient Chinese Explorers Landed in America

Cartouche_simbolsIt’s been only one year since John A. Ruskamp Jr., Ed.D., reported that he identified an outstanding Chinese petroglyphs, hidden in plain sight, above a walking path in Albuquerque’s Petroglyph National Monument.


Now, the growing list of seemingly out-of-place Chinese artefacts can count on a new votive sword. Actually, the 30cm object was found in July 2014 by an avocational surface collector, behind roots in an eroded bank of a small stream in Georgia, but it is only now being made public due to the fact that still little is known about it.


Reverse side of the votive sword. Photo courtesy of the Indigenous Peoples Research Foundation.

Yet, even if we don’t know much about its origin, the shape and the many symbols it shows are clearly related to the jade objects from the Xia (2070-1600 BC), Shang (1600-1046 BC) and Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BC).  The feathered crown, as well as the dragon figure spanning a portion of the top of the blade, are typical to the Shang Dynasty. And a grotesque face mask, on the guard and handle of the sword, called Taotie, originates to the Liangzhu culture (3400-2250 BC).

Now, there is clear similarity between the Taotie symbol and a symbol used by the Mesoamerican Olmec culture (actually, the Chinese-Olmec mythologies and symbolisms, have been the subject of debate for over one hundred years, because of their similarities), which begins during the Shang Dynasty, around 1500 BC. Thus, according some scientist, the Chinese culture could have had a direct influence over the Olmec civilisation and later Mesoamerican culture, including the Mayans. For instance, Chinese may have shown the Olmec the mastery of working jade. Hypothesis leading to the possibility that the votive object might have reached Georgia due to the travelling habits of the Olmecs and other cultures around the Gulf of Mexico, as Haskell suggest…
Despite the many indications of authenticity, it is unlikely that these discovery convince any archaeologists who have dogmatically rejected evidence of an ancient Chinese presence in the Americas.

Did the Vikings use crystal sunstones to discover America?

cristalAncient records tell us that the intrepid Viking seafarers who discovered Iceland, Greenland and eventually North America navigated using landmarks, birds and whales, and little else. There’s little doubt that Viking sailors would also have used the positions of stars at night and the sun during the daytime, and archaeologists have discovered what appears to be a kind of Viking navigational sundial. But without magnetic compasses, like all ancient sailors they would have struggled to find their way once the clouds came over. However, there are also several reports in Nordic sagas and other sources of a sólarsteinn “sunstone”.  The literature  doesn’t say what this was used for but it has sparked decades of research examining if this might be a reference to a more intriguing form of navigational tool. The idea is that the Vikings may have used the interaction of sunlight with particular types of crystal to create a navigational aid that may even have worked in overcast conditions. This would mean the Vikings had discovered the basic principles of measuring polarized light centuries before they were explained scientifically and which are today used to identify and measure different chemicals. Scientists are now getting closer to establishing if this form of navigation would have been possible, or if it is just a fanciful theory. The Vikings were known to be master seafarers. Leiv Eiriksson Discovers America by Christian Krohg, 1893 ( public domain )Scattering and polarization.

The World of Vikings

To understand how this might have worked, we need to understand some things about the way light, and particularly sunlight, can be affected. Light coming from the sun is scattered and polarized by the atmosphere. This occurs when light is absorbed and re-emitted with the same energy by air molecules and by different amounts depending on the light’s wavelength. The blue end of the light spectrum is scattered more than the red, as explained in theory developed by the British physicist Lord Rayleigh in the 19th century. Scattering by particles in the atmosphere explains why the sky appears blue. More importantly, scattered light waves are also polarized to a certain extent. That means they vibrate in one plane rather than in all directions at once. The amount of polarization a beam of sunlight undergoes depends on its angle to the viewer and whether the light has been further scattered by cloud and other particles that cause depolarization. Around the coastline of Norway and Iceland are found crystalline chunks of calcium carbonate known as calcite or Iceland spar. When polarised sunlight enters a calcite crystal, something very interesting happens. Calcite is strongly birefringent, meaning that it splits light passing through it into two separate waves that are bent or refracted in different directions and with different intensities, although the total intensity will be constant. This means that objects viewed through a calcite crystal appear in double. More importantly for our purposes, the different intensities of the two light waves depends on how the original light is polarized and the position and orientation of the crystal compared to the light source. Crystal clear double vision. Tourmaline and cordierite are crystals with similar properties, except instead of splitting light like calcite they are strongly dichroic. This means they absorb one component of polarisation more strongly than the other. Again, the dichroic properties depend on how the original light is polarized and the position and orientation of the crystal compared to the light source. So, in theory at least, examining how sunlight passes through one of these crystals – and appropriately calibrated – could be used as a guide for sailors to estimate the position of the sun. This could then allow them to determine the direction of geographic north – even without understanding the scientific principles behind these phenomena. If we make the huge assumption that the Vikings had these sunstone crystals on board their ships and, more importantly, knew what they were doing with them, the question this is whether the difference in the light would be detectable to their eyes? And would it be detectable with enough accuracy (after errors because of imperfections in the crystals and depolarization), to be used as a navigation aid even in overcast conditions.

Testing the theory

The latest in an impressive roster of publications on the subject recently appeared in  Royal Society Open Science , seeking to address this precise question. Gabor Horvath and his colleagues looked at whether the optical signals from these three types of crystal would be strong enough to be detected and with enough accuracy to predict the position of the sun under a cloudy sky.

Source: Ancient Origins