Possibility of an ancient Civilization reaching America...?

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MothMan

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What do you think? Perhaps either intentionally or unintentionally at some point in time, Sailors made it across the Atlantic or Pacific, and either stayed or found a way to leave again.

A Scenario: lets say three ship leaves Spain bound for Britain. A storm arises of the coast of Gaul, generating powerful winds that push the three ships west. One ship has been destroyed, and ship two has lost roughly half its crew and 1/3 of its cargo, i.e food. Ship one remains nearly perfect, suffering no casualties, and no significant loss of cargo.

Lets say that the two ships believe that they they are traveling east instead of west, and that they will find the coast of Europe if the continue to travel west, thinking it to be east.

Of course, no right minded captain with sail a ship without a navigator. Perhaps the Navigator makes a technical error, or is ill experienced in unfamiliar waters.
 
After maybe two or more weeks at sea, only one ship has survived the voyage, losing half of its crew and cargo. Land is spotted, perhaps the crew mistakes the land for Europe or Africa?

They go ashore, maybe make some form of contact/communication with the native population. and maybe they are able to repair their ship and attempt to go home, not realizing that they had discovered a whole new world?

Of course it possible, perhaps even probable...? I'm curious to see what others think.

one more thing, think past the often narrow minded view of so called distinguished scholars, use your own judgement
 

MothMan

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To further Continue, what if in order to exploit the vast resources of Pre-Columbian America, a foreign Civilization set up at least at some point in time, a trade post bringing goods from both sides of the ocean?
 

MothMan

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a man named Thor Heyerdahl built a reed boat in 1969 and named it the Ra II, and set sail from Morocco and landed in Barbados

His first ship the Ra became waterlogged, and needed to be abandoned
 

Lord Burgess1

Thinking West was East?

No even a captain of the ship knows that the sun ****ing rises in the East.
 

MothMan

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Sorry, I didn't explain what I meant perhaps there was some sort of confusion, as to where exactly the storm had placed them on the map, and did not know as to which side Europe could be found
 

Skot the Sanguine

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That is in modern times though TDM.  I have heard English fishermen from Bristol actually fished off of North America in the 1400's....but that is after the vikings anyway.

I don't think your scenerio is possible as being blow off course typically does not occur for that distance, and it is unlikely too from Iberia to Britania.  That being said, I wouldn't say it is impossible for someone to sail during the ancient period from Africa to the Americas.  However, there are several problems:

-Many ancient ships were not open ocean vessels.

-Few civilizations were advanced enough to conduct long range sea trade, and several who were capable never did.  Despite an Egyptian reed boat recently managing the crossing, the Egyptians were mostly sailors along the Nile or the coast of the Levnant.

Overall, the most likely contendor would be the Pheonicians and their cousins from Carthage.  Not only did they sail great distances and were renouned seamen, they also had territory on the very western side of the Med. Sea and in Iberia as well as Morocco, so they were positioned for such exploration as well.  Although I guess it didn't happen, I believe them to have the greatest chance of being the ones if it did occur.

Also, if they were blown off course and didn't know where they were at the time, once they felt their way out they could easily backtrack mentally where they had been.  For example, if I was lost but eventually came across a location I was familiar with, I certainly would know which direction I had headed to get there, and therefore know where I had been in relation when I was lost.
 

Almalexia

Her Flamboyance, the Calipha
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Well if they were caught in a hurricane from the African coast, that could blow them far enough off course to really confuse them. Of course, there is a extremely large chance that they would have just been capsized, but whatever.
 

Skot the Sanguine

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Plus reed boats aren't really known for longevity.  So even if they made it to the west coast of Africa with one (let alone the Americas), I wonder if they would have had the materials to refit it for a crossing.  I am no expert on estuary flora of the Africas and Americas, but something tells me what is prolific in Egypt might not be so elsewhere.
 

Lord Burgess1

Skot the Sanguine said:
That is in modern times though TDM.  I have heard English fishermen from Bristol actually fished off of North America in the 1400's

One of the reasons for Bristols booming after that period.
 

MothMan

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The Phoneticians and the scenario you described, are the most prominent things that go through my head when I think about this subject. I agree with you on the Mental backtracking, however what if hypothetically speaking the storm was severe enough to have disoriented the sailors?

The oddest thing that I cannot explain, is the large amount of recorded findings in my homeland (New England). These findings include:

Coins identified as Carthaginian, Greek, Celtic, Roman.
Pottery found on a beach in MA, unidentified, as in none like it, though somewhat resembling Roman is design.

Numerous stone structures, that at first glance appear to be colonial root cellars, but upon further inspection. are vastly complex, some built in line with the Summer and winter Solstices. The Native Americans have been quoted saying that they are unsure of who built them, but they were sure it was not their ancestors...I personally went inside one of these unknown structures, it was a strange beehive like structure, unsuitable for storing food in the winter.

the problem is, that most of these finding were never reported to to the local University, and have either been lost or destroyed during the passage of time, and only exist in writing and crude photography.

 
Skot the Sanguine said:
That being said, I wouldn't say it is impossible for someone to sail during the ancient period from Africa to the Americas.
It is. The only reason Columbus made it is because he had a ship capable of exploiting the Southern Tradewinds, and it still took over a month. Ignoring anything else, the main problem is water. Unlike the ships of Columbus' time, most ancient sailors relied on putting in to land overnight to replenish their water supply, and their ships weren't designed with fresh water stores onboard. Even assuming they could somehow complete the journey at the same speed as Columbus that's a little over a month, approximately ten times the duration the average human can go without water ...
I believe them to have the greatest chance of being the ones if it did occur.
Unlikely. AFAIK they still relied on the old "keep the land in sight" method of maritime navigation. You can't cross open ocean without reliable navigation methods, otherwise you end up going in circles (a particular problem if you utilise astronomical methods or the like).
For example, if I was lost but eventually came across a location I was familiar with, I certainly would know which direction I had headed to get there, and therefore know where I had been in relation when I was lost.
Never crossed open ocean have you? :lol: It's even more featureless than open desert. Add in the disorienting effect of having a ground and sky the same colour and even experienced sailors have difficulty judging direction after any time at sea. It's worse than flying, and most long haul pilots will lose their sense of up and down after a few hours in the cockpit. Our brains tend to be ill equipped to handle anything where there isn't a distinct floor.

MothMan said:
The oddest thing that I cannot explain, is the large amount of recorded findings in my homeland (New England).
Not that odd actually. Until countries stopped minting with precious metals all coinage tended to be valued according to how much and what precious metal it was made from. If someone turned up a haul of Roman coins in 1650 he didn't have to sell them to a museum for them to be valuable, he could simply weigh them and spend them according to gold content.
Coinage tended to be more popular in the colonies than in Europe. The only other form of portable currency was a bankers draft, which is fine in Europe where there's plenty of banks and the like to cash it in. Not so useful in the colonies where the nearest bank could be several days travel from you.
 

MothMan

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One this is, it's technically a physical impossibility for an ancient ship to traverse the Atlantic/Pacific, only that it has very low odds of surviving the trip, and obviously lower odd of making it back. Yes most ships were meant for the Mediterranean waters and nothing else, its just that I don't know why, but something tells me there is a missing piece of the puzzle that may never be found.
 

Gabeed

Master Knight
How bout this--Who cares?  Even if the Chinese, Egyptians, or Phoenicians did discover America, they did jack**** with such an accomplishment--which is why evidence for these people having an impact in the Americas is hard to find/nonexistent.  As it is, the Vikings did very little themselves except allegedly have a short-lived colony in Newfoundland that quickly got its ass kicked by Eskimos.
 

Skot the Sanguine

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Archonsod said:
Never crossed open ocean have you? :lol: It's even more featureless than open desert. Add in the disorienting effect of having a ground and sky the same colour and even experienced sailors have difficulty judging direction after any time at sea. It's worse than flying, and most long haul pilots will lose their sense of up and down after a few hours in the cockpit. Our brains tend to be ill equipped to handle anything where there isn't a distinct floor.

I am operating on the belief that Carthage and the Phoenicians had a rudimentary knowledge of navigation by stars and/or the sun.  It has been my impression that they did, in spite of admittedly often skirting the coast.

As for flying, neither my father nor myself have had an issue with senses blurred when flying for hours.  I haven't flown a plane for hours straight myself, but I know my father has.  Bad weather aside, I don't particularly agree with that assessment.
 

MothMan

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Gabeed said:
How bout this--Who cares?  Even if the Chinese, Egyptians, or Phoenicians did discover America, they did jack**** with such an accomplishment--which is why evidence for these people having an impact in the Americas is hard to find/nonexistent.  As it is, the Vikings did very little themselves except allegedly have a short-lived colony in Newfoundland that quickly got its ass kicked by Eskimos.

Allegedly? I was under the impression, that there was solid evidence of Lief Erickson in America, why do you say "Allegedly"?
 

HannibalTheCannibal

Sergeant at Arms
Archonsod said:
Unlikely. AFAIK they still relied on the old "keep the land in sight" method of maritime navigation. You can't cross open ocean without reliable navigation methods, otherwise you end up going in circles (a particular problem if you utilise astronomical methods or the like).
Never crossed open ocean have you? :lol: It's even more featureless than open desert. Add in the disorienting effect of having a ground and sky the same colour and even experienced sailors have difficulty judging direction after any time at sea. It's worse than flying, and most long haul pilots will lose their sense of up and down after a few hours in the cockpit. Our brains tend to be ill equipped to handle anything where there isn't a distinct floor.
You're quite wrong on this. The sun and stars are very reliable for knowing what direction you're going in. They're not nearly as reliable for knowing how far in that direction you've gone, or exactly what your position on a chart would be, but for knowing just the direction itself it's foolproof in clear weather.
 

Lord Burgess1

MothMan said:
Gabeed said:
How bout this--Who cares?  Even if the Chinese, Egyptians, or Phoenicians did discover America, they did jack**** with such an accomplishment--which is why evidence for these people having an impact in the Americas is hard to find/nonexistent.  As it is, the Vikings did very little themselves except allegedly have a short-lived colony in Newfoundland that quickly got its ass kicked by Eskimos.

Allegedly? I was under the impression, that there was solid evidence of Lief Erickson in America, why do you say "Allegedly"?

Solid evidence =/= Icelandic Sages.
 
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