By, Harry Bourne
In a series of papers, it has been my intention to attempt to demonstrate that our ancestors were rather more in maritime contact across the world than is generally accepted, especially in academic circles. These papers tend to concentrate on the African aspects of this and they include both sides of the continent of Africa at both Before Common Era (BCE) and Common Era (CE).
Those titled East Africa & the Sea in Antiquity plus Egypt & the Sea in Antiquity clearly indicate east Africa both north and south of the Horn of Africa and that on Egypt touches on the Egyptian coast facing the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. The articles dealing with the Atlantic-facing or western parts of Africa are West Africa & the Sea in Antiquity; West Africa & the Atlantic in Antiquity plus Abubakri II: Who He? The titles of the first two of last three mentioned are self-explanatory but the last-named is less so but deals with later Africans on the Atlantic.
The school of thinking generally labelled Africa-centred/Afrocentric has prompted considerable opposition that is equally called anti-Afrocentric. Concerning Egypt, the charge against has been very forcefully led by the American writer named Mary Lefkowitz in the co-edited “Black Athena Revisited” (1996) plus her own “Not out of Africa” (1997) and numerous essays.
Against the application of Afrocentricism to seafaring Africans on the Atlantic probably the strongest challenge has come initially come from Bernard de Montellano; Gabriel Haslip-Viera and Warren Barbour (Ethnohistory 1997; Current Anthropology 1997, etc.). This was in such as “They were NOT Here Before Columbus: Afrocentricity in the 1990s” plus “Robbing Native Cultures: Van Sertima’s Afrocentricism & the Olmecs”
The “Did They” of the title refers to whether Africans ever had such as maps. This might be expected more of east Africa both south or below the Horn of Africa and east Africa north of the Horn. This may be because both Below-Horn plus Above-Horn east Africa were better known to the outside world, came under the influence from certain parts of that outside world and/or both these features among any number of other ones.
As to west Africans having sailed on the Atlantic Ocean in Pre-Columbian times, what we will describe as the Ethnohistory trio plus many others have flatly dismissed any such notion. Another possibility of explaining the similarities of west African traits and some in the Caribbean plus Mexico and Mesoamerica are what are called drift voyages. This especially means those on what have been described as marine conveyor-belts or sometimes as conveyor-belt currents.
This basically means vessels caught up by currents bearing them across the Atlantic Ocean whether the crews wanted this to happen or not. In such a circumstance, did crews ever need a chart or map of any kind? This is not helped by the general non-belief in and dismissal of possible ancient scripts in west Africa.