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Topic: Earliest known hominin activity in the Philippines by 709 thousand years ago (Read 542 times) previous topic - next topic

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  • el jefe
  • asleep till 2020 or 2024
Re: Earliest known hominin activity in the Philippines by 709 thousand years ago
Reply #25
I'm picturing a tsunami coming in, and while most of the people are screaming and running for high ground, some nerd is like "wait a minute...  this is really good data."

Re: Earliest known hominin activity in the Philippines by 709 thousand years ago
Reply #26
I'm picturing a tsunami coming in, and while most of the people are screaming and running for high ground, some nerd is like "wait a minute...  this is really good data."

More like "wait a minute... this is really good aaaaarrrgh"

  • MSG
Re: Earliest known hominin activity in the Philippines by 709 thousand years ago
Reply #27
Colonising Easter Island was even more impressive and hazardous than Hawaii
braying among the ruins

  • RAFH
  • Have a life, already.
Re: Earliest known hominin activity in the Philippines by 709 thousand years ago
Reply #28
Maybe just someone very charismatic had a vision and was a convincing talker.

It's pretty marvellous though, their system of reading waves + stars + sun + wind + time to navigate and even predict where islands would be.
Yeah, I can't imagine holding that much information in my head and being able to process it to figure out where you are, with no pen and paper and a chalkboard and a couple of hot computers and some other people to help me out. Oh, and some good books on the subject.

Sad part is it's pretty much disappearing. Nobody willing to learn something that will tell you where you are and where to go when one can simply buy a machine that will do it for you. And a lot more accurate. They'll never know what they missed. The weather over that a way, fishing potential, storms coming, etc. Meh, it's the same with many native arts and sciences. Humans have always been smart and resourceful. It's one of the reasons we're so successful, population wise anyway. Fucking rabbits are in awe.

It takes a lot of time to learn things like that. You have to be immersed in it, practicing, doing it, piling experience on previous knowledge, pretty much from childhood. Most people's lives don't include that kind of time anymore..
Yep.
Are we there yet?

  • RAFH
  • Have a life, already.
Re: Earliest known hominin activity in the Philippines by 709 thousand years ago
Reply #29
The Hawaiians, as much as 1500 years ago or more, went a lot farther than the Tongans. Marquesas to Hawaii is around 2200 miles, across empty ocean. It was previously unsailed ocean, their only guidance being the various wave patterns, both refracted and reflected from the north.
You have to wonder... what were they thinking ? ? ?
this is my inclination too.  but if they had the amazing understanding RAFH describes, then it doesn't sound so crazy.
Not quite so crazy. Still pretty damned amazing.
Are we there yet?

  • RAFH
  • Have a life, already.
Re: Earliest known hominin activity in the Philippines by 709 thousand years ago
Reply #30
the wave scattering thing blows my mind.  they were essentially using passive sonar.  very long wavelength and consisting of surface waves rather than internal compression waves, but sonar.
Yeah, but it was only one tool they used. Currents, winds, clouds, stars, the sun and moon, debris in the water, types of fish at that time, flotsam in the water, even water temperature. Not with the accuracy eventually obtained by the Europeans but accurate enough in the right hands to work for hundreds of years.

Then again, birds and fish and all sorts of game make migrations that are far longer and have been doing it for millennia.
Are we there yet?

Re: Earliest known hominin activity in the Philippines by 709 thousand years ago
Reply #31
They knew there was an extensive island chain to the north. How far is a different matter, though they could have had some rough information from other island groups to the west and even some east of Tahiti and by triangulation, some very rough idea. Also they knew the approximate length of the Hawaiian chain, Big Island to Kure Island.
How did they know these things?
Quote
Not in terms of miles but angle and travel time. It is over 1500 miles and even the primary group of significant islands is 400 miles long. The Polynesian and Micronesian  navigators were pretty savvy, they read the waves from all directions, the winds, debris in the water, what kind of birds and fish were seen, the clouds, the sun and moon and stars. It is not precised in one could figure the exact course one would set and off you go. More, there's something over that way, it's a big or little something. We'll know more as we get closer and adjust course. Reiteratively.
I visited a museum in Honolulu on my last trip there that had a lot of information on this. It just never ceases to astonish me.
They knew the stars and had given them names, often associated with the island chain and in some cases, the actual island that they crossed over. That established a rough but very useful map of latitude. They also knew the path of the sun throughout the year and I believe they had coordinated that with the stars and the seasons, ie - when it's hottest, the sun is very high in the sky and lies on the arc of {insert island name}. They recorded, either orally or by their cord and bead and shell charts, the travel times between islands and island groups and had coordinated those times to the seasons and therefore to the sun angle and weather. Which leads to the winds, they knew the winds that were common to various times of the year. And had correlated all that to the waves, which direction, what period, size and speed. The wind is the primary source of waves, but waves bounce, they reflect, and the navigators had correlated reflected waves with their direction and their interference patterns with the seasons and so with the sun angle, the arcs of the stars, the distance between islands and island groups. Which gave them a pretty accurate image of the inhabited islands and island groups, but also what else lie out there. They would get reflected waves from the entire Pacific Ocean. So they knew there was some sort of coastline, whether continuous or segmented, all the way around them. And they knew that coastline was very irregular. Most importantly, because they knew the characteristics of a given wave pattern from, say, Chile, when they encountered a wave pattern that was similar and from the same general direction as the coast of Chile, they'd know a new bit of information. Data. Adding up all the observations allowed them to make a pretty decent map, on the cords and shells and feathers and in their heads.

As for Hawaii, the Polynesian navigators observed a very consistent wave pattern coming from the north. Consistent with the seasons. They could see big ass waves in their summer, little to no waves from the north in their winter. In the pattern they could see a chain of islands, because they had studied the wave patterns of lots of island groups and knew what sort of pattern, both silhouetted and reflected, indicated it was from an island group. So they knew there was an island group of some significance, to the north. They knew about what sort angle there was from the eastern end of the chain to the north to the western end of the chain to the north and that angle measured from known island groups to the west and to the east. Which indicated the island chain to the north was very linear and trended from southeast to northwest. They could also tell it was very isolated, no other islands around it, at least not between Polynesia and Hawaii nor to either side of Hawaii. Might be something beyond, hard to tell. Diffraction patterns of diffraction patterns get rather fuzzy, to the point of not being detectable or not being of much use.

They had big fast double hull canoes. Their sails were not the best shapes nor of particularly suitable materials, but they worked and except for the Intertropical Convergence Zone, the winds are pretty steady.

There's no evidence available other than the chants regarding the reasons why a fairly sizeable group of people would undertake such a journey, a journey to a place that nobody is really sure of other than it's out there, and little to no idea of what the place is like, atolls, mountainous, fertile, inhabited, whatever. Just that it's out there. Must of been one really fast talker or there was some really serious outside influence. War? Not unlikely. Famine or drought? Not likely. Who knows?

I am pretty sure it's fairly well accepted there was regular trade between Hawaii and the rest of Polynesia up until around 600- 800 years ago. But then it tapered off. Also, if I remember right, there was a late immigration that is thought to have taken over. An invasion of sorts. The newcomers became the Alii, the royalty.

Anyway, pretty ballsy move to just head on out. Either extremely curious or running from something.
At the Maritime Museum in Auckland they show you exactly that; it is fascinating. And some years ago the largest museum (forgot its name) in Auckland had an exhibition about Polynesian navigation. They showed the boats they used for expeditions - quite different from war canoes and transport vessels. When a clan of Polynesions decided to emigrate, they would send out a a small group first who navigated like RAFH described, and when they had either exhausted half their provisions or found new land, they would turn around. If they had found hospitable land, they would use big house boat style vessels to carry the whole clan, chattel, animals, and provisions to the new colony.

  • borealis
  • Administrator
Re: Earliest known hominin activity in the Philippines by 709 thousand years ago
Reply #32
Okay I'm going to admit right here I watched Moana.

and I liked it.

  • RAFH
  • Have a life, already.
Re: Earliest known hominin activity in the Philippines by 709 thousand years ago
Reply #33
Colonising Easter Island was even more impressive and hazardous than Hawaii
Yes, about the same distance but going there is about 2/3 beating almost directly into the wind. Not a good point of sail for the Polynesian catamarans. Plus it's a single small island in the middle of nowhere. Easy to lose that signal in the noise from South America. And even if you get close, not much to see on the horizon. With Hawaii, you've got some pretty high mountains, and they are spread out over a good long distance. Hard to miss them all. You theoretically, on a clear day, see the peaks of Big Island up to 120 miles out to sea, and 80 miles out from the peaks on Kauai. That extends the target width to around 600 miles. Rapa Nui is only 15 miles in the longest dimension and you can't see it at all from more then about 50 miles. A lot harder to see and a lot easier to miss.
Are we there yet?

  • RAFH
  • Have a life, already.
Re: Earliest known hominin activity in the Philippines by 709 thousand years ago
Reply #34
Okay I'm going to admit right here I watched Moana.

and I liked it.
So did I. Pretty good characterization of Maui. Not necessarily correct but there's plenty of room for interpretation.
Are we there yet?

Re: Earliest known hominin activity in the Philippines by 709 thousand years ago
Reply #35
Okay I'm going to admit right here I watched Moana.

and I liked it.
I liked it!  :cheer: