The Other Side of Yesterday
Did people from the early high cultures of Asia cross the Pacific Ocean thousands of years ago and leave their mark on societies in the ancient Americas? This was a hypothesis once seriously entertained by archaeologists and art historians, but it fell into academic disfavor in the 1960s.
In this book, Carol Miller, an independent scholar, writer-journalist, and sculptress who has lived nearly half a century in Mexico City, draws our attention once again to the plausibility-indeed, the near certainty-of early trans-Pacific contacts. As she presents a startling panorama of parallels among the art, architecture, theology and astronomy of the Mayas, as viewed in relation to other peoples of the Americas, as well as those of Asia, she demonstrates the likelihood that exchanges took place between them, not occasionally but regularly and continually. From southern China, northern Vietnam, Southeast Asia and India, seasoned navigators challenged the Pacific, reached the west coast of South America and from there, north into Central America and what is now Mexico, right into the sculpture, painting, and even the social organization of the people called Mayas.
Miller draws on the work of the late Austrian anthropologist Robert Heine-Geldern and his American colleague Gordon F. Ekholm, as well as the renowned Norwegian archaeologist-explorer Thor Heyerdahl, among other scholars of diffusion, thus, she claims, the spread of ideas, customs, and styles in art and design, language, calendar, even political hierarchies, from one end of the globe to the other. She reminds us that the notion of early contacts between Asia and the Americas is not new, but that it is time to dust it off and take a fresh look at the evidence. Her reminder is especially timely in light of recent finds, that demand a fresh look at everything we have ever before been taught about human evolution, patterns of migration, cultural and social development.