THEY CAME BEFORE COLUMBUS: The African Presence in Ancient America by Ivan Van Sertima

THEY CAME BEFORE COLUMBUS: The African Presence in Ancient America

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Van Sertima, Rutgers linguist and anthropologist, argues emphatically for pre-Columbian links between Africa and South/Central America. Using evidence sifted from a variety of disciplines including serology, philology, and oceanography, he probes beyond the surface similarities--artifacts with Negroid features, green stones in the mouths of the dead--to find ideological likenesses such as Mandingo elements in Mexican religious rituals. Linguistic approximations, derivative symbolic representations, Egyptian-like pyramids, and carbon dating build up a case for direct contact rather than cultural parallels or coincidence, and these manifestations are given credence by Mall oral history, Egyptian documents, and Heyerdahl's Ra II voyage. At the same time Van Sertima discredits Von Daniken's speculations, points out the biases implicit in other theorists (Weiner, Jeffreys, Bailey), and incidentally predicates his opinions on significant African influence in ancient Egypt as well, It's an engaging proposition, full of those puzzlers that always give scholars a field day: what is far-fetched to some will be irrefutable to others. (Too bad a few hokey fictionalizations--intended to set the scene--distract from the main issues).

Pub Date: Jan. 14th, 1976
ISBN: 0812968174
Publisher: Random House