Alice Kehoe has been an ardent apostle of the view that people crossed the oceans to America before Columbus. She writes: “Common sense points to the indisputable fact that men and women crossed open ocean to get to Australia fifty thousand years ago in the Pleistocene. There is no other way that continent could have been populated. Polynesians sailed to hundreds of islands in the Pacific many centuries before Europe’s Age of Exploration began in the fifteenth century”. Again: “if for centuries, Polynesians deliberately explored the entire Pacific Ocean and had the technology to navigate precisely and transport settlers with their tools and foodstuffs, does it seem likely that in all those centuries, not one Polynesian ever discovered America” [Controversies in Archaeology, pp.140-141].
Compare this to what Grafton Elliot Smith wrote in 1927: “[it was] an altogether incredible supposition that the Polynesian sailors who searched many thousands of miles in the Pacific with such thoroughness as not to miss even the minutest islets were not repeatedly landing on the shores of America for ten centuries or more. How could such people who found Hawaii, Easter Island, and New Zealand have failed to discover the vast continent stretching from pole to pole?”[quoted in my book Grafton Elliot Smith, Egyptology and the Diffusion of Culture, p.89 and see index under ‘transoceanic travel”]. To be continued.