In 2014, the television show America Unearthed (A & E Networks) featured an episode discussing evidence for pre-Columbian contact between Polynesia and continental North and South America. Included in this “evidence” was a large spearpoint, allegedly found on the island of Maui. The show’s host argues that the spearpoint is made on obsidian from central Mexico, and therefore represents evidence for direct contact between Polynesian and Maya peoples prior to the sixteenth century CE. A detailed analysis of the spearpoint, including geochemical sourcing, reveals that it is indeed made of so-called Pachuca obsidian from central Mexico; however, the size, shape, and lithic technology of the piece are consistent with easily obtainable modern creations. Two alternative hypotheses that account for all available evidence are offered to explain how this spearpoint may have traveled from Mexico City to Maui. In the absence of any other evidence supporting a pre- Columbian origin for this piece, it cannot be considered evidence of a Polynesian connection with continental North America.
Obsidian, Geochemistry, Lithic technology, pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact theories, Pseudoarchaeology, Conspiracy theory
Archaeological Anthropology | Geochemistry
Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports
Boulanger, Matthew, "Mexican obsidian on Maui: Hawaiian connection, harmonic convergence, or hokum?" (2020). Anthropology Research. 9.