African Megaliths and Ancient Seafaring Technology
Catherine Acholonu informed me about a canoe excavated in Nigeria dated to ca. 7700 years ago. See Nigerian National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Cultural Sensitization and Exhibition on the 8000 Years Old Dufuna Canoe, at http://www.nigerianmuseums.org/dufuna.htm .
Nigeria is of course rightly proud of this archaeological discovery, showing a high level of culture in the Neolithic era.
However, I remain extremely skeptical about "seafaring" Africans (outside of Pharaonic Egyptian culture) in the megalithic era ca. 3000 BC.
Yes, dugout canoes of tree logs are surely an ancient basic water travel technology found throughout the world -- also in Nigeria, but dugouts are still quite an extended technological distance from the kind of boats found at Abydos in Egypt.
I have nothing personal against dugouts. Estonia was the last European country to continue to build them, and some of my ancestors come from the border region of Estonia and Latvia.
However, the Baltic peoples -- as opposed to the Scandinavians -- never seem to have gotten much beyond that stage, I think because it was not necessary for them economically. The only ancient peoples in the Baltic who continued to build primitive boats clear into the modern era were the Livs viz. Livonians (relatives of the Finns) and they used them for fishing. Some Baltic DNA appears to be Varangian, so maybe there is an ancient seafaring connection.
Continued Scandinavian seafaring development has culminated in the world's largest ferries traveling e.g. between Kiel, Germany and Oslo, Norway:
"Color Line's Kiel-Oslo ships (and the world's largest ferries) COLOR FANTASY and COLOR MAGIC...."
In Africa, the megaliths in Senegambia, Nigeria and even Bouar to some degree are near a major river by which the subsequent megalithic area was accessed by the megalith makers, so my argument.
In Senegal and Gambia, this was the Gambia River.
In Nigeria it was the Cross River.
For the Central African Republic it was the Sanaga River, the next large river south of the Cross River.
"The Sanaga River is a river of South Province, Cameroon, Centre Province, Cameroon, and West Province, Cameroon.... The Sanaga River forms a boundary between two tropical moist forest ecoregions. The Cross-Sanaga-Bioko coastal forests lie to the north between the Sanaga River and the Cross River of Nigeria, and the Atlantic Equatorial coastal forests extend south of the river through southwestern Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Republic of the Congo, Cabinda, and Democratic Republic of the Congo."
Jaap van der Waarde, Integrated River Basin Management of the Sanaga River, Cameroon writes at http://www.internationalrivers.org/files/IRBM Sanaga.pdf:
"The Sanaga River is the largest river in Cameroon.... It flows for 918 km from its source on the Adamawa Plateau.... The main tributaries in Adamawa are the Lom to the South and the Djerem to the North."
The Electricity Development Corporation, Republic of Cameroon, in Lom Pangar Hydroelectric Project: Environmental and social assessment (ESA), Executive summary, March 2011 writes:
"Lom originates at the foot of Ngaou Ndal [Ngaou "mountain" and Ndal "throne", Mont Ngaoui in Google - Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mont_Ngaoui] in the Central African Republic at the south-eastern boundary of the Adamaoua, around elevation 1,200 m, 70 km east of Meiganga...."
Mont Ngaoui is only ca. 100 km (60 miles) as the crow flies from Bouar, Central African Republic, where we find the megaliths marking the center of Africa in the ancient land survey system.
I do not know to what degree such rivers were anciently navigable by flat boats like those found at Abydos, Egypt (as was the case for the more modern ancient Vikings, such boats were surely pulled along the shore in areas where not navigable).
It remains speculation that the ancient megalith makers navigated these rivers to get close to locations which they required for their land survey.
However, it seems significant to me, as in the above quotation from the Wikipedia, that the Sanaga River and Cross River are the major dividing rivers for these two tropical African ecoregions, and it is near these rivers that we find the Nigerian and Central African megaliths.
In any event, we are not going to resolve the issue of origins now, and surely much more research will be required until some element of certainty surfaces as to who the arguably seafaring originators of megalithic culture actually were.
If things were certain, there would be no need of discussion.