For decades, the study of the settlement of the Americas has focused on entry through Alaska or, to a lesser extent, across the Atlantic. To look at the Pacific and its distant islands, it would seem ancient travel was “impossible.”
Yet we have known for decades that it is possible and did happen.
Most famously, the remote Easter Island is covered in hundreds of statues from a lost culture. Many other islands across the Pacific have ruins of structures, megaliths and statuary. Cultures who arrived in dugouts created all of this?
The diversity in American native cultures (especially South America) have led people to start re-examining the Pacific routes. We already know that certain foods and animals were introduced to the Americas this way. Now the attempt to discover who and how many of these people were there. Where did they come from? And how much of the legends of ancient America of travelers and light-skinned people are rooted in truth?
There are many studies of this out there, to start: Axis of the World traces peoples who crossed the Pacific, some possibly from India. The Statues that Walked zeros in on Easter Island, the possible remote last outpost of a dead civilization.
Are the Pacific ruins markers of a lost oceanic trail? Or are they remains of a destroyed Pacific civilization? Perhaps we will never know, but we do know something happened out there.