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Voyaging and Interaction in Ancient East Polynesia

Voyaging and Interaction in Ancient East Polynesia <p>The origins of East Polynesian culture are traced to a regional homeland that was centered on the Society Islands but which also included neighboring archipelagoes. Archaeological evidence suggests a fall-off through time in the frequency of opensea voyaging within this homeland, with marked declines in voyaging and interaction after a.d. 1450. A range of social and environmental factors may have contributed to these declines. The regional distribution of terrestrial resources is significant because the smallest islands often suffered the most acute consequences of human-induced environmental change. Tahiti, in the Society Islands, is unique in terms of the unparalleled scale of its resource base and its high degree of voyaging accessibility. If Tahiti and the Societies played the role of a regional hub in early interaction spheres, developments in Tahiti may have influenced inhabitants of the outer archipelagoes. Specifically, if circumstances restricted the flow of timber and canoes from the Societies to outlyingar chipelagoes, and this coincided with the depletion of forest reserves on the smaller outlyingislands, these developments could help explain the contraction of early central East Polynesian interaction spheres. It is likely that voyaging patterns in the Marquesas and the Pitcairn Islands, comparatively isolated archipelagoes, were little affected by internal developments in the Societies.</p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Asian Perspectives University of Hawai'I Press

Voyaging and Interaction in Ancient East Polynesia

Asian Perspectives , Volume 41 (2) – Feb 14, 2003

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2002 University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1535-8283

Abstract

<p>The origins of East Polynesian culture are traced to a regional homeland that was centered on the Society Islands but which also included neighboring archipelagoes. Archaeological evidence suggests a fall-off through time in the frequency of opensea voyaging within this homeland, with marked declines in voyaging and interaction after a.d. 1450. A range of social and environmental factors may have contributed to these declines. The regional distribution of terrestrial resources is significant because the smallest islands often suffered the most acute consequences of human-induced environmental change. Tahiti, in the Society Islands, is unique in terms of the unparalleled scale of its resource base and its high degree of voyaging accessibility. If Tahiti and the Societies played the role of a regional hub in early interaction spheres, developments in Tahiti may have influenced inhabitants of the outer archipelagoes. Specifically, if circumstances restricted the flow of timber and canoes from the Societies to outlyingar chipelagoes, and this coincided with the depletion of forest reserves on the smaller outlyingislands, these developments could help explain the contraction of early central East Polynesian interaction spheres. It is likely that voyaging patterns in the Marquesas and the Pitcairn Islands, comparatively isolated archipelagoes, were little affected by internal developments in the Societies.</p>

Journal

Asian PerspectivesUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Feb 14, 2003

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