Photo: Typical patterns created by ancestors of today's Polynesians.
("The term Lapita
refers to an ancient Pacific culture that archaeologists believe to be the common ancestor of the contemporary cultures of Polynesia
, and some areas of Melanesia. The culture takes its name from the site of Lapita in New Caledonia
, one of the first places in which its distinctive pottery was discovered. While archaeologists debate the precise region where Lapita culture itself developed, the ancestors of the Lapita people came originally from Southeast Asia.")
("Archaeological evidence of human occupation of the western Pacific [Near Oceania] dates from at least 40,000 years before present [BP]. The eastern extreme of this initial human presence reached the Solomon Islands by ≈30,000 BP. After 3,500 BP, sophisticated maritime technology enabled human expansion beyond this region of initial settlement and eastwards into Remote Oceania, as far as Tonga and Samoa. This latter process was associated variously with (i
) an archaeological entity sometimes referred to as the Lapita cultural complex, (ii
) ancestral Polynesian populations, and (iii
) the introduction of Austronesian languages to Remote Oceania. Humans first arrived in western Polynesia [Tonga and Samoa] earlier than 3,000 BP. Subsequently, the settlement of central and east Polynesia began, by conservative estimates, by 1,500 BP. ")
4/4 Nicholas Thomas: #Unbound the complete, 40-minute interview, June 15, 2021
Voyagers: The Settlement of the Pacific. Hardcover – June 15, 2021; by Nicholas Thomas
An award-winning scholar explores the sixty-thousand-year history of the Pacific islands in this dazzling, deeply researched account.
The islands of Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia stretch across a huge expanse of ocean and encompass a multitude of different peoples. Starting with Captain James Cook, the earliest European explorers to visit the Pacific were astounded and perplexed to find populations thriving thousands of miles from continents. Who were these people? From where did they come? And how were they able to reach islands dispersed over such vast tracts of ocean?
In Voyagers, the distinguished anthropologist Nicholas Thomas charts the course of the seaborne migrations that populated the islands between Asia and the Americas from late prehistory onward. Drawing on the latest research, including insights gained from genetics, linguistics, and archaeology, Thomas provides a dazzling account of these long-distance migrations, the seagoing technologies that enabled them, and the societies they left in their wake.