Marquesan voyaging during the East Polynesian Archaic era

Author(s): Barry Rolett

Year: 2015


Early East Polynesian chiefdoms are remarkable for their voyaging spheres, as evidenced by archaeologically-documented interisland contact. One of the most prominent examples of interisland contact derives from a 1974 study by Bill Dickinson in which it was found that a handful of pottery sherds discovered in the Marquesas can be sourced to Fiji, an archipelago lying more than 4000 km to the west. Various interpretations of this discovery continue to fuel debate surrounding the context and intentionality of early East Polynesian voyaging. An emerging consensus suggests that the imported pottery is linked to an early period of systematic long-distance voyaging, prior to a later breakdown in interaction. Recent research, including new excavations at the Archaic era Hanamiai site (southern Marquesas), highlights the value of stone adzes and phonolite (a distinctive green-colored rock) for reconstructing early voyaging and refining the chronology of the ca. AD 1450 breakdown in interaction spheres.

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Cite this Record

Marquesan voyaging during the East Polynesian Archaic era. Barry Rolett. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395135)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: 111.973; min lat: -52.052 ; max long: -87.715; max lat: 53.331 ;