Artifact Networks, Cultural Transmission, and Polynesian Settlement

Author(s): John O'Connor

Year: 2015


The colonization of Polynesia was a motivated dispersal of culturally related human populations on a massive geographic scale. The settlement of distant oceanic islands involved the development and sharing of technological information specific to local environments, including exclusively stylistic aspects of artifact design. A reassessment of artifact comparisons from a neo-Darwinian evolutionary perspective continues to provide information regarding social interaction among island communities. Here I measure similarity in line-attachment-devices (LAD) among artifact fishhook assemblages to determine significant cultural relationships among island populations. Artifact classes were documented for each assemblage. Similarity/dissimilarity coefficients were then calculated to remove sample bias and permit the simultaneous comparison of multiple assemblages. A series of non-parametric randomization tests were performed to directly evaluate the influence of geographical distance and sample size on assemblage relatedness, revealing distinct statistical relationships between certain assemblage attributes. Relational networks were constructed based on the degree of statistical similarity among artifact groups. The quantification of artifact similarity among fishhook assemblages allows the construction of undirected network models that illustrate the transmission of technological information in a non-hierarchical structure and contribute to a better understanding of human relations in prehistoric Polynesia.

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Cite this Record

Artifact Networks, Cultural Transmission, and Polynesian Settlement. John O'Connor. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396317)


Spatial Coverage

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