An Archaeological Pilot Study on Manihiki and Rakahanga, Two Remote Atolls in East Polynesia.

Author(s): Justin Cramb

Year: 2016


Here I report the findings of a 2015 archaeological and oral-history based reconnaissance survey of two remote Oceanic atolls. Manihiki and Rakahanga are located in the in the Northern Cook Islands of East Polynesia. This dual island system has been the subject of few systematic archaeological studies. Yet, the existing data for the atolls suggests that they may be ideal for the archaeological study of the social-ecological dynamics of sustainability and resilience in small island environments. My fieldwork was structured as the first stage of a long-term research program on the atolls, and was aimed at the discovery of archaeological sites via informant interviews and archaeological surface survey. This research resulted in the creation of a GIS database of all known sites on Manihiki and Rakahanga and in the identification of multiple habitation sites that will be targeted in future excavations. Furthermore, this research provides some initial insight into settlement patterns, resource use, and the connections that may exist between oral histories, myths, legends, and real-world phenomena. The continuation of this research aims to understand the complexities of life on the atolls as well as the social-ecological interactions that have facilitated the long-term occupation of Manihiki and Rakahanga.

Cite this Record

An Archaeological Pilot Study on Manihiki and Rakahanga, Two Remote Atolls in East Polynesia.. Justin Cramb. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 405060)

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island Oceania Survey

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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