Saturday, October 06, 2007

2,000 year-old adzes support ancient Polynesian voyaging/trade

New evidence of basalt adzes supports traditional oral histories recording voyaging between Hawai`i and Tahiti going back 2,000 years:

Science 28 September 2007:
Vol. 317. no. 5846, pp. 1907 - 1911

Stone Adze Compositions and the Extent of Ancient Polynesian Voyaging
and Trade
Kenneth D. Collerson and Marshall I. Weisler

The last region on Earth settled by humans during prehistory was East
Polynesia. Hawaiian oral histories mention voyaging from Hawai'i to
Tahiti and back via the Tuamotus, an open ocean journey of several
thousands of kilometers. The trace element and isotope chemistries of
a stone adze recovered from the Tuamotu Archipelago are unlike those
of sources in central Polynesia but are similar to the Kaho'olawe
Island hawaiite, in the Hawaiian Islands, supporting the oral
histories. Other adzes collected from the low coral islands of the
northwest Tuamotus have sources in the Marquesas, Austral and Society
Islands, and the Pitcairn Group, confirming that trade was widespread
within East Polynesia.


Paul Kekai Manansala