Artifact geochemistry demonstrates long-distance voyaging in the Polynesian Outliers

Aymeric Hermann, Pamela Gutiérrez, Catherine Chauvel, Rene Maury, Celine Liorzou, Edson Willie, Iarawai Phillip, Robert Forkel, Christoph Rzymski, Stuart Bedford

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    Although the peopling of Remote Oceania is well-documented as a general process of eastward migrations from Island Southeast Asia and Near Oceania toward the archipelagos of Remote Oceania, the origin and the development of Polynesian societies in the Western Pacific (Polynesian Outliers), far away from the Polynesian triangle, remain unclear. Here, we present a large-scale geochemical sourcing study of stone artifacts excavated from archeological sites in central Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, and the Caroline Islands and provide unambiguous evidence of multiple long-distance voyages, with exotic stone materials being transported up to 2500 kilometers from their source. Our results emphasize high mobility in the Western Pacific during the last millennium CE and offer insights on the scale and timing of contacts between the Polynesian Outliers, their neighbors in the Western Pacific, and societies of Western Polynesia.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-12
    JournalScience advances
    Issue number16
    Publication statusPublished - 2023

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