Substantial anthropogenic environmental change occurred in Remote Oceania following the first arrival of people at 3000 BP and their spread throughout the region by 700 BP. It included numerous faunal extinctions, widespread deforestation and the erosion and re-deposition of sediments, to which are attributed various consequences for cultural development. The issue considered here is whether an explanation of anthropogenic change could extend to variations in settlement history between Remote Oceanic islands. Most of those were inhabited continuously, especially in the older settled area, but in East Polynesia settlement is thought to have declined on several islands and it was abandoned in many others. Consideration of the type and scale of anthropogenic changes indicates no correlation with variations in settlement history. Anthropogenic changes might be regarded as constants of the settlement process. Late Holocene climatic patterns, ecological complexity and isolation with its effect on the availability of subsistence choices, may have been more influential variables.
|Publication status||Published - 2002|