The Prehistoric Exploration and Colonisation of the Pacific / Edition 1

The Prehistoric Exploration and Colonisation of the Pacific / Edition 1

by Geoffrey Irwin
     
 

The exploration and colonisation of the Pacific is one of the most remarkable episodes of human prehistory. Early sea-going explorers had no prior knowledge of Pacific geography, no documents to record their route, no metal, no instruments for measuring time and none for navigation. Forty years of modern archaeology, experimental voyages in rafts and canoes, computer… See more details below

Overview

The exploration and colonisation of the Pacific is one of the most remarkable episodes of human prehistory. Early sea-going explorers had no prior knowledge of Pacific geography, no documents to record their route, no metal, no instruments for measuring time and none for navigation. Forty years of modern archaeology, experimental voyages in rafts and canoes, computer simulations of voyaging using real data on winds and currents have combined to produce an enormous range of literature on this controversial and mysterious subject. This book represents a major advance in the knowledge of and models for the settlement of the Pacific by suggesting that exploration was rapid and purposeful, undertaken systematically and that navigation methods progressively improved. The prehistoric exploration and colonisation of the Pacific is concerned with two distinct periods of voyaging and colonisation. The first began some 50,000 years ago in the tropical region of Island Southeast Asia, the continent of Australia and its Pleistocene outliers in Melanesia and was the first voyaging of its kind in the world. The second episode began 3500 years ago and witnessed a burst of sophisticated maritime and Neolithic settlement in the vast remote Pacific. This phase virtually completed human settlement of the planet apart from the ice-caps. Using an innovative model to establish a detailed theory of prehistoric navigation, Geoffrey Irwin claims that rather than sailing randomly in search of the unknown, Pacific Islanders expanded settlement by the cautious strategy of exploring first upwind, so as to ease their safe return. The range of strategies increased as geographical knowledge was added to navigational: it became safe to search across and down the wind returning by different routes. The author has tested this hypothesis against the chronological data from archaeological investigation, with a computer simulation of demographic and exploration patterns and by sailing throughout the

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521476515
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
03/28/2004
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
260
Product dimensions:
6.85(w) x 9.72(h) x 0.55(d)

Table of Contents

List of figures
List of tables
1An introduction to the Pacific and the theory of its settlement1
2Pleistocene voyaging and the settlement of Greater Australia and its Near Oceanic neighbours18
3Issues in Lapita studies and the background to Oceanic colonisation31
4Against, across and down the wind: a case for the systematic exploration of the remote Pacific42
5The colonisation of Eastern Melanesia, West Polynesia and Central East Polynesia64
6The colonisation of Hawaii, New Zealand and their neighbours101
7Issues in the colonisation of Micronesia117
8Voyaging by computer: experiments in the exploration of the remote Pacific Ocean133
9Voyaging after colonisation and the study of culture change174
10The rediscovery of Pacific exploration205
Bibliography223
Index232

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