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Keyword: polynesians

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  • Rat Bones Reveal How Humans Transformed Their Island Environments

    06/19/2018 9:20:09 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 1 replies
    Smithsonian ^ | June 6, 2018 | Lorraine Boissoneault
    For the Polynesian islands, that meant the arrival of agricultural crops like breadfruit, yams and taro, as well as domesticated animals like dogs, pigs and chicken. The early settlers also used slash-and-burn agriculture to remove forests and fertilize the soil and likely hunted many seabirds to extinction. To get a more precise view of how human behavior impacted the islands, Swift and her colleagues used stable isotope analysis. Carbon analysis is based on the way plants process carbon dioxide: most agricultural products are classified as C3 plants, while tropical grasses are usually C4 plants. If rat bones show a higher...
  • Why archaeologists are arguing about sweet potatoes

    04/13/2018 9:30:13 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 78 replies
    www.popsci.com ^ | 04/13/2018 | Staff
    A Japanese variety of sweet potato Pixabay _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ At some point, sweet potatoes crossed the Pacific. This much we know. As for the rest—How? When? Why?—we’re just not sure. Or, to be more clear, some people are sure they’re sure, and others disagree. Sweet potatoes have been at the center of a massive archaeological debate for many decades now, and a new paper in Current Biology has only stoked the flames. It uses genetic data from sweet potatoes and their relatives to establish a phylogenetic tree of their evolution, thereby demonstrating that the tubers existed in Polynesia before humans lived...
  • The Sinister, Secret History Of A Food That Everybody Loves [the Curse of the Potato]

    05/23/2016 4:55:48 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 75 replies
    Washington Post 'blogs ^ | April 25, 2016 | Jeff Guo
    "The Spaniards were much impressed with the productivity of manioc in Arawak agriculture in the Greater Antilles," historian Jonathan Sauer recounts in his history of crop plants. "[A Spanish historian] calculated that 20 persons working 6 hours a day for a month could plant enough yuca to provide cassava bread for a village of 300 persons for 2 years." By all accounts, the Taíno were prosperous -- "a well-nourished population of over a million people," according to Sauer. And yet... lacked the monumental architecture of the Maya or the mathematical knowledge of the Aztec. And most importantly, they were not organized in...
  • The Diffusionists Have Landed

    02/22/2015 4:49:11 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 22 replies
    The Atlantic ^ | January 1st, 2000 | Marc K. Stengel
    The Norwegian archaeologists Helge and Anne Stine Ingstad's famous identification, in 1961, of a Viking settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland, from just after A.D. 1000 is, of course, a notable exception, no longer in dispute. But that discovery has so far gone nowhere. The Norse settlers, who may have numbered as many as 160 and stayed for three years or longer, seem to have made no lasting impression on the aboriginal skraellings that, according to Norse sagas, they encountered, and to have avoided being influenced in turn. The traditions of the Micmac people, modern-day inhabitants of the area, have...
  • The Lowly Sweet Potato May Unlock America's Past

    03/24/2008 2:24:47 PM PDT · by blam · 24 replies · 921+ views
    The Times Online ^ | 3-24-2008 | Norman Hammond
    From The TimesNorman Hammond, Archaeology Correspondent March 24, 2008 The lowly sweet potato may unlock America’s past How the root vegetable found it's way across the Pacific One of the enduring mysteries of world history is whether the Americas had any contact with the Old World before Columbus, apart from the brief Viking settlement in Newfoundland. Many aspects of higher civilisation in the New World, from the invention of pottery to the building of pyramids, have been ascribed to European, Asian or African voyagers, but none has stood up to scrutiny. The one convincing piece of evidence for pre-Hispanic contact...
  • Drifters Could Explain Sweet-Potato Travel

    05/20/2007 4:28:04 PM PDT · by blam · 33 replies · 1,052+ views
    Nature ^ | 5-18-2007
    Drifters could explain sweet-potato travel An unsteered ship may have delivered crop to Polynesia.Brendan Borrell Where did these come from? How did the South American sweet potato wind up in Polynesia? New research suggests that the crop could have simply floated there on a ship. The origin of the sweet potato in the South Pacific has long been a mystery. The food crop undisputedly has its roots in the Andes. It was once thought to have been spread by Spanish and Portuguese sailors in the sixteenth century, but archaeological evidence indicates that Polynesians were cultivating the orange-fleshed tuber much earlier...
  • Volcanic Soils Offer New Clues About The Emergence Of Powerful Chiefdoms In Hawaii

    06/11/2004 4:26:36 PM PDT · by blam · 17 replies · 263+ views
    Eureka Alert/Stanford University ^ | 6-11-2004 | Mark Shwartz
    Contact: Mark Shwartz mshwartz@stanford.edu 650-723-9296 Stanford University Volcanic soils yield new clues about the emergence of powerful chiefdoms in Hawaii When the first Europeans arrived in the Hawaiian Islands in 1778, they found a thriving, complex society organized into chiefdoms whose economies were based primarily on farming. On the islands of Kauai, O'ahu and Molokai, the principal crop was taro – a starchy plant grown in irrigated wetlands where the supply of water was usually abundant. But on Maui and the Big Island of Hawaii, the main staple was the sweet potato – a more labor-intensive crop planted in relatively...
  • Sweet Potatoes Might Have Arrived In Polynesia Long Before Humans

    05/12/2018 1:58:52 PM PDT · by blam · 30 replies
    Science News ^ | 5-12-2018 | Dan Garisto
    Sweet potatoes were domesticated thousands of years ago in the Americas. So 18th century European explorers were surprised to find Polynesians had been growing the crop for centuries. New genetic evidence instead suggests that wild precursors to sweet potatoes reached Polynesia at least 100,000 years ago — long before humans inhabited the South Pacific islands, researchers report April 12 in Current Biology. If true, it could also challenge the idea that Polynesian seafarers reached the Americas around the 12th century. For the new study, the researchers analyzed the DNA of 199 specimens taken from sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) and...
  • Ancient Headless Skeletons Found In Island Grave

    10/30/2007 8:14:22 PM PDT · by blam · 29 replies · 75+ views
    Live Science ^ | 10-29-2007 | Jeanna Bryner
    Ancient Headless Skeletons Found in Island Grave By Jeanna Bryner, LiveScience Staff Writerposted: 29 October 2007 11:36 am ET More than fifty headless skeletons have been unearthed in one of the oldest Pacific Islander cemeteries in the world. The individuals were members of a socially complex society, traveling between islands hundreds of miles away, a new study suggests. The finding could solve a long-held debate over whether the Lapita people, thought to be ancestors of the Polynesians, were isolated on individual islands or interacted with other distant Lapita tribes to find marriage partners, exchange information and maintain social ties. Results,...
  • Polynesian mtDNA in extinct Amerindians from Brazil

    04/04/2013 11:01:14 AM PDT · by Theoria · 14 replies
    Dienekes' Anthropology blog ^ | 03 April 2013 | Dienekes' Anthropology blog
    From the paper: In 1808 the Portuguese Crown declared “Just War” (Bellumiustum) against all Indian tribes that did not accept European laws (23). The fierce Botocudo were targeted in such wars and, in consequence, became virtually extinct by the end of the 19th century (24). Their importance for the history of the peopling of the Americas was revealed by studies reporting that the Botocudo had cranial features that consistently were described as intermediate between the polar Paleoamerican and Mongoloid morphologies (25, 26). Multivariate analyses of the cranial measures of different Amerindian and Paleoamerican groups from Brazil indeed concluded that the...
  • Genetic Study Uncovers New Path to Polynesia

    02/05/2011 4:22:23 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 17 replies · 1+ views
    ScienceDaily ^ | Thursday, February 3, 2011 | University of Leeds
    The islands of Polynesia were first inhabited around 3,000 years ago, but where these people came from has long been a hot topic of debate amongst scientists. The most commonly accepted view, based on archaeological and linguistic evidence as well as genetic studies, is that Pacific islanders were the latter part of a migration south and eastwards from Taiwan which began around 4,000 years ago. But the Leeds research -- published February 3 in The American Journal of Human Genetics -- has found that the link to Taiwan does not stand up to scrutiny. In fact, the DNA of current...
  • New insights on origin of Polynesians

    12/28/2015 10:31:20 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    Popular Archaeology ^ | Monday, December 28, 2015 | Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
    Analysis of the oldest-known cemetery in the South Pacific may help resolve a longstanding debate over the origins and ancestry of Polynesians. Modern-day Polynesians bear strong cultural and linguistic similarities to the ancient people associated with the Lapita Culture who settled on Vanuatu more than 3,000 years ago. However, the origin of the Lapita people remains debated, with recent biological studies suggesting that the group may be of mixed ancestry with a strong contribution from Melanesian populations, who were already established on islands to the west near New Guinea. Frederique Valentin, Matthew Spriggs, and colleagues conducted morphological analyses involving craniometric...
  • Clues to Prehistoric Human Exploration Found in Sweet Potato Genome

    01/21/2013 8:39:59 PM PST · by Theoria · 26 replies
    Science ^ | 21 Jan 2013 | Lizzie Wade
    Europeans raced across oceans and continents during the Age of Exploration in search of territory and riches. But when they reached the South Pacific, they found they had been beaten there by a more humble traveler: the sweet potato. Now, a new study suggests that the plant's genetics may be the key to unraveling another great age of exploration, one that predated European expansion by several hundred years and remains an anthropological enigma. Humans domesticated the sweet potato in the Peruvian highlands about 8000 years ago, and previous generations of scholars believed that Spanish and Portuguese explorers introduced the crop...
  • Dental plaque reveals key plant in prehistoric Easter Island diet

    12/19/2014 11:22:29 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 27 replies
    University of Otago ^ | Tuesday, 16 December 2014 | Ms Monica Tromp
    Known to its Polynesian inhabitants as Rapa Nui, Easter Island is thought to have been colonised around the 13th Century and is famed for its mysterious large stone statues or moai. Otago Anatomy PhD student Monica Tromp and Idaho State University’s Dr John Dudgeon have just published new research clearing up their previous puzzling finding that suggested palm may have been a staple plant food for Rapa Nui’s population over several centuries. However, no other line of archaeological or ethnohistoric evidence supports palm having a dietary role on Easter Island; in fact evidence points to the palm becoming extinct soon...
  • Archaeologists Find Evidence Of Origin Of Pacific Islanders

    03/31/2008 1:56:50 PM PDT · by blam · 26 replies · 1,238+ views
    VOA News ^ | 3-31-2008 | Heidi Chang
    Archaeologists Find Evidence of Origin of Pacific Islanders By Heidi Chang Honolulu, Hawaii 31 March 2008 The origin of Pacific Islanders has been a mystery for years. Now archaeologists believe they have the answer. As Heidi Chang reports, they found it in China. The excavation of the Zishan site (Zhejiang Province) in 1996, where many artifacts from the Hemudu culture have been found China had a sea-faring civilization as long as 7000 years ago. Archaeologist Tianlong Jiao says, one day, these mariners sailed their canoes into the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, and stayed. He points out, "Most scientists, archaeologists,...
  • New Lapita Find Re-dates Known Fiji Settlers (Jomon/Ainu)

    07/14/2005 10:29:09 AM PDT · by blam · 15 replies · 2,420+ views
    Taipei Times ^ | 7-14-2005
    New Lapita find re-dates known Fiji settlers VITAL CLUE: The pottery shard, at least 200 years older than any other piece found in Fiji, is thought to be the work of the Lapita people that originated near Taiwan AFP , AUCKLAND Sunday, Oct 24, 2004 A biological anthropologist excavates a skeleton after archeologists discovered a 3,000-year-old cemetery in Vanuatu in August, holding secrets about the first humans to colonize the South Pacific. A shard of pottery showing a human face, pre-dating any other Lapita pottery in Fiji, has now been found and hailed a s a significant discovery. PHOTO: AFP...
  • Deep history of coconuts decoded (Colonization of the Americas?)

    06/24/2011 2:06:33 PM PDT · by decimon · 39 replies
    Washington University in St. Louis ^ | June 24, 2011 | Diana Lutz
    Written in coconut DNA are two origins of cultivation, several ancient trade routes, and the history of the colonization of the AmericasThe coconut (the fruit of the palm Cocos nucifera) is the Swiss Army knife of the plant kingdom; in one neat package it provides a high-calorie food, potable water, fiber that can be spun into rope, and a hard shell that can be turned into charcoal. What’s more, until it is needed for some other purpose it serves as a handy flotation device. No wonder people from ancient Austronesians to Captain Bligh pitched a few coconuts aboard before setting...
  • Easter Island's Ancient Inhabitants Weren't So Lonely After All

    10/23/2014 2:15:04 PM PDT · by blam · 21 replies
    BI - Reuters ^ | 10-23-2014 | Will Dunham, Reuters
    Will Dunham October 23, 2014 They lived on a remote dot of land in the middle of the Pacific, 2,300 miles (3,700 km) west of South America and 1,100 miles (1,770 km) from the closest island, erecting huge stone figures that still stare enigmatically from the hillsides. But the ancient Polynesian people who populated Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, were not as isolated as long believed. Scientists who conducted a genetic study, published on Thursday in the journal Current Biology, found these ancient people had significant contact with Native American populations hundreds of years before the first Westerners reached the...
  • Epic Voyage To Discover Origins And Migration Routes Of Ancestors Of Ancient Polynesians...

    11/06/2008 3:25:54 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies · 338+ views
    ScienceDaily ^ | Thursday, November 6, 2008 | Durham University
    Two Durham University scientists are to play a key part in a 6000km trip following the migration route of ancient Pacific cultures. Drs Keith Dobney and Greger Larson, both from the Department of Archaeology, will be joining the voyage, which will be the first ever expedition to sail in two traditional Polynesian boats -- ethnic double canoes -- which attempts to re-trace the genuine migration route of the ancient Austronesians. The main aim of the voyage is to find out where the ancestors of Polynesian culture originated but the Durham University researchers will also be examining the local wildlife. Dr...
  • Early Americans helped colonise Easter Island

    06/09/2011 8:46:24 AM PDT · by Renfield · 13 replies
    New Scientist ^ | 06-06-2011 | Michael Marshall
    South Americans helped colonise Easter Island centuries before Europeans reached it. Clear genetic evidence has, for the first time, given support to elements of this controversial theory showing that while the remote island was mostly colonised from the west, there was also some influx of people from the Americas. ~~~snip~~~ Now Erik Thorsby of the University of Oslo in Norway has found clear evidence to support elements of Heyerdahl's hypothesis. In 1971 and 2008 he collected blood samples from Easter Islanders whose ancestors had not interbred with Europeans and other visitors to the island. Thorsby looked at the HLA genes,...