Fishhook Variability in East Polynesia

O'Connor, John
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
The colonization of the eastern Pacific islands has long been of interest to archaeologists given its relatively recent history and remoteness. The geographical isolation exemplified by the archipelagos of East Polynesia provides an ideal situation for the study of cultural development among descendants of an initial ancestral population. My study examines proximal endpoint line-attachment-devices (LAD) in prehistoric fishhook assemblages from East Polynesia to address questions of early colonization, migrations, and interaction. I build relational networks using artifact classes and compare these artifact trait networks to the geographical distributions of the analyzed assemblages. The relation of stylistic character states among assemblages maps cultural transmission lineages. From this analysis I explore the degree of cultural relatedness among various East Polynesian fishhook classes, their sharing in space and time, and consider some of the implications of colonization order and human migrations in East Polynesia. Sample size differences limit the analytic potential of this study, but point to areas for future research.
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