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Patrick Vinton Kirch , Roger C. The power of an anthropological approach to long-term history lies in its unique ability to combine diverse evidence, from archaeological artifacts to ethnographic texts and comparative word lists. In this innovative book, Kirch and Green explicitly develop the theoretical underpinnings, as well as the particular methods, for such a historical anthropology.

Drawing upon and integrating the approaches of archaeology, comparative ethnography, and historical linguistics, they advance a phylogenetic model for cultural diversification, and apply a triangulation method for historical reconstruction.

They illustrate their approach through meticulous application to the history of the Polynesian cultures, and for the first time reconstruct in extensive detail the Ancestral Polynesian culture that flourished in the Polynesian homeland - Hawaiki - some 2, years ago. Of great significance for Oceanic studies, Kirch and Green's book will be essential reading for any anthropologist, prehistorian, linguist, or cultural historian concerned with the theory and method of long-term history.

This contrasts with Melanesian societies, in which the principal kinds of descent units were typically unilineal , Howard and Kirkpatrick provide an even more sweeping view, following their review of the recent literature on Polynesian descent groups: The cultural perspective argues that Polynesians carried with them a set of principles for interpreting the world and organizing their social lives. Other kinds of regularities and systemic patterns could be cited, such as Goldman's , attention to status rivalry and status lineages in Polynesia, or widespread practices in child rearing and adoption Borofsky and Howard a Polynesia as a phylogenetic unit 71 These intra-Polynesian geographic associations or clusters of traits began to be formally recognized as one outcome of the systematic ethnographic survey of Polynesia initiated by the Bernice P.

Table 3.

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The range of traits includes aspects not only of material culture, but also of kinship, religion, and calendrics. But since Burrows' pioneering effort we have learned that although systemic patterns with great time depth in Polynesia may be expected to appear in both Western and Eastern Polynesia and in the Outliers to the west , in the core region of Western Polynesia some 72 The phylogenetic model: theory and method Table 3.

This caution is not meant as grounds for dismissing these approaches as of little account in historical work, for they are often useful starting places. Polynesia as a biological unit The immediate as well as remote biological origins of the Polynesians have been the subject of much debate see Howells ; Terrell ; Green a; Houghton We aver that paleo-populations associated with the Lapita cultural complex in Near and Remote Oceania gave rise to the founding parental Polynesian and Fijian populations from which all later populations in that region derive Houghton , ; Pietrusewsky ; Serjeantson and Hill ; Kelly ; Clark and Kelly ; Martinson ; Kirch a; Lum and Cann ; Lum et al.

Thus the biological separation so evident today was accomplished by a fair degree of secular change in one direction within Fiji during the past 1, years, presumably with the input from the west of new genetic material into that archipelago Visser , and change in another direction in Tonga Van Dijk and in other Eastern Polynesian islands. Recent genetic evidence strongly indicates that the ancestors of the Polynesians passed through a constricted demographic bottleneck in which a parental group of small size and one showing the genetic traces of initially having resided in a malarious region [Kelly ; Clark and Kelly ; Martinson ] served as its founding colony.

Because these biological processes and outcomes do not directly affect how one reconstructs the Ancestral Polynesian societies and their culture, we will not further consider strictly biological aspects of the phylogenetic approach as in Vogt's step 6, see Chapter 1. Thus whatever continued biological evolution there has been among Polynesian populations over the past 2, years, this has been conditioned by the relative isolation between Western and Eastern Polynesian subregions.

Archaeology also furnishes evidence to Polynesia as a phylogenetic unit Fig. There is no indication of cultural replacements within island groups, and certainly none of major intrusions from outside of the Polynesian phylogenetic unit itself. Green also argued that there was no a priori reason that initial biological, linguistic, and cultural differentiation among Ancestral Polynesian societies had proceeded as strictly contemporaneous events or processes, as long as within a reasonable period of time all three began to cohere.

Referred to as Early Eastern Lapita Kirch a , this regional variant of the larger Lapita cultural complex is marked by ceramic assemblages characterized by particular vessel forms, decorated in a distinctive subset of the dentate-stamped Lapita design system Mead et al. The archaeological evidence suggests that these colonizers were socially organized into small-scale communities see Chapter 8. Linguistically, we visualize this entity to have constituted a kind of rapidly dispersing dialect chain.

Some dialect differences seem to have rapidly emerged between speakers of communalects in the northern as opposed to southern zones in the eastern portion of the PCP chain i. Pawley's a, best estimate from linguistic information especially his admittedly shaky use of glottochronological computations is that years is possible but improbably rapid, whereas a more reasonable estimate is at least years, and conceivably longer. The correspondence between linguistic and archaeological evidence here is essential: both occur in the same set of islands and during the same temporal interval.

These events are beginning to be recognized archaeologically through settlement sequences for various island groups lying beyond the boundaries of the core Western Polynesian area.

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While admitting the controversial dating of the initial settlement of central Eastern Polynesia, we are convinced that this process must have started by BP, the date now minimally attested for early human activity in the Society Islands and Mangaia Ellison ; Kirch and Ellison ; Lepofsky et al. Moreover, recent advances in the sourcing of basalt adzes and other kinds of artifacts Weisler , demonstrate that central Eastern Polynesia constituted a complex network of communities linked by frequent inter-island and interarchipelago exchanges.


This archaeological evidence for an early interaction network linking the central Eastern Polynesian islands meshes well with the 80 The phylogenetic model: theory and method linguistic evidence for an innovation-based Proto Central-Eastern Polynesian PCE speech community, in all likelihood a dialect chain or linkage. It is doubtful that Rapa Nui was ever connected with the central Eastern Polynesian core area by regular two-way voyages, although the possibility of a limited number of post-colonization contacts should not be ruled out Green a.

The degree of continued, two-way voyaging contact between New Zealand and the central Eastern Polynesian core region is uncertain, but seems unlikely to have been extensive. Polynesia as a phylogenetic unit 81 Without belaboring the details of the Eastern Polynesian archaeological record, the overall sequence of island colonizations just summarized provides an independent model of the most recent stages in the differentiation of the Polynesian cultures, a process that involved migration and expansion into previously uninhabited lands and proceeded in a series of stages lasting perhaps a millennium.

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In Table 3. The selection of sites and assemblages listed in Table 3. The most important of these artifacts are the ceramics known as Polynesian Plainware see Chapter 7. It is from these thirty-odd sites and assemblages that we adduce archaeological evidence for the reconstruction of certain cultural domains within Ancestral Polynesia, in the analytical chapters of Part II. Many of the sites listed in Table 3. Many sites have been 82 The phylogenetic model: theory and method Table 3.

Holopeka Lifuka Is. Faleloa Foa Is. Where formal sampling strategies have been applied e. We are cognizant of the problems of sampling error, and of differential survivability of items of material culture, and do not minimize these here see Chapter 7. Isolation, interaction, and phylogeny We cannot end our consideration of Polynesia as a phylogenetic unit without discussing the linked issues of isolation and interaction, especially given that Fig.

Polynesia as a phylogenetic unit 85 recent critiques have pointed to inter-island and inter-archipelago interaction as posing fundamental or even insurmountable problems for a phylogenetic approach Terrell et al. Instead of an A? C sequence of colonization with discrete breaks, the formation of linked communities and dialect chains is more plausible, and a gradual process of network-breaking accounts for the formation of dialectal and cultural differentiation within the Polynesian homeland.

But what of later, and continued, contact or interaction among related Polynesian societies? This is the position argued by Hunt et al. Terrell et al. We concur. In this regard, we do not share Terrell et al. New Zealand, too, had been isolated for some time prior to European voyaging. Thus the marginal sectors of Eastern Polynesia, set off from the core by open-ocean 86 The phylogenetic model: theory and method distances ranging from 2, to 4, km, were unquestionably isolated, and had not been in regular contact with the Eastern Polynesian homeland for many centuries at least.

What is crucial, for our purposes, is that the Tongan exchange network was operated by a small number of Tongan elites, and involved the transfer of prestige goods such as mats and feathers and the marriage of limited numbers of highranking spouses. The central Eastern Polynesian network, best known perhaps from the famous map dictated by the Tahitian priest-navigator Tupaia to Captain Cook Dening , is less well documented, but also involved elites and was probably restricted to prestige goods.

Neither of these systems involved large numbers of people, or high-frequency movement of goods and materials. That such inter-island contacts did not lead to wholesale horizontal transmission of traits linguistic or cultural is patently obvious in that the interacting groups maintained distinctive languages and cultural patterns. Tongan and Samoan languages, likewise, remained discrete and distinctively separate, even though there was some borrowing between them.

The same can be said for the maintenance of cultural and linguistic differences among the various central Eastern Polynesian cultures. Indeed, various Polynesian groups consciously maintained distinctive cultural and linguistic identities, quite the opposite of willy-nilly borrowing of every new word or thing they heard or saw on voyages to other islands. While the ethnohistoric and ethnographic evidence demonstrates that some degree of isolation did separate various Polynesian groups, and that Polynesia as a phylogenetic unit 87 interaction both was restricted to certain elite segments of society and did not inexorably lead to cultural homogenization, we can go farther.

Contrary to the assertion of Hunt et al. The respective contributions of ancestry or shared inheritance could be unambiguously separated from those of culturecontact.

Hawaiki, Ancestral Polynesia

Again, shared retentions can be distinguished from the effects of later contact. Likewise, Best et al. It is essential to keep in mind, however, that the transport of a handful of stone artifacts from one island or archipelago to another implies exactly the kinds of relatively low-frequency, elite-centered voyaging demonstrated by the ethnohistoric record. Moreover, the emerging archaeological evidence supports a model of initial integration of some 88 The phylogenetic model: theory and method island populations into an interaction sphere, followed by later isolation.

Indeed, Mangaian oral traditions Hiroa speak to several attempts by groups from Rarotonga, Aitutaki, and Atiu to invade Mangaia, and the repulsion of such groups by Mangaian warriors. Yet a third body of independent evidence bearing on the question of interaction versus isolation in prehistoric Polynesia comes from recent studies of biological variation. Referring to Terrell et al. Mitochondrial DNA phylogenies of R. Where interaction was ongoing and is ethnographically described, it involved small numbers of elites.

Correspondence between the results of their independent analyses is striking. In the last analysis, we need only point to the kinds of deep divisions within Polynesia, so well analyzed by Burrows a; see Table 3. What is essential is good theory, and rigorous method. This included the discovery and eventual colonization of islands both in Eastern Polynesia, and to the west the Polynesian Outliers.

By the time of regular European intrusion into Polynesia beginning in the late eighteenth century, the island groups of central Eastern Polynesia, as well as those of Western Polynesia and the Outliers, were each distinguished from the other by myriad local variations in speech, dress, material culture and architectural styles, details of sociopolitical organization, and so forth.

This brings us to one additional methodological detail: the importance of using information from both Western and Eastern Polynesian subgroups when reconstructing the society and culture ancestral to both.

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Given the traditional family tree for the Polynesian languages see Figure 3. In such cases, the term may potentially be a later innovation, after the breakup of PPN, which was then borrowed into one or more other Western Polynesian languages, given that the speakers of these languages have been in intermittent contact throughout prehistory.

Addressing such problems in the context of a comparative study of Polynesian cosmogonic traditions, Marck proposed two principles of histor- Polynesia as a phylogenetic unit 91 ical reconstruction, which we will also follow. These principles, as stated by Marck, are: 1. If a feature. Agreements between Tongan and Samoan will be considered possible borrowings unless there is agreement from Eastern Polynesia as well. Similarly, if a feature occurs in two widely separated groups not otherwise known to have borrowed from each other, the feature will be suggested to have occurred in the community of speakers of their common proto-language rather than to be borrowed.

Because versions of this belief are attested in Tonga and Samoa, and from Eastern Polynesia, Marck regards it as an aspect of the belief system of the PPN speakers. As an example of the second principle, he gives the naming of the male of the Primordial Pair as Papa-adjective in both Samoa and the Marquesas. We will also apply these principles in our work of cultural reconstruction to the Ancestral Polynesian level. Thus we prefer rediscovering Hawaiki, a simple phrase that, in our view, more aptly conveys the essence of our enterprise. Hawaiki as the ancestral Polynesian homeland Hawaiki is a word deeply ingrained in the annals of Polynesian scholarship.

Geraghty deals at length with Pulotu while Taumoefolau reconsiders Hawaiki, both invoking detailed linguistic arguments. Our position in this continuing discussion over the naming of the Polynesian homeland is as follows. Thus the origin of Hawaiki marks the end of the Ancestral Polynesian period. The name would be carried by Polynesian voyagers throughout virtually the whole of Eastern Polynesia, where it was variously Introductory remarks 97 given to islands or places e.

We thus use the word in much the same sense that we infer the PNP speakers to have done, as the name of the ancestral homeland in which a distinctively Polynesian culture arose.