Lapita colonised Tonga within two generations › News in Science (ABC Science)
Pacific Islands peopling | Polynesian origin | early Lapita | skull | morphometric analysis artifacts including highly decorated pottery displaying a distinctive streams from already-inhabited parts of Melanesia dating from. Lapita pottery has long been held as the key to Polynesian colonization of the The earliest Lapita sites are in the Bismark Archipelago and are dated at 3, Although one C14 date from Samoa suggests that initial settlement was B.C. in 20 The Lapita pottery sites, much like temporary railway encampments, were.
Lapita culture - Wikipedia
This situation, with pottery profusion in a narrow band some distance from the present lagoon edge, was typical of this western region. Systematic survey towards the east along the lagoon fringe confirmed the presence of the pottery on or close to the same slightly raised beach line found at varying distance from the present lagoon edge. Around the villages of Pea and Ha'ateiho, where the land is somewhat higher, a series of what appear to be old marine or lagoon terraces 10 metres above present sea-level approach close to the lagoon fringe.
Towards the eastern edges of the lagoon where detailed surveying of the ancient beach line was discontinued, the higher land beyond the marine terrace is very close to the lagoon edge. Part of the frontage of the present village of Mu'a, for instance, falls abruptly into the lagoon.
It is clear that many parts of the land along the lagoon edge post-date the beach line, presumably won from the lagoon by slow progradation a process which is still going on today or by tectonic activity. A large part of the present town of Nuku'alofa for instance is almost certainly founded on such land.
It is significant, therefore, that in nearly three months of observation no potsherds were found in the main town area or along the waterfront. Only towards the back of the town where the new police barracks is situated, or where the Mangaia mound excavated by the Birkses is located can pottery be found.
In fact although the site was missed during the initial survey, the largest pottery bearing site seen by the author in Tonga was uncovered by bulldozers clearing the land for the new police barracks. At the time of Poulsen's work, pottery had not been reported from the northern islands of the archipelago. Ina small field party from Auckland University and the Australian National University managed - to hire a small boat to visit the other islands of the archipelago.
Like the non-lagoonal areas of Tongatapu, however, the pottery was only in very small quantities. It took several days, for instance, in the most northerly island, Vava'u, before a single highly eroded sherd was recovered. Despite the ease with which many of these small islands could be surveyed, pottery was extraordinarily sparse, although present on almost all the islands investigated.
A rich site, comparable to many on the lagoon fringe on Tongatapu, was discovered on the outskirts of Hihifo, the main town in the Ha'apai group, and a relatively rich site was located on the island of Felevai off Vava'u. Apart from these two sites, only a few dozen sherds, always small, highly eroded and without decoration, were recovered from the entire trip. Two significant points emerge from this reconnaissance: Pottery, undoubtedly of the Lapita tradition, is throughout the Tongan archipelago, although in small quantities.
This represents the largest concentration of Lapita pottery sites in the western Pacific. Elsewhere sites with Lapita pottery are isolated discoveries.
The argument, proposed by Golson and supported by Poulsen, that with the Lapita potters must be found the origin of the Polynesians is strengthened by the fact that on almost every island occupied by the Polynesian Tongans remnants of Lapita pottery can be found.
If the pottery had been restricted to the main island, Tongatapu, it would have strengthened the possibility that the Lapita potters were alien to the present-day Polynesian inhabitants. These field observations do little to support the argument for longevity of pottery in Tonga.
If, as Poulsen claims, pottery persisted in use into the eighteenth century, it is astonishing that pottery remains are so scarce away from the lagoon fringe on Tongatapu or in the northern islands.
The evidence, however, is by no means conclusive: Apart from the late C14 dates discussed below the main support for Poulsen's claim, in fact, comes from the enthnographic records of the early contact period when pots were observed in use in Tonga.How to analyze a Lapita design
This enthnographic evidence, however, is at best ambiguous as most commentators were convinced that the rare pots observed were of Fijian origin. The following quotation from a forthcoming paper on the Tongan enthnographic evidence summarises the situation: It would appear, however, from the evidence of the earliest explorers, that pottery was no longer made in Tonga, and that what pottery was seen there came from Fiji.
We saw in their possession some very porous earthen vessels, which they had baked indeed, but very slightly. In these they kept fresh water, which would have quickly filtered through them, if they had not taken the precaution to give them a coating of resin.
Vessels thus made could be of no use to them in dressing victuals. The natives showed us some of a tolerably elegant form, which they said had been brought from Feejee. We saw them drinking in companies out of cups of this sort, round which they put a net of a pretty large mesh, to be able to carry them about easily.
When they had emptied a few of them they went to fill them again out of little holes, which they had dug in the ground, that the water might flow into them. This description is clearly of Fijian pottery: By the time he arrived at Nomuka he had changed his mind and decided that the few similar earthen pots seen at that island could have been made there or at some neighbouring island Vol.
These pots could be the same as those referred to by Cook as coming from Tongatapu, because Cook is quite explicit in saying that they saw and bought only two pots in the southern part of the Tongan group. II, p; refers only once to pottery in Tonga: The narrow distribution of the sherdage, coinciding closely with present-day settlements, does not offer a favourable environment for preservation of evidence.
In addition, the intensive agricultural activities of the Tongans ensure that few sites outside the villages survive intact. It is highly probable that every square inch of this extensively settled island has been turned over many times during the 3, years of prehistory. This situation poses an almost impossible problem for the archaeologist: A house mound built in the village of Pea in will quite likely incorporate decorated potsherds identical to those recovered by Gifford at site 13 in New Caledonia or by the Birkses at Yanuca rock shelter in Fiji and dated to the middle of the first millennium B.
Clearly this situation demands archaeological skill and finesse of the highest order to overcome the inherent difficulties of the environment in which these sherds are found. Poulsen was well aware of these difficulties: Stratification within these shell middens was so complex that in the absence of trained personnel as excavators, sites were dug in spits, the standard unit being 1 metre by 1 metre in area and 10 cms in depth.
As compensation for this more destructive way of digging, profiles were drawn for each metre showing the distribution of the original layers as far as they could be recognised at all.
The aim was to make it possible to allocate spits to original layers, that is to refer the artefactual evidence to its original position in the middens in a reasonable way.
For this reason, Poulsen sensibly concentrated on excavating - shell-middens which offered the best conditions for primary deposition of potsherds. There is strong evidence, however, that the persistence of shell-fish middens throughout Tongan prehistory is, like the persistence of pottery, a major interpretative problem and not a fact to be assumed.
Story: Pacific migrations
This crucial problem of context and disturbance is important in interpreting the C14 dates from Poulsen's excavations. As any soil-moving activities in the lagoonal fringe of Tongatapu will inevitably result in sherds being incorporated into deposits, the crucial question is whether the dates refer to in situ pottery or to other activities innocently involving sherds. The full details of Poulsen's C14 submissions are available only from the Gakushuin and the Australian National University laboratories, and four important New Zealand dates are unpublished.
These people are part of the Hokan language group of America, all of which are believed to be descendants of the Berbers. The Urekehu - or red heads amongst the Maori are believed to have come from a hot dry land to the East.
Pacific migrations – Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand
In fact the people of Lake Titicaca are called the Uros who live on floating reed beds in the lake. Right through America variations of this Ur name is widespread. All these people are river trading people, skilled in the use of boats. This once again confirms that Polynesians could not have lived in Melanesia and therefore could not have been the Lapita people whose archaeological remains show a clear association with Melanesians for over 1, years.
Johnathon Friedlaender makes it quite clear that Polynesians developed in isolation from the Melanesians. This skull hints at the amount of cross cultural interaction between these people - she has a classic Polynesian rocker jaw!
Geneticist Lisa Matissoo-Smith successfully extracted DNA from the teeth of the Teouma skeletons, found in Lapita burial urns, some of which were sitting in the lotus position.
She found that they did not contain any Polynesian or East Asian genes. To date she has not yet determined whether the DNA is Melanesian or from a forgotten civilization of Caucasian seafarers. Lisa Matissoo-Smith in her interview on TV NZ Tagata Pasifika Lapita special 3 said; "We were able to look to see whether the individual possessed a particular mutation that we see at a very high frequency in Polynesians.
This has not happened, she has been advised to pass the study on to a laboratory in America Similar results to hers were ignored from a different team of geneticists in The reason for also quietly sweeping this information under the carpet remains to be seen.
- Lapita culture
- Lapita pottery
Further back in time - inanother geneticist Susan Serjeantson brought to the attention of scientists the differences between Eastern Polynesians and the people of the Western Pacific. Once again this information was quietly ignored; S. The following genes set them apart: These antigens are sporadic in Western Polynesia and are essentially absent from the populations of Eastern Polynesia. Unfortunately geneticists found that these people separated from the main Polynesian population of Eastern Polynesia less than 1, years ago.
This was in complete agreement to the legends of these people which stated that their arrival was from Eastern Polynesia about 1, years ago.
Some legends described escape from war and family squabbles, others described storm drift survival voyages Peter Buck - Vikings of the Sunrise. It was not just Polynesians who migrated westward. Ceramics were not manufactured by Polynesian societies at any time in East Polynesian prehistory. The date of BC 3, years agocomes from a single hearth feature associated with Lapita materials. The Elouae site contained obsidian both from the Admiralties km to the east, and Talasea km to the south.
Requiring a significant sea voyage. Other researchers have identified Melanesian obsidian in Borneo, suggestng this trade network encompassed S. Matthew Spriggs states; "The possibility of cultural continuity between Lapita Potters and Melanesians has not been given the consideration it deserves.
In most sites there was an overlap of styles with no stratigraphic separation discernible Continuity is found in pottery temper, importation of obsidian and in non ceramic artefacts". Contemporary with the final phases of Lapita and continuing long afterwards in some areas we find the incised and relief pottery or Mangaasi style widespread in Melanesia. In Watom, Mangaasi pottery is found with lapita pottery, made from the same clay and dating to BC".
As there is no genetic link between Melanesians and Polynesians, there is no way Polynesians shared their clay with the Melanesians for over 1, years without finding themselves in bed with each other. As Lapita pottery is found amongst other distinctly Melanesian styles of pottery, made of the same clay, it seems that either; the Lapita culture was Melanesian; or the Lapita people lived amongst the Melanesians and contributed significantly to Melanesian society.
The above observations by Spriggs clearly indicates that Lapita had its origins within the Bismark Archipelago, the heart of Melanesia, spread throughout Melanesia, but then slowly gave way to other styles of pottery as other designs became more fashionable, with Lapita ceasing production before Polynesians even entered the Pacific!
There is continuity in most aspects of the archaeological record that appears to mimic post Lapita sequences of Fiji and island Melanesia. Anita Smith continues; "Plainware pottery is found on many Polynesian islands and was thought to be a significant player in the transformation of Lapita society into a Polynesian cultural complex. Unfortunately no classical Polynesian artifacts have been found within this plainware assemblage. Anita Smith found a similar break in habitation on many of the islands she studied, clearly separating Lapita culture from Polynesian habitation of the islands.
These two graphs from Anita Smiths 'An archaeology of West Polynesian Prehistory' shows a definite break in occupation on many Pacific islands between the end of Lapita and the beginning of Polynesian occupation. As there are significant gaps between the periods of habitation, I would suggest natural disasters such as Typhoons or Ttsunamis, rather than wars may have been responsible for the desertion of many of these islands.
As the Lapita people were essentially seafaring coastal dwellers, often living in stilt houses above the water, their numbers would have been severely depleted if a Tsunami swept across the Pacific. The above information has been obtained scientifically by scientists and clearly shows Polynesians had nothing to do with Lapita, yet media releases from the scientific community still assert that the Polynesians gradually evolved out of the Lapita people in Melanesia.
This is typified by the March National Geographic Magazine. How can scientists continue to sweep all the above information under the carpet and carry on with their contradictory stories of nonsense and get away with it? I am sure most scientists are well intentioned, but there seems to be some that are deliberately perverting the search for the truth either for their own selfish reasons or because they have been instructed to do so by people with political agendas.
These geneticists also determined that Polynesians departed from East Asia Taiwan, Japan and China about 6, years ago, before Mongoloid expansion in East Asia 5, years ago. Linguists also confirm that the time of separation of the Polynesian language from East Asia was about 6, years ago. Their wherabouts for 3, years is therefore a mystery, unless of course the West Coast of America is considered as their interim homeland. There is a great deal of cultural, artefact and genetic evidence that seems to suggest that this possibility has not been given the consideration it deserves.
For example; Polynesians used calabashes made from a Native American species of Gourd instead of pottery; they used mats for trade exchange - similar to native tribes of the Canadian coast; they made polished tanged adzes, stone pounders, two piece fish hooks and harpoon heads - none of which have ever been found at Lapita sites, but instead are characteristic of cultures along the West Coast of Canada and North America. It is no coincidence that the people of New Zealand and Coastal Canada share the same unusual custom of rubbing noses together as a form of greeting.
Despite this, Canada has never been seriously considered as an interim homeland for Polynesians after leaving Taiwan 6, years ago.
The map below shows the mtDNA of the Pacific region. It appears that Polynesian females have more in common with Native Americans than any other group on the Pacific rim.
The arrival of Haplogroup B on the West coast of America wasyears ago, but in Polynesia it was only 2, years ago, suggesting the direction of colonization. Furthermore A11 is associated with Bw48 in Polynesians but not in America, therefore it has been picked up from other Pacific populations since their departure from the NW Canada population.
This clearly shows that the colonization of Polynesia was from America, not the reverse as some anthropologists have suggested. Wahine, the word for female is also derived from the word Hina. Interestingly Inana is also the name for the Mesopotamian moon goddess and Sina is the name of the Sumerian moon goddess depicted on artefacts from over10, years ago, suggesting that the persistence of culture is much more than anyone ever imagined.
Scientists still cling to a few threads of circumstantial evidence which connect the Lapita and Polynesian cultures despite the fact that there is not one shred of hard evidence that connects the two cultures. There have been a plethora of papers written on Melanesia and Western Polynesia, while Eastern Polynesia and coastal America has been almost deliberately ignored. Researchers who have attempted to establish connections between Polynesia and America have been shunned and ridiculed, often having their funding withdrawn.
Without the funding, comprehensive studies cannot be undertaken, and so, we are kept in the dark through insufficient and biased research based on old dogmas. This is not the way of true science, it is the way of egotistical professors trying to uphold their work in the light of new findings that clearly show that some of the fundamental assumptions that their lifetime's work was based on, is false. Here are some examples of what these scientists have come up with when trying to understand the colonization of the Pacific, by excluding the possibly that the West coast of America was the stepping stone they were all looking for.
The Slow Train The slow train theory was used to explain that Polynesians left Taiwan about years ago and it assumed they took a slow trip through Melanesia making Lapita pottery before entering the Eastern Pacific.
These scientists assumed that Lapita pottery was left by Polynesians despite no pottery ever being found amongst Polynesian artefacts. Therefore it is impossible for Polynesians to have been making pottery on Melanesian islands for over 1, years. The major cultural differences between Melanesians and Polynesians have always been a point of contention with the slow train theory.
Melanesians have what is called a 'Big Man' society The Big Man society claims the richest most charismatic man as their chief.
This is completely unrelated to the Polynesian socio-political system who have a class based society and follow a hereditary lineage of Kings and Queens. The incredible depth of Polynesian ancestry is best preserved in Hawai'i, where the main ancestral Royal family can be traced back 16, years to Lailai possibly Lili of ancient Sumerian legend.
The stark physical differences of Melanesians with their dark skin and frizzy hair when compared to Polynesian golden skin and straight hair casts serious doubt on the Slow Train theory.