Colonisation, Mobility and Exchange in New Zealand Prehistory

By Walter, Richard; Jacomb, Chris et al. | Antiquity, June 2010 | Go to article overview

Colonisation, Mobility and Exchange in New Zealand Prehistory


Walter, Richard, Jacomb, Chris, Bowron-Muth, Sreymony, Antiquity


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Introduction

New Zealand was settled during the last phase of the Austronesian expansion that commenced around 3300 BP, when Lapita peoples moved down the coasts of New Guinea and into the Oceanic world beyond. In Papua New Guinea and the northern Solomon Islands these new groups interacted with communities whose ancestors had crossed the Wallace Line into the Pleistocene landmass of Sahul some 37 000-47 000 years earlier. Beyond the Solomon Islands the vast seascape of the Pacific was uninhabited until the arrival of Lapita settlers, bringing with them new sailing and colonisation strategies. In Polynesia the Lapita descendants pushed further east settling virtually every Polynesian island and arriving in New Zealand as the final stage of this migration at the end of the thirteenth century AD (Walter & Jacomb 2007) (Figure 1). Once settled, New Zealand lost contact with the tropical homelands and its prehistory proceeded with virtually no further involvement with the rest of the Oceanic world.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

Because of its isolation New Zealand prehistory has been largely conceived in its own terms (Walter 2004). Interest in wider Pacific connections has been restricted to questions of origins, and the timing and technology of discovery. In this paper we look at similarities in colonising and exchange behaviour between New Zealand Maori and Austronesian colonists elsewhere in Oceania, making particular use of obsidian as a marker. We document distinctive patterns in New Zealand archaeology that reflect continuity in traditions of colonisation, mobility and exchange that were introduced into the Pacific 3000 years earlier in western Melanesia. We summarise these patterns before turning to New Zealand.

Obsidian exchange and colonisation in western Melanesia

There are several high quality obsidian sources in the Bismarck Archipelago and elsewhere in eastern Papua New Guinea. Amongst these, the Talasea source of West New Britain was used during the Pleistocene and rapidly adopted by the new Austronesian settlers. The early Austronesian sites display a distinctive pattern of obsidian movement associated with colonisation. In the post-colonisation phases a new pattern of obsidian exchange emerges associated with the development of trade networks.

Archaeologists have noted an early pulse in the use of imported obsidians in Lapita and other Austronesian regions of western Melanesia. These early assemblages contain larger pieces than in later periods as measured by weight, thickness and length of flakes and cores. Additionally there is a relatively greater number of large cortical blocks. These factors suggest direct access to source supplies, rather than down-the-line exchange. In the south-east Solomon Islands three Lapita sites have well-described obsidian assemblages. Nanggu (SZ-8) is located on Nendo (Santa Cruz) and was occupied for about 100 years from around 3300 BP while Nenumbo (RF-2) and Ngamanie (RF-6) in the Reef Islands were occupied for shorter periods between 3145-2825 BP and 2800-2300 BP respectively (Jones et al. 2007; Green & Jones 2008). Sheppard (1993) assigns 97 per cent of the obsidian from the three sites (n = 987) to Talasea more than 2000km to the west. An estimate of the quantity of obsidian and the weight per cubic metre of sediment is shown in Table 1 and indicates a high initial density of obsidian followed by a decline through time, with an increase in the relative importance of chert sourced from about 100km distant (Sheppard 1993). The amount of obsidian transported from Talasea would have required multiple canoe loads and, since there are no known Lapita sites between the south-east Solomons and the source zone, this would have involved direct procurement (Sheppard 1993).

Austronesian settlers arrived in south coast Papua about 2000 BP and exploited obsidian from sources on Fergusson Island 350km to the east. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Colonisation, Mobility and Exchange in New Zealand Prehistory
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.