On the Road of the Winds: An Archaeological History of the Pacific Islands before European Contact
1 Jan 2002
University of California Press
Patrick Vinton Kirch
The Pacific Ocean covers one-third of the earth's surface and encompasses many thousands of islands, the home to equally numerous human societies and cultures. Among these indigenous Oceanic cultures are the intrepid Polynesian double-hulled canoe navigators, the atoll dwellers of Micronesia, the statue carvers of remote Easter Island, and the famed traders of Melanesia. Recent archaelogical excavations, combined with allied research in historical linguistics, biological anthropology, and comparative ethnography, have begun to reveal information about the long-term history of these Pacific Island societies and cultures. This text synthesizes the grand sweep of human history in the Pacific Islands, beginning with the movement of early people out from Asia more than 40,000 years ago, and tracing the development of myriad indigenous cultures up to the time of European contact in the 16th to 18th centuries.