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The Prehistoric Exploration and Colonisation of the Pacific - Geoffrey Irwin

The Prehistoric Exploration and Colonisation of the Pacific

Paperback Published: 12th September 1994
ISBN: 9780521476515
Number Of Pages: 260

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The exploration and colonisation of the Pacific is one of the most remarkable episodes of human prehistory. Early sea-going explorers had no prior knowledge of Pacific geography, no documents to record their route, no metal, no instruments for measuring time and none for navigation. Forty years of modern archaeology, experimental voyages in rafts and canoes, computer simulations of voyaging using real data on winds and currents have combined to produce an enormous range of literature on this controversial and mysterious subject. This book represents a major advance in the knowledge of and models for the settlement of the Pacific by suggesting that exploration was rapid and purposeful, undertaken systematically and that navigation methods progressively improved. The prehistoric exploration and colonisation of the Pacific is concerned with two distinct periods of voyaging and colonisation. The first began some 50,000 years ago in the tropical region of Island Southeast Asia, the continent of Australia and its Pleistocene outliers in Melanesia and was the first voyaging of its kind in the world. The second episode began 3500 years ago and witnessed a burst of sophisticated maritime and Neolithic settlement in the vast remote Pacific. This phase virtually completed human settlement of the planet apart from the ice-caps. Using an innovative model to establish a detailed theory of prehistoric navigation, Geoffrey Irwin claims that rather than sailing randomly in search of the unknown, Pacific Islanders expanded settlement by the cautious strategy of exploring first upwind, so as to ease their safe return. The range of strategies increased as geographical knowledge was added to navigational:it became safe to search across and down the wind returning by different routes. The author has tested this hypothesis against the chronological data from archaeological investigation, with a computer simulation of demographic and exploration patterns and by sailing throughout the

Industry Reviews

'... one of the most innovative and interesting works on Polynesian prehistory in many years ... this work will fundamentally change Pacific archaeology, redirecting our questions and reshaping our ideas about the past.' Man

An introduction to the Pacific and the theory of its settlement
Pleistocene voyaging and the settlement of Greater Australia and its Near Oceanic neighbours
Issues in Lapita studies and the background to Oceanic colonisation
Against, across and down the wind: a case for the systematic exploration of the remote Pacific
The colonisation of Eastern Melanesia, West Polynesia and Central East Polynesia
The colonisation of Hawaii, New Zealand and their neighbours
Issues in the colonisation of Micronesia
Voyaging by computer: experiments in the exploration of the remote Pacific Ocean
Voyaging after colonisation and the study of culture change
The rediscovery of Pacific exploration
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521476515
ISBN-10: 0521476518
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 260
Published: 12th September 1994
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 24.69 x 18.8  x 1.52
Weight (kg): 0.47