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Several terms for astronomical phenomena can be robustly reconstructed Table 4. As farmers, the Ancestral Polynesians must have astutely observed the weather, monitoring rain essential to the growth of their crops, and heeding signs of storms or hurricanes which might devastate their orchards. These terms were presumably lost in PEP. This axis may also have been associated with winds from these directions.
But these geological differences were hardly the only environmental challenge they faced, for in moving eastwards out of the diverse Fijian archipelago, these early colonists and their Polynesian descendants encountered an increasingly Fig. The Ancestral Polynesian world depauperate biotic world. Fiji is much richer in its diversity of plants and animals than Tonga or Samoa to the east, more similar to the larger Solomons and Vanuatu archipelagos from which the Lapita peoples had migrated.
These biogeographic differences had real consequences for the Ancestral Polynesians. Of course, key economic species such as crop plants and domestic animals could be transported and transplanted into the new island groups. Such a system is schematically illustrated in Figure 4. The life-form rank is usually limited to a few categories Rediscovering Hawaiki Fig.
The lexical evidence for PPN folk biology conforms closely to expectations derived from such world-wide ethnographic comparisons. Generic level taxa are the most apt to be temporally stable. Life-form terms Cecil Brown reviewed both ethnographic and linguistic evidence for zoological life-form terms from twenty-four Polynesian languages, drawing upon Biggs et al. Brown observed that in Eastern Polynesia the term for snake was lost actually, it was transferred in some cases to other animals, such as worms , not surprising given that snakes were not naturally distributed beyond Samoa.
There are nine terms overall, seven of these being zoological, a considerable expansion from Brown's list of three terms. Zug indicates that two species of snake Ogmodon vitianus and Candoia bibroni occur in this region, with the former found only in Fiji, and with C. Both of these referred to lizards, but cognates in Polynesian languages range across taxa in both the gecko and skink families.
Rock crab Grapsidae Crab sp. Coconut robber crab Birgus latro Land crab Cardisoma sp. Spiny lobster Palinurus sp. Slipper lobster Squilla Mollusca: Gastropods Turbo spp. Cowries Cypraeidae Limpets Patellidae Trochidae spp. Mollusca: Bivalvia Giant clam Tridacna spp. Pearl oyster Pinctada spp. Asaphidae spp. Mussel Mytilidae spp. Of the PPN words, no less than are primary lexemes, corresponding to generic-level status. We leave the task to others. Finally, particular modifying terms may themselves change in meaning and no longer be semantically appropriate. Taken on its own, the historical linguistic evidence yields a static portrait, whereas recent archaeological and paleoenvironmental investigations reveal that the physical and biotic world in which the Ancestral Polynesians were enmeshed was highly dynamic.
Such dynamism resulted both from natural environmental processes, and from environmental changes induced by the Ancestral Polynesians themselves. The earliest Lapita settlements often occupy elevated beach terraces now located some distance inland. Whether such changes occurred fast enough to be noticeable at a human time scale i. On Niuatoputapu the situation was dramatic, with a net increase in land area of more than percent, and a decrease in the area of reef-lagoon microenvironments of 50 percent Kirch Lamellaxis gracilis , and so on; 3 clearance of native vegetation, for hamlets and villages, for tree crop orchards, and for shifting cultivations; 4 hunting, collecting, and gathering of wild terrestrial food and other economic resources, especially birds and certain plant species The Ancestral Polynesian world e.
Dramatic evidence for human impact on the natural ecosystems of Western Polynesian islands, during the Lapita and Ancestral Polynesian periods, concerns the land and sea bird faunas. Steadman , a, , discusses zooarchaeological evidence from sites in Tonga for extinction, extirpation, and population reductions in a number of bird species.
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But human-induced impacts on terrestrial faunas were not restricted to birds; fruit bats and lizards, including an endemic iguana formerly present in Tonga Pregill and Dye ; Koopman and Steadman , were also extirpated or went extinct. One instance of extinction and extirpation illustrates the power of the triangulation method we advocate. Neither historical linguistics, nor the distributional evidence of historical biogeography, is helpful; we must turn to zooarchaeology.
The megapode demonstrates in a small but concise manner the power of triangulation. Historical linguistics and comparative ethnography allow us to reconstruct the PPN name for this bird, but cannot tell us about its original distribution within the Polynesian homeland. Rich avifaunas had been decimated, with some species already extinct and most others greatly reduced in numbers. Extensive lowland areas had been planted in orchard gardens of economically important, adventive tree crops, including coconuts, breadfruit, Tahitian chestnut, and other species. All of this was the inevitable result of permanent settlement by humans, and of the cumulative processes of The Ancestral Polynesian world resource exploitation and establishment of managed, productive agroecosystems.
From the human, cultural perspective, such changes were essential to transform isolated islands into habitats capable of supporting large and dense human populations. Their derivative natures.
The importance of vegetative reproduction in the plant roster. How might one reconstruct the subsistence economy of Ancestral Polynesia, applying the triangulation method? In triangulation it is not necessary to always privilege linguistic evidence. More recently, historical linguists such as French-Wright , Ross a , and Osmond have concerned themselves with the reconstruction of Oceanic crop plant and horticultural terminologies, although this has been primarily at the POC rather than PPN level.
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We will not revisit this debate, but comment on the currently accepted reconstruction of Lapita economy as background to our effort to understand Ancestral Polynesian systems. Indeed, the very ability to transfer such systems of horticultural production was arguably an essential aspect of the successful Lapita colonization strategy. Although the numbers of faunal remains of pig, dog, and chicken are typically low in Lapita sites, this essential triad of domestic animals was also a part of the Lapita colonists' baggage.
Lapita colonists, especially in Remote Oceania, heavily exploited natural resources which were present in abundance prior to the arrival of humans. Zooarchaeological studies of avifaunal remains from early Lapita sites, including those in Tonga and Samoa Steadman , indicate that these islands supported large numbers of land- and seabirds, and that Lapita colonists extensively used these resources. In the network of islands occupied by Ancestral Polynesians, such rich bird resources had been largely depleted by BP, the time frame of Ancestral Polynesia.
While hunting birds continued to be a minor strategy within the Ancestral Polynesian economy as documented below , it no longer had the quantitative importance of the preceding Early Eastern Lapita phase. Proto Polynesian crops Archaeobotanical evidence for crop plants from sites that we associate with Ancestral Polynesian communities see Table 5.
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Carbonized coconut shell endocarp has been recovered from several sites, but no other paleoethnobotanical remains have been reported. Such scanty archaeological indications offer an admittedly thin basis on which to reconstruct Ancestral Polynesian horticulture; thus, we turn to the lexical evidence. This set of crop terms is thus an extremely robust case of prime semantic agreement see Chapter 2 ; elaborate semantic histories are not required.
All of these taxa were transported by humans into the Polynesian homeland, and the robust reconstruction of their etyma to the PPN level leaves no doubt that they were a part of the Ancestral Polynesian plant world. Nonetheless, a few terms in Table 5. Both terms are robust PPN reconstructions, but their precise meanings are uncertain. According to Marck n.
Read Hawaiki Ancestral Polynesia An Essay In Historical Anthropology 2001
Banana Section Australimusa Polynesian arrowroot, Tacca leontopetaloides Medicinal, narcotic, other uses Kava, piper methysticum Morinda citrifolia Broussonetia papyrifera Pandanus spp. The large leaves of Metroxylon palms are widely used throughout Melanesia for thatching. A semantic history hypothesis is required. The sweet potato Ipomoea batatas is conspicuously absent, because it almost certainly was introduced from South America into Eastern Polynesia at a later time Yen ; Hather and Kirch Equally notable are the fruitand nut-yielding tree crops.
These tree crops put Ancestral Polynesian horticulture squarely in line with a widespread Oceanic pattern of arboriculture, which both Yen , and Kirch have argued was a component of early Lapita and, in Near Oceania, probably pre-Lapita subsistence systems. Noteworthy also are the psychoactive plant Piper methysticum, the medicinally important Morinda citrifolia, and the paper mulberry Broussonetia papyrifera which yielded bark essential for bark cloth see Chapter 7. These include the vining tuber plant Pueraria lobata a New Guinea domesticate , and the minor yam species Dioscorea pentaphylla and D.