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Interisland and interarchipelago transfer of stone tools in prehistoric Polynesia

Weisler, M I ; Kirch, P V

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 20 February 1996, Vol.93(4), pp.1381-5 [Periódico revisado por pares]

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  • Título:
    Interisland and interarchipelago transfer of stone tools in prehistoric Polynesia
  • Autor: Weisler, M I ; Kirch, P V
  • Assuntos: Hominidae ; Spectrometry, X-Ray Emission ; Technology Transfer ; Archaeology -- Methods ; Commerce -- History ; Minerals -- Chemistry ; Silicates -- Chemistry ; Technology -- History ; Travel -- History
  • É parte de: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 20 February 1996, Vol.93(4), pp.1381-5
  • Descrição: Tracing interisland and interarchipelago movements of people and artifacts in prehistoric Polynesia has posed a challenge to archaeologists due to the lack of pottery and obsidian, two materials most readily used in studies of prehistoric trade or exchange. Here we report the application of nondestructive energy-dispersive x-ray fluorescence (EDXRF) analysis to the sourcing of Polynesian artifacts made from basalt, one of the most ubiquitous materials in Polynesian archaeological sites. We have compared excavated and surface-collected basalt adzes and adze flakes from two sites in Samoa (site AS-13-1) and the Cook Islands (site MAN-44), with source basalts from known prehistoric quarries in these archipelagoes. In both cases, we are able to demonstrate the importing of basalt adzes from Tutuila Island, a distance of 100 km to Ofu Island, and of 1600 km to Mangaia Island. These findings are of considerable significance for Polynesian prehistory, as they demonstrate the movement of objects not only between islands in the same group (where communities were culturally and linguistically related) but also between distant island groups. Further applications of EDXRF analysis should greatly aid archaeologists in their efforts to reconstruct ancient trade and exchange networks, not only in Polynesia but also in other regions where basalt was a major material for artifact production.
  • Idioma: Inglês

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