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Stone Adze Compositions and the Extent of Ancient Polynesian Voyaging and Trade

Science  28 Sep 2007:
Vol. 317, Issue 5846, pp. 1907-1911
DOI: 10.1126/science.1147013

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Abstract

The last region on Earth settled by humans during prehistory was East Polynesia. Hawaiian oral histories mention voyaging from Hawai'i to Tahiti and back via the Tuamotus, an open ocean journey of several thousands of kilometers. The trace element and isotope chemistries of a stone adze recovered from the Tuamotu Archipelago are unlike those of sources in central Polynesia but are similar to the Kaho'olawe Island hawaiite, in the Hawaiian Islands, supporting the oral histories. Other adzes collected from the low coral islands of the northwest Tuamotus have sources in the Marquesas, Austral and Society Islands, and the Pitcairn Group, confirming that trade was widespread within East Polynesia.

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