Abstract

The first part of this paper establishes in a general kind of way that the domain or seascape that Lapita sailors operated in was more demanding than that of Wallacea and Near Oceania, but markedly less so than that negotiated later by East Polynesians. The second part takes a look at the form and performance of canoes, the possible nature of Lapita craft, and suggests ways to improve modern estimates of prehistoric performance by mechanical and mathematical modeling. The third part considers the practicalities of sailing in the Lapita domain; it argues that the dispersal of Lapita was in a selected direction rather than a random one, and o¤ers a glimpse of how these ambitious but relatively cautious sailors learned to navigate. The final aim of the paper is to summarize three theories of migration, which support each other in some respects, but which di¤er in others—especially in their views of prehistoric canoe performance.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-8283
Print ISSN
0066-8435
Pages
pp. 12-27
Launched on MUSE
2008-03-19
Open Access
No
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