A history of the Pacific Islands by Steven R. Fischer

By Steven R. Fischer

A background of the Pacific Islands strains the human background of approximately one-third of the globe over a 50,000 yr span. this is often historical past on a grand scale, taking the islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia from prehistoric tradition to the current day via a skillful interpretation of scholarship within the box. Fischer's familiarity with paintings in archaeology and anthropology in addition to in heritage enriches the textual content, making this a booklet with vast allure for college students and common readers.

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Well before 12 000 years ago, Archaic Papuan hunter-gatherers had occupied Highland, Lowland and coastal regions of New Guinea, the Bismarcks and the Solomons (it is assumed). As most ancient coastal sites were gradually inundated over the Page 6 4000 years of rising sea levels, those sites which had once represented the most densely populated Archaic Papuan settlements now lay underwater. ) New Papuan societies and languages began differentiating under drastically changed geographical and environmental conditions.

Once arrived at Fiji, the Lapita voyagers would have had to accept this isolation as a kind of sentence: limited exchange with the western homeland and its resources would have been the acknowledged price of permanent settlement there. The settlers established ‘gateway communities’ on Fiji through which subsequent settlers and goods were funnelled throughout a protracted period of colonization there. Communities were then connected to less complex secondary sites serving as dispersal areas for tertiary hinterlands.

By around 15 000 years ago, the Kaironk Valley had become home to hunter-gatherers. However, actual Highland regions were occupied only once Ice Age glaciers had receded globally (no glaciers were ever in New Guinea itself). Before then, coastal regions, warmed by ocean currents, had been preferred habitats. The rock shelters at Kafiavana and Kiowa in the Eastern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea accommodated hunter-gatherers over 10 000 years ago. One may assume that rising mean temperatures world-wide finally allowed the general settlement of the Highlands at about this period, as evidenced by pollen changes over the following millennia, indicating forest clearance.

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