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Climate windows for Polynesian voyaging to New Zealand and Easter Island
Goodwin, I.D.; Browning, S.A.; Anderson, A.J. (2014). Climate windows for Polynesian voyaging to New Zealand and Easter Island. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 11(41): 14716-14721
In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. The Academy: Washington, D.C.. ISSN 0027-8424, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Goodwin, I.D.
  • Browning, S.A.
  • Anderson, A.J.

Abstract
    South Pacific migration routes used in East Polynesian colonization (A.D. 800-1500) have been assumed to be commonly upwind, when based on an understanding of modern climate patterns. Instead, our novel paleowind field reconstructions at bidecadal resolution show that migration routes lay downwind from East Polynesia during known times of initial colonization of New Zealand and Easter Island. This finding is significant in showing that a windward seafaring capacity in Polynesian colonization voyaging was not essential, and that long-term temporal variation in sailing conditions due to the expansion of the tropics was important in shaping colonization histories. The paleoclimate reconstruction broadens colonization possibilities, and the method represents a new, globally applicable approach to understanding patterning in prehistoric maritime migration.

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