Tuesday, July 25, 2006

First footsteps of Polynesians' ancestors tracked
Bishop Museum chairman of anthropology Tianlong Jiao has returned from China with solid evidence that the first voyages of the ancestors of Polynesians were made between the South China Coast across open ocean to the Penghu Islands, 100 miles away in the Strait of Taiwan.

It is the first direct archaeological link established for the beginning of the epic saga of prehistoric Pacific Ocean voyaging.

The people who made the voyages were early Austronesians, ancestors of Polynesians, and the evidence is stone tools excavated at a site called Damaoshan on the small, offshore island of Dongshan on the South China Coast.

"We compared stone tools with local materials," Tianlong said. "Lab analysis indicated that none of the stone tools was made of local materials. This means they must have been imported."