Friday, September 01, 2006

Polynesian sailing myth all at sea
The Polynesians had trouble reaching remote South Pacific islands, according to a new study that dents their reputation as great seafarers.

An archaeological study shows they settled Rapa, an island southeast of Tahiti, more recently than anyone thought.

Professor Atholl Anderson, of the Australian National University, and international colleagues publish their research in the current issue of the journal Antiquity.

Dating of charcoal from archaeological sites on the 20 square kilometre island suggests the first settlers arrived at Rapa as late as around 1200 AD, Anderson says.

As noted, this chronology is similar to that developed at Easter Island.