Skip to main content

History as a family tree, history as an entangled bank: constructing images and interpretations of prehistory in the South Pacific

  • John Terrell (a1)

Twenty years' debate in English and Americanist circles about the fundamental aims of archaeology, and the methods that are to achieve them, has mostly been conducted in a framework of named schools – ‘new’, ‘processual’, and now also ‘postprocessual’ and ‘contextual’ – and in terms of their philosophical good standing (or lack of it).

This paper addresses the fundamentals as they declare themselves in a different region, the Pacific, and sees that the heart of the matter lies more in the nature of history, the history of the Pacific itself, and the history of its study.

Hide All
Alkire, W.H. 1965. Lamotrek atoll and inter-island socioeconomic ties. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
Allen, H. 1987. Moa-hunters and Maoris: a critical discussion of the work of Roger Duff and later commentators, New Zealand Journal of Archaeology 9: 523.
Allen, J. 1984. In search of the Lapita homeland: reconstructing the prehistory of the Bismarck Archipelago, Journal of Pacific History 19: 186201.
Allen, J. Gosden, C. Jones, R. & White, J.P.. 1988. Pleistocene dates for the human occupation of New Ireland, northern Melanesia, Nature 331: 7079.
Anson, D. 1986. Lapita pottery of the Bismarck Archipelago and its affinities, Archaeology in Oceania 21: 15765.
Anson, D. 1987. Reply to Kirch et al., Archaeology in Oceania 22: 1278.
Bellwood, P.S. 1978a. Man’s conquest of the Pacific. Auckland: William Collins.
Bellwood, P.S. 1978b. The Polynesians: prehistory of an island people. London: Thames & Hudson.
Bellwood, P.S. 1980. The peopling of the Pacific, Scientific American 243, no. 5: 17480, 1835.
Biggs, B. 1972. Implications of linguistic subgrouping with special reference to Polynesia, in Green, R.C. & Kelly, M. (ed.), Studies in Oceanic culture history 3: 14360. Honolulu: Bernice P. Bishop Museum.
Black, S.J. 1978. Polynesian outliers: a study in the survival of small populations, in Hodder, I. (ed.), Simulation studies in archaeology: 6376. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Booth, P.B. 1974. Genetic distances between certain New Guinea populations studied under the International Biological Programme, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London series B, 268: 25767.
Boyd, R. & Richerson, P.J.. 1985. Culture and the evolutionary process. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Brace, C.L. & Hinton, R.J.. 1981. Oceanic tooth-size variation as a reflection of biological and cultural mixing, Current Anthropology 22: 54969.
Buck, P.H. 1938. Vikings of the sunrise. New York: Frederick A. Stokes.
Burrows, E.G. 1938. Western Polynesia: a study in cultural differentiation. Goteborg: Walter Kaudern.
Bury, J.B. 1932 [1955]. The idea of progress: an inquiry into its origin and growth. New York: Dover Publications. Reprint.
Callen, J.S. 1976. Settlement patterns in pre-war Siwai: an application of central place theory to a horticultural society. Chicago: Department of Anthropology, Field Museum of Natural History.
Chowning, A. 1982. Physical anthropology, linguistics, and ethnology, in Gressitt, J.L. (ed.), Biogeography and ecology in New Guinea: 13168. The Hague: W. Junk.
Clark, J.T. & Terrell, J.E.. 1978. Archaeology in Oceania, Annual Review of Anthropology 7: 293319.
Cordy, R.H. 1981. A study of prehistoric social change: the development of complex societies in the Hawaiian Islands. New York: Academic Press.
Danielsson, B. 1967. Kia ora Keneti, in Highland, G.A. Force, R.W. Howard, A. Kelly, M. & Sinoto, Y.H. (ed.), Polynesian culture history: essays in honor of Kenneth P. Emory: 136. Honolulu: Bernice P. Bishop Museum.
Darwin, C. 1859 [1967], On the origin of species by means of natural selection. New York: Atheneum. Facsimile 1st edition.
Desmond, A.J. 1982. Archetypes and ancestors: palaeontology in Victorian London 1850–1875. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1984 edition.
Diamond, J.M. 1977. Colonization cycles in man and beast, World Archaeology 8: 24961.
Dixon, R.B. 1923. The racial history of man. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.
Doran, E. Jr. 1981. Wangka: Austronesian canoe origins. College Station: Texas A&M University Press.
Duff, R. 1950. The moa-hunter period of Maori culture. Wellington: Department of Internal Affairs.
Dunnell, R.C. 1980. Evolutionary theory and archaeology, Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory 3: 3599.
Dye, T. 1987. [Comment on] History, phylogeny, and evolution in Polynesia, by Kirch, P.V. & Green, R.C., Current Anthropology 28: 44546.
Dyen, I. 1965. A lexicostatistical classification of the Austronesian languages. Baltimore: Waverly Press.
Earle, T.K. 1978. Economic and social organization of a complex chiefdom: the Halelea District, Kaua’i, Hawaii. Ann Arbor: Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan.
Emory, K.P. & Sinoto, Y.H.. 1964. Préhistoire de la Polynésie, Journal de la Société des Océanistes 20: 3941.
Finney, B.R. 1977. Voyaging canoes and the settlement of Polynesia, Science 196: 127785.
Fornander, A. 1878. An account of the Polynesian race. London: Trubner.
Friedlaender, J.S. (ed.). 1987. The Solomon Islands project: a long-term study of health, human biology, and culture change. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Friedman, J. 1982. Catastrophe and continuity in social evolution, in Renfrew, C. Rowlands, M.J. & Seagraves, B.A. (ed.), Theory and explanation in archaeology: 17596. New York: Academic Press.
Geraghty, P.A. 1983. The history of the Fijian languages. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
Ghiselin, M.T. 1969. The triumph of the darwinian method. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Gifford, E.W. 1951. Archaeological excavations in Fiji. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Gifford, E.W. & Shutler, D. Jr. 1956. Archaeological excavations in New Caledonia. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Giles, E. 1969. Human biology and Melanesian history, in Inglis, K.S. (ed.), The history of Melanesia: 391–400. Canberra: Australian National University Press.
Gillespie, N.C. 1979. Charles Darwin and the problem of creation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Gladwin, T. 1970. East is a big bird: navigation and logic on Puluwat atoll. Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press.
Goldman, I. 1970. Ancient Polynesian society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Golson, J. 1959. L’Archéologie du Pacifique sud: résultats et perspectives, Journal de la Société des Océanistes 15: 554.
Golson, J. 1962 [1972]. Polynesian navigation: a symposium on Andrew Sharp’s theory of accidental voyages. Wellington: A.H. & A.W. Reed. 3rd edition.
Gould, S.J. 1986. Evolution and the triumph of homology, or why history matters, American Scientist 74: 609.
Gould, S.J. & Lewontin, R.C.. 1979. The spandrels of San Marco and the panglossian paradigm: a critique of the adaptationist programme, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London series B, 205: 58198.
Grace, G.W. 1959. The position of the Polynesian languages within the Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian) language family. Baltimore: Waverly Press.
Grace, G.W. 1981. Indirect inheritance and the aberrant Melanesian languages, in Hollyman, J. & Pawley, A.K. (ed.), Studies in Pacific languages & cultures: 255–68. Auckland: Linguistic Society of New Zealand.
Green, R.C. 1963. A review of the prehistoric sequence of the Auckland province. Auckland: New Zealand Archaeological Association.
Green, R.C. 1979. Early Lapita art from Polynesia and island Melanesia: continuities in ceramic, barkcloth, and tattoo decorations, in Mead, S.M. (ed.), Exploring the visual art of Oceania: Australia, Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia: 1331. Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii.
Green, R.C. 1986. Some basic components of the ancestral Polynesian settlement system: building blocks for more complex Polynesian societies, in Kirch, P.V. (ed.), Island societies: archaeological approaches to evolution and transformation: 504. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Green, R.C. & Kelly, M. (ed.). 1970, 1971, 1972. Studies in Oceanic culture history. Honolulu: Bernice P. Bishop Museum. 3 volumes.
Green, R.C. & Shawcross, F.W.. 1962. The cultural sequence of the Auckland province, New Zealand Archaeological Association Newsletter 5: 21020.
Greene, J.C. 1981. Science, ideology, and world view: essays in the history of evolutionary ideas. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Grene, M. 1987 Hierarchies in biology, American Scientist 75: 50410.
Groube, L.M. 1967. Models in prehistory: a consideration of the New Zealand evidence, Archaeology & Physical Anthropology in Oceania 2: 127.
Groube, L.M., Chappell, J. Muke, J. & Price, D.. 1986. A 40,000 year-old human occupation site at Huon Peninsula, Papua New Guinea, Nature 324: 4535.
Gruber, H.E. 1978. Darwin’s ‘tree of nature’ and other images of wide scope, in Judith, Wechsler (ed.), On aesthetics in science: 12140. Cambridge (MA): M.I.T. Press.
Gruber, H.E. 1981. Darwin on man: a psychological study of scientific creativity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2nd edition.
Heath, J.G. 1984. Language contact and language change, Annual Review of Anthropology 13: 36784.
Heyerdahl, T. 1953. American Indians in the Pacific: the theory behind the Kon-Tiki expedition. Chicago: Rand McNally.
Howells, W.W. 1933. Anthropometry and blood types in Fiji and the Solomon Islands. New York: American Museum of Natural History.
Howells, W.W. 1943. The racial elements of Melanesia, in Coon, C.S. & Andrews, J.M. IV (ed.), Studies in the anthropology of Oceania and Asia: 3849. Cambridge (MA): Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University.
Hunt, T.L. 1987. Patterns of human interaction and evolutionary divergence in the Fiji Islands, Journal of the Polynesian Society 96: 299334.
Hymes, D.H. 1960. Lexicostatistics so far, Current Anthropology 1: 344.
Irwin, G.J. 1981. How Lapita lost its pots: the question of continuity in the colonisation of Polynesia, Journal of the Polynesian Society 90: 48194.
Irwin, G.J. 1983. Chieftainship, kula and trade in Massim prehistory, in Leach, J.W. & Leach, E. (ed.), The kula: new perspectives on Massim exchange: 2972. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Jennings, J.D. 1979a. Introduction, in Jennings, J.D. (ed.), The prehistory of Polynesia: 15. Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press.
Jennings, J.D. 1979b. The prehistory of Polynesia. Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press.
Karlin, S. & Nevo, E. (ed.). 1986. Evolutionary processes and theory. Orlando: Academic Press.
Keegan, W.F. & Diamond, J.M.. 1987. Colonization of islands by humans: a biogeographical perspective, Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory 10: 4992.
Kirch, P.V. 1980. The archaeological study of adaptation: theoretical and methodological issues, Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory 3: 10156.
Kirch, P.V. 1984. The evolution of the Polynesian chiefdoms. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kirch, P.V. 1985. Feathered gods and fishhooks: an introduction to Hawaiian archaeology and prehistory. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
Kirch, P.V. & Green, R.C.. 1987. History, phylogeny, and evolution in Polynesia, Current Anthropology 28: 43156.
Kirch, P.V. & Yen, D.E.. 1982. Tikopia: the prehistory and ecology of a Polynesian Outlier. Honolulu: Bernice P. Bishop Museum.
Koehn, R.K. & Hilbish, T.J.. 1987. The adaptive importance of genetic variation, American Scientist 75: 13441.
Laycock, D.C. 1982. Melanesian linguistic diversity: a Melanesian choice?, in May, R.J. & Nelson, H. (ed.), Melanesia: beyond diversity 1: 338. Canberra: Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University.
Levison, M., Ward, R.G. & Webb, J.W.. 1973. The settlement of Polynesia: a computer simulation. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Lewin, R. 1987. The first Americans are getting younger, Science 238: 12302.
Lewis, D. 1972. We, the navigators: the ancient art of landfinding in the Pacific. Wellington: A.H. & A.W. Reed.
Lewis, D. 1978. The voyaging stars. Sydney: William Collins.
Lynch, J. 1981. Melanesian diversity and Polynesian homogeneity: the other side of the coin, Pacific Linguistics 20: 95129.
Marshall, M. 1984. Structural patterns of sibling classification in island Oceania: implications for culture history, Current Anthropology 25: 597637.
Mayr, E. 1967. Introduction, facsimile 1859 edition, On the origin of species by means of natural selection by Charles Darwin. New York, Atheneum.
Mayr, E. 1982. The growth of biological thought: diversity, evolution, and inheritance. Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press.
McArthur, N., Saunders, I.W. & Tweedie, R.L.. 1976. Small population isolates: a micro-simulation study, Journal of the Polynesian Society 85: 30726.
McCoy, P.C. 1979. Easter Island, in Jennings, J.D. (ed.), The prehistory of Polynesia: 13566. Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press.
Nisbet, R. 1980. History of the ideas of progress. New York: Basic Books.
Orbell, M. 1985. Hawaiki: a new approach to Maori tradition. Christchurch: University of Canterbury.
Pawley, A.K. 1972. On the internal relationships of eastern Oceanic languages, in Green, R.C. & Kelly, M. (ed.), Studies in Oceanic culture history 3: 1142, 15360. Honolulu: Bernice P. Bishop Museum.
Pawley, A.K. 1981. Melanesian diversity and Polynesian homogeneity: a unified explanation for language, in Hollyman, J. & Pawley, A.K. (ed.), Studies in Pacific languages & cultures: 269309. Auckland: Linguistic Society of New Zealand.
Pawley, A.K. & Green, R.C.. 1973. sDating the dispersal of the Oceanic lang uages, Oceanic Linguistics 12: 167.
Pawley, A.K. & Green, R.C.. 1984. The proto-Oceanic language community, Journal of Pacific History 19: 12346.
Richards, R.J. 1987. Darwin and the emergence of evolutionary theories of mind and behavior. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Riesenfeld, A. 1950. The megalithic culture of Melanesia. Leiden: E.J. Brill.
Rivers, W.H.R. 1914. The history of Melanesian society, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Romaine, S. 1982. Socio-historical linguistics: its status and methodology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Rouse, I. 1986. Migrations in prehistory: inferring population movement from cultural remains. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Ruse, M. 1979. The darwinian revolution: science red in tooth and claw. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Serjeantson, S.W. 1984. Migration and admixture in the Pacific: insights provided by human leukocyte antigens, Journal of Pacific History 19: 16071.
Sharp, A. 1957. Ancient voyagers in the Pacific. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Sharp, A. 1963. Ancient voyagers in Polynesia. Auckland: Paul’s Book Arcade.
Shawcross, F.W. 1967. An investigation of prehistoric diet and economy on a coastal site at Galatea Bay, New Zealand, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 33: 10731.
Siers, J. 1977. Taratai: a Pacific adventure. Wellington: Millwood Press.
Simpson, G.G. 1961. Principles of animal taxonomy. New York: Columbia University Press.
Smith, S.P. 1904. Hawaiki: the original home of the Maori; with a sketch of Polynesian history. Christchurch: Whitcombe and Tombs. 2nd edition.
Sokal, R.R. & Friedlaender, J.S.. 1982. Spatial autocorrelation analysis of biological variation on Bougainville Island, Current Developments in Anthropological Genetics 2: 20527.
Spriggs, M. 1986. Landscape, land use, and political transformation in southern Melanesia, in Kirch, P.V. (ed.), Island societies: archae ological approaches to evolution and transformation: 619. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Stocking, G.W. Jr. 1973. From chronology to ethnology: James Cowles Prichard & British anthropology 1800–1850, in Prichard, J.C., Researches into the physical history of man, facsimile 1813 edition: ix-cx. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Stocking, G.W. Jr. 1987. Victorian anthropology. New York: The Free Press.
Suggs, R.C. 1961. The archeology of Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia. New York: American Museum of Natural History.
Suggs, R.C. 1967. A reanalysis of Galapagos ceramics data, Zeirschrift fur Ethnologie 92: 23947.
Terrell, J.E. 1987. [Comment on] History, phylogeny, and evolution in Polynesia, by Kirch, P.V. & Green, R.C., Current Anthropology 28: 4478.
Tryon, D.T. 1984. The peopling of the Pacific: a linguistic appraisal, Journal of Pacific History 19: 14759.
Wang, W.S-Y. 1979. Language change–a lexical perspective, Annual Review of Anthropology 8: 35371.
Willey, G.R. & Phillips, P.. 1958. Method and theory in American archaeology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Wood, J.W. 1986. Convergence of genetic distances in a migration matrix model, American Journal of Physical Anthropology 71: 20919.
Wood, J.W., Smouse, P.E. & Long, J.C.. 1985. Sex-specific dispersal patterns in two human populations of highland New Guinea, American Naturalist 125: 74768.
Wurm, S.A. & Hattori, S.. 1981. Language atlas of the Pacific area, part I: New Guinea area, Oceania, Australia. Canberra: Australian Academy of the Humanities and The Japan Academy.
Yen, D.E. 1974. The sweet potato and Oceania: an essay in ethnobotany. Honolulu: Bernice P. Bishop Museum.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *

Related content

Powered by UNSILO


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed