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Has the question of the origins of Pacific peoples now been solved?
New results from ancient DNA, archaeology and linguistics
CBAP, The Australian National University, Canberra and Vanuatu Cultural Centre, Port Vila
With two major ancient DNA (aDNA) papers on Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Tonga published in 2018 and more to follow as well as related studies of aDNA from Southeast Asia, there is a real pattern emerging of ancient genomic variation across the Pacific Islands.
Meanwhile Bill Wilson at the University of Hawaii Hilo has published radical new ideas about the settlement of Eastern Polynesia based on linguistic analysis. Our archaeological dates for the settlement of the Pacific, particularly Eastern Polynesia, remain controversial but again there are signs that the true ages of settlement are becoming clearer.
It certainly seems that a lasting synthesis about settlement and migration within the Pacific derived from the three disciplines is within our grasp. But are we there yet?
Matthew Spriggs is an ARC Laureate Fellow & Professor of Archaeology at The ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences.
He has made major contributions in the archaeology of Asia and the Pacific and has carried out archaeological research in Indonesia, East Timor, New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Hawaii.
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