Polynesian origins: a biodistance study of mandibles from the Late Lapita site of Reber-Rakival (SAC), Watom Island, Bismarck Archipelago

  • Michael Pietrusewsky University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • Hallie Buckley Department of Anatomy, University of Otago, Dunedin, NZ
  • Dimitri Anson Department of Anthropology & Archaeology, University of Otago, Dunedin, NZ
  • Michele Toomay Douglas Department of Anthropology, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, USA
Keywords: biodistance, multivariate statistics, Lapita skeletons, Reber-Rakival (SAC) Site, Bismarck Archipelago

Abstract

Biological distance studies, especially those based on cranial and skeletal morphology, continue to provide physical anthropologists and bioarchaeologists with an exceptional set of mathematically based methods for understanding population relatedness and population history. Because of the demonstrated correlation between phenotypic and genotypic similarities, studies of cranial form, most notably cranial measurements, occupy a central role in modern biodistance studies. This paper examines the results of multivariate statistical procedures applied to measurements recorded in modern and prehistoric mandibles from the Pacific, including the largest sample of intact Lapita mandibles from the SAC site on Watom Island, New Britain, Papua New Guinea. The results of this analysis demonstrate that the Lapita-associated mandibles from the SAC site are morphologically most similar to mandibles from eastern Melanesia and the Polynesian mandible series are closest to mandibles from Southeast Asia. As demonstrated in earlier biological distance studies based on craniometric data, the results of this new biodistance study support an ancestral Polynesian homeland in Wallacea and not one within geographic Melanesia.

Author Biographies

Michael Pietrusewsky, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Professor of Anthropology
Hallie Buckley, Department of Anatomy, University of Otago, Dunedin, NZ
Associate Professor
Published
2014-02-01
How to Cite
Pietrusewsky, M., Buckley, H., Anson, D. and Douglas, M. (2014) “Polynesian origins: a biodistance study of mandibles from the Late Lapita site of Reber-Rakival (SAC), Watom Island, Bismarck Archipelago”, Journal of Pacific Archaeology, 5(1), pp. 1-20. Available at: https://pacificarchaeology.org/index.php/journal/article/view/121 (Accessed: 19October2019).
Section
Articles