Mapping prehistoric sailing routes to Lizard Island and beyond

  • Laurent Dousset Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, EHESS - CREDO (UMR 7308), Labex CORAIL, Marseille, France
  • Anne Di Piazza Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, EHESS - CREDO (UMR 7308), Labex CORAIL, Marseille, France

Abstract

Migration and exchange, as well as the circulation and diffusion of cultural, material and linguistic traits are dependent on the technical means, the environmental conditions and the human capacity to actually navigate and reach distant islands and coastal areas. Simulations of the navigational travel potential of Pacific Islanders have been undertaken in 1973 (Levison, Ward and Web) and 1992 (Irwin). However, these were lacking comprehensive wind data, were too approximate in methodological respects and did not calculate travel speed of vessels in relation to force and direction of winds. Based on new simulation software developed by one of the authors (Anne Di Piazza), to which mapping and geographical representation software was added by the other author (Laurent Dousset), this paper illustrates the potential for extensive human circulation to and from Lizard Island into the Solomon Sea in open sea voyages. The simulations show that the Coral and Solomon Seas were (or even must have been) places of dense but specific and interlinked navigational networks, and demonstrate that voyages from the Massim area and even from the Solomon Islands to the coast and islands of Queensland were not only possible, but were likely.

Published
2021-10-18
How to Cite
Dousset, L. and Di Piazza, A. (2021) “Mapping prehistoric sailing routes to Lizard Island and beyond”, Journal of Pacific Archaeology. Available at: https://pacificarchaeology.org/index.php/journal/article/view/333 (Accessed: 1December2021).