Polynesian Lexicon Online

I’ve been meaning to pimp this: POLLEX is online! Simon says: I’d just like to announce that Ross Clark and I have placed the POLLEX (Polynesian lexicon) database online at http://pollex.org.nz. POLLEX-Online currently contains 55,183 reflexes with 4,746 reconstructions from 68 languages. An awesome resource for anyone interested in the Pacific, comparative and historical linguistics, and … Read more

A game from 3000 years ago

I came across this great paper today*: CONNAUGHTON, S. P., TACHÉ, K., & BURLEY, D. V. (2010). Taupita: A 3000-year-old Shell Game in the Lapita Cultural Complex of Tonga. Journal of Social Archaeology, 10(1), 118-137. DOI:10.1177/1469605309354400  [link] Abstract: Recent excavations at the archaeological site of Nukuleka on Tongatapu in the Tongan Archipelago have yielded the largest Lapita … Read more

South Pacific

I’m watching the BBC series South Pacific on DVD at the moment, and I’m up to the third episode. The series has beautiful cinematography: astonishing ultra-slow-motion footage of waves breaking on Pohnpei was the centrepiece of the first episode, and I’m not going to forget the creepy carnivorous caterpillars in action in Hawaii or the … Read more

JPS online!

That’s the Journal of the Polynesian Society, if you were wondering. It’s been a sad wrench for me at UCL, browsing the e-journals list of our library and always feeling a little empty spot in my heart right here: The Society is only up to the 1930s, but seeing as the really good ethnographic stuff … Read more

paper: unexpected NRY chromosome variation in Melanesia

Unexpected NRY chromosome variation in Northern Island Melanesia Scheinfeldt et al Molecular Biology and Evolution, Advance Access doi:10.1093/molbev/msl028 To investigate the paternal population history of populations in Northern Island Melanesia, 685 paternally unrelated males from 36 populations in this region and New Guinea were analyzed at 14 regionally informative binary markers and seven short-tandem-repeat loci … Read more

fishing, voyaging, and personality

Putting together cross-cultural information on the sorts of fishing that men and women did is interesting. Oceanic women were much more involved in fishing than I had realised. The typical pattern is for women to fish along the reef or by line/net in the lagoon. Spear-fishing, deep-sea diving, offshore fishing and other beyond-the-reef activities seem … Read more

Gavin Menzies rewriting Polynesian origins, neat!

Via Savage Minds, who have reproduced the article from the Dominion. Gavin Menzies (author of a book called 1421: The Year China Discovered The World–which I have not read) claims all sorts of interesting selective stuff about Chinese exploration of the Pacific (transcript of a speech, here) and most mindbogglingly, that the Maori were not … Read more

pasifika styles

Courtesy of Sheyne Tuffery, whose art I’ve recently discovered (and love), heads-up that the University of Cambridge Museum of Anthropology & Archaeology is holding an exhibition called Pasifika Styles from May, with artists, craftspeople, performing artists, and displays of the Museums collections. I may have to revise my assertion that Oceanic cultural events are few … Read more

virtual anthropological exhibitions

The UPenn Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology has a set of online exhibitions at World Cultures: Ancient and Modern. The celebrities choosing a favourite artifact was a bit gimmicky, but I really enjoyed: Sailing the ocean without map or compass: Traditional navigation in the western Pacific. Navigation training and technique in the Caroline Islands. I’d … Read more

commonwealth day

The Cuming Museum in Southwark is holding an exhibition entitled Mana: Ornament and Adornment From the Pacific. Polynesian decorative arts like tattooing and jewellery, which is like the confluence of all the things I love. Today is Commonwealth Day, and I’m off to Westminster Abbey to partake of the observance in the presence of Chuck … Read more