Fishhook variability and cultural transmission in East Polynesia

John T. O'connor, Frances J. White, Terry L. Hunt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The colonisation of East Polynesia unfolded as a rapid dispersal by culturally related groups on a massive geographical scale. In settling distant oceanic islands, populations developed new technology in response to local environments, but also shared selectively neutral aspects of artefact design. Building on the work of Sinoto and Allen, we examine proximal endpoint line-attachment-devices (LADs) in fishhook assemblages from East Polynesia to address issues of interaction and cultural sharing among island communities. We construct relational networks using artefact classes and employ a series of non-parametric randomisation tests to directly evaluate the influence of geographical distribution on assemblage similarity in a time-averaged dataset. The results support a model of cultural transmission through social interaction largely irrespective of geographical distance. Our results show the degree of cultural relatedness among various fishhook assemblages, and we consider some implications for human migrations in East Polynesia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-44
Number of pages13
JournalArchaeology in Oceania
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Polynesia
  • Polynésie
  • colonisation
  • colonisation
  • cultural transmission
  • fishhooks
  • hameçons
  • interaction
  • interaction
  • networks
  • réseaux
  • transmission culturelle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology


Dive into the research topics of 'Fishhook variability and cultural transmission in East Polynesia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this