Early Polynesians Sailed Vast Distances

Early Polynesians Sailed Vast Distances
<< Previous   3 of 4   Next >>
The Hawaiian ship Hokulea arrives at Yokohama port near Toyko, Japan, on June 9, 2007.

The vessel is a full-scale replica of a Polynesian voyaging canoe used by early Hawaiians.

A new Australian study supports a similar "proof of concept" sailing voyage completed by a Hokulea crew in 1976. The journey proved it is possible to travel from Hawaii to Tahiti and back using only traditional navigation techniques.

But for early Polynesians, such risky voyages would initially have been exploratory, said Ben Finney, a professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of Hawaii.

Canoes would have been laden with tools, provisions, and a crew of men and women carefully selected to establish new colonies, he said.

More Photos in the News
Today's 15 Most Read Stories
Free Email Newsletter: Focus on Photography
—Photograph by Koji Sasahara/AP
 
NEWS FEEDS    After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed. After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed.

Get our news delivered directly to your desktop—free.
How to Use XML or RSS




 

50 Drives of a Lifetime

Listen to your favorite National Geographic news daily, anytime, anywhere from your mobile phone. No wires or syncing. Download Stitcher free today.