Early Polynesians Sailed Vast Distances

Early Polynesians Sailed Vast Distances
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In the 1900s early stone woodworking tools were found on several islands in the Tuamotu Archipelago, located southeast of Tahiti in eastern French Polynesia. (See pictures of Polynesian life.)

The tools were recently analyzed and may prove that Tahitians and Hawaiians traded with each other as early as a thousand years ago.

The archipelago makes up the world's largest chain of atolls—including the Rangiroa Atoll shown here—spanning a breadth of the Pacific Ocean that's about the size of Western Europe.

Atolls, found mostly in the Pacific and Indian oceans, are circular coral reef islands that enclose a shallow lagoon.

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—Photograph by Don King/Getty Images
 
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