It is widely accepted in Polynesian archaeology that contact between island groups persisted after first peopling but declined over time. However, there is not a clear sense of how the dynamics and directionality of interaction change over time. Archaeological discussions of interaction in the Cook Islands often focus on quantitative materialist data. While this is certainly valuable and critical to archaeology as a scientific discipline, I see this discussion as an opportunity to incorporate more fully more qualitative or ontologically driven data from other fields of anthropology. I intend to explore the geography, chronology, and ontology of long-distance interaction between the Cook Islands and the rest of Polynesia through materialist and ontological perspectives.

One of the key factors in discussing interaction between these island groups is to examine anthropological, ethnohistoric, and oral accounts of past interactions. Incorporating the social dynamics of trade and interaction through anthropological records may provide some unique perspectives that may not be apparent in materialist data. I will use these sources to provide context and discussion about an emic understanding of interaction over space in tandem with documented material evidence that serve as proxies for these ancient interactions. The synthesis of archaeological models and traditional understanding of voyaging over space and time is the ultimate focus of this thesis. As such, the anthropologic, archaeological, and predictive sides will each provide a narrative that may contradict narratives from other perspectives. However, this should not be understood as an attempt to test the truthfulness of oral traditions with archaeological evidence but rather an examination of the interaction between these different spheres providing an aggregate narrative.


Navarro-Farr, Olivia




Polynesian Studies

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis Exemplar



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