For many island societies worldwide, the acquisition and exchange of prized resources was fundamental to developing and maintaining social, political, and economic relationships. The patchiness of resources such as stone, clay, tempering agents, shell, and animals often led to differential access, which then helped to fuel the rise of social complexity. This presentation considers questions of resource acquisition and population movements as mediated by oceanographic and wind conditions. Comparing results from archaeological and other lines of evidence in the Caribbean and Pacific Islands highlights the role of seafaring capabilities as a critical factor in structuring colonization, population dispersals, and inter-island and island-mainland interaction.
Funded project of the Florida Humanities Council. The Florida Humanities Council is a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.