People | Emerging Evidence | Y-DNA Q1a3aLapitaCeramics
| Settlement Patterns | Subsistence | Artifacts/Trade | Issues


     Certainly upon a Hollywood screen the detection between a New Zealand Maori playing the role of an American Indian would go undetected, the physical appearances are that near; certianly better than a 'white actor' playing the part of an Oriental. But that is not exactly the point here as appearances are what they are. For a long time there are those who have considerationed that there is an American Indian presence and influence to be found in the Pacific Islands. Such as Thor Heyerdahl and the LDS Church have been up and up attacked by those of the myopic 'Ivory Tower' achademic scientific intolerant mind because their own 'theories' of the origins of man must be defended even to the disregarding any anomolies of truth which would question their position which in most cases tend to deny the Bible and God as well.

     They tend only to select that which supports their decided case of the beiring strait enterence origin of the Amrerican Indians. And they will pridfully attack any other facts of the matter such as Ocianic contacts and origin possiblities and other such related evidence that provided another view such as cocaine mummies in Egypt and the presence of the lonely kumura throughout the pacific. But they'll hail the fringe precence Lapita pottery upon the western border of Polynesia as being absolute evidence of the Islander's Tiawanese origins.

     As seems to happen even their story itself it a bit muddled. On the one hand they like to put the 'polynesian' arrivals in the Islands in the A.D. side of the time line, yet they speak of the origianl peoples (again the Polynesians) out and down from Asian having been presence as the indigenous people from thousands of years ago on the B.C. side of the time line. What their intolerance does is to want to have 'the cake and eat it too' though it doesn't fit together that way even in their own setting out the attacted links to the Polynesian timeline. What mostly has been is that for sure there was an 'indigeonous presence in the Pacific Island prior to the Polyesian arrivals, depending upon when group you want to denote as being the 'polynesians'. That original base group is likely the Asian sourced peoples. And as for the later arriving and often 'invading' groups of influence, well the could be of some other source, like the Americas. Certainly the concept of 'Poly'-nesian is that they are made up of more than one group coming together in some manner to form the collective union which is the resulting 'Poly'-nesians of today.

Emerging Evidence

     There continues to be an ever increasing amount of evidence, logical and scienctific which is continually wearing upon the Ivory Tower position. Most have come to a type of acceptance that there is 'some' American Indian influence to be dealt with is 'some' of the Polynesian arena, such as Easter Island but they like to limited such to that which does not tamper with their base theory. Right now they seem to be willing to recognize 'possible Peruvian slave trade as a source into Easter Island's genetic pool.

And to such over whelming evidence put forth by Thor Heredahl in his detailed prepared text, 'American Indian in the Pacific' they have literally turned their back upon and ignored. At least now until after Thor Heyerdahl's death in 2002. And since there is beginning to come to light actual DNA genetics testings with proofs that there is and has been an American Indian influence in all of Polynesia in the Pacific.

Y-DNA Q1a3a

        Archaeological research began with a late start and emphasis commenced in the Western Islands with Golson’s discovery of plain ware pottery at Vailele, ‘Upolu. This discovery extended the Lapita path to the easternmost edge of Western Polynesia. Extensive research was carried throughout Western Samoa especially by Green and Davidson, however prior to the mid 80’s very little investigation broke the skin of American Samoa which led to a spurt of archaeological projects towards the east in the early 90’s. American Samoa has dramatically expanded our knowledge of Samoan prehistory with significant sites of To’aga and ‘Aoa, which help support the Samoan prehistory time depth of three millennia based on extensive research at Mulifanua on Upolu Island in Western Samoa.


The Samoan Archipelago along with Tonga, Niue, ‘Uvea and Futuna make up Western Polynesia, also known as the ancestral Polynesian homeland of Eastern Polynesia. The ancestral Polynesian people acquired a distinctive maritime-based culture derived from the Lapita complex, which is generally characterized by the dentate-stamped pottery. This unique pottery was unearthed at the Mulifanua site in Western Samoa, establishing it as the only possible Lapita site in Samoa and also representing the easternmost point of Lapita expansion. Primary Ancestral Polynesian sites based on direct archaeological evidence of ceramics in Samoa consist of Sasoa’a, Vailele, on Upolu, and Aoa Valley and To’aga in American Samoa.


Green’s proposed Samoan-ceramic sequence begins with the Early Eastern Lapita style and concludes with the thick-walled, coarse tempered Samoan Plain Ware. Numerous Samoan Plain Ware sites are scattered throughout the archipelago. The abandonment of ceramics in Samoa is suggested to have occurred around 200 A.D. to 400 A.D.

Settlement Patterns

Throughout most of Samoan prehistory, settlement trends appeared to occupy both coastal and inland areas and were variable over space and time. Early settlements may have initially favored a coastal nucleated village settlement, and then gradually progressing inland becoming more dispersed as cultivated land in the coastal areas became exhausted possibly due to high population densities. Initial coastal settlement sites appear around 3000 B.C. Gradually, as valley floors expanded over time by drop in sea level and coastal progradation, Samoan populations expanded to other coastal areas and then dispersed elsewhere. The Falefa Valley in Western Samoa demonstrates ongoing early inland occupation and hints at early cultivation by 2000 years ago. A pattern of dispersed inland settlements moving towards more nucleated coastal villages, represents the early historic settlement pattern. Settlement features other than household units are referred to as “specialized sites” consisting of: mounds, defensive sites, quarries, terraces, walkways, and ovens. Large mounds and elaborate fortifications have been suggested to be representative of religious and political development in Western Samoa but not as likely in American Samoa due to absence of these large structures.


        Midden remains of chicken, inshore-fish, shellfish, birds, marine mammals, and sea turtles represent Samoan subsistence. Strong evidence for horticulture doesn’t appear in the archaeological record until 2,000 years ago.

Artifacts / Trade

Major Samoan artifacts consist of adzes, volcanic glass, and fishhooks. Sites such as Tataga-matau, Fagasa, and Alega Valley support the conclusion that Tutuila, American Samoa was the major source of prehistoric basalt tools in the Fiji-West Polynesia region. Early evidence of interaction between Tonga and Samoa was discovered at Mulifanua represented by a possible Tongan adze. Tataga-Matau, Samoa’s largest primary basalt complex, had basalt reaching as far as the South East Solomons. The volcanic glass comparisons of Upolu and Tutuila indicate a glass movement out of Tutuila and into Upolu around the first century A.D.

Important Issues

The interaction of human and naturally induced geomorphological changes can sometimes make locating sites very difficult. The submerged site of Mulifanua and Aoa Valley’s transformation from a valley to a bay represent this process. These types of changes may be contributing to sampling error and should be considered when locating early sites.

2) The absence of dentate-stamped Lapita sites is a significant problem yet to be solved and questions Samoan origin.

3) Abandonment of Pottery is a major issue concerning late ceramic dates. ‘Aoa’s late ceramic deposit would extend the range of pottery use by several centuries.

5) The Sasoa’a site argues for a Samoan ceramic sequence trend from thin-walled, fine tempered to thick-walled, coarse tempered.

rev 22 May 2014