In 2012 in New Zealand, a wooden plank belonging to a Polynesian boat was discovered. Upon examination it was revealed that the plank was 600 years-old and was of a sophisticated design that the researchers had not expected.
This amazing revelation proved that the Polynesian people of the time had the skills of navigation and boat engineering to traverse the vast stretches of Pacific Ocean and land on islands and land masses thousands of mile away. These boats weren’t powered at all save for wind and manpower and for the people of that time to have achieved such feats boggles the minds of scientists and the public alike.
The research was published in the journal Proceedings from the National academy of Sciences.
The immense boat was calculated at being about 65 feet long although the plank discovered was only 20 feet long. A turtle image was found carved into the plank which was a common thing at the time for Polynesians. Scientists and historians to this day marvel at their ingenuity and sheer luck. The theories are that the Polynesians used stars, oral traditions, their basic senses to navigate the vast expanses of ocean. Adding to the validity of the find is that there was another canoe of that time discovered 30 years ago in the location of the Society Islands. They’re located in the South Pacific Ocean where Tahiti resides.
Researchers also did examinations of the climate at the time of the great Polynesian canoe explorations and found that there were indeed climate windows from 800 AD to 1600 AD whereby the Polynesians could have enjoyed the wind patterns that would be able to take them to the various islands and routes.
This data is part of an ever growing mosaic of the Polynesian people’s explorations of the islands of the Pacific. They left their marks on these island and populated them long before Europeans arrived. In many cases they weren’t the first inhabitants as it has been shown that other hominids had dwelt on these island earlier. The astonishing thing is that the Polynesians had to be extremely confident, brave, and expert craftsmen to have survived and flourished over such a huge area of the planet.
The amount of ingenuity and skill needed to achieve what they did should be celebrated by science and not overlooked as just sheer luck. Since it’s evident that the Polynesians not only ventured out and discovered such islands but returned means they knew what they were doing.