Archaeology and aDNA in Oceania : Debates on migration patterns the past 50 years

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för arkeologi och antik historia

Abstract:

The aim of this thesis is to investigate how discussions in archaeology and genetics influence

the consensus on human origins and migrations in the South Pacific. By analyzing the genetic

research on chicken- and sweet potato-DNA, I present a general overview of how genetics

and archaeology shape the understanding of how humans have colonized the Pacific. By

deconstructing a review on how the Pacific was settled based on aDNA, I analyze a

geneticist’s perspective on archaeological problems. Through this analysis I suggest how

archaeology should be approached on a theoretical level in order to be relevant in

understanding human migrations in the Pacific. I propose that archaeology’s strength lie in

interpreting material culture through an agency perspective in order to reach a dimension not

obtainable by biological perspectives

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