Does latest Archaeology find give clues to Polynesian Origins?
Archaeologists in China are excavating a 5000-year old-cemetery north east of Yangguanzhai ruins and have made some interesting discoveries so far.
The cemetery which covers some 90,000 square metres belonged to a late Neolithic group known as Yangashao, an ancient civilization that existed between 5000 and 3000 BC who lived in what is now called Central China – The Henan, Shanxi, and Shaanxi provinces.
While digging the 300 graves found so far, archaeologists have found textile fabrics around human bones, hair clasps and painted pottery that resembles Polynesian art.
A recent ‘game changing’ study of ancient DNA has helped boost the idea that Polynesians had voyaged from all the way from East Asia and not New Guinea as originally thought.
According to the Genome-wide study of ancient DNA, researchers have sequenced the genomes of four individuals of the Lapita culture who lived between 2,300 and 3,100 years ago on the islands of Vanuatu and Tonga.
They compared these to DNA from 778 people who currently live on the islands as well as elsewhere in East Asia and Oceania. The study found that Pacific islanders have a mix of ancestry from Papuan people of New Guinea and the ancient East Asian population.
The scientists say there was almost no Papuan ancestry in the genomes of the four ancient remains they analysed.
The Lapita culture made distinctive earthenware pottery and were thought to have originally been descended from the Papuans from New Guinea, but the new research suggests they were actually formed from a separate wave of migration of Asia.
Professor Spriggs, co-author of the study said the findings may also lead to some changing ideas about the ancestry of other groups living in the Pacific Ocean.
He says, “The difference between a ‘Polynesian’ and a ‘Melanesian’ is simply a question of the percentage of Asian as opposed to Papuan genes.”