Polynesian Origins Project

The Lapita Site shoreline, New Britain

The Polynesian Origins Database (POD) facilitates the management and dissemination of radiocarbon and archaeological information to better understand the biological and cultural evolution of the populations of the Pacific region.

Keywords: Polynesia, Oceania, Pacific, Lapita, Radiocarbon dating, Arches

Research Outline

Establishing an accurate chronology of the initial movement of peoples into Oceania and of their subsequent cultural transformations is problematic for a number of reasons. With so many Pacific Islands being archaeologically investigated over decades by researchers from institutions across Australasia and beyond, one of the most significant issues we have is the lack of a uniform radiometric database for the region.  Richard Jennings, LJMU, together with Fiona Petchey, Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory, University of Waikato, New Zealand, are designing and populating the Polynesian Origins Database (POD), an Arches web-based spatial database to facilitate the input, management and dissemination of radiocarbon and archaeological information from the Pacific region.

Lapita Pottery
Lapita Pottery, just one example of the rich cultural history of the Pacific Region

POD enables disparate radiocarbon datasets to be integrated using international heritage recording standards of the CiDOC CRM (Council of Museums Conceptual Reference Model).  The database stores data concerning all aspects relevant to the generation of a radiometric date: e.g. its archaeological context, sample type, laboratory procedures, and the associated environmental evidence required to accurately interpret radiometric dates, such as reservoir effects on radiocarbon dates and 13C data. Other project members include Professor Dhiya Al Jumeily, LJMU School of Computer Science, LJMU graduate students Hiba Alsmadi and Jeffrey Banks, and colleagues from across the Pacific.

An example of the data capture and record sets within the Polynesian Origins Database


University of Waikato collaboration: Dr Fiona Petchey

Arches Project


Other Projects from Richard Jennings

Gibraltar Cave Project

Directed by the Gibraltar National Museum, this project explores evidence for Neanderthal and modern human behaviour and ecology at the UNESCO-World Heritage archaeological cave sites of Gibraltar, including Gorham’s Cave and Vanguard Cave. The sites contain a wealth of archaeological and palaeo-environmental evidence including lithics, engravings, cave art, and faunal remains.

Click here to find out more…

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