388 pages, 6 x 9
40 b&w illustrations
For thirty years before the coming of the European missionaries, European explorers were able to observe Tahitian society as it had existed for centuries. Now Edwin Ferdon, Polynesian archaeologist and veteran of Thor Heyerdah's expedition to Easter Island, has interwoven their records to show us in fascinating detail what that society was like.
Relying on the logs and eyewitness accounts of more than fifty explorers of the period, up to the landing of the London Missionary Society's first contingent from the Duff in 1797, Ferdon fulfills his avowed purpose 'to reconstruct the culture of early Tahiti, as it was before the irreversible influence of the Europeans altered it for all times.' . . . A matter-of-fact, easily readable, general introduction to one of Polynesia's most celebrated cultures.'—Ethnohistory
Edwin N. Ferdon first became interested in early Polynesia in 1955 while serving as an archaeologist on Thor Heyerdahl's Norwegian Archaeological Expedition to Easter Island and the East Pacific. Since then he has published numerous papers and a popular book, One Man's Log, on Polynesia's archaeology, ethnography, and geography. During twenty-four years of association with the Museum of New Mexico and School of American Research in Santa Fe and the Arizona State Museum in Tucson, he conducted archaeological surveys and excavations in Mesoamerica, South America, the southwestern United States, and Polynesia. From 1961 to 1978 he was associate director of the Arizona State Museum.
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