Daily Archives: November 10, 2009

Single Hook

Pomeroy polynesian hook 1

Polynesian-style fish hook found at McNaughton Island

John Pomeroy found this unusual shell (“scallop”) artifact at McNaughton Island (ElTb-10) on the central coast in 1972 (Pomeroy 1980: 321b).  It strongly resembles some Polynesian fish hooks, and is also similar to some Californian ones.  While no scale is given, by comparison to the text it appears about 5 cm long by 4 cm wide. Pomeroy offers three suggestions:

Pomeroy polynesian hook 2

Polynesian fishook from Beasley (1928) via Pomeroy (1980)

1. That it was traded from California

2.  That it was brought from Polynesia by early European explorers.

3. That it arrived inside a tuna.

He notes that there are no tuna remains at this site, which makes (3) less likely though not impossible.  While trade from California is possible, Pomeroy  notes that this specific artifact most closely resembles some from Polynesia and not from California – namely the one to the right from Beasley (1928).  The fact that it was found at a depth of 1.7 metres suggests that (2) is unlikely.  There is a date for about one metre below the surface at this site of 900 BP.  While the exact relationship of the date sample to this artifact is uncertain on my brief reading, it is most likely the date is above the artifact and thus more recent.  Certainly this general time frame of less than 1500 years is the time when eastern Polynesia is being settled and there may have been greater opportunity for drift items or other accidental contact to occur.  On the other hand, this is also said to be the time that the Californian examples arise.

Pomeroy leaves the matter unresolved.  I’m going to keep my eyes open for other examples including fragments that might be misclassified.

polynesian fishhooks

Polynesian Fish Hooks.