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Early Societies in Oceania1500 BCE-700 CE

Land area during last glaciation

Lapit settlement

1500 - 500 BCE


For about a thousand years an Austronesian people maintained a vast network of communication and trade. Settling in agricultural villages across a region extending about 2,800 miles.


Around 3000 BCE, agriculture was introduced to New Guinea leading to population growth and specialization of labor. Because of lower sea levels during the last glaciation period, migration in the region continued over land as well as by sea.

3000 BCE

1500-700 BCE

Pacific Island Migrations

Austronesian peoples went on to establish chiefly societies throughout the Pacific including those on the Tongan, Samoan, and Hawaiian Islands.

Migration to Australia & New Guinea

Early migrants from southeast Asia arrived in Australia and New Guinea, likely in canoes fitted with sails, as long as 60,000 years ago. Early migrants lived as hunter-gatherers.

60,000 BCE