This week during a random Google search I found this interesting map showing migration of people across the pacific, and had to dig deeper. It refers to the Lapita Culture, who archaeologists theorise lived in the Pacific about 1600 BCE to 500 BCE.
Archaeologists have been able to trace similarities in pottery designs across islands spanning a massive area. This has allowed them to develop an understanding of a people and culture quite developed, who could find islands hundreds of kilometers from any other in the open ocean, and then settle and colonise them. Their descendants are the Polynesians, and their culture would have stretched from New Guinea across the pacific, with some theorising they made it to Easter Island and even South America.
It is mind blowing to think that people traveled these waters thousands of years ago, being akin in my mind the trip to the Moon or even Mars for modern man. I am constantly fascinated by the way that our understanding of history continually evolves, and in doing so it expands our knowledge of what humans are really capable of.