Ben Finney


In an intriguing article, McCall (1993) suggests that climatic deterioration in the Pacific during the Little Ice Age may have significantly impacted Polynesian voyaging, colonization, and societal development during this period, generally dated as beginning in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries A.D. and culminating somewhere between the mid-sixteenth and mid~nineteenth centuries. McCall posits that shifts in temperature, rainfall, and wind patterns during the Little Ice Age led to a decrease in voyaging and trade, the abandonment of settlements on such small, marginal "mystery islands" as Nihoa and Necker at the northwest end of the Hawaiian chain and various equatorial atolls, and increased conflict and social disruption on permanently settled but environmentally sensitive islands such as Rapa Nui.