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Fishhook Classification
*****In a recent paper (Hanamiai, 1989) Barry Rolett has presented a classification for Marquesan fishhooks which, in the main, follows the work of Suggs (1961). Rolett has classified some 140 fishhooks from the Hanamiai excavations and appears to have thoroughly studied the work of Suggs, Sinoto, Bellwood and others as well as illustrating some of the specimens recovered by them. Thus I feel that some of his comments bear repeating.
*****"The richness of Marquesan archaeological sites in fishhooks, measured both in quantity and in stylistic variation, is perhaps the greatest in the Pacific. This makes fishhooks valuable for local and regional analyses that can be used to establish chronological sequences and to determine cultural relationships between different island groups. The stylistic specificity of fishhook forms also makes it possible to study the processes of technological diffusion, as a measure of interaction between populations on different islands within a single archipelago, or between the populations of different island groups."
***** Here he is perhaps reiterating the thoughts of his predecessors. It is fairly obvious that the specific styles, especially the early ones should reflect ancestral forms. There may be evidence of the same forms appearing over long periods, artisanal tradition then maintaining the important characteristic elements of specific forms, generation after generation. Fishhooks then, may yield one of the best ways to pinpoint the source of the Early Eastern Polynesian Culture.
*****Let us now pass on to the important individual Types or groups of Marquesan one-piece fishhooks as defined by Rolett (in italics) and their relation to the Tubuai forms already evident in the presently limited collection. (Note: I have tried to briefly update some of this material, now in the year 2000 we have quite a few more hooks in the Tubuai collection, revisions in green)

*****The characteristic features of Jabbing fishhooks are their straight shank, U-shaped bend, and straight point either parallel to the shank or angled slightly outwards, Specimens with the point angled outwards were classified separately by Suggs (1961:78) as "Open Jabbing" hooks. The relatively narrow shanks are flat or faceted in cross section. The head forms usually consist of a rearward projection extending beyond the width of the shank or a roughly triangular shaped knob formed by a single notch in the inner shank. Most specimens are small, varying in size from 1-4 cm. in length
*****Jabbing hooks are common among artifact assemblages from sites on Nukuhiva, Ua Huka, and Hiva Oa excavated by Suggs and Sinoto, as well as from Hanamiai. They are represented throughout Marquesan prehistory but while they are a rare trait of the Settlement and Development cultures, they are dominant elements of Expansion and Classic culture fishhook assemblages.
*****A quick inspection of the hooks illustrated in Diagram 17.13 shows that Jabbing hooks are poorly represented thus far in the Tubuai collection. It has been suggested that one of the groups of early settlers in Tubuai came from the Marquesas. The fishhook evidence tends to rule out a late arrival of this group for if they had left the Marquesas during the Expansion or Classic periods we must surely expect a much greater proportion of Jabbing hooks. The small example i (Diagram 17.13 and Diagram 17.12 g) may be a Jabbing hook and related to the Suggs example (1961, Fig. 26 p) defined by him as an Open Jabbing Hook. It must be remembered that jabbing like rotating inplies a mode of funtioning and that certain other fishhook types, such as the Wiggly Shank Hooks appear to be jabbing or open jabbing forms.

Heavy Shank.
*****The features of this group, named by Suggs (1961:81), resembles those of the Jabbing hook except for the relatively large width of the shank and point which are flat in cross section. Fishhooks of this group vary in length from about 3-6 cm. Their chronological distribution apparently spans all periods in Marquesan Prehistory.

M4/5 L5 128 BD

*****In Tubuai there seems to an abrupt division between medium sized hooks and the distinctively large hooks. Although few complete large specimens have been recovered some large fragments would appear to be not necessarily of the Bent Upper Shank group. Large curved shanks as well as circular bends have been found, these may be from Heavy Shank types. Rolett makes note of Suggs reporting specimens with barbed points from Nukuhiva, he states that they have not been found elsewhere in the Marquesas and this would also hold for Tubuai with not one specimen indicating a barb of any kind.

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