While Australian Aboriginal rock art traditions apparently remain little changed from the previous period, the distinctive Manga’asi ceramics of Vanuatu cease to be produced around the end of the twelfth century. Two remarkable megalithic traditions emerge in two different areas of the Pacific. Around 1100, at the eastern edge of Polynesia, the Rapa Nui of Easter Island carve the first of the island’s distinctive colossal stone figures, or moai. Depicting ancestral chiefs, nearly 900 moai are created over the next five centuries. Around 1200, on the Micronesian island of Pohnpei, work begins on the massive megalithic city of Nan Madol, built on a series of artificial islands around an intricate network of canals.
Polynesians of Necker Island near Hawai’i create distinctive stone images.
The first colossal stone figures, or moai, are carved on Easter Island.
Polynesians settle Rekohu (the Chatham Islands) east of New Zealand. The last Pacific archipelago to be populated, Rekohu represents the endpoint of over two millennia of exploration and settlement of the remote islands of the Pacific.
Construction begins on the megalithic city of Nan Madol on Pohnpei in Micronesia.
The legendary leader Roy Mata is active in the islands of central Vanuatu. In 1967, his burial is discovered and excavated by Western archaeologists. The shell ornaments and other grave goods found with his body exactly match those described in oral traditions, which had been passed down for over six centuries.
“Oceania, 1000–1400 A.D.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/ht/?period=07®ion=oc (October 2001)