Learn about the development of ancient Polynesian ship technology, from dugout canoes to catamarans, in this video from NOVA: Great Human Odyssey. Although there is no archeological evidence of the earliest boats, there are clues in Papua New Guinea, where people are still crafting dugout canoes like their ancestors did. War canoes were long and fast, functioning best in calm waters. To venture out into the ocean, the Papuans added an outer rig to widen and stabilize the vessel so that it would not be tipped by the waves. With an added sail, these outriggers could move easily and swiftly between islands, allowing the people to settle the southern Pacific. Wind tunnel tests on a model of an ancient Polynesian vessel show how it could sail into the wind. The subsequent development of the catamaran—basically two canoes attached together with a large deck—allowed for further expansion across the ocean. This resource is part of the NOVA Collection.
Visit the program page here.