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New perspectives on indigenous navigation tradition

Stick charts are a significant part of the Micronesian Marshallese navigation tradition in the Pacific Ocean. The islanders navigated without instruments just by observing, among others, oceanic phenomena such as swells, currents, and roughness characteristics of the sea surface. For a long time, the explanation of the various sticks of such latticework remained secret and something of a mystery and was only obtained by oral transmission under great difficulties. Old and new interpretations of stick charts are compared and presented. Signatures of different swells manifested on stick charts were identified and proved by satellite remote sensing data. Current research on indigenous navigation is growing to conserve such unique tradition in the Pacific and especially in the sea area of the Marshall Islands. For scientific research on indigenous navigation knowledge collaboration between natural scientists and ethnologists is necessary.

Marshall Islands | stick charts | swell diffraction | neutron diffraction | CHRIS satellite image

Ausgabe: HN 100 Seite: 54–58
DOI: 10.23784/HN100-12
Autor/en: Ingo Hennings