chapter  16
35 Pages

Production and exchange in historical archaeology

WithJohn Moreland

The view we must adopt regarding these Melanesian peoples…is very different from the view which is normally taken. They have an extra domestic economy and a highly developed exchange system, and are busier commercially than French peasants and fishermen have been for the past hundred years. They have an extensive economic life and a considerable trade that cuts across geographical and linguistic boundaries. They replace our system of sale and purchase with one of gifts and return gifts…

Thus we see that a part of mankind, wealthy, hard-working and creating large surpluses, exchanges vast amounts in ways and for reasons other than those with which we are familiar from our own societies.