A new hypothesis suggests that tsunamis some time around the fifteenth century could have led to an abrupt reduction in Pacific voyaging.
Victoria University of Wellington archaeologist Dr Bruce McFadgen and Dr James Goff from the University of New South Wales say a tsunami would have had a severe impact on coastal communities, canoes and people.
They say this could have reduced the means for voyaging around the Pacific.
Dr. McFadgen believes that if enough archaelogical evidence is found then knowledge of travel in the Pacific hundreds of years ago would be vastly improved.
"If you destroy the means of getting about the Pacific, then getting about the Pacific must stop until such a time that those means have been replaced. But how these actually affected is something that I'm afraid we're just going to have to wait until we can get the information and look into it further."
Dr Bruce McFadgen says the research is in its very early stages and he would like archaelogists working in the Pacific to look for signs of historic tsunamis that might support their work.