Austronesian speaking cultures were some of the greatest ocean voyagers in human history. From their homeland in Taiwan they came to populate a vast geographic area, ranging west to Madagascar, east to Rapa Nui and south to New Zealand—a region spanning over half the world’s longitude and over a third of its latitude. Traditionally Austronesian cultures ranged in population size from hundreds of people up to hundreds of thousands of people, and developed a wide range of technologies, social structures and religous systems. I have recently led a team of researchers to build a freely available database of Austronesian cultures named Pulotu, meaning “abode of the gods”. This database documents the traditional religious systems of 116 Austronesian cultures and includes information on their social structures and physical environments.
The database can be freely viewed here, and you will find a paper describing how and why the database was built here.