This introductory chapter describes the outline, focus, and themes of the book. The book describes the genetic and linguistic diversity in the key region of Northern Island Melanesia. Recurrent themes of the book are laid out. These are: the influence of the island biogeography (a series of stepping-stone islands extending from Southeast Asia into the Pacific); the dynamics of small populations (even some of the larger islands had carrying capacities of under 1,000 people in pre-Neolithic times); very limited marital migration distances in inland (bush) communities vs. more extensive marital migration rates along shoreline communities; intensifying mobility after the isolation of initial settlement, aided by better seafaring technology in the Holocene; and later immigration of distinct peoples from Island Southeast Asia, who spoke Austronesian (Oceanic) languages and settled along the shorelines and the small islands, so that language distinctions are associated to a degree with the pattern of diversity. The succeeding chapters are summarized.
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