allard's introductory chapter reviews the lively debate concerning the introduction of sweet potato into Oceania and its role in debates concerning population growth, population density, and their relationship to agricultural intensification and socio- economic and political change, particularly in New Guinea. Other forms of proxy data include archaeological evidence for cropping and agricultural technology (Coil and Kirch); temporal data indicative of shifts in landscape use and changing agricultural practices (Bayliss-Smith et al.; Haberle and Atkin; Wallin et al.); and data from legends, ethnohistoric documents, and ethnographic studies providing evidence for the timing of the introduction, and the importance of the crop in various Oceanic societies (Allen; Dunis; Wallin et al.).