Bayesian Modeling and Chronological Precision for Polynesian Settlement of Tonga

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Scholarly level: 
Faculty/Staff
Final version published as: 

Burley D, Edinborough K, Weisler M, Zhao J-x (2015) Bayesian Modeling and Chronological Precision for Polynesian Settlement of Tonga. PLoS ONE 10(3): e0120795. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0120795

Date created: 
2015
Keywords: 
Radioactive carbon dating
Archaeological dating
Polynesians
Archaeology
Ceramics
Corals
Archaeological excavation
Tonga
Abstract: 

First settlement of Polynesia, and population expansion throughout the ancestral Polynesian homeland are foundation events for global history. A precise chronology is paramount to informed archaeological interpretation of these events and their consequences. Recently applied chronometric hygiene protocols excluding radiocarbon dates on wood charcoal without species identification all but eliminates this chronology as it has been built for the Kingdom of Tonga, the initial islands to be settled in Polynesia. In this paper we re-examine and redevelop this chronology through application of Bayesian models to the questioned suite of radiocarbon dates, but also incorporating short-lived wood charcoal dates from archived samples and high precision U/Th dates on coral artifacts. These models provide generation level precision allowing us to track population migration from first Lapita occupation on the island of Tongatapu through Tonga’s central and northern island groups. They further illustrate an exceptionally short duration for the initial colonizing Lapita phase and a somewhat abrupt transition to ancestral Polynesian society as it is currently defined.

Language: 
English
Document type: 
Article
File(s): 
Sponsor(s): 
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)
Australian Research Council Grant
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