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.
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
Bayesian Modeling and Chronological Precision for Polynesian Settlement of Tonga
Copyright is held by the author(s).
Member of collection