A multidisciplinary approach for dating human colonization of Pacific atolls

Weisler, Marshall I., Yamano, Hiroya and Hua, Quan (2012) A multidisciplinary approach for dating human colonization of Pacific atolls. Journal of Island & Coastal Archaeology, 7 1: 102-125. doi:10.1080/15564894.2011.616923

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Author Weisler, Marshall I.
Yamano, Hiroya
Hua, Quan
Title A multidisciplinary approach for dating human colonization of Pacific atolls
Journal name Journal of Island & Coastal Archaeology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1556-4894
Publication date 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/15564894.2011.616923
Open Access Status
Volume 7
Issue 1
Start page 102
End page 125
Total pages 24
Place of publication Philadelphia, PA, United States
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The timing of reef platform emergence and the detailed chronology of reef island development provides a powerful backdrop for constraining the earliest period possible for prehistoric human colonization of low-lying atolls. Since Pacific atolls consist of biogenetic sediments, we dated foraminifera sands composed of well-preserved shallow-water species that are reliable indicators of facies formation. From transect excavations across the largest islet of Utrōk Atoll (11°13'N, 169°50'E) and Maloelap Atoll (8°47'N, 171°05'E), Marshall Islands, we selected nine foraminifera dating samples and five charcoal samples from prehistoric ovens in well-defined cultural layers and charcoal from buried A horizons. We document that: 1) the largest islets of Utrōk and Maloelap atolls expanded towards the lagoon shore at a rate of ~70 m/kyr and ~200m/kyr, respectively; 2) foraminifera sands immediately below buried A horizons in the islet's "core" areas represents the timing of islet development at ~2750 and ~2400 cal BP, respectively; and 3) the oldest cultural dates (1850 and 1790 cal BP, ~900-600 years younger than islet development) indicates that occupation much older than 2000 cal BP is unlikely, which is supported by sea level falling from its high stands to the present levels around 2000 cal BP for the northwestern Pacific.
Keyword Human colonization
Marshall islands
AMS dating
Utrōk atoll
Maloelap atoll
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Social Science Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 9 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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