Analysis of plant microfossils in archaeological deposits from two remote archipelagos: The Marshall Islands, Eastern Micronesia, and the Pitcairn Group, Southeast Polynesia

Horrocks, Mark and Weisler, Marshall I. (2006) Analysis of plant microfossils in archaeological deposits from two remote archipelagos: The Marshall Islands, Eastern Micronesia, and the Pitcairn Group, Southeast Polynesia. Pacific Science, 60 2: 261-280.

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Author Horrocks, Mark
Weisler, Marshall I.
Title Analysis of plant microfossils in archaeological deposits from two remote archipelagos: The Marshall Islands, Eastern Micronesia, and the Pitcairn Group, Southeast Polynesia
Journal name Pacific Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1534-6188
0030-8870
Publication date 2006-04
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1353/psc.2006.0004
Volume 60
Issue 2
Start page 261
End page 280
Total pages 20
Editor C. Daehler
Place of publication Hawaii, USA
Publisher University of Hawaii
Collection year 2006
Language eng
Subject C1
430200 Archaeology and Prehistory
750902 Understanding the pasts of other societies
Abstract Pollen and starch residue analyses were conducted on 24 sediment samples from archaeological sites on Maloelap and Ebon Atolls in the Marshall Islands, eastern Micronesia, and Henderson and Pitcairn Islands in the Pitcairn Group, Southeast Polynesia. The sampled islands, two of which are mystery islands (Henderson and Pitcairn), previously occupied and abandoned before European contact, comprise three types of Pacific islands: low coral atolls, raised atolls, and volcanic islands. Pollen, starch grains, calcium oxylate crystals, and xylem cells of introduced non-Colocasia Araceae (aroids) were identified in the Marshalls and Henderson (ca. 1,900 yr B.P. and 1,200 yr B.P. at the earliest, respectively). The data provide direct evidence of prehistoric horticulture in those islands and initial fossil pollen sequences from Pitcairn Island. Combined with previous studies, the data also indicate a horticultural system on Henderson comprising both field and tree crops, with seven different cultigens, including at least two species of the Araceae. Starch grains and xylem cells of Ipomoea sp., possibly introduced 1. batatas, were identified in Pitcairn Island deposits dated to the last few centuries before European contact in 1790.
Keyword Marine & Freshwater Biology
Zoology
Potato Ipomoea-batatas
New-zealand
New-guinea
Agriculture
Remains
Q-Index Code C1

 
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