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The Colonisation of Palau: preliminary results from Angaur and Ulong

Clark, Geoffrey; Wright, Duncan

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The prehistory of Palau and other parts of western Micronesia has recently become important to debates about the colonisation and pattern of cultural development in the west Pacific. The main reason for this has been the suggestion that the antiquity of human occupation there might be much earlier than has been thought (e.g. Masse 1990), ilnd well before the dispersal of Lapita culture from the Bismarck Archipelago to Samo,1, between 3300 and 2850 BP (Specht and Gosden 1998; Anderson...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorClark, Geoffrey
dc.contributor.authorWright, Duncan
dc.coverage.spatialNoumea
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-13T22:34:42Z
dc.date.available2015-12-13T22:34:42Z
dc.date.createdJuly 31 2002
dc.identifier.citationClark, G & Wright, D 2003, 'The Colonisation of Palau: preliminary results from Angaur and Ulong', International Conference for the 50th anniversary of the first Lapita excavation (July 1952), ed. Christophe Sand, Le Cahiers de l¹Archéologie en Nouvelle-Calédonie, Noumea, pp. 85-95.
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/76249
dc.description.abstractThe prehistory of Palau and other parts of western Micronesia has recently become important to debates about the colonisation and pattern of cultural development in the west Pacific. The main reason for this has been the suggestion that the antiquity of human occupation there might be much earlier than has been thought (e.g. Masse 1990), ilnd well before the dispersal of Lapita culture from the Bismarck Archipelago to Samo,1, between 3300 and 2850 BP (Specht and Gosden 1998; Anderson and Clark 1999). Estimates for the settlement of the Marianas now start about -1800 years BP, with Palau occupied at 4500 BP and Yap probably before 3200 BP (Dodson <rnd Intoh 1999; Wickler 2001). These older than anticipated dates (e.g. Milsse 1990) are significant because they coincide approxunately with the spreild of a eolithic cultural complex in island South East Asia chilracterised by use of rice, pig and dog, manufacture of red-slipped or paddle-impressed cernmics, along with other distinctive portable artefacts that do not occur in pre-ceramic assemblc1ges of the region (Bellwood 2001 ). Direct evidence for the earliest settlement of the Marianas, Palau and Y<1p is, however, scarce, and has been largely inferred from the analysis of sediment cores which indicates anthropogenic activity eilrlier than the archaeological record In Palau these include the presence of charcoal particles, pollen from food plants like the giant swamp taro (Cyrtosperma clw111isso11is), and an increase in savannah plants at the expense of forest growth before 4000 BP (Athens and Ward 2001; Welch 2001). While the palaeoenv1ronmental results have furnished useful alternate colonisation chronologies there is a striking absence of early sites that allow us to identify either the origin and pattern of settlement m west Micronesia, or to investigate the colonisers' connection to early Austronesian movements in Island South East Asia and the Lapita dispersal in Near and Remote Oceania. This paper summarises recent investigations undertaken on the islands of Angaur and Ulong (Fig. l) aimed at recovering early cultural materials from Palau's sequence to clarify the archipelago's colonisation history. The earliest securely d,1ted and adequately reported cultural deposits from Palau date to rn. 2300 BP (Welch 2001), and several reasons for an absence of sites older than 2500 BP have been proposed.
dc.publisherLe Cahiers de l'Archeologie en Nouvelle-Caledonie
dc.rightsAuthor/s retain copyright
dc.sourcePacific Archaeology: assessments and prospects. Proceedings of the International Conference for the 50th anniversary of the first Lapita excavation (July 1952), Kone-Noumea 2002.
dc.titleThe Colonisation of Palau: preliminary results from Angaur and Ulong
dc.typeConference paper
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.description.refereedYes
dc.date.issued2003
local.identifier.absfor210106 - Archaeology of New Guinea and Pacific Islands (excl. New Zealand)
local.identifier.ariespublicationMigratedxPub5099
local.type.statusPublished version
local.contributor.affiliationClark, Geoffrey, College of Arts and Social Sciences, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationWright, Duncan, College of Arts and Social Sciences, ANU
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage85
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage95
dc.date.updated2015-12-11T09:23:37Z
dcterms.accessRightsOpen Access
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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