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A Radiocarbon Sequence from the Toaga Site, Ofu Island, American Samoa

  • P V Kirch (a1), T L Hunt (a1) (a2) and Jason Tyler (a1)

Extract

The Samoan Archipelago occupies a critical position for understanding the dispersal of early Austronesian-speaking peoples into the southwestern Pacific, including the initial colonization by humans of the Polynesian triangle. To date, the most easterly reported site of the Lapita cultural complex (Green, 1979; Kirch, 1984; Kirch & Hunt, 1988) is the Mulifanua site on Upolu Island, Western Samoa (Green & Davidson, 1974). Lapita colonists settled the larger, western Samoan Islands by the end of the second millennium bc. Archaeologic and linguistic evidence also suggest that the islands of Eastern Polynesia (eg, Marquesas, Society and Cook Islands) were settled, at least in part, from Samoa. However, the timing of this movement into Eastern Polynesia has not yet been dated to earlier than ca 150 bc on the basis of radiocarbon dating of cultural materials from the Marquesas Islands (Kirch, 1986; Ottino, 1985). This has raised the issue of whether there was a “long pause” between the settlement of Samoa (and the other islands of Western Polynesia, such as Tonga, Futuna, and ‘Uvea) and that of Eastern Polynesia (Irwin, 1981; Kirch, 1986; Terrell, 1986).

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References

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A Radiocarbon Sequence from the Toaga Site, Ofu Island, American Samoa

  • P V Kirch (a1), T L Hunt (a1) (a2) and Jason Tyler (a1)

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