Wednesday, June 27, 2007

First Lapita Settlement and Its Chronology in Vava'u

A new radiocarbon dating confirms the early settling of Lapita culture in western Polynesia presumably from the Bismarck Archipelago. The new dates from Vava'u in Tonga suggest colonization started around 1400 BCE:

First Lapita Settlement and Its Chronology in Vava'u, Kingdom of Tonga

Authors: Burley, David V.; Connaughton, Sean P.
Source: Radiocarbon, Volume 49, Issue 1, Pages 1-186 (April 2007) , pp. 131-137(7)
Publisher: Arizona Board of Regents (University of Arizona)


Beginning approximately cal 1400 BC, Austronesian-speaking Lapita peoples began a colonizing migration across Oceania from the Bismarck Archipelago to western Polynesia. The first point of entry into Polynesia occurred on the island of Tongatapu in Tonga with subsequent spread northward to Samoa along a natural sailing corridor. Radiocarbon measurements from recent excavations at 4 sites in the northern Vava'u islands of Tonga provide a chronology for the final stage of this diaspora. These dates indicate that the northern expansion was almost immediate, that a paucity of Lapita sites to the north cannot be explained as a result of lag time in the settlement process, and that decorated Lapita ceramics disappeared rapidly after first landfalls.

Paul Kekai Manansala