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Tinian Island pushes human settlement date back 3,400 years

An excavation on Tinian Island in the Northern Marianas has pushed back the dates for human habitation by 3,400 years. Island Business posted an interesting interview on the matter with Peter Bellwood, Professor of Archaeology at the Australian National University.

EWART: So does the work that is going on in the Northern Marianas at the moment. Is it as it were helping to broaden the picture of the way the Pacific Islands were populated many hundreds of years ago? And are we learning things that we didn’t know before? Is the picture changing?

BELLWOOD: It is, partly because the sites being excavated in the Marianas Islands are a little bit older than those in the south of the equator, in the Lapita region of Melanesia. They appear to be 100 or 200 years older. So this now looks like the first movement of these people from the Philippines, reaching the Marianas Islands across a very large area of sea. It’s almost 2,300 kilometres across that passage. There is, at the moment, some debate as to whether they travelled directly or if they went through some islands further to the south, such as Palau or Yapp and we still don’t know that, because similar materials have not yet been found in Palau or Yapp, so we only have this material at the moment from the Marianas Islands. But it looks like, yeah this could have been one of the first movements.

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Story: Island Business | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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