That si Nukuleka, Tonga, and translates as 888±8 BCE (remember that BP means "before 1950").
David Burley et al., High Precision U/Th Dating of First Polynesian Settlement. PLoS ONE 2012. Open access ··> LINK [doi]
AbstractPrevious studies document Nukuleka in the Kingdom of Tonga as a founder colony for first settlement of Polynesia by Lapita peoples. A limited number of radiocarbon dates are one line of evidence supporting this claim, but they cannot precisely establish when this event occurred, nor can they afford a detailed chronology for sequent occupation. High precision U/Th dates of Acropora coral files (abraders) from Nukuleka give unprecedented resolution, identifying the founder event by 2838±8 BP and documenting site development over the ensuing 250 years. The potential for dating error due to post depositional diagenetic alteration of ancient corals at Nukuleka also is addressed through sample preparation protocols and paired dates on spatially separated samples for individual specimens. Acropora coral files are widely distributed in Lapita sites across Oceania. U/Th dating of these artifacts provides unparalleled opportunities for greater precision and insight into the speed and timing of this final chapter in human settlement of the globe.
Very handy after the recent endless circular discussions. Polynesians this? Polynesians that? Polynesians only since 890 BCE, not before! Earlier related cultures of Lapita were not yet Polynesians but generically Oceanic and mostly of Melanesian stock.
Importantly there are good reasons to consider Nukuleka as the founder site of Polynesia:
The status of Nukuleka as a founder colony is verified through four lines of evidence. First, while limited, Nukuleka radiocarbon dates are the earliest for any Lapita site in Polynesia (Table S1). Second, decorated ceramics from Nukuleka incorporate an assemblage of Lapita wares similar to those recovered from earlier Lapita sites in island Melanesia to the west of Tonga. These are markedly different from later Lapita ceramics in West Polynesia, and Nukuleka is the only site in West Polynesia where these early ceramics occur . Third, a subset of the ceramic assemblage with the earliest Lapita designs is foreign to Tonga, based on petrographic analysis of ceramic temper sands and sherd geochemistry . These pots were transported from the ancestral homeland of the Nukuleka colonizers, a homeland that has yet to be identified. And fourth, the settlement at Nukuleka expanded over a 20 ha area on the Nukuleka Peninsula during the 200–250 year period of Lapita occupation . Nukuleka became a central place for Lapita peoples in West Polynesia as well as a gateway community for expanded settlement.
So it is very likely that the somewhat famed founder effects of Polynesians peoples (Y-DNA C2a and O3a2, mtDNA B4a1a1) were dominant already at this site in this date. However I must say that a second founder effect at nearby Samoa (not considered here), which has a much more similar Y-DNA to Eastern Polynesia, can be taken for granted also.
- The genetic and phenotype complexity of the Oceanic language area.
- Ancient Maori mtDNA.
- Hawaiian genetic study shows 2-1 Asian-Melanesian admixture in Polynesians.
- Ancient DNA... of chickens.
- The Cham People and why the genetic structure of SE Asia is mostly not the product of Austronesian expansion.
- Genetics of Batanic language speakers.
- Category: Oceania.