Skip to main content
×
×
Home

A Paleoenvironmental and Archaeological Model-Based Age Estimate for the Colonization of Hawai’l

  • J. Stephen Athens (a1), Timothy M. Rieth (a1) and Thomas S. Dye (a2)
Abstract

Recent estimates of when Hawai’i was colonized by Polynesians display considerable variability, with dates ranging from about A.D. 800 to 1250. Using high resolution paleoenvironmental coring data and a carefully defined set of archaeological radiocarbon dates, a Bayesian model for initial settlement was constructed. The pollen and charcoal assemblages of the core record made it possible to identify and date the prehuman period and also the start of human settlement using a simple depositional model. The archaeological and paleoenvironmental estimates of the colonization date show a striking convergence, indicating that initial settlement occurred at A.D. 940–1130 at a 95 percent highest posterior density region (HPD), and most probably between A.D. 1000 to 1100, using a 67 percent HPD. This analysis highlights problems that may occur when paleoenvironmental core chronologies are based on bulk soil dates. Further research on the dating of the bones of Rattus exulans, a Polynesian introduction, may refine the dating model, as would archaeological investigations focused on potential early site locations.

Resumen

Estimaciones recientes de cuando fue colonizado Hawai’i por los Polinesios muestran una gran variabilidad, con fechas superiores alrededor de 800 a 1250 d. C. Utilizando datos de núcleos paleoambientales de alta resolución y una cuidadosa definición de conjuntos de fechas arqueológicas de radiocarbono, se construyó un modelo Bayesian para el asentamiento inicial. La asociación de polen y de carbón de las muestras de núcleos hizo posible identificar y fechar el periodo pre-humano y el inicio del asentamiento humano utilizando un modelo de depósito simple. Las estimaciones arqueológicas y paleoambientales de la fecha de colonización muestran una sorprendente convergencia, indicando que el inicio del asentamiento ocurrió hacia 936–1133 d. C. en un 95 por ciento la región de mayor densidad posterior (HPD en inglés), y más probablemente entre 1000 a 1100 d. C, usando un 67 por ciento de HPD. Este análisis ilumina los problemas que pueden ocurrir cuando los fecha-mientos de núcleos paleoambientales se basan en las fechas del volumen de suelos. Además, investigaciones adicionales sobre la datación de huesos de Rattus exulans, una introducción polinesia, puede refinar aún más el modelo de fechamiento, asímismo que los las investigaciones arqueológicas estén enfocadas en las posibles ubicaciones de sitios tempranos.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Addison, David J. 2001 Archaeological Subsurface Testing for the Removal of Pipeline Utilities under the Installation Restoration Program at Bellows Air Force Station, Waimanalo, Ko’olaupoko District, O’ahu, Hawai’i. Submitted to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Pacific Ocean Division. Fort Shafter, Hawai’i. Copies available from International Archaeological Research Institute, Inc., Honolulu.
Anderson, Atholl 1991 The Chronology of Colonization of New Zealand. Antiquity 65:161195.
Anderson, Atholl 1994 Palaeoenvironmental Evidence of Island Colonization: A Response. Antiquity 68:845847.
Anderson, Atholl 1995 Current Approaches in East Polynesian Colonization Research. Journal of the Polynesian Society 104:110132.
Anderson, Atholl, Chappell, John, Gagan, Michael, and Grove, Richard 2006 Prehistoric Maritime Migration in the Pacific Islands: An Hypothesis of ENSO Forcing. The Holocene 16(1):16.
Anderson, Atholl, and Sinoto, Yosihiko 2002 New Radiocarbon Ages of Colonization Sites in East Polynesia. Asian Perspectives 41:242257.
Anderson, Atholl J., and Smith, Ian W. G. 1992 The Papatowai Site: New Evidence and Interpretations. Journal of the Polynesian Society 101:129158.
Athens, J. Stephen 1997 Hawaiian Native Lowland Vegetation in Prehistory. In Historical Ecology in the Pacific Islands: Prehistoric Environmental and Landscape Change, edited by Patrick V. Kirch and Terry L. Hunt, pp. 248–270. Yale University Press, New Haven.
Athens, J. Stephen 2009 Rattus exulans and the Catastrophic Disappearance of Hawai‘i’s Native Lowland Forest. Biological Invasions 11:14891501.
Stephen, Athens J., and Ward, Jerome V. 2000 Paleoenvironmental Study of Fishponds at Fort Shafter, O‘ahu, Hawai‘i. In Fort Shafter: Cultural Resource Investigations at Hawai‘i’s First U.S. Military Post, by Myra J. Tomonari-Tuggle, Stephen Hamilton, and Katharine Slocumb, Appendix F, pp. F1–F58. Submitted to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Pacific Ocean Division, Fort Shafter, Hawai’i. Copies available from International Archaeological Research Institute, Inc., Honolulu.
Athens, J.Stephen, Ward, Jerome V., and Blinn, Dean W. 2007 Paleoenvironment of Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, South Kona, Hawai‘i Island. Submitted to National Park Service, Haleakalā National Park, Makawao, Hawai’i. Copies available from International Archaeological Research Institute, Inc., Honolulu.
Athens, J.Stephen, Ward, Jerome V., Tuggle, H.David, and Welch, David J. 1999 Environment, Vegetation Change, and Early Human Settlement of the ‘Ewa Plain: A Cultural Resource Inventory of Naval Air Station, Barbers Point, O‘ahu, Hawai‘i; Part III: Paleoenvironmental Investigations. Submitted to Department of the Navy, Pacific Division, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Pearl Harbor, Hawai’i, under contract to Belt Collins Hawaii. Copies available from International Archaeological Research Institute, Inc., Honolulu.
Athens, J.Stephen, Tuggle, H.David, Ward, Jerome V., and Welch, David J. 2002 Avifaunal Extinctions, Vegetation Change, and Polynesian Impacts in Prehistoric Hawai’i. Archaeology in Oceania 37:5778.
Blaauw, Maarten 2010 Methods and Code for ‘Classical’ Age-Modeling of Radiocarbon Sequences. Quaternary Geochronology 5:512518.
Buck, Caitlin E., Andrés Christen, J., and James, Gary N. 1999 BCal: An On-line Bayesian Radiocarbon Calibration Tool. Internet Archaeology 7. Electronic resource, https/intarch.ac.uk/journal/issue7/buck, accessed November 13, 2013.
Buck, Caitlin E., Cavanagh, William G., and Litton, Cliff 1996 The Bayesian Approach to Interpreting Archaeological Data. Wiley, Chichester.
Carson, Mike T., and Stephen Athens, J. 2007 Integration of Coastal Geomorphology, Mythology, and Archaeological Evidence at Kualoa Beach, Windward O‘ahu, Hawaiian Islands. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 2:2443.
Clark, J.S. 1988 Particle Motion and the Theory of Charcoal Analysis: Source Area, Transport, Deposition, and Sampling. Quaternary Research 30:6780.
Commendador, Amy, Field, Julie, Dudgeon, John, and Rieth, Timothy 2012 The Diet of Rodents, Pigs, and Dogs in Prehistoric Hawai‘i Island: Implications for an Evolving Agricultural Landscape from Isotopic Analyses. Paper presented at the 78th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Honolulu.
Denham, Tim, Ramsey, Christopher Bronk, and Specht, Jim 2012 Dating the Appearance of Lapita Pottery in the Bismarck Archipelago and Its Dispersal to Remote Oceania. Archaeology in Oceania 47:3946.
Desilets, Michael 2000 Archaeological Monitoring and Sampling, Interim Removal Action, Five Underground Storage Sites–OU7 Bellows Air Force Station, Waimanalo, Ko ‘olaupoko District, O‘ahu, Hawai‘i. Submitted to Earth Tech, Inc., Honolulu. Copies available from International Archaeological Research Institute, Inc., Honolulu.
Duarte, Trever K. 2012 Colonization and Prehistory on the Island of Maui: A Radiocarbon Synthesis of Maui Island. Unpublished Master’s thesis, Department of Anthropology, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Honolulu.
Dye, Kekapala P., and Dye, Thomas S. 2009 Pre-construction Archaeological Resource Survey for the New Civil Engineering Building, Bellows Air Force Station, Waimanalo, Ko‘olaupoko, O‘ahu, Hawai‘i, TMK: (1)4-1-001:015. Submitted to J. M. Waller Associates. Copies available from T.S. Dye & Colleagues, Archaeologists, Inc., Honolulu.
Dye, Tom 2000 Effects of 14C Sample Selection in Archaeology: an Example from Hawai‘i. Radiocarbon 42(2):2032l7.
Dye, Thomas S. 2011 A Model-Based Age Estimate for Polynesian Colonization of Hawaii. Archaeology in Oceania 46:130138.
Dye, Thomas S., and Pantaleo, Jeffrey 2010 Age of the O18 Site, Hawaii. Archaeology in Oceania 45:13119.
Dye, Thomas S., Carson, Mike T., Tomonari-Tuggle, Myra 2002 Archaeological Survey of 60 Acres of the Kipahulu Historic District within the Kipahulu District of Haleakalā National Park, Maui. Submitted to Department of the Navy, Pacific Division, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Pearl Harbor, Hawai‘i. Copies available from International Archaeological Research Institute, Inc., Honolulu.
Field, Julie S., and Graves, Michael W. 2008 A New Chronology for Pololu Valley, Hawai‘i Island: Occupational History and Agricultural Development. Radiocarbon 50:205222.
Graves, Michael W., and Addison, David J. 1995 The Polynesian Settlement of the Hawaiian Archipelago: Integrating Models and Methods in Archaeological Interpretation. World Archaeology 26:380399.
Hunt, Terry L., and Holsen, Robert M. 1991 An Early Radiocarbon Chronology for the Hawaiian Islands: A Preliminary Analysis. Asian Perspectives 30:147161.
Kennedy, Joseph 1991 Archaeological Inventory Survey and Test Results for the Proposed Pukalani Highlands Property, Located at Pukalani, TMK: 2-3-44, Ahupua‘a of Kailua, District of Makawao, Island of Maui. Submitted to Pukalani Highlands Partners, Kahului, Maui, Hawai‘i by Archaeological Consultants of Hawaii, Inc. Copies available from International Archaeological Research Institute, Inc., Honolulu.
Kirch, Patrick V. 1985 Feathered Gods and Fishhooks: An Introduction to Hawaiian Archaeology and Prehistory. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu.
Kirch, Patrick V. 1992 Anahulu: The Anthropology of History in the Kingdom of Hawaii, Vol. 2, The Archaeology of History. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
Kirch, Patrick V. 2011 When Did the Polynesians Settle Hawai‘i? A Review of 150 Years of Scholarly Inquiry and a Tentative Answer. Hawaiian Archaeology 12:326.
Kirch, Patrick V, and McCoy, Mark D. 2007 Reconfiguring the Hawaiian Cultural Sequence: Results of Re-dating the Halawa Dune Site (Mo-Al-3), Moloka‘i Island. Journal of the Polynesian Society 116:385106.
Ladefoged, Thegn N., Graves, Michael W., and Coil, James H. 2005 The Introduction of Sweet Potato in Polynesia: Early Remains in Hawai‘i. Journal of the Polynesian Society 114:359373.
Lebo, Susan A, Dye, Kekapala P., and Dye, Thomas S. 2009 Pre-construction Archaeological Survey for New Recreational Lodging at Bellows Air Force Station. Submitted to Earth Tech Inc., Honolulu. Copies available from T.S. Dye & Colleagues, Archaeologists, Inc., Honolulu.
Leidemann, Helen, Hartzell, Leslie H., Gordon, Ines P., Lebo, Susan A., Dockall, John E., Lennstrom, Heidi A., McPheron, Shannon, and Dolan, Barbara 2003 Continuity and Change in Upland Kāne ‘one Habitatio: Data Recovery and Monitoring Investigations in Luluku, Kapalai, and Punalu‘u Mauka ‘Ili, O‘ahu. Submitted to the Hawaii State Department of Transportation by the Department of Anthropology, Bishop Museum, Honolulu. Copies available from International Archaeological Research Institute, Inc., Honolulu.
McCoy, Mark D., and Graves, Michael W. 2010 The Role of Agricultural Innovation on Pacific Islands: A Case Study from Hawai’i Island. World Archaeology 42:90107.
McCoy, Mark D., Graves, Michael W., and Murakami, Gail 2010 Introduction of Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) to the Hawaiian Islands. Economic Botany 64:374381.
McDermott, Matt, Shideler, David, Winieski, John, and Hammatt, Hallett H. 2000 Archaeological Data Recovery Report for the Archaeological Sites in the Proposed Barber’s Point Harbor Expansion Area, Kalaeloa, Ahupua‘a of Honouliuli, District of ‘Ewa, Island of O‘ahu. Submitted to the Hawaii State Department of Transportation by Cultural Surveys Hawaii, Inc. Copies available from International Archaeological Research Institute, Inc., Honolulu.
McFadgen, B. G. 1982 Dating New Zealand Archaeology by Radiocarbon. New Zealand Journal of Science 25:379392.
Mulrooney, Mara A., Bickler, Simon H., Allen, Melinda S., and Ladefoged, Thegn N. 2011 High-precision Dating of Colonization and Settlement in East Polynesia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108:E192E194.
Nagata, Kenneth M. 1985 Early Plant Introductions in Hawai‘i. The Hawaiian Journal of History 19:3561.
Patterson, William A., Edwards, Kevin J., and Maguire, David J. 1987 Microscopic Charcoal as a Fossil Indicator of Fire. Quaternary Science Review 6:323.
Petchey, Fiona, Spriggs, Matthew, Leach, Foss, Seed, Mike, Sand, Christophe, Pietrusewsky, Michael, and Anderson, Katy 2011 Testing the Human Factor: Radiocarbon Dating the First Peoples of the South Pacific. Journal of Archaeological Science 38:2944.
Reimer, PJ., Baillie, M.G.L., Bard, E., Bayliss, A., Beck, J.W., Blackwell, P.G., Bronk Ramsey, C., Buck, C.E., Burr, G.S., Edwards, R.L., Friedrich, M., Grootes, P.M., Guilderson, T.P., Hajdas, I., Heaton, T.J., Hogg, A.G., Hughen, K.A., Kaiser, K.F., Kromer, B., McCormac, EG., Manning, S.W., Reimer, R.W., Richards, D.A., Southon, J.R., Talamo, S., Turney, C.S.M., van der Plicht, J., and Weyhenmeyer, C.E. 2009 IntCal09 and Marine09 Radiocarbon Age Calibration Curves, 0–50,000 Years cal BP. Radiocarbon 51:11111150.
Richards, Michael P., West, Eric, Rolett, Barry, and Dobney, Keith 2009 Isotope Analysis of Human and Animal Diets from the Hanamiai Archaeological Site (French Polynesia). Archaeology in Oceania 44:2937.
Rieth, Timothy M., and Stephen Athens, J. 2013 Suggested Best Practices for the Application of Radiocarbon Dating to Hawaiian Archaeology. Hawaiian Archaeology 13:329.
Rieth, Timothy M., Hunt, Terry L., Lipo, Carl, and Wilmshurst, Janet M. 2011 The 13th Century Polynesian Colonization of Hawaii Island. Journal of Archaeological Science 38:27402749.
Rieth, Timothy M, Cochrane, Ethan E., Tomonari-Tuggle, Myra J., and Morrison, Alex E. 2013 Archeological Inventory and Reconnaissance Surveys of Nu‘u, Haleakalā National Park, Maui Island, Hawai‘i (draft report). Submitted to National Park Service, Haleakalā National Park, Makawao, Hawai‘i, by International Archaeological Research Institute, Inc., Honolulu.
Rieth, Timothy M., and Tomonari-Tuggle, Myra J. 2013 An Archeological Inventory Survey of Five Stream Areas, Ka ‘apahu, Haleakalā National Park, Maui Island, Hawai’i (draft report). Submitted to National Park Service, Haleakalā National Park, Makawao, Hawai‘i, by International Archaeological Research Institute, Inc., Honolulu.
Rolett, Barry V., and Conte, Eric 1995 Renewed Investigation of the Ha’atuatua Dune (Nukuhiva, Marquesas Islands): A Key Site in Polynesian Prehistory. Journal of the Polynesian Society 104:195228.
Spriggs, Matthew, and Anderson, Atholl 1993 Late Colonization of East Polynesia. Antiquity 67:200217.
Tuggle, H. David, and Spriggs, Matthew 2001 The Age of the Bellows Dune Site O18, O‘ahu, Hawai‘i. and the Antiquity of Hawaiian Colonization. Asian. Perspectives 39:165188.
Uchikawa, Joji, Popp, Brian N., Schoonmaker, Jane E., and Xu, Li 2008 Direct Application of Compound-specific Radiocarbon Analysis of Leaf Waxes to Establish Lacustrine Sediment Chronology. Journal of Paleolimnology 39:4360.
Uchikawa, Joji, Popp, Brian N., Schoonmaker, Jane E., Timmermann, Axel, and Lorenz, Stephan J. 2010 Geochemical and Climate Modeling Evidence for Holocene Aridification in Hawaii: Dynamic Response to a Weakening Equatorial Cold Tongue. Quaternary Science Reviews 29:30573066.
Wagner, Warren L., Herbst, Derral R., and Sohmer, S. H. 1990 Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai‘i. 2 vols. Bishop Museum Special Publication 83. University of Hawaii Press and Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu.
Williams, Scott S. 2002 Ecosystem Management Program, Cultural Resources Inventory Survey of Previously Unsurveyed Areas, Redleg Trail Vicinity, U.S. Army Pohakuloa Training Area, Island of Hawai’i. Submitted to U.S. Army Engineer District, Honolulu, by Ogden Environmental and Energy Services Co., Inc. Copies available from International Archaeological Research Institute, Inc., Honolulu.
Wilmshurst, Janet M., Anderson, Atholl J., Higham, Thomas F.G., and Worthy, Trevor H. 2008 Dating the Late Prehistoric Dispersal of Polynesians to New Zealand Using the Commensal Pacific Rat. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105:76767680.
Wilmshurst, Janet M., Hunt, Terry L., Lipo, Carl P., and Anderson, Atholl J. 2011a High-Precision Radiocarbon Dating Shows Recent and Rapid Colonization of East Polynesia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108:18151820.
Wilmshurst, Janet M., Hunt, Terry L., Lipo, Carl P., and Anderson, Atholl J. 2011b Reply to Mulrooney et al.: Accepting Lower Precision Radiocarbon Dates Results in Longer Colonization Chronologies for East Polynesia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108:E195.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
  • URL: /core/journals/american-antiquity
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Related content

Powered by UNSILO