Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Radiocarbon dating and Bayesian modelling of one of Remote Oceania's oldest cemeteries at Chelechol ra Orrak, Palau

  • Scott M. Fitzpatrick (a1) (a2) and Nicholas P. Jew (a1)
Abstract

Research at the Chelechol ra Orrak rockshelter in Palau has revealed an extensive cemetery with at least 50 interred individuals, their graves overlain by later occupational deposits. Previous radiocarbon dating placed this sequence of burial and occupation at c. 3000 cal BP, making it one of the earliest Pacific Island cemetery sites. To provide a more robust chronological framework, Bayesian modelling was applied to construct probability ranges for the date and duration of activity at the site, assisted by a suite of new 14C determinations. The results provide more secure evidence for burial activity dating back to c. 3000 cal BP, thus confirming Chelechol ra Orrak as one of the only cemeteries in Remote Oceania that dates to the earliest, known stages of island colonisation.

Copyright
Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence (Email: smfitzpa@.uoregon.edu)
References
Hide All
Baron, J. 1992. Reproductive cycles of the bivalve molluscs Atactodea striata (Gmelin), Garfarium tunmidin and Anadara scapha . Australian Journal of Marine Journal and Freshwater Research 43: 393402. https://doi.org/10.1071/MF9920393
Baron, J. & Clavier, J.. 1994. Effects of environmental factors on the distribution of the edible bivalves Atactodea striata, Garfarium tumidum and Anadara scapha on the coast of New Caledonia (SW Pacific). Aquatic Living Resources 5: 107–14. https://doi.org/10.1051/alr:1992011
Bedford, S., Spriggs, M. & Regenvanu, R.. 2006. The Teouma Lapita site and the early human settlement of the Pacific Islands. Antiquity 80: 812–28. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003598X00094448
Bronk Ramsey, C. 2000. Comment on the use of Bayesian statistics for 14C dates of chronologically ordered samples: a critical analysis. Radiocarbon 42: 199202. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033822200059002
Bronk Ramsey, C. 2001. Development of the radiocarbon program OxCal. Radiocarbon 43 (2A): 355–63. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033822200038212
Bronk Ramsey, C. 2009a. Bayesian analysis of radiocarbon dates. Radiocarbon 51: 337–60. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033822200033865
Bronk Ramsey, C. 2009b. Dealing with outliers and offsets in radiocarbon dating. Radiocarbon 51: 1023–45. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033822200034093
Buckley, H.R., Tayles, N.G., Spriggs, M.J. & Bedford, S.. 2008. A preliminary report on health and disease in early Lapita skeletons, Vanuatu: possible biological costs of island colonization. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 3: 87114. https://doi.org/10.1080/15564890801928300
Carson, M. 2008. Refining earliest settlement in Remote Oceania: renewed archaeological investigation at Unai Bapot, Saipan. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 3: 115–39. https://doi.org/10.1080/15564890801909722
Carson, M. & Kurashina, H.. 2012. Re-envisioning long-distance Oceanic migration: early dates in the Mariana Islands. World Archaeology 44: 409–35. https://doi.org/10.1080/00438243.2012.727342
Clark, G. 2004. Radiocarbon dates from the Ulong site in Palau and implications for western Micronesian prehistory. Archaeology in Oceania 39: 2633. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.1834-4453.2004.tb00554.x
Clark, G. 2005. A 3000-year culture sequence from Palau, western Micronesia. Asian Perspectives 44: 349–80. https://doi.org/10.1353/asi.2005.0020
Clark, G., Anderson, A. & Wright, D.. 2006. Human colonization of the Palau Islands, western Micronesia. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 1: 215–32. https://doi.org/10.1080/15564890600831705
DeFant, D.G. 2008. Early human burials from the Naton Beach site, Tumon Bay, island of Guam, Mariana Islands. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 3: 149–53. https://doi.org/10.1080/15564890801990789
Denham, T., Bronk Ramsey, C. & Specht, J.. 2012. Dating the appearance of Lapita pottery in the Bismarck Archipelago and its dispersal to Remote Oceania. Archaeology in Oceania 47: 3946. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.1834-4453.2012.tb00113.x
Fitzpatrick, S.M. 2003a. Early human burials in the western Pacific: evidence for c. 3000 year old occupation on Palau. Antiquity 77: 719–31. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003598X00061664
Fitzpatrick, S.M. 2003b. Stones of the butterfly: an archaeological investigation of Yapese stone money quarries in Palau, western Caroline Islands, Micronesia. Unpublished PhD dissertation, University of Oregon.
Fitzpatrick, S.M. 2006. A critical approach to dating in the Caribbean: using chronometric hygiene to evaluate chronological control and prehistoric settlement. Latin American Antiquity 17: 389418. https://doi.org/10.2307/25063065
Fitzpatrick, S.M. & Boyle, J.E.. 2002. The antiquity of pearl shell (Pinctada sp.) burial artifacts in Palau, western Micronesia. Radiocarbon 44: 691700. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033822200032148
Fitzpatrick, S.M. & Nelson, G.C.. 2008. From limestone caves to concrete graves: 3000 years of mortuary practice in the Palauan archipelago, Micronesia. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 18: 439–57. https://doi.org/10.1002/oa.951
Fitzpatrick, S.M., Giovas, C. & Kataoka, O.. 2011. Temporal trends in prehistoric fishing in Palau, Micronesia over the last 1500 years. Archaeology in Oceania 6: 616. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.1834-4453.2011.tb00094.x
Giovas, C.M., Fitzpatrick, S.M., Kataoka, O. & Clark, M.. 2016. Prey body size and anthropogenic resource depression: the decline of prehistoric fishing at Chelechol ra Orrak, Palau. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 41: 132–46.
Jew, N.P. & Fitzpatrick, S.M.. 2015. δ18O analysis of Atactodea striata: evaluating a proxy for sea-surface temperature and shellfish foraging from a prehistoric rockshelter in Palau, Micronesia. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 4: 477–86. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2015.10.015
Kinaston, R., Buckley, H., Valentin, F., Bedford, S., Spriggs, M., Hawkins, S. & Herrscher, E.. 2014. Lapita diet in Remote Oceania: new stable isotope evidence from the 3000-year-old Teouma site, Efate Island, Vanuatu. PLoS ONE 9: e90376. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0090376
Krigbaum, J. & Fitzpatrick, S.M.. 2009. Reconstructing Palau paleodiet through stable isotope ratio analysis of human bone. Pacific Archaeology 2009, conference presentation, Palau, Micronesia.
Liston, J. 2005. An assessment of radiocarbon dates from Palau, western Micronesia. Radiocarbon 47: 295354. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033822200019780
Liston, J. 2009. Cultural chronology of earthworks in Palau, western Micronesia. Archaeology in Oceania 44: 5673. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.1834-4453.2009.tb00047.x
Masse, W.B., Liston, J., Carucci, J. & Athens, J.S.. 2006. Evaluating the effects of climate change on environment, resource depletion, and culture in the Palau Islands between AD 1200 and 1600. Quaternary International 151: 106–32. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2006.01.017
McNiven, I.J., David, B., Richards, T., Aplin, K., Asmussen, B., Mialanes, J., Leavesley, M., Faulkner, P. & Ulm, S.. 2011. New direction in human colonisation of the Pacific: Lapita settlement of south coast New Guinea. Australian Archaeology 72: 16. https://doi.org/10.1080/03122417.2011.11690525
Nelson, G.C. & Fitzpatrick, S.M.. 2006. Preliminary investigations of the Chelechol ra Orrak cemetery, Republic of Palau: I, skeletal biology and paleopathology. Anthropological Science 114: 112. https://doi.org/10.1537/ase.040710
Petchey, F. & Clark, G.. 2010. A marine reservoir correction value (ΔR) for the Palauan Archipelago: environmental and oceanographic considerations. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 5: 236–52. https://doi.org/10.1080/15564890903155935
Petchey, F., Spriggs, M., Bedford, S., Valentin, F. & Buckley, H.. 2014. Radiocarbon dating of burials from the Teouma Lapita cemetery, Efate, Vanuatu. Journal of Archaeological Science 50: 227–42. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2014.07.002
Petchey, F., Clark, G., Winter, O., O'Day, P. & Litster, M.. 2017. Colonisation of Remote Oceania: new dates for the Bapot-1 site in the Mariana Islands. Archaeology in Oceania 52: 108–26. https://doi.org/10.1002/arco.5108
Spriggs, M. 1989. The dating of the Island Southeast Asian Neolithic: an attempt at chronometric hygiene and linguistic correlation. Antiquity 63: 587613. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003598X00076560
Valentin, F., Bedford, S., Buckley, H.R. & Spriggs, M.J.. 2010. Lapita burial practices: evidence for complex body and bone treatment at the Teouma cemetery, Vanuatu, southwest Pacific. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 5: 212–35. https://doi.org/10.1080/15564891003648092
Valentin, F., Spriggs, M., Bedford, S. & Buckley, H.. 2011. Vanuatu mortuary practices over three millennia: Lapita to the early European contact period. Journal of Pacific Archaeology 2: 4965.
Recommend this journal

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

Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Type Description Title
PDF
Supplementary materials

Fitzpatrick and Jew supplementary material
Fitzpatrick and Jew supplementary material 1

 PDF (1.3 MB)
1.3 MB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 7
Total number of PDF views: 67 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 1253 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 9th February 2018 - 17th August 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.