Published online by Cambridge University Press: 23 April 2019
Pingelap Atoll, 1.8 km2 in area and nearly 70 km from the nearest island, presents a clear example of anthropogenic niche-building in physically isolated circumstances with limited resources. This paper presents the first radiocarbon (14C) dates (n=8) from an archaeological project examining settlement and subsistence practices on the atoll, specifically how Pingelapese people have constructed the environment to meet their needs over centuries of occupation. These dates confirm that human occupation of Pingelap occurred by 1700–1550 cal BP (2σ) at the latest, only a few centuries after the earliest securely-dated settlement of high islands in the region (Kosrae and Pohnpei), and with strikingly similar timing to another atoll in the region, Mwoakilloa. Evidence of early settlement includes shell tools, ornaments, extensive marine faunal remains, and charred botanical domesticates. These preliminary data build a framework for the settlement history and environment building of Pingelap.