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Prehistory in the Northwest Tropical Pacific: The Caroline, Mariana, and Marshall Islands

Paul Rainbird
Journal of World Prehistory
Vol. 8, No. 3 (September 1994), pp. 293-349
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25800652
Page Count: 57
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Prehistory in the Northwest Tropical Pacific: The Caroline, Mariana, and Marshall Islands
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Abstract

The earliest identified settlement is in the Marianas, dated to about 3500 B.P., while the other islands in the region appear to be settled from about 2000 B.P. onward. The archaeological remains reveal diverse approaches to island living. While Nan Madol and Leluh in the eastern Carolines are major architectural achievements, a discussion of these sites does not detract, for example, from the terrace systems of Palau or the latte stone groups of the southern Marianas. Of equal interest is the settlement of atolls and their recently recognized potential for preservation of stratified deposits. As information allows, each island or group is considered on an individual basis in order to allow for each specific island context to be assessed. This is described within the broader themes of architecture, chronology, environment, material culture, settlement pattern, social organization, and subsistence. In conclusion, the current standing of prehistory in the region is outlined in relation to early settlement, environment, social organization, chronology, settlement pattern studies, portable material culture, subsistence, and atolls. Finally, suggestions for the future are made.

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