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Coordinated ¹⁴C and ²³⁰Th dating of Kitchen Cave rockshelter, Gambier (Mangareva) Islands, French Polynesia: Comparing ²³⁰Th coral dates with Bayesian model ages

Kirch, Patrick V. and Molle, Guillaume and Niespolo, Elizabeth M. and Sharp, Warren D. (2021) Coordinated ¹⁴C and ²³⁰Th dating of Kitchen Cave rockshelter, Gambier (Mangareva) Islands, French Polynesia: Comparing ²³⁰Th coral dates with Bayesian model ages. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 35 . Art. No. 102724. ISSN 2352-409X. doi:10.1016/j.jasrep.2020.102724. https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20210318-104430608

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Abstract

Establishing the timing of human colonization of the eastern Pacific and developing cultural chronologies within the island groups of Eastern Polynesia has relied primarily on ¹⁴C dating. Despite advancements in ¹⁴C dating, however, uncertainties introduced during calibration to calendar ages remain large relative to the tempo of human settlement of the eastern Pacific and ensuing Polynesian cultural development. ²³⁰Th dating of coral abraders, a common artifact in Polynesian archaeological sites, can potentially provide more precise ages. We report a high-precision chronology for the Kitchen Cave rockshelter on Kamaka Island in the Mangareva (Gambier) Islands, based on parallel series of 13 ¹⁴C AMS dates on short-lived plant materials and 19 ²³⁰Th dates on Acropora coral abraders and non-utilized Acropora coral branches. The ²³⁰Th coral dating results are highly consistent with ages from ¹⁴C dating, except in two cases where corals younger than expected occupied what are most likely intrusive contexts. Moreover, because the ¹⁴C and ²³⁰Th dating techniques are largely independent, obtaining consistent results via the two techniques increases confidence in the resulting chronology. A reliable ²³⁰Th date of 860 ± 5 CE for a coral from the basal layer of the cultural sequence, whose deposition cannot readily be explained by natural processes, raises the possibility of an early Polynesian visit to Kamaka Island some centuries prior to initiation of permanent occupation in the 11th to 13th centuries. These results confirm that ²³⁰Th dating of Acropora branch coral abraders can be applied to other sites in the Pacific with a high degree of confidence.


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2020.102724DOIArticle
ORCID:
AuthorORCID
Niespolo, Elizabeth M.0000-0002-9537-3031
Alternate Title:Coordinated 14C and 230Th dating of Kitchen Cave rockshelter, Gambier (Mangareva) Islands, French Polynesia: Comparing 230Th coral dates with Bayesian model ages
Additional Information:© 2020 Elsevier Ltd. Received 9 July 2020, Revised 13 October 2020, Accepted 27 October 2020, Available online 30 December 2020. Dating of the coral specimens from site KAM-1 was supported by National Science Foundation Archaeometry award #1521153, and by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation. E.M.N. was partially supported by a Berkeley Fellowship. The authors thank Christina Polito-Halter, Nick Fylstra, and Brian Jones for technical support. We thank the Service de la Culture et du Patrimoine of the government of French Polynesia for permission to conduct archaeological investigations in the Gambier Islands, as well as the Centre International de Recherche Archéologique sur la Polynésie at the University of French Polynesia for lending equipment and other assistance. The field research was funded by a grant from the U. S. National Science Foundation (Grant No. CNH-1313830), and by additional funds from the University of California, Berkeley. We owe a special debt of gratitude to the late Tihoni Reasin, owner of Kamaka Island, who welcomed us on Kamaka Island, shared his comfortable home with us, and gave us every assistance in our work. We also thank Raruna Reasin and Tehotu Reasin for assistance during our stay in Rikitea Village. CRediT authorship contribution statement: Patrick V. Kirch: Conceptualization, Methodology, Investigation, Resources, Writing - original draft, Funding acquisition. Guillaume Molle: Investigation, Resources, Writing - review & editing, Visualization. Elizabeth M. Niespolo: Methodology, Formal analysis, Investigation, Resources, Data curation, Writing - review & editing, Visualization. Warren D. Sharp: Conceptualization, Methodology, Investigation, Resources, Writing - review & editing, Funding acquisition.
Funders:
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSFIIP-1521153
Ann and Gordon Getty FoundationUNSPECIFIED
University of California, BerkeleyUNSPECIFIED
NSFCNH-1313830
Subject Keywords:Polynesian archaeology; U-series dating; Coral dating; Radiocarbon dating; Bayesian calibration; Polynesian settlement
DOI:10.1016/j.jasrep.2020.102724
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210318-104430608
Persistent URL:https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20210318-104430608
Official Citation:Patrick V. Kirch, Guillaume Molle, Elizabeth M. Niespolo, Warren D. Sharp, Coordinated 14C and 230Th dating of Kitchen Cave rockshelter, Gambier (Mangareva) Islands, French Polynesia: Comparing 230Th coral dates with Bayesian model ages, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, Volume 35, 2021, 102724, ISSN 2352-409X, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2020.102724. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352409X20305150)
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:108480
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:19 Mar 2021 18:43
Last Modified:19 Mar 2021 18:43

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