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New Dates for the Settlement of Tinian Island

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


SAIPAN, NORTHERN MARIANAS—Evidence for the human occupation of Tinian Island 3,500 years ago has been uncovered by a team of Australian archaeologists. These early Micronesians originated in China, and then traveled to Taiwan and the Philippines. Archaeologists are debating whether or not they stopped at islands such as Palau or Yapp on the long journey from the Philippines to the Marianas because researchers have not found the characteristic red-coated pottery and houses built on stilts there. “The sites being excavated in the Marianas Islands are a little bit older than those to the south of the equator, in the Lapita region of Melanesia. They appear to be 100 or 200 years older. So this now looks like the first movement of these people from the Philippines, reaching the Marianas Islands across a very large area of sea,” said Peter Bellwood of Australian National University.