FRENCH POLYNESIA

Around the World November 1, 2010

A precise technique for dating coral shows that Polynesians made a rapid leap from building small temples to erecting monumental structures.
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FRENCH POLYNESIA: A precise technique for dating coral shows that Polynesians made a rapid leap from building small temples to erecting monumental structures. After studying 22 temple sites and platforms constructed with coral on the island of Moorea, anthropologists found this architectural evolution took place over just 140 years, from A.D. 1620 to 1760, rather than the four to five centuries previously thought. The largest sites—one is 350 feet long, with multiple terraces—were built by chiefs to assert their power, prestige, and connection to the gods. 

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