Early Settlement of Atolls in Eastern Micronesia: Investigations on Mwoakilloa Atoll


While atolls are the most ubiquitous island type in the Pacific, there has been a general dearth of archaeological research to help elucidate when they were settled prehistorically and how they fit into regional systems of exchange and interaction, particularly in Micronesia. Recent fieldwork on Mwoakilloa Atoll in the eastern Caroline Islands have shown that settlement of the island ca. 1700 cal. BP coincides with the earliest occupation of larger high islands in the region (1700-2000 BP). Investigations also demonstrate the anthropogenic creation of a mound on the main islet, suggesting long-term occupation and more intensive food production strategies. Preliminary zooarchaeological analysis also indicates the incorporation of several well-known commensals (dogs, rats, and chickens). Results show that dogs and rats were brought to the island around the time of initial occupation. As would be expected, however, major protein sources consisted primarily of marine foods, with a heavy reliance on nearshore fish supplemented by mollusks and several terrestrial animals.

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Early Settlement of Atolls in Eastern Micronesia: Investigations on Mwoakilloa Atoll. Adam Thompson, Aaron Poteate, Scott Fitzpatrick, William Ayres. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397556)

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Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: 111.973; min lat: -52.052 ; max long: -87.715; max lat: 53.331 ;