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Storey A.A.,University of New England of Australia | Athens J.S.,International Archaeological Research Institute Inc. | Bryant D.,University of Otago | Carson M.,University of Guam | And 15 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Data from morphology, linguistics, history, and archaeology have all been used to trace the dispersal of chickens from Asian domestication centers to their current global distribution. Each provides a unique perspective which can aid in the reconstruction of prehistory. This study expands on previous investigations by adding a temporal component from ancient DNA and, in some cases, direct dating of bones of individual chickens from a variety of sites in Europe, the Pacific, and the Americas. The results from the ancient DNA analyses of forty-eight archaeologically derived chicken bones provide support for archaeological hypotheses about the prehistoric human transport of chickens. Haplogroup E mtDNA signatures have been amplified from directly dated samples originating in Europe at 1000 B.P. and in the Pacific at 3000 B.P. indicating multiple prehistoric dispersals from a single Asian centre. These two dispersal pathways converged in the Americas where chickens were introduced both by Polynesians and later by Europeans. The results of this study also highlight the inappropriate application of the small stretch of D-loop, traditionally amplified for use in phylogenetic studies, to understanding discrete episodes of chicken translocation in the past. The results of this study lead to the proposal of four hypotheses which will require further scrutiny and rigorous future testing. © 2012 Storey et al.


Kahn J.G.,College of William and Mary | Nickelsen C.,University of California at Berkeley | Stevenson J.,Asia Pacific College | Porch N.,Deakin University | And 4 more authors.
Holocene | Year: 2015

Archaeology’s ability to generate long-term datasets of natural and human landscape change positions the discipline as an inter-disciplinary bridge between the social and natural sciences. Using a multi-proxy approach combining archaeological data with palaeoenvironmental indicators embedded in coastal sediments, we outline millennial timescales of lowland landscape evolution in the Society Islands. Geomorphic and cultural histories for four coastal zones on Mo‘orea are reconstructed based on stratigraphic records, sedimentology, pollen analysis, and radiocarbon determinations from mid- to late Holocene contexts. Prehuman records of the island’s flora and fauna are described utilizing landsnail, insect, and botanical data, providing a palaeo-backdrop for later anthropogenic change. Several environmental processes, including sea level change, island subsidence, and anthropogenic alterations, leading to changes in sedimentary budget have operated on Mo‘orea coastlines from c. 4600 to 200 BP. We document significant transformation of littoral and lowland zones which obscured earlier human activities and created significant changes in vegetation and other biota. Beginning as early as 440 BP (1416–1490 cal. ad), a major phase of sedimentary deposition commenced which can only be attributed to anthropogenic effects. At several sites, between 1.8 and 3.0 m of terrigenous sediments accumulated within a span of two to three centuries due to active slope erosion and deposition on the coastal flats. This phase correlates with the period of major inland expansion of Polynesian occupation and intensive agriculture on the island, indicated by the presence of charcoal throughout the sediments, including wood charcoal from several economically important tree species. © The Author(s) 2014.


Dixon B.,TEC Inc. | Barton H.,University of Leicester | Coil J.,University of California at Berkeley | Dickinson W.,University of Arizona | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology | Year: 2011

Archaeological investigations at the West Tinian Airport in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands have revealed evidence of inland forest clearing and associated occupation at approximately AD 1155, near the beginning of the prehistoric Latte Period. Radiocarbon dated charred Cocos nucifera nutshell from a shallow feature within a thin organic cultural horizon suggests short-term occupation of a low limestone bench above nearby clay loam soils. While direct evidence of cultivars was not encountered within the feature or on its ceramics, pollen in the soils from Cycas, Hibiscus, a non-Cocos palm family, and wetland sedge Pseudoschizaea suggest native limestone forest resources were being exploited. Clearing of this forest was suggested by the presence of macerated cellulose tissue, an unidentified starch granule, and multi-lobate fiber phytoliths on two polished basalt adzes, plus abundant charcoal in the pollen sample, one indicator of agriculture often cited in the Marianas. Three possible postholes perhaps from an insubstantial structure built on the clay loam nearby suggest this site represents a swidden field camp. The presence of quartzose hybrid sand temper in two ceramic sherds from the feature, and quartz-free volcanic sand temper in two other sherds, indicates early inland expansion of agriculture on Tinian occurred within an era of contact with Saipan and Guam, respectively. © 2011 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.


Steele J.,University College London | Jordan P.,University College London | Jordan P.,University of Aberdeen | Cochrane E.,University College London | Cochrane E.,International Archaeological Research Institute Inc.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2010

Evolutionary approaches to cultural change are increasingly influential, and many scientists believe that a 'grand synthesis' is now in sight. The papers in this Theme Issue, which derives from a symposium held by the AHRC Centre for the Evolution of Cultural Diversity (University College London) in December 2008, focus on how the phylogenetic tree-building and network-based techniques used to estimate descent relationships in biology can be adapted to reconstruct cultural histories, where some degree of inter-societal diffusion will almost inevitably be superimposed on any deeper signal of a historical branching process. The disciplines represented include the three most purely 'cultural' fields from the four-field model of anthropology (cultural anthropology, archaeology and linguistic anthropology). In this short introduction, some context is provided from the history of anthropology, and key issues raised by the papers are highlighted. © 2010 The Royal Society.


Cochrane E.E.,University of Auckland | Kane H.,University of Hawaii at Manoa | Fletcher C.,University of Hawaii at Manoa | Horrocks M.,Microfossil Research Ltd | And 6 more authors.
Holocene | Year: 2016

Between 3050 and 2700 years ago, humans first colonized the islands of south-west Remote Oceania, a region stretching from Vanuatu to Sāmoa. These colonists created a dense archaeological record of Lapita pottery and other artefacts on island coastlines across the region. There is one striking exception to this pattern: Sāmoa, with only a single Lapita pottery colonization site dating to approximately 2800 years ago. There are two competing explanations for the unique Sāmoan colonization record. First, there was a dense Lapita colonization record, now displaced through sedimentation and coastal subsidence. Second, there were few coastal plains suitable for settlement 2800 years ago resulting in the lack of colonization sites. This article describes the first archaeological and geological research designed to systematically test these explanations. The research focuses on the south-eastern coastal plain of ‘Upolu Island, an area where previous geological research and mid-Holocene sea-level indicators predict the least relative subsidence over the last 3000 years. Auger cores and controlled excavation units sampled the geological sequence and archaeological deposits across 700 m of coast. Sedimentary and dating analyses indicate coastal plain formation beginning 1200 years ago with the earliest archaeological deposits, including plain pottery, lithics, shellfish and vertebrate fauna, dating possibly 700 years later. Microfossil analyses identify burning and forest clearance coincident with the earliest archaeological remains. Compared with other Sāmoan archaeological deposits, the cultural materials and ecofacts represent very low-intensity occupation. These results support the proposal that there were few coastal plains suitable for Lapita pottery–bearing colonists approximately 2800 years ago. © 2015, The Author(s) 2015.


Halcrow S.E.,University of Otago | Harris N.J.,University of Otago | Tayles N.,University of Otago | Ikehara-Quebral R.,International Archaeological Research Institute Inc. | Pietrusewsky M.,University of Hawaii at Manoa
American Journal of Physical Anthropology | Year: 2013

Many bioarchaeological studies have established a link between increased dental caries prevalence and the intensification of agriculture. However, research in Southeast Asia challenges the global application of this theory. Although often overlooked, dental health of infants and children can provide a sensitive source of information concerning health and subsistence change. This article investigates the prevalence and location of caries in the dentition of infants and children (less than 15 years of age) from eight prehistoric mainland Southeast Asian sites collectively spanning the Neolithic to late Iron Age, during which time rice agriculture became an increasingly important subsistence mode. Caries prevalence varied among the sites but there was no correlation with chronological change. The absence of evidence of a decline in dental health over time can be attributed to the relative noncariogenicity of rice and retention of broad-spectrum subsistence strategies. No differences in caries type indicating differences in dental health were found between the sites, apart from the Iron Age site of Muang Sema. There was a higher prevalence of caries in the deciduous dentition than the permanent dentition, likely due to a cariogenic weaning diet and the higher sensitivity of deciduous teeth to decay. The level of caries in the permanent dentition suggests an increased reliance on less cariogenic foods during childhood, including rice. The absence of a temporal decline in dental health of infants and children strengthens the argument that the relationship between caries and agricultural intensification in Southeast Asia was more complex than the general model suggests. Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Athens J.S.,International Archaeological Research Institute Inc.
Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology | Year: 2011

Archaeological survey documented traditional Latte Period occupations on Pagan and Sarigan in the northern Mariana Islands. Despite the environmental challenges of these locations, including seasonal water scarcity, active volcanism, and extremely rugged terrain, Latte Period remains were abundant. On Pagan and Sarigan 127 and 59 Latte Period features, respectively, were identified, suggesting fairly dense settlement and confirming early Spanish accounts of significant native populations on these islands. Limited excavations on Pagan indicate that human occupation may have begun only during the AD 1300s, perhaps reflecting the challenging conditions for human habitation in the northern islands. The broader implication of such late settlement is that itmayrelate to population sizes inthe southern islands reaching density thresholds such that colonization of the less desirable northern islands became a viable option. It appears that populations remained relatively high in the northern islands until abandonment in AD 1697-1698 due to the Spanish reducción. © 2011 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


Morrison A.E.,University of Auckland | Morrison A.E.,International Archaeological Research Institute Inc. | Allen M.S.,University of Auckland
Quaternary International | Year: 2015

Agent-based modelling (ABM) is an emerging archaeological tool that offers insights into processes which are archaeologically invisible or difficult to detect. Here we illustrate the potential of ABM for archaeomalacology, posing two research questions and comparing ABM results with Pacific archaeological sequences. The first analysis considers how molluscan energetic return rates (ERR) and age of reproductive maturity (ARM), singularly or in combination, influence prey population resilience. The second analysis assesses how prey spatial structure affects foraging efficiency and prey susceptibility to resource depression. Consistent with expectations from evolutionary ecology and life history theory, the ABM results demonstrate that both ERR and ARM influence prey population resilience (or vulnerability). However, the analysis also demonstrates that ARM is the more important variable and taxa with high ERR (i.e., large-bodied) are disproportionately affected by human harvesting. Not only are efficient foragers more likely to target high ERR taxa, but these prey often have delayed ARM and un-foraged individuals are more likely to be smaller and immature, with disadvantages for population stability and recovery. In short, early-maturing taxa are highly resilient, while late-maturing organisms are more vulnerable; these outcomes also are observed archaeologically. The ABM analyses also demonstrate the effects of prey spatial structure on molluscan susceptibility to resource depression. High prey aggregation initially allows for high foraging efficiency, but prey abundance and encounter rates often rapidly decline. In contrast, when prey are dispersed, search time is greater, leading to lower encounter rates and reduced foraging efficiency, but greater prey population stability. Our ABM and archaeological examples further illustrate that while general principles can be derived, the resilience and spatial structure of specific prey populations, as well as foraging outcomes, are context dependent and continuously evolving. Finally, we note that model departures from theoretical expectations serve to stimulate further research, including use of additional parameters, consideration of novel contextual evidence, and/or investigation of social, technological or environmental hypotheses. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.


Leppard T.P.,International Archaeological Research Institute Inc.
World Archaeology | Year: 2014

The spread of the Neolithic throughout Mediterranean Europe involved, at least to some degree, the physical movement of farmers westwards. This mobility has often been attributed to demographic or climatic factors, and long-term environmental changes of this type surely provided the backdrop against which subsistence practices and behavioral strategies developed. However, changing environmental parameters, while posing challenges to established Early Neolithic farming regimes, did not in and of themselves establish mobility and migration as self-selecting solutions to increased social pressure; we do not fully understand how these pressures were experienced at the level of the individual, the family or the village. This article suggests that embedded Early Neolithic cultural attitudes to subsistence and surplus - and in particular the tension between incentives to hoard and imperatives to share - rendered Early Neolithic communities fragile, with tendencies to fission. It is further argued that oscillations in drought frequency during the seventh millennium bc may have made mobility an increasingly attractive adaptive strategy in the face of intra-community tensions. Throughout, emphasis is placed on human responses to change as mediated through culturally specific circumstances. © 2014 © 2014 Taylor & Francis.


Cochrane E.E.,International Archaeological Research Institute Inc. | Cochrane E.E.,Center for the Evolution of Cultural Diversity | Lipo C.P.,California State University, Long Beach
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2010

Intricately decorated Lapita pottery (3100-2700 BP) was made and deposited by the prehistoric colonizers of Pacific islands, east of the main Solomon's chain. For decades, analyses of this pottery have focused on the ancestor-descendant relationships of populations and the relative degree of interaction across the region to explain similarities in Lapita decoration. Cladistic analyses, increasingly used to examine the evolutionary relationships of material culture assemblages, have not been conducted on Lapita artefacts. Here, we present the first cladistic analysis of Lapita pottery and note the difficulties in using cladistics to investigate datasets where a high degree of horizontal transmission and non-branching evolution may explain observed variation. We additionally present NeighborNet and phenetic distance network analyses to generate hypotheses that may account for Lapita decorative similarity. © 2010 The Royal Society.

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