East Polynesia colonized faster and more recently than previously thought
FT Abstract: We show that previously supported longer chronologies have relied upon radiocarbon-dated materials with large sources of error, making them unsuitable for precise dating of recent events
FTA: Polynesian ancestors settled in Samoa around 800 B.C., then much later moved to colonize the region in two distinct phases—earliest in the central Society Islands between A.D. 1025 and 1120, four centuries later than previously assumed. Then, between 70 and 265 years later, dispersal continued in one major ‘pulse’ to all remaining islands including New Zealand, Hawai`i and Easter Island (Rapa Nui) between A.D. 1190 and 1290. The timing and sequence of this remarkable event has been highly debated and poorly resolved, precluding the understanding of cultural and ecological change that followed.