The Archaeology of Aulong Island and the Colonisation of Palau

01st December 2006

Duncan Wright

MA, School of Archaeology and Anthropology, The Australian National University, February 2005

This thesis examines initial colonisation and post-colonisation settlement in Palau. These issues are addressed through archaeological excavations and analysis, with an attempt to identify shifts in the material records. A model of adaptational change is proposed and, in light of early radiocarbon dates, the colonisation of Western Micronesia is re-examined.

Cultural materials analysed for this study belong to the Unit 4 excavation on Ulong Island, Palau. The primary aim of the study was to develop a chronology for the island, using radiocarbon dates and relative sequences of cultural materials. Ceramics were central to the project, with a physical analysis allowing for comparisons with other Western Micronesian assemblages and the formation of a relative sequence for Palau. Further analysis of non-ceramic artefacts offered evidence for shifts in island occupation.

Aulong offers not only one of the earliest sites recorded to date in Palau, but also a stratified sequence of changing cultural materials. Within the stratigraphy, potential shifts in island occupation are observed, with particularly clear stylistic change found in the ceramic record. This remains the first stratified sequence of stylistically distinct ceramics yet found in the archipelago. The Ulong excavations therefore provide important archaeological information about the colonisation of Palau, as well as reopening dialogue on the spread of people into Western Micronesia.

Duncan Wright
The Archaeology of Aulong Island and the Colonisation of Palau
December 2006
Thesis Abstracts
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