An Assessment of Radiocarbon Dates from Palau, Western Micronesia
CitationListon, J. (2005). An assessment of radiocarbon dates from Palau, western Micronesia. Radiocarbon, 47(2), 295-354.
AbstractArchaeological investigations in the Republic of Palau, Micronesia, have produced 409 radiocarbon age determinations from cultural contexts, indicating a range of Palauan occupation from about 3000 yr ago into the modern era. However, these dates are scattered among numerous sources (many difficult to obtain) and are presented in a number of different formats and calibrations. The goal of this paper is to compile a usable, systematic database of all of these Palauan cultural 14C assays. This database will be suitable for developing and evaluating chronological models, an effort being undertaken as a separate paper. Prior to constructing prehistoric colonization and cultural chronologies for Palau, the validity of each assay and the relative adequacy in sample size per cultural and environmental zones must be examined. After systematic recalibration, the reliability of the dates is evaluated in light of sample material, cultural context, and site formation processes. A method for dating monumental earthwork complexes through site formation analysis is presented. Sets of 237 valid and 58 potentially valid 14C dates remain to develop chronological models. The representation of Palaus environmental zones, site types, and regions within the dating pool is examined and compared to ensure meaningfulness in these chronological models. Newly obtained 14C age determinations are also provided.