Last millennium climate change in the occupation and abandonment of Palau's rock islands

Clark, Geoffrey, and Reepmeyer, Christian (2012) Last millennium climate change in the occupation and abandonment of Palau's rock islands. Archaeology in Oceania, 47 (1). pp. 29-38.

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Abstract

The role of AD 1300 climate change in widespread societal change in Palau and the pacific Basin has recently been debated by Fitzpatrick (2010, 2011) and Nunn and Hunter-Anderson (2011). The central proposition examined here is the link between a sea-level driven food crisis and the outbreak of conflict, which is hypothesized in the AD 1300 event model to have led people to shift from unprotected coastal parts of large islands (e.g. volcanic Babeldaob) to more readily defensible offshore islands (e.g. limestone 'rock islands') during the transition between the medieval Warm period (MWP) and the little ice Age (LIA). Revision of radiocarbon dates from village sites in the rock islands suggests instead that permanent settlements were established on small offshore islands during the MWP with village abandonment during the LIA. Palaeoclimate records from equatorial islands show that during the LIA Palau had less rainfall from the southward movement of the intertropical Convergence Zone (iTCZ). The abandonment of multiple limestone islands by a population estimated at 4000–6000 people may have been influenced by decreased precipitation and more tentatively from a decline in near-shore marine foods as a result of sea-level fall.

Item ID: 38979
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1834-4453
Keywords: AD 1300 event, climate change, Pacific Basin, radiocarbon
Funders: UNESCO, Australian Research Council (ARC)
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2015 03:16
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience > 040605 Palaeoclimatology @ 10%
21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210102 Archaeological Science @ 40%
21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210106 Archaeology of New Guinea and Pacific Islands (excl New Zealand) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950599 Understanding Past Societies not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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