5th Marianas History Conference Day 7 - 10

Page 135

Panel: Archaeology in the Marianas

Matter of Time

Outlining the Order of Time Periods in Marianas Archaeology and Ancient History

By Dr. Mike Carson

Micronesian Area Research Center, University of Guam

Abstract: Any study of archaeology and ancient history needs to begin with a basic chronological order of time periods, and a suitable outline for the Mariana Islands involves several such time periods over the last few millennia. In terms of the archaeological evidence, these periods cover the entire sequence of cultural history, from the first instance of people living in the islands and continuing all the way through the timing of written history. With the use of written historical documents, the later time periods have been much more refined, for example in windows of a few decades or even single years. The more ancient periods of archaeological evidence, however, can be defined only within the limits of radiocarbon dating and other surviving material evidence, often in blocks of some centuries. How are those time periods identified? How are the dates measured? What was different from one time period to the next? These questions are addressed in the current presentation.

In the Mariana Islands, the archaeological record extends back at least as early as 1500 BC, older than any other record of people living in the remote-distance islands of Pacific Oceania. Within this long record, several individual time periods can be distinguished.

I can start with sharing this image (Figure 1), depicting the layers in an archaeological excavation. When digging deeper beneath the ground, each deeper layer of course is older. Each layer reveals different forms and styles of artifacts, such as the shapes of ancient pottery as shown in this image.

At first glance, you can notice several time periods, represented in separate layers of time. The deepest layer naturally is the oldest, and it corresponds with the time when people first lived in the Mariana Islands, beginning around 1500 BC or perhaps earlier. The uppermost layer, at the surface, is the most recent, and it corresponds with the traditional latte period of approximately AD 1000 through 1700.

For all of these site layers, the exact calendar years of dating can be different in each particular site excavation. The overall outline, as shown here, represents the approximate


Articles inside

Ginen I Gualo’ article cover image

Ginen I Gualo’

1min
pages 273-285
Gendered Households and Ceramic Assemblage article cover image

Gendered Households and Ceramic Assemblage

1min
pages 141-164
The Matua’s Song article cover image

The Matua’s Song

1min
page 55
Burego’ Joyful Christmas Celebration article cover image

Burego’ Joyful Christmas Celebration

1min
pages 9-15
A History and Archaeology of the Pre-war Tuna Fishing Industry in Micronesia article cover image

A History and Archaeology of the Pre-war Tuna Fishing Industry in Micronesia

1min
pages 225-240
Fishing Weirs at the Edge of the Parian article cover image

Fishing Weirs at the Edge of the Parian

1min
pages 201-224
Matter of Time article cover image

Matter of Time

1min
pages 135-140
I Hinanao-ta article cover image

I Hinanao-ta

1min
pages 243-272
Tådong Marianas article cover image

Tådong Marianas

1min
pages 287-290
Guam 1668-1769 article cover image

Guam 1668-1769

1min
pages 175-184
Origins of the People of the Mariana Islands article cover image

Origins of the People of the Mariana Islands

1min
pages 165-174
Japanese Archival Records article cover image

Japanese Archival Records

1min
pages 185-199
From Tourists to Asylees article cover image

From Tourists to Asylees

1min
pages 1, 123-132
Camp Chulu article cover image

Camp Chulu

1min
pages 61-84
Celebrating 340 Years article cover image

Celebrating 340 Years

1min
pages 17-44
Colonial Narratives article cover image

Colonial Narratives

1min
pages 1, 85-103
Operation New Life article cover image

Operation New Life

1min
pages 105-122
Long Term Effects of Colonization on Music article cover image

Long Term Effects of Colonization on Music

1min
pages 47-54
Slinging Stones And Fanoghe Chamoru article cover image

Slinging Stones And Fanoghe Chamoru

1min
pages 45-46
Refaluwasch and Chamorro Children’s Songs article cover image

Refaluwasch and Chamorro Children’s Songs

1min
pages 57-58
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