Correlation of environmental and cultural chronology in New Caledonia
Article first published online: 15 AUG 2008
Copyright © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Volume 23, Issue 5, pages 695–714, September/October 2008
How to Cite
Carson, M. T. (2008), Correlation of environmental and cultural chronology in New Caledonia. Geoarchaeology, 23: 695–714. doi: 10.1002/gea.20233
- Issue published online: 15 AUG 2008
- Article first published online: 15 AUG 2008
- Manuscript Accepted: 1 APR 2008
- Manuscript Received: 25 MAR 2008
A case study in New Caledonia explores the changes in the natural and cultural setting at the end of the Lapita period in the first millennium B.C. After the mid-Holocene highstand, sea level fell about 1.5 m, thereby enlarging coastal plains, altering previous mangrove and marshy settings, and transforming nearshore marine environments. Many of these changes occurred gradually over several centuries, but the termination of finely decorated Lapita pottery coincided with the first signs of loss of coastal habitat optimal for marine-based horticulturalists in the first millennium B.C. Organized village compounds and extensively cultivated landscapes emerged much later, in the first millennium A.D. The results suggest that, although the Lapita phenomenon represents the founding ancestry of Oceanic societies, it also represents the end of an era and way of life that eventually could not be maintained in a changing world. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.