Abstract and Keywords
Western Micronesia encompasses several major archipelagos and islands, including the Marianas, Yap, and Palau. Language and human biology suggest Western Micronesia was most likely colonized from Island Southeast Asia in a complex process, possibly involving multiple population movements from different areas during prehistory. A key archaeological question concerns the variable timing of this colonization, which could be as early as 4,500 years ago according to paleoenvironmental data or up to 1,000 years later when considering artifact-associated dates. Although sometimes perceived as similar, Micronesia’s western archipelagos comprise varying cultural sequences with, for example, the region’s earliest pottery, Achugao Incised and San Roque Incised, and megalithic stone structures, or Latte, in the Marianas, complexly constructed earthworks covering much of the main islands of Palau, and extensive prehistoric and historic exchange systems, such as the sawei, centered on Yap.
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