Coral dating

Originally applied to pottery, seriation has recently been used for architecture, including temple and house structures in Hawai‘i and for their chronological sensitivity.

Some features, such as the presence of an enclosing court, persist throughout the temporal sequence and are therefore not useful for seriation.

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Table 2 shows a best-fit seriation for Mo‘orea , which maximizes the temporal continuity of the features described above and minimizes gaps.

The seriation corresponds well with the progression of U-series dates, giving us considerable confidence in its validity.

Chiefs controlled intensive production systems based on irrigation and arboriculture (6).

As in other complex chiefdoms and incipient states (1), Ma‘ohi economic, social, and political life was structured around an elaborate ritual calendar controlled by full-time priests.

Black boxes indicate dates for ahu construction of highest reliability; gray boxes indicate dates of uncertain reliability based on geochemical criteria; open boxes indicate dates for Acropora corals with possible in-built age at the time of ahu construction.

= 4) analyzed by XRD (x-ray diffraction) show no significant replacement of primary coral aragonite with secondary calcite (Table 1).The result of a seriation of architectural features corresponds closely with this chronology.coral blocks on altar platforms, followed by development of multitier stepped altar platforms and use of pecked basalt stones associated with the late ‘Oro cult.Finally, three corals have anomalous back-calculated initial U ratios (defined as those outside of analytical uncertainty from the range of 1.147 ± 0.007, which is similar to that ratio in modern seawater; e.g., ref. In all, 12 corals failed to meet one or more of the above geochemical criteria for reliability; accordingly, we consider their dates to be of uncertain reliability.The remaining 32 dated corals from the ‘Opunohu Valley meet our geochemical criteria for reliable dates. Indeed, the analogous practice of taking “founder stones” from older temple sites when constructing a new temple is well documented in the ethnohistoric record (6, 8, 24).This example demonstrates that elaboration of ritual architecture in complex societies may be surprisingly rapid.

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