Dating Monumental Architecture In Polynesia

PhysOrg.Com mentions a research article in PNAS that looks at new dates for 22 temples on the island of Mo’orea.

Researchers used coral from the decorations on the temple and applied thorium/uranium dating to obtain the dates.From PhysOrg:

The oldest temples that his team examined were relatively small and used only natural corals as facings in their low, altar-like platforms. Around the mid-17th century, temples were built that used cut and dressed blocks of coral that rose up to a meter high to face the altars. The final architectural stage that appeared in the early 18th century featured the appearance of stepped altars and the first use of uniform-sized, pecked basalt cobbles in temple walls – changes linked to the rise of the ‘Oro cult.

Using standard archaeological seriation techniques to evaluate the temple remains’ architectural and morphological features, the researchers reported a good fit with the timeline provided by the thorium/uranium testing.

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