Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

Special Introductory Offer!

Longest Ocean-Crossing Ever Needed to Settle Marianas

Thursday, March 14, 2013

TINIAN, MARIANAS ISLANDS—A husband-and-wife team working in the Northern Marianas Islands have found a settlement on Tinian that they say dates to 3,500 years ago. The site is roughly 1,200 miles of sea from the nearest known inhabited area, in what is today the Philippines. Recently, Michael Carson and Hsiao-chun Hung, archaeologists from Australian National University, believe they can show that the migration must have gone from the Philippines to Tinian by following a trail of pottery between the two. Ceramics bearing similar designs to those found at ancient archaeological levels on the Marianas have been uncovered in the Philippines and dated back to almost 4,000 years ago. "That constituted the longest ocean-crossing in human history of its time 3500 years ago,” Carson said.