That si Nukuleka, Tonga, and translates as 888±8 BCE (remember that BP means “before 1950”).
David Burley et al., High Precision U/Th Dating of First Polynesian Settlement. PLoS ONE 2012. Open access ··> LINK [doi]
Previous studies document Nukuleka in the Kingdom of Tonga as a founder
colony for first settlement of Polynesia by Lapita peoples. A limited
number of radiocarbon dates are one line of evidence supporting this
claim, but they cannot precisely establish when this event occurred, nor
can they afford a detailed chronology for sequent occupation. High
precision U/Th dates of Acropora coral files (abraders) from
Nukuleka give unprecedented resolution, identifying the founder event by
2838±8 BP and documenting site development over the ensuing 250 years.
The potential for dating error due to post depositional diagenetic
alteration of ancient corals at Nukuleka also is addressed through
sample preparation protocols and paired dates on spatially separated
samples for individual specimens. Acropora coral files are
widely distributed in Lapita sites across Oceania. U/Th dating of these
artifacts provides unparalleled opportunities for greater precision and
insight into the speed and timing of this final chapter in human
settlement of the globe.
Very handy after the recent endless circular discussions. Polynesians this? Polynesians that? Polynesians only since 890 BCE, not before! Earlier related cultures of Lapita
were not yet Polynesians but generically Oceanic
and mostly of Melanesian stock.
Importantly there are good reasons to consider Nukuleka as the founder site of Polynesia:
The status of Nukuleka as a founder colony is verified through four
lines of evidence. First, while limited, Nukuleka radiocarbon dates are
the earliest for any Lapita site in Polynesia (Table S1).
Second, decorated ceramics from Nukuleka incorporate an assemblage of
Lapita wares similar to those recovered from earlier Lapita sites in
island Melanesia to the west of Tonga. These are markedly different from
later Lapita ceramics in West Polynesia, and Nukuleka is the only site
in West Polynesia where these early ceramics occur .
Third, a subset of the ceramic assemblage with the earliest Lapita
designs is foreign to Tonga, based on petrographic analysis of ceramic
temper sands and sherd geochemistry .
These pots were transported from the ancestral homeland of the Nukuleka
colonizers, a homeland that has yet to be identified. And fourth, the
settlement at Nukuleka expanded over a 20 ha area on the Nukuleka
Peninsula during the 200–250 year period of Lapita occupation . Nukuleka became a central place for Lapita peoples in West Polynesia as well as a gateway community for expanded settlement.
So it is very likely that the somewhat famed founder effects of Polynesians peoples (Y-DNA C2a and O3a2, mtDNA B4a1a1) were dominant already at this site in this date. However I must say that a second founder effect at nearby Samoa (not considered here), which has a much more similar Y-DNA to Eastern Polynesia, can be taken for granted also.