Australian study finds Pacific cities older than previously thought-Xinhua

Australian study finds Pacific cities older than previously thought

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-04-11 10:22:00

CANBERRA, April 11 (Xinhua) -- The earliest cities in the Pacific were established hundreds of years earlier than previously thought, an Australian research has found.

According to a study published by the Australian National University (ANU), earth structures were being constructed on the Tongan island of Tongatapu around 300 AD -- 700 years earlier than previously thought.

The lead author of the research, Phillip Parton, said the new timeline indicates that urbanization in the Pacific was an indigenous innovation that predated Western influence in the region.

"When people think of early cities they usually think of traditional old European cities with compact housing and windy cobblestone streets. This is a very different kind of city," he said in a media release on Thursday.

"But it shows the contribution of the Pacific to urban science. We can see clues that Tongatapu's influence spread across the southwest Pacific Ocean between the 13th and 19th centuries."

The research team combined new mapping technology and archaeological fieldwork to study the distribution of mounds and fortifications on the landscape of Tongatapu and overcome previous challenges in collecting data on urbanization in the Pacific.

They found that the settlements on the island had the characteristics and traits of urban settlement systems identified in other parts of the world and stimulated settlement growth and social change.

Parton said the collapse of low-density urbanization in Tongatapu was largely due to the arrival of Europeans and the introduction of disease rather than the result of flaws in the system.