“Nan Madol represents a first in Pacific Island history. The tomb of the first chiefs of Pohnpei is a century older than similar monumental burials of leaders on other islands.” — Mark McCoy, SMU
Science reporter Rob Verger covered the research discovery that new dating on the stone buildings of the ancient monumental city of Nan Madol suggests the ancient coral reef capital in the Pacific Ocean was the earliest among the islands to be ruled by a single chief.
The article, “Mysterious Pacific island burial site is older than thought, study says,” published Oct. 19, 2016.
SMU archaeologist Mark D. McCoy, led the discovery team. The discovery was uncovered as part of a National Geographic expedition to study the monumental tomb said to belong to the first chief of the island of Pohnpei. McCoy deployed uranium series dating to determine that when the tomb was built it was one-of-a-kind, making it the first monumental scaled burial site on the remote islands of the Pacific.
By Rob Verger
In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, there’s a large, lush, verdant island called Pohnpei, where pigs are commonly raised by the locals and mangrove trees abound. On the coast of this island is an ancient burial site for chiefs who lived there hundreds and hundreds of years ago, and now, new research is shedding light on the history of this archaeological wonder.
The burial, ceremonial, and cultural site is called Nan Madol, and it dates back to about the year 1180, according to new research led by Mark McCoy, an anthropologist and associate professor at Southern Methodist University in Texas. McCoy said that the site is at least 100 years older than similar ones in the Pacific islands.
“It now looks like Nan Madol represents a first in Pacific Island history,” McCoy said in an email to FoxNews.com. “The tomb of the first chiefs of Pohnpei is a century older than similar monumental burials of leaders on other islands.”