Ancient ‘window to a lost world’ discovered on Nuku Hiva island

(ORDO NEWS) — An interdisciplinary team of scientists led by University of Auckland archaeologist Professor Melinda Allen made an expedition to the Marquesas Islands.

In the course of research, scientists unexpectedly found what they called the “window to the lost world”, which was first opened about 800 years ago.

The work of scientists was published in the journal PLOS ONE, and it is briefly described on the website of the University of Auckland. The expedition visited Houmi Beach on the island of Nuku Hiva, which is part of the Marquesas Islands.

Scientists planned to find out what kind of flora and fauna the indigenous Polynesians encountered here, who first arrived here in the 12th century AD from the western islands.

The results exceeded their expectations: scientists have unearthed a “deposit” rich in fossilized organic matter on the east coast of the island.

Analysis of these remains has identified more than 100 different previously unknown taxa (types of organisms), including at least nine major groups and more than 39 families.

Radiocarbon dating has shown that this organic matter dates back to around the 12th century AD.

There is no doubt that it was with this world that the first settlers met here. The fact is that on the fossilized coconut shell and wood, traces of their processing with tools were found, and this indicates the presence of a person. In addition, small charcoal was found here, which remained in ancient hearths.

“The sheer diversity is impressive, from a remarkable array of beetles, ants, flies and spiders to several species of mites, fig wasps and other arthropods,” says Melinda Allen. on the islands of East Polynesia shortly after human arrival.”

According to her, the remains of plants that were not previously found on this island were also found. They are another testament to the impressive biodiversity that reigned in these places in previous centuries.

“Fragments of the fruit of the native fan palm Pritchardia may represent a unique species of Nuku Hiva,” says Professor Allen.

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