Early Marquesan Settlement and Patterns of Interaction: New Insights from Hatiheu Valley, Nuku Hiva Island

  • Melinda S. Allen University of Auckland
  • Andrew McAlister
Keywords: settlement, chronology, stone tool geochemistry, landscape change, Polynesia


Hatiheu, one of Nuku Hiva’s largest and most fertile valleys, is an ideal setting for settlement but the valley’s early human history is poorly known. Its importance in late prehistory is well attested, with six major community ceremonial complexes (tohua) and hundreds of domestic structures (paepae). Recent excavations and AMS dating at Pahumanoo- te-tai indicate use of the area began around the late 13th to late 14th century AD and continued into the post-contact period. Evidence from the earliest occupation suggests a structure and domestic activities, including preparation and cooking of both wild and domesticated animals, and tool maintenance and adze manufacture involving both local and exotic raw materials, as identified through pXRF analysis. A remarkable number of stone sources are represented in the relatively small sample, including the newly identified East Hatiheu Quarry (described herein), four other Nuku Hiva localities, Eiao Island and a possible southern Marquesan source. A ~600-year stratigraphic sequence of repeated burning, erosion, and colluviation informs on long-term geomorphic dynamics at this locality. Pahumano joins a number of similarly-aged sites from throughout the archipelago which, as a whole, identify the 13th to 14th centuries ad as a period of widespread established settlement.
How to Cite
Allen, M. and McAlister, A. (2013) “Early Marquesan Settlement and Patterns of Interaction: New Insights from Hatiheu Valley, Nuku Hiva Island”, Journal of Pacific Archaeology, 4(1), pp. 90-109. Available at: https://www.pacificarchaeology.org/index.php/journal/article/view/Allen_AcAlister (Accessed: 17May2021).