12 Nov 2005

Humans settled Micronesia at least 5000 years ago, study suggests

8:14 am on 12 November 2005

New evidence found in the Northern Mariana Islands suggests humans settled in Micronesia at least 5000 years ago.

The US researchers Stephen Athens and Jerome Ward of the International Archaeological Research Institute analysed cores of sediment for plant pollen and charcoal on Saipan.

The two said it appeared that the series of abrupt shifts in the island's environment had been caused by humans, raising the possibility of inhabitants on the island as far back as 2860 BC, more than 1000 years earlier than previous estimates.