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Maps of Kosrae and Lelu Island. The ancient city of Leluh was built up as a man-made extension on the lagoon island of Lelu on the eastern side of Kosrae, Micronesia. ( A ) Location of Kosrae in the north- west Pacific Ocean. ( B ) Map of Kosrae with the Leluh ruins, located in 

Maps of Kosrae and Lelu Island. The ancient city of Leluh was built up as a man-made extension on the lagoon island of Lelu on the eastern side of Kosrae, Micronesia. ( A ) Location of Kosrae in the north- west Pacific Ocean. ( B ) Map of Kosrae with the Leluh ruins, located in 

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Article
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Monumental tombs within ancient civilizations worldwide hold precious clues for deciphering the architectural skill, acumen and industry of prehistoric cultures. Most tombs were constructed from abiotic materials —stone, soil and/or clay predominately—and were built to permanently inter royalty or high status individuals. On the island of Kosrae in...

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... ancient civiliza- tions (1-3). Most ancient tombs were built to permanently inter royalty and were constructed of locally and/or regionally available abiotic resources, such as limestone, granite, and clay (2), and are dated by as- sociation (4,5). On the central Pacific island of Kosrae (5°18′N, 162° 58′E), however, there is a singular exception (Fig. 1). The ruins of the prehistoric capital city of Leluh (~AD 1250-1850) (6-9) contain several royal tombs, called saru, that are uniquely characterized by the use of biotic material (scleractinian coral) in their ...
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... is the easternmost island in Micronesia (Fig. 1B) and has been a key landmark for Pacific mariners over the centuries (10). Recog- nized as one of the ancient twin capitals of eastern Micronesia, Leluh supported a complex hierarchical society that developed over the six centuries preceding European contact in the mid-18th century. At its peak, Leluh covered an area of about 270,000 m ...
Context 3
... nized as one of the ancient twin capitals of eastern Micronesia, Leluh supported a complex hierarchical society that developed over the six centuries preceding European contact in the mid-18th century. At its peak, Leluh covered an area of about 270,000 m 2 and was home to ~1500 people, including kings (Tokosras), chiefs, and commoners (8) ( fig. S1). Today Leluh is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, USA, along with the ruins of Nan Madol (11), its twin on the neighboring island of Pohnpei. The shared history of these sister ancient capital cities is most apparent in their distinctive architecture-both are sprawling cities of man-made islets, canals, and walled ...
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... other more well-known pyramidal mortuary chamber structures that culminate in an apex and are permanently sealed (1,2), the pyramidal structures of Leluh were truncated, that is, a pyramidal frustum with a rectangular base, with a central crypt only accessible from above ( Fig. 2). Leluh contains two royal burial complexes, Insrūun and Insaru (8) (Fig. 1C). Insrūun was destroyed by a typhoon early in the last century; however, the Insaru complex and three of its tombs or saru (Lūrūn, Bat, and Inol-1) remain intact (8) (Fig. 2). Historical accounts suggest that the corpse of a Kosraean king, anointed with co- conut oil and bound in mats and colored cordage, would have been interred in the ...
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... of corals used in construction was compared with the propor- tional composition of the surrounding shallow reef community. Three random belt transects (5 m long, 0.5 m wide) along the facades of each of the three truncated pyramidal tombs were compared to three random belt transects (50 m long, 2 m wide) at 22 sites around the island of Kosrae (Fig. 1). Every coral visible on the surface layer of the truncated pyramid tombs was counted and identified to genus level. Three coral samples were collected from each transect, and additional coral samples were collected from inside the wall of the crypt and a 50-cm-deep hole dug into the corner of each truncated pyramid. Three additional ...
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... material for this article is available at http://advances.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/ full/1/2/e1400060/DC1 Fig. S1. Prismatic basalt walls. Fig. S2. Selection of samples collected from the coral tombs. Fig. S3. Proportional composition of the contemporary coral reef community. Fig. S4. Taxonomic composition of corals used to build the pyramid tomb facades versus the modern reef. Table S1. Coral samples collected from the Insaru compound. Table S2. ...

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... Monumental architecture has been a major focus of much archaeological research in the region, as it is important to understanding the socio-politics of the past. These monumental sites include Nan Madol (e.g., Athens 1980Athens , 1990Ayres 1993;Ayres and Scheller 2003;Ayres et al. 2009Ayres et al. , 2015Seikel 2011Seikel , 2016McCoy and Athens 2012;Ayres and Seikel 2014;McCoy et al. 2015McCoy et al. , 2016 and Lelu on Kosrae (e.g., Cordy 1982Cordy , 1985Cordy , 1993Ueki 1984;Richards et al. 2015). However, smaller archaeological sites, representing the lives of non-elites, have also attracted some interest (e.g., Ayres and Mauricio 1999;Haun 1984;Mauricio 1993;Levin 2015Levin , 2016Levin , 2018Poteate et al. 2016;. ...
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... Species Age estimate (years) Region Age-estimation method References Pocillopora verrucosa 3.6-3.9 Micronesia Isotopic analysis Richards et al. (2015) Acropora hemprichii 13-24 Red Sea (northern) Growth rate × size Guzner, Novoplansky & Chadwick (2007) Coelastrea aspera 15-20 Thailand Fluorescent density band dating Scoffin et al. (1997) andBrown et al. (2014) Coelastrea aspera 20-45 Great Barrier Reef X-ray density band dating Babcock (1991) Goniastrea favulus 20-40 Great Barrier Reef X-ray density band dating Babcock (1991) Porites solida 32 Great Barrier Reef X-ray density band dating Potts et al. (1985) Platygyra sinsensis 50-60 Great Barrier Reef X-ray density band dating Babcock (1991) Porites annae 140 Great Barrier Reef Growth rate × size Connell (1973) Pavona decussata 150 Japan Growth rate × size Mezaki et al. (2014) Porites lutea 200 Hong Kong X-ray density band dating Goodkin et al. (2011) Siderastrea siderea 235 Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico CAT scan and X-ray density band dating Vasquez Bedoya et al. (2012) Diploastrea heliopora 380 Maldives Growth rate × size Schuhmacher, Loch & Loch (2002) Siderastrea siderea 450 Belize and Bahamas CAT scan and X-ray density band dating Saenger et al. (2009) Porites lobata 677 Great Barrier Reef X-ray density band dating Potts et al. (1985) Acropora palmata 838-2600 Caribbean-selected sites Somatic mutation rate Devlin Durante et al. (2016) Porites lobata >1000 Taiwan Growth rate × size Soong et al. (1999) may comprise many ramets that become widely dispersed, for example during storms, leading to a high degree of clonality within the population ( Baums, Miller & Hellberg, 2006;Pinzon et al., 2012;Japaud et al., 2015). Genetic mosaicism has been recorded across the colony due to somatic mutations (van Oppen et al., 2011;Barfield, Aglyamova & Matz, 2016) and chimeric colonies may form by fusion of adjacent, non-clonal colonies, particularly by fusion of juveniles before the immune system is fully developed (Schweinsberg, Tollrian & Lampert, 2016). ...
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... In Micronesia, an archaeological proxy for the area's first chiefs e 14 C dates on the start of an annual religious ceremony on the island of Pohnpei e date to AD 1200e1300 (relevant 14 C dates are on unidentified charcoal, 739e665 cal yr BP, SI-90 and 679e574 cal yr BP, Beta-9688) (Athens, 2007). Newly reported research on the Micronesian island of Kosrae found mortuary construction as early as AD 1310 (640 ± 6.5 yr, Sample #42, Lelu Site, Burial Insol-1) based on a high-precision 230 Th/U date on coral (Symphyllia sp.) used as building material (Richards et al., 2015). In sum, our best evidence for the terminus post quem for the invention of hierarchical society in Oceania is AD 1300e1400, with less secure evidence for an earlier onset of monument building in AD 1200e1300. ...
... The only date on clean coral fill used to construct the islet of Nandauwas itself falls between AD 59 (1891 yr) and AD 73 (1877 yr), which is immediately prior to the current earliest secure date of human occupation of the island and likely represents fossil coral. In a recent study on coral used as building material at the site of Leluh (Lelu), Richards et al. (2015) report also high error ranges on 3 out of 24 samples, possibly due to detritus, and most samples are considered fossil corals. We believe the much lower ratio of fossil-to-fresh coral that we found compared to Richards et al. (2015) reflects our effort to specifically selected samples that showed the least signs of wear for dating. ...
... In a recent study on coral used as building material at the site of Leluh (Lelu), Richards et al. (2015) report also high error ranges on 3 out of 24 samples, possibly due to detritus, and most samples are considered fossil corals. We believe the much lower ratio of fossil-to-fresh coral that we found compared to Richards et al. (2015) reflects our effort to specifically selected samples that showed the least signs of wear for dating. ...
... The area (Figure 1), broadly defined here as Pohnpei, Chuuk, and Kosrae States in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), has been occupied by humans since at least 2000 BP, with the earliest settlement being from Lapita descendants in eastern Melanesia(Rainbird 2004). Major archaeological sites include Nan Madol on Pohnpei (e.g.,Athens 1980Athens , 1990Ayres 1993;Ayres and Scheller 2003;Ayres et al. 2009Ayres et al. , 2015McCoy et al. 2015McCoy et al. , 2016Seikel 2011) andLelu on Kosrae (e.g.,Cordy 1982Cordy , 1985Cordy , 1993Richards et al. 2015, Ueki 1984. The monumental architecture on Pohnpei and Kosrae is important to understanding the socio-political arena of the past in this region. ...
... In Micronesia, an archaeological proxy for the area's first chiefs e 14 C dates on the start of an annual religious ceremony on the island of Pohnpei e date to AD 1200e1300 (relevant 14 C dates are on unidentified charcoal, 739e665 cal yr BP, SI-90 and 679e574 cal yr BP, Beta-9688) (Athens, 2007). Newly reported research on the Micronesian island of Kosrae found mortuary construction as early as AD 1310 (640 ± 6.5 yr, Sample #42, Lelu Site, Burial Insol-1) based on a high-precision 230 Th/U date on coral (Symphyllia sp.) used as building material (Richards et al., 2015). In sum, our best evidence for the terminus post quem for the invention of hierarchical society in Oceania is AD 1300e1400, with less secure evidence for an earlier onset of monument building in AD 1200e1300. ...
... The only date on clean coral fill used to construct the islet of Nandauwas itself falls between AD 59 (1891 yr) and AD 73 (1877 yr), which is immediately prior to the current earliest secure date of human occupation of the island and likely represents fossil coral. In a recent study on coral used as building material at the site of Leluh (Lelu), Richards et al. (2015) report also high error ranges on 3 out of 24 samples, possibly due to detritus, and most samples are considered fossil corals. We believe the much lower ratio of fossil-to-fresh coral that we found compared to Richards et al. (2015) reflects our effort to specifically selected samples that showed the least signs of wear for dating. ...
... In a recent study on coral used as building material at the site of Leluh (Lelu), Richards et al. (2015) report also high error ranges on 3 out of 24 samples, possibly due to detritus, and most samples are considered fossil corals. We believe the much lower ratio of fossil-to-fresh coral that we found compared to Richards et al. (2015) reflects our effort to specifically selected samples that showed the least signs of wear for dating. ...
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Archaeologists commonly use the onset of the construction of large burial monuments as a material indicator of a fundamental shift in authority in prehistoric human societies during the Holocene. High quality direct evidence of this transition is rare. We report new interdisciplinary research at the archaeological site of Nan Madol that allows us to specify where and when people began to construct monumental architecture in the remote islands of the Pacific. Nan Madol is an ancient administrative and mortuary center and the former capital of the island of Pohnpei. It was constructed over 83 ha of lagoon with artificial islets and other architecture built using columnar basalt and coral. We employed geochemical sourcing of basalt used as architectural stone and high-precision uranium-thorium series dates (Th-230/U) on coral from the tomb of the first chief of the entire island to identify the beginning of monument building at Nan Madol in AD 1180-1200. Over the next several centuries (AD 1300-1600) monument building began on other islands across Oceania. Future research should be aimed at resolving the causes of these social transformations through higher quality data on monument building.