3500 years in a changing landscape: The House of Taga in the Mariana Islands, Western Micronesia

Mike T. Carson, Hsiao Chun Hung

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Many sites are known as places where people have lived continually through several millennia, yet some aspects of life must have changed during the long time spans of dynamic cultural history. A systematic chronological examination of a specific site and its landscape may reveal the transformation, adaptation, persistence, and sustainability of the inhabitants through generations. At the House of Taga in Tinian of the Mariana Islands, one of the most famous sites in the Pacific islands, the first islanders here lived in wood post-raised houses at a particular seashore niche around 1500 BC. Some centuries later, the descendants of the first settlers adapted to the changing conditions of the coastal habitat and other aspects of their lives, and eventually, these groups created the region’s largest standing stone-pillar housing during the AD 1600s. Today, the surface-visible stone ruins at the site are revered as the “House of Taga”, connected with a profound legendary status in indigenous history and heritage, while the older subsurface layers of the site have been hidden from view. A chronological narrative here clarifies the natural environmental conditions and cultural adaptions that had evolved through the past 3500 years in this special place. The results have enabled broader knowledge of how the landscape at the House of Taga developed into an iconic symbol in Pacific Oceania.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationPalaeolandscapes in Archaeology
    Subtitle of host publicationLessons for the Past and Future
    PublisherTaylor and Francis
    Number of pages37
    ISBN (Electronic)9781000484823
    ISBN (Print)9780367689032
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


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