Matthew Napolitano

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Oregon, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9710

Approve Date

October 5, 2018

Project Title

Napolitano, Matthew F., U. of Oregon, Eugene, OR - To aid research on 'Colonization on the Island of Stone Money: Archaeological Investigation on Yap, Western Micronesia,' supervised by Dr. Scott M. Fitzpatrick

MATTHEW NAPOLITANO, then a graduate student at University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, was awarded a grant in October 2018 to aid research on “Colonization on the Island of Stone Money: Archaeological Investigation on Yap, Western Micronesia,” supervised by Dr. Scott M. Fitzpatrick. Funding assisted study of the early settlement of Yap, a group of four small islands situated between Palau and the Mariana Islands in western Micronesia. Multiple conflicting lines of evidence, stemming largely from a lack of archaeological research, have resulted in major temporal discrepancies that place the colonization of Yap between 3300- 2000 years ago. In this study, we conducted the first systematic survey to locate and excavate early settlement sites and critically re-examine all previously published radiocarbon dates for Yap and present a suite of 31 unpublished radiocarbon dates from southern Yap. We then subjected these dates to chronometric hygiene in which unreliable or inadequately reported dates were culled from the database. Using Bayesian statistical modeling, we developed the first modeled estimate for initial human settlement of Yap of 2450-2165 cal years BP. Radiocarbon dates from noncultural contexts also establish an important baseline for understanding sea-level change over the last 3000 years. Preliminary research results were disseminated to local communities and businesses through a 32-page color comic book that describes the preliminary findings of this study and traditional culture on Yap.


Napolitano, Matthew, et al.  2019. Footprints of the Ancestors. University of Oregon