In the middle of the South Pacific, near Fiji and American Samoa, lies the island of Tonga. Until the 19th century, this now sovereign archipelago was ruled by a line of kings called the Tu’i Tonga. The peak of power of the Tu’i Tonga Empire came in the early 16th century. But then civil wars rocked Tonga, and European explorers arrived, causing chaos.
A team of archaeologists has been investigating skeletal remains from the Tu’i Tonga Empire to find out what the human toll was from this time of political instability.With the permission of the contemporary Royal Kingdom of Tonga, archaeologists from the University of Otago in New Zealand analyzed baby teeth from two burial mounds at the prehistoric site of ‘Atele on the island of Tongatapu, the center of the ancient Empire.
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