Long-lost remains of an ancient city in the South Pacific rewrite history.  

Archaeologists at the Australian National University utilized aerial LiDAR scanning to map the geography of Tongatapu, home of Tonga's capital city Nukuʻalofa.  

This showed settlement footprints that resembled other urban settlement systems around the world, such as large highways, fortifications, community structures, and thousands of earth mounds.   

They also discovered gigantic soil mounds called sia heu lupe, which were built for the sport of pigeon snaring.   

"Earth buildings were being built in Tongatapu around AD 300.   

This is 700 years earlier than previously anticipated," lead study author Phillip Parton, PhD scholar of archaeology at the Australian National University in Canberra, said in a statement.   

"As communities expanded, they needed to find new means to support their rising population.   

This type of setup, known as low density urbanization, causes significant social and economic transformation.   

People are interacting. This metropolis formed long before Europeans arrived in Tongatapu in 1773 CE, debunking the myth that the South Pacific lacked complex human societies prior to colonialism.   

Researchers have previously hypothesized that Pacific islands did not establish urban communities due to their low population density.  

Tongatapu's results challenge this idea by demonstrating low-density urbanization, a distinct type of metropolis that diverged from the European model of urban settlements.   

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