"We've been able to date the founding population of Polynesia to within a very narrow window of 16 years," says archaeologist Professor Marshall Weisler of the University of Queensland.
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It is believed to be the last place on Earth to become inhabited by humans.
People known as Lapita, the creators of distinctive pottery, have previously been estimated to have arrived in Tonga sometime around 3000 years ago.
During excavations at Nukuleka, Dr Burley found numerous fingers of acropora coral, which had been used by Lapita people as files and rasps.
"They'd break living coral fingers off the reef and use these for abrading shell and wood for shaping and forming these raw materials into various tools and artefacts," Prof Weisler said.