New Evidence for Variation in Colonisation, Cultural Transmission, and Subsistence from Lapita (2900 BP) to the Historic Period in Southwest Fiji

  • Ethan E Cochrane
  • Isabel C Rivera-Collazo University College London Institute of Archaeology
  • Elizabeth Walsh
Keywords: Fiji, Polynesia, Lapita, colonisation, subsistence

Abstract

Fiji was colonised approximately 3000 BP by populations with intricately decorated Lapita pottery. At nearly the same time, culturally related populations also colonised nearby Tonga and Samoa and the archaeology of each archipelago indicates continued contact, but also cultural divergence over time. Previous research in the far western islands of Fiji has also identified late Lapita colonisation deposits and subsequent cultural changes that have raised further questions about regional variation in the Fijian archaeological record. Here we present results of the first survey, excavation, and archaeological analyses from the islands of southwestern Fiji and interpret these findings relative to current research on the colonisation of Fiji-West Polynesia, changes in the spatial scale of cultural transmission in the region, and changes in foraging practices and environments. Survey and test excavations identified eleven sites and pushes back the colonisation of the far western islands to 2900 BP. Preliminary analyses of cultural materials from these sites indicate a complexly structured colonising population in Fiji-West Polynesia, variation over time in the frequency of contact between populations in Fiji, and subsistence practices likely influenced by environmental change and human competition.

Author Biography

Ethan E Cochrane

Projects Manager & Senior Archaeologist, IARII

Published
2010-12-21
How to Cite
Cochrane, E., Rivera-Collazo, I. and Walsh, E. (2010) “New Evidence for Variation in Colonisation, Cultural Transmission, and Subsistence from Lapita (2900 BP) to the Historic Period in Southwest Fiji”, Journal of Pacific Archaeology, 2(1), pp. 40-55. Available at: https://pacificarchaeology.org/index.php/journal/article/view/17 (Accessed: 15July2019).
Section
Articles