The Post Lapita Subsistence Project: The First Farmers– Excavations in 2014

The Post-Lapita Subsistence Project continued in July of 2014.  The project, which is funded by the National Science Foundation (SBS Award # 7210224) is collaborative with my colleagues Chris I. Roos (Southern Methodist University), John V. Dudgeon (Idaho State University), Amy Commendador-Dudgeon (Idaho State University), and the Fiji Museum.   Our 2014 Fiji research team included Nicole Hernandez (Ohio State University) and Rebecca Hazard (Idaho State University), Jone Balenaivalu (Fiji Museum), and Ilaitia Kuresaru (Nadroga Provincial Office).  Our goal was to investigate a site that may have been a site of early cultivation.  Based upon the result of the 2013 terrestrial coring program, I selected the site of Qaraqara, which had a sequence of approximately 5000 years, the last 3000 of which appeared to consist of a series of buried soils.  We placed a 2×2  meter excavation within the middle of a modern tavioka field, and through the course of three weeks encountered a deposit that by all appearances was the remains of an irrigated agricultural feature.  This feature was composed of dense clay, and was riddled with tubes, preserved roots, and iron and mineral tubes.  This appears to be an ancient vuci, an irrigated feature used to grow dalo (Colocasia esculenta).  Pottery and charcoal was also present in the deposit, and these were plainwares and paddle impressed wares.  A dating program of the preserved roots and charcoal is currently underway.

Ratu Jone Balenaivalu excavating at Qaraqara

Ratu Jone Balenaivalu excavating at Qaraqara

Paddle impressed pottery from Qaraqara

Paddle impressed pottery from Qaraqara

Iron root tube stains  from dalo plants in floor of unit.

Iron root tube stains from dalo plants in floor of unit.

Iron mineral root tube closeup

Iron mineral root tube closeup

Julie Field and profile at Qaraqara, showing iron/mineral tube stains from dalo roots.

Julie Field and profile at Qaraqara, showing iron/mineral tube stains from dalo roots.

End of excavation photo. Ratu Jone Balenaivalue, Julie Field, Rebecca Hazard, and Ilaitia Kuresaru.

End of excavation photo. Ratu Jone Balenaivalu, Julie Field, Rebecca Hazard, and Ilaitia Kuresaru.

 

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