Origins and Transformations: The Western Islands of the Pacific Ocean

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 82nd Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC (2017)

Research programs focused on the islands of the Western Pacific Ocean are increasingly dedicated to the analysis of post-colonization processes. Models describing the ecological transformation of islands, demographic changes, and the technological innovations developed by settled populations to maintain social connections over vast distances articulate with ever more discrete spatially and temporally-sensitive archaeological analyses to provide a framework to interpret these processes. These studies contribute to better resolution of the development of evolutionary trajectories creating favorable conditions for more complex social organization. This symposium highlights recent studies in a number of archipelagos, including the Marianas, Fiji, Tonga, and Samoa.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-9 of 9)

  • Documents (9)

  • Bioarchaeological evidence for diet in a Latte Period assemblage from Saipan, CNMI (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Olivia Franklin. John Dudgeon. Amy Commendador. Rebecca Hazard. Michael Dega.

    Garapan, a Latte Period (A.D. 1000-1521) archaeological site in Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands, was excavated under mitigation efforts by Scientific Consultant Services, Hawaii in 2015. The recovery produced over 400 sets of skeletal remains, of which forty-eight were submitted for dietary bioarchaeological analysis in the Center for Archaeology, Materials and Applied Spectroscopy. This research focuses on the importance of marine versus terrestrial protein sources and introduced plant...

  • Garapan and San Roque: Case Studies from Saipan, CNMI (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Michael Dega. David Perzinski.

    This paper takes site data from two recently excavated locales on Saipan and discusses the archaeology, physical anthropology, and bioarchaeology of the sites. The goal is to frame these within larger questions of origins, changes in the island's demography through time, and to assess several migration models for settlement of Saipan and the Northern Marianas.

  • Geographic Variability in the Onset and Intensification of Swidden Cultivation on Viti Levu, Fiji (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Christopher Roos. Julie Field. John Dudgeon.

    At some point between initial colonization and first contact with Europeans, Fijian economies transformed from being dependent upon marine foraging to dependence upon intensive agriculture. The timing and spatial pattern of this transition has beguiled archaeologists because the archaeology of Post-Lapita, "Mid Sequence" archaeology has been so scantily preserved and recovered. We employed geoarchaeological coring of terrestrial soil and sedimentary sequences along a transect from near the coast...

  • Microfossil analysis of sediments from a Qaraqara terrace site, Viti Levu, Fiji (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Rebecca Hazard. Christopher Roos. Julie Field. John Dudgeon.

    Microfossils in archaeology are defined as the floral and faunal-derived microscopic biogenic particles that preserve long after the original organism has died and decayed. Some such examples are silica phytoliths, starches, pollens and spores, calcium oxalates, and plant cellular tissue like trichomes and stomata. This type of analysis is a valuable proxy for inferring prehistoric environmental conditions and landscape change over time, as well as direct evidence for the presence of certain...

  • Molecular taphonomy of biominerals in the Western Pacific (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only John Dudgeon. Olivia Franklin. Amy Commendador. Julie Field. Michael Dega.

    Molecular and microarchaeological artifacts of human subsistence are recorded in the bones, tissues and residues of the skeleton. These artifacts provide substantial correlative evidence for macroscopic and sedimentary data of dietary plant and animal use in the archaeological record. Within the depositional context however, many factors in the local environment disturb or degrade these signatures, reducing or eliminating their usefulness in diet reconstruction. The islands of the tropical...

  • Monuments, boundaries, and chiefly competition in the development of the Tongan state (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Travis Freeland.

    The principal Tongan island of Tongatapu was the epicentre of a hierarchical and geographically integrated society which some archaeologists contend reached the level of archaic state by AD 1300–1400. Dynastic chiefs affirmed their power and rights to land through monumental construction and a dispersed settlement pattern that fully occupied their inherited territories with lower-ranking members of their kin-based corporate groups. Recent archaeological survey, aided by LiDAR, reveals the...

  • Multicomponent analyses of prehistoric Fijian diet: Stable isotopes of bone collagen and carbonate (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Amy Commendador. John Dudgeon. Rebecca Hazard. Julie Field.

    Several studies have provided stable isotopic insights into prehistoric Fijian diet via carbon and nitrogen analyses of bone collagen, with recent reports suggesting a diet of predominantly C3 plants though with some individuals exhibiting significant input from lower trophic level marine resources. Here we add to these studies by incorporating both a larger sample size from several sites on Viti Levu and a combined analysis of isotope data obtained from human bone collagen and carbonate. The...

  • Push and Pull Factors in Inland Settlement (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Julie Field. Christopher Roos. John Dudgeon. Rebecca Hazard. Amy Commendador-Dudgeon.

    Archaeological investigation along the coastlines of the islands of the Western Pacific have documented the distinct deposits of human colonizers and their descendants. Recent research has indicated that the first colonists were marine foragers, but also directed their forays into the interiors of islands to collect reptiles, bats, and birds. The research presented here reveals how predictive modeling and directed survey can aid in the detection of post-colonization sites located in the...

  • Using stable isotopes to identify childhood and infant feeding practices in prehistoric Taumako (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Christina Stantis. Hallie Buckley. Amy Commendador. John Dudgeon.

    Though many ethnohistoric sources in the tropical Pacific recount chiefly feasting events, few describe the feeding practices of children despite the impact childhood nutrition has on morbidity and mortality throughout an individual’s life history. The Namu burial ground (circa 750 — 300 BP) on the island of Taumako in the southeast Solomon Islands provides a direct means of understanding prehistoric life on a Polynesian Outlier. Twenty individuals from the 226 excavated were sampled as part of...