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Mapping Island 'Moka': Assessing the Spatial Patterns of Customary Fishing Weirs in the Fiji Island Group

Author(s): Damion Sailors

Year: 2017

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Summary

Customary Fijian fishing weirs, known locally as 'moka', are an archaeological feature type that can be readily identified due to their large size, uniform shape, and conspicuous location on the tidal flats and shorelines of both high and low islands. Recent advances in remote sensing technology have allowed for an improved survey of Fijian fishing weirs adding to the existing inventory and informing upon early settlement patterns in the Fiji Island group. While 'moka' do not play a major part in the local economy today, they likely served a significant role in early Fijian subsistence and knowledge of this customary practice is valuable to current socioenvironmental studies. This paper will discuss the preliminary results of an archaeological investigation that utilized satellite imagery and kite aerial photography, along with pedestrian survey, to map 683 customary fishing weirs on 79 Fijian islands. The spatial configurations and physical characteristics of these fishing weirs have been documented and are being explored statistically at the regional and island scale as part of a doctoral thesis in order to better understand Pacific Island settlement patterns as they might apply to cultural adaptation, social complexity, and human evolution in an island-coastal setting.


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Mapping Island 'Moka': Assessing the Spatial Patterns of Customary Fishing Weirs in the Fiji Island Group. Damion Sailors. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430929)


Keywords


Spatial Coverage

min long: 111.973; min lat: -52.052 ; max long: -87.715; max lat: 53.331 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15427

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America