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Geographic Variability in the Onset and Intensification of Swidden Cultivation on Viti Levu, Fiji

Author(s): Christopher Roos ; Julie Field ; John Dudgeon

Year: 2017

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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 to more than 40 km inland to reconstruct the timing and geographic context of the transition to agriculture. We used radiocarbon dated charcoal concentrations and stable carbon isotope ratios to reconstruct natural fires, initial slash-and-burn cultivation, and swidden intensification from 5-6 m cores near known "Mid Sequence" archaeological sites. Our results suggest that local decisions to initiate or intensify swidden cultivation were complex and dependent upon local and regional climate, environment, and social contexts.

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Geographic Variability in the Onset and Intensification of Swidden Cultivation on Viti Levu, Fiji. Christopher Roos, Julie Field, John Dudgeon. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431782)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14894

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