Microfossil analysis of sediments from a Qaraqara terrace site, Viti Levu, Fiji


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 agricultural domesticates and other important subsistence cultigens. In this paper we report some preliminary results of the microfossil analysis performed on sediment samples collected during two excavation field seasons at a site in the Qaraqara drainage, located in the Sigatoka Valley of Viti Levu, Fiji. As part of a collaborative multi-year project, the research presented here seeks to provide vegetation-based evidence surrounding the prehistoric Post-Lapita subsistence transition from foraging to agriculture in the Sigatoka Valley. Specifically, we are interested in addressing questions related to when and how agriculture become the main mode of subsistence at this site, especially in the context of similar research performed at other sites in Fiji and other islands in the South Pacific.

Cite this Record

Microfossil analysis of sediments from a Qaraqara terrace site, Viti Levu, Fiji. Rebecca Hazard, Christopher Roos, Julie Field, John Dudgeon. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431789)


Fiji microfossil

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17100