Lapita pottery – Pacific migrations – Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Feb 8, A human face stares from these remnants of Lapita pottery, dated BC. Over the next 1, years their descendants moved south and south-east towards Near Oceania. In the Bismarck All images & media in this story. Similarly, claims of early dating of dentate-stamped pottery in the Mariana Islands First, the oldest known Lapita pottery has been confirmed at B.C. in the pottery with dentate-stamped designs highlighted by white lime infill (Carson. The Lapita culture was a prehistoric Pacific Ocean people who flourished in the Pacific Islands The settlement and pottery sherds were later dated to BCE and proved significant in research on the early peopling of the Pacific Islands. .. Lapita cultural complex – brief description with picture of pottery (Central.
As preparation for Tentative Listing is an exhaustive task requiring minute detailing and the engagement of multi-disciplinary teams to competently analyse available information and knowledge, and obtain prior approval of researchers dating back to s for the use of their findings, it is not possible through this exercise to detail the sites that could be considered for Tentative Listing. Those included, however, should be the best examples based on their integrity and intactness and the excavated material that has been recovered as this material will provide the evidence for outstanding universal value.
On current evidence, the Lapita sites in Ha'apai provide to be the best examples. From his findings, he argues that Nukuleka could be the first settlement of Tongans or Polynesians for that matter dating back to 9thth Centuries. This is very interesting as this era ties in with the Tu'i Tonga Empire. It would be further interesting to trace migration patterns from Nukuleka across the Pacific region, and the relationship of Pacific people, if it were confirmed that Nukuleka was the first settlement of the Polynesians.
Given its strategic location of having easy access to both lagoon and ocean waters, it is possible that this village was another centre for active trade in the chiefly kingdom. Lapita sites reflect the initial human colonization of Tonga at around years ago.
Sites containing Lapita pottery are also found in the Bismarck Archipelago PNGSolomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji and Samoa and collectively these sites reflect major social and cultural changes in the Western Pacific around years ago, possibly associated with the spread of Austronesian speaking people from Island southeast Asia that resulted in the movement of the makers of Lapita pottery out of Island Melanesia into Remote Oceania being the initial human colonization of the region.
Lapita sites are of international significance for the story they tell of the human colonization of the last major region of the world, and the navigational and seafaring skills this required to successful reach and settle on the Islands of Remote Oceania, that is, those islands to the south and east of the Solomon Islands. The successful colonisation of this region depended on very detailed knowledge and understanding of the Oceanic environment, the natural resources of the land and sea and a knowledge of horticulture and arboriculture that enables these early colonizers to transport their food resources from island Melanesia to the island of West Polynesia creating the landscapes of the Pacific that we see today.
Ha'apai sites are an intrinsic component of the cultural landscapes of Tonga and reflect the sophisticated adaptation of the first colonizers of the Kingdom and the region as a whole to this truly oceanic environment of small coral islands. There is an immense amount of data that has been accumulated from excavation and analysis of Lapita sites not only in Tonga but throughout the region that attests to the sites being the archaeological signature representing the initial human colonization of Remote Oceania.
In each of these excavations the pottery bearing soil only half a metre thick on the deepest site lay upon old beach sand containing water-worn shells and coral fingers washed in by wave and tidal action; the road apparently was built upon an ancient beach.
The pottery was found only along this old beach-line and despite the intensive agricultural activity, only a few sherds had migrated any distance into the interior. The almost total absence of sherds on the lagoon side of the old beach-line and road suggested that the progradation which had produced this fertile land was more recent than the old beach with the pottery deposits.
In addition, for however long this land had been exposed, no pottery had been broken upon its surface. This situation, with pottery profusion in a narrow band some distance from the present lagoon edge, was typical of this western region.
The Prehistoric Pottery of Lapita Culture in the Pacific
Systematic survey towards the east along the lagoon fringe confirmed the presence of the pottery on or close to the same slightly raised beach line found at varying distance from the present lagoon edge. Around the villages of Pea and Ha'ateiho, where the land is somewhat higher, a series of what appear to be old marine or lagoon terraces 10 metres above present sea-level approach close to the lagoon fringe.
Towards the eastern edges of the lagoon where detailed surveying of the ancient beach line was discontinued, the higher land beyond the marine terrace is very close to the lagoon edge. Part of the frontage of the present village of Mu'a, for instance, falls abruptly into the lagoon. It is clear that many parts of the land along the lagoon edge post-date the beach line, presumably won from the lagoon by slow progradation a process which is still going on today or by tectonic activity.
A large part of the present town of Nuku'alofa for instance is almost certainly founded on such land. It is significant, therefore, that in nearly three months of observation no potsherds were found in the main town area or along the waterfront.
Only towards the back of the town where the new police barracks is situated, or where the Mangaia mound excavated by the Birkses is located can pottery be found.
In fact although the site was missed during the initial survey, the largest pottery bearing site seen by the author in Tonga was uncovered by bulldozers clearing the land for the new police barracks.
At the time of Poulsen's work, pottery had not been reported from the northern islands of the archipelago. Ina small field party from Auckland University and the Australian National University managed - to hire a small boat to visit the other islands of the archipelago.
Like the non-lagoonal areas of Tongatapu, however, the pottery was only in very small quantities. It took several days, for instance, in the most northerly island, Vava'u, before a single highly eroded sherd was recovered. Despite the ease with which many of these small islands could be surveyed, pottery was extraordinarily sparse, although present on almost all the islands investigated.
A rich site, comparable to many on the lagoon fringe on Tongatapu, was discovered on the outskirts of Hihifo, the main town in the Ha'apai group, and a relatively rich site was located on the island of Felevai off Vava'u.Porter Robinson & Madeon - Shelter (Official Video) (Short Film with A-1 Pictures & Crunchyroll)
Apart from these two sites, only a few dozen sherds, always small, highly eroded and without decoration, were recovered from the entire trip. Two significant points emerge from this reconnaissance: Pottery, undoubtedly of the Lapita tradition, is throughout the Tongan archipelago, although in small quantities.
This represents the largest concentration of Lapita pottery sites in the western Pacific. Elsewhere sites with Lapita pottery are isolated discoveries. The argument, proposed by Golson and supported by Poulsen, that with the Lapita potters must be found the origin of the Polynesians is strengthened by the fact that on almost every island occupied by the Polynesian Tongans remnants of Lapita pottery can be found. If the pottery had been restricted to the main island, Tongatapu, it would have strengthened the possibility that the Lapita potters were alien to the present-day Polynesian inhabitants.
These field observations do little to support the argument for longevity of pottery in Tonga. If, as Poulsen claims, pottery persisted in use into the eighteenth century, it is astonishing that pottery remains are so scarce away from the lagoon fringe on Tongatapu or in the northern islands.
The evidence, however, is by no means conclusive: Apart from the late C14 dates discussed below the main support for Poulsen's claim, in fact, comes from the enthnographic records of the early contact period when pots were observed in use in Tonga. This enthnographic evidence, however, is at best ambiguous as most commentators were convinced that the rare pots observed were of Fijian origin. The following quotation from a forthcoming paper on the Tongan enthnographic evidence summarises the situation: It would appear, however, from the evidence of the earliest explorers, that pottery was no longer made in Tonga, and that what pottery was seen there came from Fiji.
We saw in their possession some very porous earthen vessels, which they had baked indeed, but very slightly. In these they kept fresh water, which would have quickly filtered through them, if they had not taken the precaution to give them a coating of resin.
Vessels thus made could be of no use to them in dressing victuals. The natives showed us some of a tolerably elegant form, which they said had been brought from Feejee. We saw them drinking in companies out of cups of this sort, round which they put a net of a pretty large mesh, to be able to carry them about easily. When they had emptied a few of them they went to fill them again out of little holes, which they had dug in the ground, that the water might flow into them.
This description is clearly of Fijian pottery: By the time he arrived at Nomuka he had changed his mind and decided that the few similar earthen pots seen at that island could have been made there or at some neighbouring island Vol. These pots could be the same as those referred to by Cook as coming from Tongatapu, because Cook is quite explicit in saying that they saw and bought only two pots in the southern part of the Tongan group.
II, p; refers only once to pottery in Tonga: The narrow distribution of the sherdage, coinciding closely with present-day settlements, does not offer a favourable environment for preservation of evidence. In addition, the intensive agricultural activities of the Tongans ensure that few sites outside the villages survive intact. It is highly probable that every square inch of this extensively settled island has been turned over many times during the 3, years of prehistory. This situation poses an almost impossible problem for the archaeologist: A house mound built in the village of Pea in will quite likely incorporate decorated potsherds identical to those recovered by Gifford at site 13 in New Caledonia or by the Birkses at Yanuca rock shelter in Fiji and dated to the middle of the first millennium B.
Clearly this situation demands archaeological skill and finesse of the highest order to overcome the inherent difficulties of the environment in which these sherds are found. Poulsen was well aware of these difficulties: Stratification within these shell middens was so complex that in the absence of trained personnel as excavators, sites were dug in spits, the standard unit being 1 metre by 1 metre in area and 10 cms in depth.
As compensation for this more destructive way of digging, profiles were drawn for each metre showing the distribution of the original layers as far as they could be recognised at all. The aim was to make it possible to allocate spits to original layers, that is to refer the artefactual evidence to its original position in the middens in a reasonable way.
For this reason, Poulsen sensibly concentrated on excavating - shell-middens which offered the best conditions for primary deposition of potsherds.