The University of Arizona
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Discontinuity in the Fijian Archaeological Record Supported by a Bayesian Radiocarbon Model

David Vincent Burley, Kevan Edinborough


The Fijian archaeological record is segmented into a series of phases based on distinctive transformations in ceramic forms. Interpretations of the mid-sequence (~1500–1300 cal BP) transition between the Fijian Plainware phase and the Navatu phase are contentious, with alternative explanations of population replacement versus internal processes of culture change. We present and analyze a series of Fijian Plainware and Navatu phase AMS radiocarbon dates acquired from superimposed but stratigraphically separated occupation floors at the Sigatoka Sand Dunes site on the southwest coast of Viti Levu. Employing an OxCal Bayesian sequential model, we seek to date the temporal span for each occupation as well as the interval of time occurring between occupation floors. The latter is estimated to be 0–43 calendar years at 2s probability. The magnitude of ceramic and other differences between the Fijian Plainware and Navatu phase occupations at Sigatoka is substantive. We conclude that the abruptness of this change can be explained only by exogenous replacement at the Sigatoka site.
DOI: 10.2458/56.16482


Fiji; culture history; radiocarbon dates; Bayesian model

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