We just recently had our article accepted in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology: “Plainware Ceramics from Sāmoa: Insights into Ceramic Chronology, Cultural Transmission, and Selection among Colonizing Populations”
Abstract:The first people in Sāmoa produced a varied ceramic archaeological record including a single deposit with decorated Lapita ceramics on the island of ‘Upolu in the west of the archipelago and a nearly contemporaneous plainware deposit over 250 km to the east on Ofu Island. Post-Lapita ceramic change across Sāmoa is similar with almost no decoration, local ceramic production, limited vessel form diversity, and changing frequencies of thin- and thick-wares. This Samoan ceramic record is different from nearby Tonga and Fiji where early decorated Lapita ceramics are widely distributed, there are no thickness-defined ware types, and for Fiji, post-Lapita ceramics are more variable. Here we investigate the apparent uniqueness of the Samoan ceramic record through an analysis of early plainware ceramics, the second oldest after the Ofu deposits, from Tutuila Island in the center of the Sāmoan archipelago. Our assemblage-specific findings are similar to other Sāmoan plainware analyses, but we suggest the ceramic and other archaeological evidence from Sāmoa and the region indicates Sāmoa was colonized by a few isolated groups and that within the context of cultural transmission of ceramic variants, selection explains thickness variation and likely other aspects of Sāmoan ceramic change.