On our last day in Aleipata we checked out an upland area surveyed by archaeologist Janet Davidson in the 1960s. Janet found heaps of structural remains, walls, platforms and tia se lupe or ceremonial pigeon snaring mounds.
We located one of Janet’s mounds, number 16 from this map, and Janet’s sketch matches what we saw on the ground through an absolute haze of mozzies.
These mounds surround former calderas, Lua o Tane and Lua o Fafine. According to at least one oral history, after a war with Tonga, the Tongan invaders threw all the men in one pit and the women in the other.
There’s plenty of archaeology here and a future project might involve mapping and excavation to date construction events. Also, a classification based analysis of platforms (of tia and all “ethnohistoric types”) is needed to explain variation within this feature class. I’m not convinced by current interpretations of “mounds” in Sāmoa. Something, perhaps, for a BA Honours or Master’s student to figure out…