Prof. Chip Fletcher’s coastal geology crew has been with us in Aleipata for a few days now and things are getting clearer. We’ve found a likely mid- to late-holocene beach at the bottom of our test excavations. Chip has also found this in his cores and in places this is over stream gravels, so we possibly have the entire marine transgression-regression sequence.
Joe Mills and Matt Barbee (with Chip’s crew) are mapping the coastal flat surface and core elevations. The goal is to produce a subsurface map of the sand layer. This will also be dated by shell and carbonate sands.
We’ve completed a second 1 x 2 meter test unit. This one went down 260 cm before hitting the sand layer, and this was underwater. Alex Morrison and I, with the help of Mana Laumea and Sheila Warren (National University of Samoa) pumped this bugger out and retreived sand samples, although no artefacts and not way to see if there are features on top of the sand as in the first test unit.
So my current hypothesis is still that there was a beach at Aleipata around 1000 BC, but that very few people were here. The test will be the dates we get from that subsurface beach layer…guess we have to wait a month or two.