Upland Forts, Paleobeaches, and no Lapita.

It’s almost all over for us here in Aleipata, investigating the coastline’s prehistory. Our final archaeological test pit uncovered the paleobeach we’ve been seeing in most places, with a silty-sand layer on top that had a few midden shells, a lithic, and a piece of plainware pottery.

I think that's a pretty nice looking paleobeach. Coring down through this after excavation we got to a layer with increased basalt sands suggesting we were approaching the Pleistocene bedrock.

I think that’s a pretty nice looking paleobeach. Coring down through this after excavation we got to a layer with increased basalt sands suggesting we were approaching the Pleistocene bedrock.

We’ve made a pretty good go of it: four 2 x 1 m controlled units, about 60 auger cores (since 2013). We are consistently getting a thin cultural layer with minimal artefacts and plainware pottery on top of carbonate beach, likely on top of basalt (Pleistocene?) bedrock. If the UH geologists come back with a mid-holocene date for the subsurface beach this will *suggest* that there were no Lapita-bearing populations here, even though the landscape was available. Pretty interesting stuff.

Panoramic view of the human-made embankment stretching across a ridge between two drainages. This is about a kilometer inland from Satitoa Village in the uplands

Panoramic view of the human-made embankment stretching across a ridge between two drainages. This is about a kilometer inland from Satitoa Village in the uplands

We went inland today to explore possible upland deposits and came across a great ditch and bank system that was likely defensive. These are found all over Samoa (and elsewhere) and may date to the last 1000 to 500 years.

The University of Auckland archaeologists and University of Hawaii geologists. Front left to right: Haunani, Shelly, Shelia. Back: Mana, Joe, Matt, Matiu, Ethan, Alex, Chip (note hand).

The University of Auckland archaeologists and University of Hawaii geologists. Front left to right: Haunani, Shelly, Shelia. Back: Mana, Joe, Matt, Matiu, Ethan, Alex, Chip (note hand).