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Investigating shellfish deposition and landscape history at the Natia Beach site, Fiji

Morrison, A.; Cochrane, E.E.; (2008) Investigating shellfish deposition and landscape history at the Natia Beach site, Fiji. Journal of Archaeological Science , 35 (8) pp. 2387-2399. 10.1016/j.jas.2008.03.013. Green open access


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The relationship between environmental variation and subsistence practices is a central point of discussion in much Oceanic archaeology. While human predation can significantly reduce prey populations, environmental variation also contributes to reductions in prey abundance, possibly leading to increased human competition and resource scarcity. At the Natia Beach site, Nacula Island, Fiji, geoarchaeological evidence suggests that coastal progradation began soon after initial occupation of the coastal plain. Additionally, at approximately 650 BP a marked increase in clay and silt deposition occurred. Changes in coastal geomorphology may be explained by landscape response to regional Mid-Holocene sea level fall combined with human induced soil erosion due to upland settlement. Smaller scale environmental changes associated with climate variability may have also played a role. Additionally, landscape change appears to have had a measurable impact on local nearshore mollusks that are sensitive to high levels of water turbidity. Minor evidence of human exploitation is observable in this shellfish assemblage, although changes in predation pressure may have allowed shellfish populations to recover. Increased ceramic diversity and fortified settlements also appear at approximately 650 BP on Nacula and other parts of Fiji. The suite of changes at Natia may be explained by processes of regional and local environmental changes, and human adaptation in terms of subsistence, spatial organization, and competition.

Type: Article
Title: Investigating shellfish deposition and landscape history at the Natia Beach site, Fiji
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2008.03.013
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2008.03.013
Language: English
Keywords: Foraging theory, landscape change, marine subsistence, coastal progradation, Fiji, Oceania
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/3903
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