Colonisation and late period faunal assemblages from Ofu Island, American Samoa

Weisler, Marshall I., Lambrides, Ariana B.J., Quintus, Seth, Clark, Jeffrey, and Worthy, Trevor (2016) Colonisation and late period faunal assemblages from Ofu Island, American Samoa. Journal of Pacific Archaeology, 7 (2). pp. 1-19.

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The identification and analysis of 1583 bones from colonisation (~2700 cal BP) to late period (post-800 cal BP) cultural layers from archaeological site AS-13–41 on Ofu Island, American Samoa are reported. The assemblage is dominated by fish (~91 per cent; NISP = 1435, MNI = 162) with bones of human, Green Sea Turtle, sea birds (shearwaters and petrels) and a terrestrial bird (Buff-Banded Rail), as well as the commensals Pacific Rat, chicken (Red Junglefowl) and pig. We report here the first prehistoric records of Pacific Flying Fox (Pteropus tonganus) and the endemic Tooth-Billed Pigeon (Manumea, Didunculus strigirostris) from colonisation layers and two pelagic fish species only recorded from late pre-historic deposits: Mahi-mahi (Coryphaena hippurus) and flying fish (Exocoetidae). These and numerous genus-level fish identifications of surgeonfish (Acanthuridae), squirrelfish and soldierfish (Holocentridae), snapper (Lutjanidae) and parrotfish (Scaridae) are additional new fish records for Samoan prehistory reflecting the breadth of the fish reference collection as well as the practice of using all fish bones for identification; ~37 per cent of bones were assigned to family. Colonisation period deposits are characterised by greater quantities of fish, turtle and bird bones, declining towards later prehistory signalling the likely effects of human predation and an increasing emphasis towards agricultural production.

Item ID: 59061
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1179-4712
Keywords: Samoa, faunal analysis, Pteropus tonganus, Didunculus strigirostris, Katsuwonus pelamis, ubiquity analysis
Copyright Information: © New Zealand Archaeological Association.
Funders: United States National Science Foundation (NSF), University of Aukland (UA), North Dakota State University (NDSU)
Projects and Grants: NSF 1229417
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2019 23:16
FoR Codes: 43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4301 Archaeology > 430101 Archaeological science @ 50%
45 INDIGENOUS STUDIES > 4513 Pacific Peoples culture, language and history > 451301 Archaeology of New Guinea and Pacific Islands (excl. New Zealand) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950599 Understanding Past Societies not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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