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Journal Article

A palaeomobility study of the multi-period site of Sigatoka, Fiji, using strontium isotope analysis


Richards,  Michael P.       
Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

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Cheung, C., Burley, D. V., Phaff, B., & Richards, M. P. (2018). A palaeomobility study of the multi-period site of Sigatoka, Fiji, using strontium isotope analysis. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 17, 762-774. doi:10.1016/j.jasrep.2017.12.016.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002E-9CCE-D
One of the most important archaeological sites in Fiji is located in the Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park, on the southwest coast of Viti Levu. Numerous excavation projects at Sigatoka since the 1960s have revealed multiple episodes of human occupation, including burials, and a well-defined cemetery complex. This paper uses strontium isotope analysis of human remains from Sigatoka to investigate the residential mobility for 53 individuals from the site. In order to establish the local baseline of bioavailable strontium around Sigatoka, we have collected and measured the strontium isotopic compositions of 59 modern environmental samples from 15 localities across the island. Results suggest that the bioavailable strontium of Viti Levu is derived from a combination of oceanic- (i.e. sea spray) and geological-strontium, and the relative contribution of each source varies from location to location. This variation allows us to identify individuals from Sigatoka as being from local or non-local contexts, providing additional insight into the Fijian past.