Let the remains ask the questions : In search for prehistoric relations on a Samoan settlement pattern through a correspondence analysis

University essay from Högskolan på Gotland/Institutionen för kultur, energi och miljö


My interest in ethno-archaeology and a Minor Field Study grant brought me to Samoa. There I had a chance to participate in a multinational project “The Pulemelei project, the origins and Development of Monumental architecture”. On the former copra plantation Letolo situated on the SE part of the Island of Savai’i, is an extensive pre-historic settlement with over 3000 remains situated. The remains are now heavily overgrown but when the vegetation was cleared an extensive survey was carried out (1977-78).

By using these records my aim is to understand more about how chiefdom society works in pre-historic times as well as in the present. The archaeological study is carried out with the aid of a correspondence analysis using the survey data as well as through a practical fieldwork (excavations) study of the settlement pattern at the Letolo plantation. The settlement shows large variations between the inland and the coastal region and those actions opened for whole new questions and ideas about the Samoan prehistory. During my journey I also got a better understanding for ethno-archaeology, and the problems that can meet us using these analogies and carrying out archaeological studies in a global setting and traditional society. To date, quite limited archaeology has been carried out on Samoa but the archaeological “revival” boosted by the project which started in this area in 2002 has created an opportunity to train the first generation of Samoan archaeologists and give them a good platform to stand on!

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