Lithic Analysis at a Late Prehistoric Coastal Site in the Samoan Archipelago
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This thesis presents a lithic attribute and geochemical analysis of the lithic material recovered from coastal site of Fatumafuti, on Tutuila Island, in the Samoan archipelago during 1050-520 BP. The goal of this thesis is to clarify the nature of stone tool production and to add to our current understanding of the cultural transformations from Lapita to a Polynesian identity. To complete this goal four research questions are addressed. What is the stage of reduction (cha ne operatoire) at Fatumafuti? Does the assemblage vary over space and time? Where did the source material come from? And, what was the organization of lithic craft production? Specifically, is there evidence for specialization? The lithics at Fatumafuti contain multiple segments in the technical sequence of tool manufacture (cha ne operatoire). The two major segments are middle stage and late stage reduction, and two minor segments are early stage reduction and tool rejuvenation. Expedient tools found on site indicate that prehistoric groups did not rely on a completely curated technology. Tool manufacture was geared toward producing a variety of tools, as opposed to a specific product. Production was most intense towards the coastal portion of the site during the earlier cultural component and then shifted towards the talus base during the later cultural component. Using non-destructive Energy Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence (EDXRF), elemental concentrations were analyzed and compared to those of Tataga-matau, Lau?agae, Asiapa and Alega. One, possibly two, sources were utilized at this site; however, they are not chemically similar to Tatagamatau, Lau'agae, Asiapa and Alega. I conclude that people of Fatumafuti practiced independent household production at the end of the Aceramic and beginning of the Recent period. Either the intensification of lithic craft production that is seen during the height of complex chiefdoms is not seen at Fatumafuti, or these social transformations had not yet taken hold. With more cases that date to this time, we may find that Samoan chiefdoms had not attained full complexity at this point.
Hawkins, Megan T. (2009). Lithic Analysis at a Late Prehistoric Coastal Site in the Samoan Archipelago. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from