Digging Fiji - January 2008

Fiji seems a rather unlikely place for me to visit, since I'm not a lie on the beach in the sun type of vacationer. My lack of interest in the typical tourism there is exactly why I chose to sign up for an Earthwatch expedition there. The particular project was Fiji's Ancient Seafarers, which involved volunteering on an archaeological expedition researching the Lapita culture. "The what?" I hear you ask. The short answer is that the Lapita people were a seafaring culture who spread through the South Pacific from the Bismarck Archipelago to Samoa and Tonga during the period from, say, 1350 to 250 BCE. Which makes for some impressive voyages - though, of course, we never know how many people were lost at sea. At any rate, Fiji is interesting because it is the furthest east that decorated Lapita pottery has been found, creating something of a border with Polynesia. Don't feel too ignorant - I didn't have any specific knowledge in this area. I just wanted to see what it was like to work on a dig. And it was a good opportunity to go somewhere I wouldn't normally go, especially since it involved living in a local village, versus a resort hotel. The latter aspect is the major reason why National Geographic Adventure named this expedition on their list of "Best New Trips of 2008." It also proved to be very interesting. For more details, read on.

Preliminaries - Getting There and Nadi

The Dig and Village Life

Conclusion and Links for More Information

Xenophilia Home

Copyright 2008 Miriam H. Nadel

last updated 24 February 2008
Send comments to mhnadel@alum.mit.edu