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Legendary Ancient Villages in Fiji

Legendary Ancient Villages Uncovered in Fiji

Archaeologists in Fiji have uncovered the remains of two old villages which were previously only known about from oral tradition passed down from generation to generation.

The historic discovery was made by a team from the Fiji Museum who carried out a survey in the Koroyanitu mountain range in Lautoka following a request from villagers who were keen to discover whether the stories passed down from their ancestors were true.

"There are numerous requests received by the museum from villages around Fiji to confirm and protect their cultural heritage from any sort of development - infrastructural, mining, hotel, logging, agriculture” said Elia Nakoro, Head of History and Archaeology at the Fiji Museum. “We have been assisting villagers in confirming their sites of cultural significance and also one that is tied to their identity and origin."

The survey resulted in the discovery of the village sites which have been dated between 200 and 500 years old. Evidence of housing and of people living at the site was found.  "There is evidence of houses being at the site, with stone alignments in the mountains and some clay pottery pieces also found," Mr Nakoro said

The Fiji Museum has been helping to trace the movements of the ancestors of the iTaukei (indigenous Fijians) from one place to another, recording historical accounts and linking it to the existing cultural features in the form of old village sites through mapping and reporting.

Austronesian peoples are believed to have settled in the Fijian islands some 3,500 years ago, with Melanesians following around a thousand years later. Most authorities agree that they originated in Southeast Asia and came via Indonesia. Archeological evidence shows signs of settlement on Moturiki Island from 600 BC and possibly as far back as 900 BC.

The latest discovery helps to follow the thread of Fiji’s history and the movements of its people over the generations.

By April Holloway

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