Title

Phytoliths and the evidence for banana cultivation at the Lapita Reber-Rakival Site on Watom Island, Papua New Guinea

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Lentfer, CJ & Green, RC 2004, 'Phytoliths and the evidence for banana cultivation at the Lapita Reber-Rakival Site on Watom Island, Papua New Guinea', Records of the Australian Museum, Supplement vol. 29, pp. 75-88.

The publisher's version of this article is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.3853/j.0812-7387.29.2004.1404

Abstract

Abstract. Analysis of phytoliths in sediments from Kainapirina (SAC) locality in the Reber-Rakival Lapita site on Watom Island, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea, directly confirms and expands on the types of terrestrial plants, both domestic and natural, identified in the cultural and ashfall deposits of c. 400 cal. B.C. to A.D. cal. 650 found at the site. A significant new finding is that evidence for banana cultivation throughout that period can be associated with both former and additional confirmatory evidence for the growing of coconut and Canarium nut trees plus a range of new plants. Gardening activity alternating with fallow is also strongly suggested by the types of natural tree cover at the conclusion of that occupation sequence and the garden soils lying just below the primary seventh century A.D. Rabaul volcanic ashfall.