2013 Asian Perspectives
Former settlements, now abandoned, are found in inland upland locations on many larger islands in the tropical Pacific. In Fiji, such settlements are known today as <i>koronivalu</i> (war-towns) and, as elsewhere in the region, appear to have been established within the same period during the first half of the last millennium. Twenty-seven <i>koronivalu</i> were mapped for this research in the BÄ Valley and nearby Vatia Peninsula, northern Viti Levu Island (Fiji); of these, nine were subject to detailed investigation. All <i>koronivalu</i> are in defensible locations, either with exceptional views across the surrounding landscape or hidden within deep narrow valleys. At all <i>koronivalu</i>, evidence for the consumption of marine shellfish was found, even though the sites are often far from the coast. Twenty-four radiocarbon ages from charcoal and shellfish remains were obtained. A single age around <small class="caps">a.d. </small> 700 from the farthest inland site (Koroikewa) appears anomalous. The remainder, once adjusted, suggest that most <i>koronivalu</i> in the study area were established <small class="caps">a.d. </small> 1200â1750, perhaps separable into early (<small class="caps">a.d. </small> 1200â1450) and later (<small class="caps">a.d. </small> 1500â1750) phases. While questions remain about the functions of these <i>koronivalu</i>, the fact that, as elsewhere in Fiji and in other western Pacific Island groups, they appear to have been established within the same period suggests that there is a region-wide explanation for the profound settlement-pattern change this implies. Climate change, perhaps expressed through drought and/or sea-level change, appears the only plausible external forcing mechanism.