Today’s post is brought to you by Lisa-Marie Shillito, a Lecturer in Landscape Archaeology at Newcastle University. Initially, this photo may seem like any other tropical paradise: lush forests line a meandering river, but there is much more to the forests in the foreground than first meets the eye. Over to Lisa for the details.
I first visited Fiji as an undergraduate student, where I undertook my dissertation fieldwork looking at human versus environmental impacts on marine shellfish size. Although I was there as a geographer, the field site I worked on was an archaeological one – a large prehistoric shell midden (a location for the dumping of waste), and it was here that I first became interested in geoarchaeology..
Fiji is an archipelago containing hundreds of islands, and the largest of these is Viti Levu, measuring 146 by 106 km.
This photo was taken from a helipad on the small island of Qoqo, located in the estuary of the Tuva river, south west Viti Levu Island. Qoqo is a bedrock island comprising two hills connected by a coastal flat and is today surrounded by dense mangrove forest. The mangrove is an important and complex ecosystem that protects inland areas from coastal erosion, and reef areas from sedimentation. They also have an important function in carbon sequestration.
In the distance, you can see the very edges of central mountain range, which forms a north-south division across the island of Viti Levu.
By Lisa-Marie Shillito a geoarchaeologist and lecturer at Newcastle University. She blogs about geosciences and archaeology.
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