12 Aug 2005

Archaeologists build up face of 3,000 year-old Fiji woman

10:29 am on 12 August 2005

The face of a woman who lived 3,000 years ago in one of Fiji's earliest settlements has been revealed at the University of the South Pacific.

The face of the woman, one of the Lapita people who moved down through Southeast Asia and Melanesia thousands of years ago, was reconstructed in Japan.

A remarkably well-preserved skeleton was found by a research team from the USP and the Fiji Museum at Naitabale in the south of Moturiki Island in mid-2002.

The discoverer of the skeleton, Solomon Islands student Chris Suri, named it Mana, which means 'truth' in the Lau dialect of Malaita in the Solomons.

During analysis at Kyoto University, the skeleton was determined to be that of a female who had died aged between 40 and 60.

She was 161 to 164 centimetres tall and was believed to have had at least one child.

The Lapita people are believed to have descended from tribes in Taiwan who spread through Southeast Asia before arriving in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.