26 Jul 2014

Ancient settlement remnants found in Tongan village

10:07 am on 26 July 2014

Remnants of an ancient settlement outside the small village of Nukuleka, in Tonga, have been excavated by a team of Canadian archaeologists.

Matangi Tonga reports that items collected include thousands of sherds of Lapita pottery, a unique pottery made by the ancient predecessors of Polynesians thousand of years ago.

Canadian archaeologist, Professor David Burley, says

this kind of pottery can be found from coastal areas of New Guinea all the way to the islands of Tonga and Samoa.

He says by finding Lapita pottery you can track the movement of people across the Pacific as they settled the island groups.

Dr Burley says the vast amount of Lapita pottery found in Nukuleka suggests that in ancient times, Nukuleka was once the capital of Tonga.

Shell fish, adzes, ivory ornaments and an ancient water-catchment have also been discovered, with some items dating as far back as more than 2800 years ago.