of completed aereal excavations at a round-ended habitation site (fare
Currently, I am completing laboratory work on the material remains excavated from the ‘Opunohu Valley house sites. This includes further radiometric dating of charcoal samples to develop a controlled chronology of site construction, reduction stage analysis of the lithic artifacts, sorting of the heavy fraction and wet-screened sediments for micro-artifacts, geochemical analysis of lithic debitage and adzes, and analysis of micro-morphological blocks cut from site profiles.
My continuing field research in the ‘Opunohu valley involves an intensive re-survey of portions of the valley, in order to better document the relationship between marae (temple) construction, the establishment of habitation sites, and the use and construction of agricultural features, within the overall settlement landscape of the ‘Opunohu Valley. In the summer of 2002, I began work on this re-survey project, focusing on a small sector of the Upper and Middle Amehiti portions of the valley, where all relocated sites were cleared of brush, mapped by compass and tape, and described in detail. This work was generously funded by the Roger Green Fund for Archaeological Research.
In the summer of 2004, I directed an archaeological field school in the ‘Opunohu valley, sponsored by the UC Berkeley Summer Session and the UC Berkeley Gump Station. The field school involved reconaissance survey and site mapping in the upper portions of the Amehiti sector of the valley which have never before been surveyed. My limited 2002 survey confirmed that the Upper Amehiti sector has many unrecorded archaeological sites, including house sites, marae, and large terrace complexes. It was imperative to study these sites in order to augment the settlement pattern survey data already recorded for the ‘Opunohu Valley.
is a large, amphitheatre-headed valley situated on the northern side of
Mo’orea Island, in the Society Islands group of French Polynesia.
The valley was the setting for Roger C. Green’s pioneering settlement-pattern
study in 1960-61, and much of the upper valley consists of a cultural
preserve under the protection of the French Polynesian government.
1992 D. S. Lepofsky, H. Harries, and M. Kellum, Early coconuts on Mo’orea Island, French Polynesia. Journal of the Polynesian Society 101:229-308.
1994 D. S. Lepofsky, Prehistoric Agricultural Intensification in the Society Islands, French Polynesia. Doctoral dissertation, University of California, Berkeley.
1996 D. S. Lepofsky, P. V. Kirch, and K. P. Lertzman,
Stratigraphic and paleobotanical evidence for prehistoric human-induced
environmental disturbance on Mo'orea, French Polynesia. Pacific Science
|Photos courtesy of Patrick Kirch and Jennifer Kahn.|