Ceramic ethnoarchaeology in Fiji: the role of social processes in ceramic diversity

Date created: 
Ceramic ethnoarchaeology
Fijian pottery
Oceanic prehistory
Yawe, Kadavu
Potter collective
Master potter

Ceramics are a significant part of the archaeological record used to infer chronology, culture change, ethnicity and patterns of social interaction. Attempts to associate variability in form and decorative style with kinship and post-marital residence patterns are referred to as “ceramic sociology”. These studies illustrate complex relationships between craft production and social processes. To contribute to this field, an ethnoarchaeological study of traditional pottery manufacture was undertaken in Nalotu Village, Kadavu Island, Fiji in 2010. This project documents manufacturing stages for regionally specialized kuro (cooking pot) with emphasis on the social and organizational structures underlying production. Issues being addressed include transmission through traditional history, learning structures, kinship/post-marital residence patterns, organization of production, variability/homogeneity in form and style, and continuity from the historic past into the present. These provide important considerations for future studies of Fijian ceramics specifically but with implications for the discipline of archaeology as a whole.

Document type: 
Copyright remains with the author. The author granted permission for the file to be printed and for the text to be copied and pasted.
David Burley
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Archaeology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.