Australian Museum Journal A Lapita-associated skeleton from Natunuku, Fiji

Shortform:
Pietrusewsky, 1989, Rec. Aust. Mus. 41(3): 297–325
Author(s):
Pietrusewsky, M.
Year published:
1989
Title:
A Lapita-associated skeleton from Natunuku, Fiji
Serial title:
Records of the Australian Museum
Volume:
41
Issue:
3
Start page:
297
End page:
325
DOI:
10.3853/j.0067-1975.41.1989.147
Language:
English
Date published:
30 November 1989
Cover date:
30 November 1989
ISSN:
0067-1975
CODEN:
RAUMAJ
Publisher:
The Australian Museum
Place published:
Sydney, Australia
Subjects:
ANTHROPOLOGY; ARCHAEOLOGY; NEW GUINEA; OCEAN: PACIFIC
Digitized:
24 November 2008
Available online:
08 December 2008
Reference number:
147
EndNote package:
EndNote file
Title page:
Title page (80kb PDF)
Complete work:
Complete work (3473kb PDF)

Abstract

The fragmentary and generally poorly preserved remains of an approximately 3,000 year old skeleton found in association with Lapita cultural material at Natunuku, Fiji, are described. The skeleton, represented by diaphyseal fragments of the major limb bones, fragments of skull and other parts of the skeleton, isolated teeth and a partially edentulous mandible fragment, is that of an elderly (50 year old) male. The mandible is the best preserved bone in these remains. Stature is estimated to be 172 cm. The limb skeleton suggests that the individual is of moderately robust dimensions. Only minimal expressions of osteoarthritis are observed in these remains but opportunities for observations are limited. The teeth exhibit considerable wear and caries are present. The cause of death cannot be determined. There is no evidence that any of the human remains were burned or charred. Univariate comparisons of morphological details of the skeleton and associated teeth suggest Polynesian similarities such as tall stature, limb robusticity, small tooth crown diameters, and partial rocker jaw. Other aspects of skeletal morphology, limb proportions and the shapes of the leg bones, however, suggest Melanesian affinities. Multivariate analyses of mandibular measurements further suggest Melanesian affinities while similar analyses of a limited number of non-metric traits suggest Polynesian relationships. Until much larger and more representative samples of Lapita-associated skeletons become available, the biological origins of Polynesians, using the human palaeontological record from the Pacific, remains obscure.