Tonga's stunning ngatu provide testimony to the considerable antiquity of Tongan artistic designs. Variation of the ngatu patterns, and the way these are organized, had been inscribed on the surfaces of Lapita pottery in Tonga almost 3,000 years ago. By David V. Burley.
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Thursday 2 January 2020
There are rare moments on an archaeological project which offer extraordinary insight into the past or when the past connects with the present in an utterly astonishing way. Both occurred in late July of 2007, as we were carrying out archaeological excavations in the village of Nukuleka at the northeast entrance to Fanga ‘Uta Lagoon on Tongatapu. This story is about the documentation of a shell game, taupita, but a shell game, as we found out, with an almost 3000-year-old history. It also is a story that binds Tonga’s earliest Lapita ancestors to the people of Nukuleka today. By David Burley and Sean Connaughton.
Monday 16 December 2019
Tongatapu was a far different place 3000 years ago, one few of us can imagine today. The sea was higher, almost 1.4 m higher. Much of the land on which the city of Nuku‘alofa now sits was not land at all. It was about 900 BC when voyaging canoes first arrived from a homeland to the west. These kalia carried a small group of people and all of the necessities they would need to settle new found islands. They were the first Tongans. By David Burley