Discovering whether land tenure and food surplus from ancient agriculture has been used to support the authority of the chiefs or matai, is the aim of an archaeological study that is in progress.
The methodology used in this study and early fieldwork results was presented by Dr Ethan E. Cochrane, senior lecturer in anthropology and social science at Auckland University as part of the Samoa conference which is in progress.
The development of agriculture system in ancient Samoa changes in landscape and boundaries in the village of Falefa was the focus of this research.
Dr. Cochran aimed to discover whether the matai, having more land and growing more surplus food on those land, supports their chiefly control.
According to Dr Ethan E Cochrane they conducted their archaeological survey, where some students of the Centre for Samoan Studies were involved at Falefa and Falevao.
They mapped landscape features ,including massive walled walkways that predate living memory and perhaps represent early division of landscapes.
He said that Excavations next year will help them determine the result of their result.
The team re mapped an impressive network of ditches in Falevao and these mostly seem to connect to the river and likely served to channel water off the plantation during river flooding They are currently conducting an elevation and hydrological analysis to test this idea.
The Samoa Conference is currently in progress and will be for three days from the 4th to the 6th of September on the theme our heritage, our future,; fostering sustainable development through leadership innovation and collaboration.
Francis Fa'alili is a first year student of the Media and Journalism Programme at the National University of Samoa.