Figure 31: Elevation profile of Mt Sorolevu and invasive plant species recorded
Figure 32: The giant reed, Arundo donax,
was common along waterways as well as
the side of the track.
Figure 33: Water hyacinth, Eichornia
crassipes, was found in areas of still or
Figure 34: Low altitude track dominated
by Merremia peltata
Figure 35:Higher altitude track, showing no
encroachment of Merremia peltata
Figure 36: An African tulip tree, Spathodea
campanulata, growing over 100m from the
road at an elevation of 750m
Figure 37: Tooth marks made by rats
indicated by the arrow on this pandanus
fruit, located at 900m elevation near the
summit of Mt Sorolevu
The checklist of invasive animal species is given in Appendix 19, and comprises
birds, mammals and an amphibian. The mammalian invasives are generally
domesticated animals, such as pigs, cats and dogs which have become feral, as well
as several species of invasive rodents (mice, rats and mongooses). Evidence of the
presence of rats was found near the summit of Mt Sorolevu, at almost 900 m
elevation in cloud forest. Here, pandanus fruits were found with tooth markings
characteristic of rats (Figure 37).
The invasive bird species, the bulbul and the mynah, were restricted to the low-lying
areas near human habitation and agricultural land and pastures.
As expected, the areas surveyed in Vanua Levu were home to a wide variety of the
invasive plant and animal species known to be present in Fiji. Whilst for the most
part these species were restricted to the disturbed areas associated with roads,
plantations, tracks and settlements, there was evidence of incursion into primary
forest areas by some species, in particular Clidemia hirta, a highly successful
understory shrub; and rats, which appear to have penetrated to altitudes of almost
900 m, 8 km away from the nearest human habitation.
The impacts of invasive species can be both direct and indirect, and some effects are
immediate whereas others are more long-term. Rodents such as mongooses and rats,
for example can have immediate and devastating effects on native birdlife by killing
adults and juveniles and feeding on eggs. They can also have a long-term effect on
the regenerative capacity of certain plant species by feeding on their seeds or fruit.
Invasive plant species can impact on the native flora generally through the process
of outcompeting them, since invasive plants tend to have very rapid growth, high
dispersal capabilities and high reproductive success.
Any proposal for a protected area will have to take into account how to protect the
biodiversity in the area from the negative impacts of invasive species. Invasive
species are an inevitable threat to protected areas not just from surrounding or
marginal localities, but also from disturbed habitats within the protected area itself.
Invasive species control and/or monitoring should be a component of any proposal
for the designation and long-term management of a proposed protected area in
Vanua Levu. Without management to prevent and address invasive alien species,
protected area values, including ecosystem services and biodiversity, will inevitably
be eroded (Poorter et al., 2007).
Elia Nakoro and Sakiusa Kataiwai
The Greater Delaikoro Area is rich in historical and cultural material remains many
of which are being documented here for the first time. According to elders in the
villages surrounding the Delaikoro mountain range, historical remains are believed
to be scattered throughout the entire study zone, forming a widespread distribution
of elaborate hilltop and lowland settlement and fortifications. Regrettably, many of
these sites were not visited during this survey period due to the poor choice of field
Nevertheless, several sites were encountered and recorded both within and outside
the study boundary. Some of these were sites that have been previously recorded
and mapped by the Fiji Museum.
Generally, the archaeological finds during this survey have considerable cultural
value to the local community as well as at national level. The significance of these
sites can be determined and derived by deconstructing the value of the individual
sites into the following components: aesthetic, symbolic, social, historic, authenticity
and spiritual values.
Archaeological investigation on Vanua Levu is somewhat limited due to its location
and size. The centralised cultural and archaeological activities on Viti Levu further
contribute to the poor documentation and survey of cultural sites on Vanua Levu. In
his paper, the late Aubrey Parke
generally stated that Vanua Levu regrettably lacks
evidence of remains. The gap in the information is probably due to the evidence
Parke was a Colonial District Officer in the early 60’s and also an archaeologist by
simply not being recorded. He also stated that cultural sites found on Vanua Levu
may be different from those found on Viti Levu (Parke, 1961; Parke, 1970).
Between 1960 and 1980, G. Parker, L. Thompson, K. Moce and A. Parke established
the first records in the documentation of archaeological surveys for Vanua Levu.
This provided the collection of 151 sites
which are recorded in the Fiji Museum’s
national register of cultural sites. However, a considerable amount of work which
was contributed by Parke, Frost and Cabaniuk is not captured in the national
register, one of the loopholes in the current system. Studies have also been
undertaken recently by Professor David Burley of Simon Fraser University, Canada
who focused mainly along the coasts in identifying Lapita sites or sites of initial
island habitation. It should be noted that Burley, in collaboration with the Fiji
Museum, was able to confirm an early Lapita occupation on Vorovoro Island dating
to as early as 3000 years before present (BP) and no later than 2900 BP (Burley, 2012).
This report aims to document the collaborative biodiversity and archaeological
survey carried out by the Fiji Museum and the University of the South Pacific in
2013. The archaeological component of the survey focused on outlining the cultural
connection the land has to the people, with an emphasis on identifying and
describing cultural sites of significance for which there is tangible evidence. The
study focused on those people living along the foot of the mountain range that
divides the windward province of Cakaudrove from the leeward province of
Macuata. Some of the villages visited, e.g. Nasealevu, Sueni and Lomaloma, possess
a rich historical background with ancestral ties and links connected to the forest
within the study area in which their generational history and cultural livelihood
have been strongly maintained. The forest, mountains and other natural features
along the range plays a primary role in the cultural identity and history of the people
107 sites in Macuata Province
, 40 sites in Cakaudrove Province and 40 sites in Bua
of the two provinces,
as their forefathers inhabited the area, utilizing its resources
and settling extensively throughout the land.
With the assistance of village guides and through collaboration of oral history and
correspondence, areas of interest were identified and located. Location data of each
site was captured utilizing a GPS unit (Garmin GPSmap 76CSx). Site notation was
carried out and photographs taken with a Fujifilm Finepix AX.
During the field survey, a total of eleven sites were documented. Their locations are
shown in Table 6 and a brief description of each site is given below.
Table 6: Summary of archaeological sites documented
Site Name/ID Site type
causeways and house mounds
-16.656132 179.3589 Oct 1994
-16.653511 179.3578 Oct 1994
Vanua ni yadra
-16.657613 179.3601 Oct 1994
Bulubulu i Lele
-16.655773 179.3593 Oct 1994
house mound house mound
-16.636638 179.3713 30/09/2013
house mound house mound
house mound house mound
-16.624576 179.2088 01/10/2013
house mound house mound
-16.626521 179.2068 01/10/2013
-16.562849 179.2273 01/10/2013
-16.596424 179.36401 27/09/2013
These sites were surveyed by Christine Burke
, Hiroshi Kiguchi and Sepeti Matararaba in
Figure 38: Cultural sites location in the Greater Delaikoro Area visited during the survey.
Defined as a ring ditch fortification, this site (Figure 39) incorporates various cultural
features of house mounds, burials and causeways that are associated to the cultural
Figure 39: The overgrown site of Nukubolu
Altogether, a total of five house mounds with stone alignment were identified
including two burials (Bulubulu i Lele/Q23-00005) situated on raised land to the
Figure 40: Signboard placed at the home and also the resting place of the deity god Lele
The site is traditionally linked to the district of Koroalau, as their cultural fortress
during the era of tribal warfare and cannibalism in Fiji. The site displays a partial
preserved state as the area is currently being utilized for agricultural purposes with
crop farming and cattle breeding occurring in the area and contributing severely to
the site disturbance. The ring ditch fortification extends along a diameter of
approximately 60 m with the ditch feature only occurring along the north and
partially covering the west with both identified causeways included along this
system. The southern section of the site is unclear due to severe damage by flooding
and agricultural activities. Thus, an accurate description of the ring ditch
environment could not be made.
Apart from the ring ditch site, the team also inspected a hill situated 195 m to the
south of the site (Figure 41), which according to the local communities was a lookout
point or vanua ni yadra
(Q23-00004). The hill site contains a ditch feature that dissects
the west portion of the hill site including other features of stone alignments,
however, much of this alignment was not visible due to overgrown vegetation.
Figure 41: View of Nukubolu fortified site from the lookout vantage point
The sites of Nukubolu and Muaicivicivi have been the subject of previous surveys
carried out by the Fiji Museum. The Archaeology Department of the Fiji Museum
had undertaken detailed inspection and mapping of both sites over a period of three
phases between the 11
October, 1994 and 20
October, 1995. The basis of this
assessment was for the development of an eco-tourism project proposed by the
Nukubolu Eco-Tourism Board from the village of Biaugunu, however, as a result of
the recent monitoring inspection of the Nukubolu site, additional disturbances was
identified and this is a major concern. The protection of what remains not only of
this site but other identified sites within the project area is a key component
integrated within the relevant policy that would greatly assist in the awareness and
importance conveyed to local communities on the cultural significance and
development contributed through such sites.
Figure 42: A map of the Nukubolu Ring-ditch fortification as recorded in October, 1994
(Burke and Matararaba, 1994).
This site displays a significant number of cultural features that are well preserved,
distributed extensively. The site area covers approximately 95 m x 75 m, according to
the layout of cultural features. The area is flanked by two creeks – the Davatu creek
flowing along the northwest while Cabeu creek is situated along the southeast.
During inspection, the team was not able to sufficiently identify the actual layout of
the site including additional cultural features as the site area is densely vegetated,
dominant of Urochloa mutica
(Paragrass) and Piper aduncum
, locally known as
Figure 43: Field guide clearing a highly raised and intact house mound with stone
alignment at Muaicivicivi cultural site
Altogether, a total of six house mounds were identified, displaying stone alignment
with a particular mound of significance situated along the bank of the Davatu creek,
to the east of the site area, displaying a stepped structure reaching a height of 2 m
and dimensions of 7 m x 6.5 m. According to local guides, additional mounds are
situated around the area, however, due to the thick vegetation, it could not be
viewed during inspection.
Figure 44: Detailed mapping of the Muaicivicivi site as recorded in June, 1995 (Burke et
Cultural features could not be ascertained as the site area has undergone severe
disturbances through agricultural activities (Figure 45). The site is primarily utilized
by local communities for subsistence crop farming, which has greatly affected the
state of preservation of the site. These agricultural plots have permanently
demolished cultural features that may have existed with only remains of mound
stones that are scattered among the site surface. The cultural landscape is uncertain,
however, with oral accounts associated to the site area with its significance
confirmed from local guides, the site has been noted.
Figure 45: Agricultural activities that have permanently obliterated Nabuna old village
Defined by a single house mound, this site may represent a temporary settlement as
no other associated features were evident in the area. This mound is rectangular, 6 m
x 5m and is gradually eroding as the mound is situated along a declining ridgeline
which is vulnerable to erosion processes, as evident during inspection.
The site consists of two earthen-raised mounds, both displaying rectangular
structure. This site is a typical settlement, situated on flatland along the ridgeline.
The site area covers approximately 30 m with additional cultural features situated
within the site zone, however, due to various disturbance factors, these possible
features have been permanently destroyed.
The site is located along a ridgeline within the Waisali study area. The area is
significant as rock boulders are strewn over the site surface, possibly belonging to
rock formations that were once constructed in the area.
Through detailed inspection, a raised mound was discovered about 50 meters to the
east of the initial area of significance, this mound measured at 8 m x 7 m, displaying
a rectangular-structure and raised at 150 cm. through this finding
, it would be logical
that the rock boulders were an associated feature to the identified mound, possibly
stonewall barricades which had been altered through years of disturbance factors,
primarily from natural processes. The vegetation in the area was dominated by
Defined by three house mounds that have undergone disturbance, this site depicts a
temporary settlement typical during the migration lifestyle of early Fiji. The mound
structures are diminutive in size and have all been affected by erosion processes, as
evident during inspection. Evidence of human occupation was initially derived from
the anthropogenic plants predominating in the area: Codiaeum variegatum
(cevuga), Freycinetia milnei
(vukavuka) and Cordyline terminalis
The three villages at the foot of the Delaikoro mountain ranges are Vatuwa,
Nasealevu and Viriqilai. These remote villages are 30 km from Labasa town center
and, according to some of the village men, there are numerous other cultural sites of
old villages and fortifications that exist and are intact in the mountains.
Qaraivini is a small cave (Figure 46) located west-southwest of Nasealevu village
and was accessed through Viriqilai village. This is a man-made cave, constructed by
people who sealed off the bottom of a rock outcrop with boulders to bury their dead.
Several meters directly below the cave mouth is a remnant of what appears to be a
ring ditch fortified settlement. Due to time constraints, it was impossible to
investigate the cultural feature. However, the cave was thoroughly examined. In
size, the cave can fit two adults to lying horizontally on the floor.
The content of the cave is astonishing as a total of 57 skulls and three incomplete
craniums were tallied, piled and some were buried under the rest of the skeletal
remains. Outside the cave mouth which was raised to about one and a half meters
from the ground, several skulls were aligned as if to decorate the phase of the
outcrop and the boulders. In close examination, it is possible that 34 were males, 23
females while three were unknown. Amongst the 60, less than ten of these were
children judging by the size of the skulls.
Figure 46: Field guides from Nasealevu posing in front of the small cave entrance
Outside the cave, four shaped poles close to 2 m in length stand below the entrance.
The poles according to Sepeti Matararaba, a senior archaeologist at the Fiji Museum,
could have been used to close the cave entrance by levering the huge boulders to
seal off and hide the bodies.
According to the village men and women, the dead are the victims of the measles
epidemic that wiped out almost a third of Fiji’s total population in 1875. It was
believed that the ship that brought Ratu Seru Cakobau from Australia introduced
the deadly disease.
This site is situated beside the main access road in the area. It has been disturbed
through various forms of agricultural activities also considering the resulting effect
of the construction of the access road in the area. The site is predominantly
overgrown with paragrass and Ageratum conyzoides, locally known as botebotekoro.
The site has been utilized by local communities for agricultural purposes with taro
plots and some banana plants.
Upon detailed inspection, the team managed to identify two house mounds that
displayed scattered stones that were once embedded along the mound walls. The
cultural landscape is evident with the identified mound forms and other possible
features, however, these could not be determined due to the deficient state of the
The increasingly intensive use and modification of the landscape resulting from
modern demands for efficient infrastructure and land use (agricultural production,
mining, energy sources, logging, telecommunications etc.) exerts growing pressure
on cultural heritage in the landscape.
A summary of the threats and disturbances affecting the sites is provided in Table 7.