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Recent Discoveries
*****One of the most important new finds is a 2C form from Parcelle 396 ATA where a good many other artifacts have been recovered. This fragment comes from midden zone C (see map 15.3, Volume 15 ), a zone which I had already suspected as being older due to the more patinated nature of the stone flakes in this area. It may be that the artifacts from this zone have been interred near the water table, or that the zone was previously a waterlogged area.
***** The fully patinated nature of this fragment surpasses all other examples recovered in sand (relatively clean). In colour the stone is now a whitish tan with grey brown mottling on the pecked parts of the anterior surface. This artifact is of a much lighter colour than the rest of the stone artifacts recovered from this site, and may even be an importation made of a type of stone which patinates to a lighter colour than the local stone (illustrated in Diagram 18.5, and classified as 2Cc).
*****The front of this adze has been thoroughly pecked, while the back appears to have only been chipped and then ground directly without resorting to pecking. The grinding has been relatively thorough on all surfaces and the combined technique of pecking and grinding has produced a well formed artifact. The mid-point cross-section has been carefully traced from the actual fragment and the distinctive form of this cross-section is of the greatest importance. This is not the trapezoidal form as seen so often in the Samoan Type 1, but resembles more closely the Samoan Type III (2Ac), which is in turn linked to the Tongan adze forms. Probably the form derives from the early Lapita traditions and may in fact be a stone copy of earlier shell adzes of the same type.
*****After the discovery of this artifact I returned to search again Zone C and managed to find a number of adze fragments and yet another perforated Cowrie shell lure. This is the fourth complete lure to be found at this site (also a broken fragment was recovered from Zone A last week and now one week later another complete specimen has been recovered from Zone E, bringing the total to 5). These artifacts are exceptionally rare and yet curiously abundant at ATA. One complete small adze was also recovered from Zone C, it is not as white in colour as the 2Cf, but rather a light grey with brownish mottling due perhaps to previous exposure. Freshly exposed basalt flakes are often a light pure grey colour, these will however with prolonged exposure, turn a rusty brown colour. This may be the cause of the mottling, however all the fragments recovered from this zone appear to display some level of discolouration. The small adze is very interesting being a tanged 2A. The form much like the Samoan Type IVb, with the exception of the tang. This form intergrades with certain small 3C forms, the earliest of which appear to have been tanged by chipping away the anterior longitudinal butt margins, more elaborate and perhaps later models show signs of pecking to further round off these margins. In this example a small amount of pecking is seen in the shoulder area. However the patination of this artifact is such that the surface features have become a bit blurred and it is now difficult to clearly discern between the scars that are the result of pecking and those which may be only the natural surface of the stone. Also recovered from Zone C was the butt and shoulder from a small 4Aa as well as an unfinished 3B butt fragment.
*****(A far more thorough search at ATA was undertaken after making the above notes and Zone C yielded yet 2 more adze fragments, these appear to be unfinished fragments of a rather unusual type 4.).
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