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SUVA, Fiji Islands (July 18, 1999 - PACNEWS)---Archaeologists in Fiji have uncovered evidence of an early human settlement in the Lau Group of islands, an area east of the main island of Viti Levu.

According to archaeologist Professor Patrick Nunn, the findings prove that the Lau islands were once settled by the Lapita people, known to have been the first humans to inhabit other parts of Fiji.

Nunn said Lapita people occupied Lakeba and Mago islands, also in the Lau group, about 2,800 years ago.

"Lapita pottery was found only at one place on the coast of Vanuabalavu. An intricately decorated rim piece of a large pot was discovered at Tiotio, a sheltered bay on the west coast of the island. It is significant that Tiotio is visible from Mago island, where some members of the research team helped excavate a Lapita settlement in 1997," Nunn said.

The research team included students Peni Puamau of Fiji and Sina Lui of Samoa, a group from the Fiji Museum and Professor William Dickinson from the University of Arizona.

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