Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) Technology in Archaeology and the Human – Environmental Interaction: The Case of Ta‘u Island, Manu‘a American Samoa
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The research reported here utilizes lidar technology for a case study of archaeological site and feature identification in a unique landscape to investigate the human-environmental interaction in a defined study area, specifically as revealed through human agricultural production. The lidar data provided a preliminary overview of the human-modified landscape in the uplands of Ta‘u Island in the Manu‘a Group of American Samoa that led to a set of research questions and a research strategy involving both lidar data analysis and on-the-ground survey. The aerial lidar and pedestrian surveys of the Mt. Lata slopes, in the northeastern uplands of Ta‘u, revealed more than 200 archaeological features in an agricultural and settlement zone that is unique in the central Pacific. Consequently, the research reported contributes to our understanding of agricultural production, social organization, and environmental interactions in the prehistorical period of the Samoan Archipelago.