Jillian Amy Swift
Grant TypePost PhD Research Grant
Institutional AffiliationBishop Museum, Honolulu, HI
Grant numberGr. 9979
Approve DateAugust 26, 2020
Project TitleSwift, Jillian (Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum) "Human Niche Construction of Marine Environments in a ‘Sustainable’ Island Case Study (Tikopia, Solomon Islands)"
This project will integrate zooarchaeological, biomolecular, and ethnographic data to investigate the long-term impacts of human niche construction on marine systems using the Polynesian Outlier, Tikopia (Southeast Solomon Islands) as a case study. While Pacific Island terrestrial environments have previously been investigated through niche construction frameworks, marine ecosystems—a critical component of Pacific subsistence economies and cosmologies—have not been explored in similar detail. This is largely attributable to difficulties in identifying archaeological fish remains below family level, within which are high levels of dietary, behavioral, and habitat diversity. I will apply Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry (ZooMS) to obtain more specific identifications of previously excavated fish remains from Tikopia, and investigate temporal changes on species- and habitat-specific scales. The work will also integrate previously unpublished ethnographic fishing data from Tikopia to not only understand human-marine interactions in the past, but also endeavor to apply these insights towards present-day fisheries management concerns. Results will advance archaeological discussions of past marine resource use towards integrated, detailed understandings of active management practices, utilization, and resulting transformations to societies and ecosystems. Further, it will highlight the continued significance of previously excavated ‘legacy’ collections and collections-based research in the midst of an ongoing curation crisis.