The single most important item identifying the migration of people across the South Pacific is pottery. For Fijians, the trail commences with the introduction of Lapita pottery, a distinct form of geometric patterning impressed on clay pots by finely saw-toothed blades prior to firing. The oldest examples of Lapita, dating back to 1220 BC, were found at Bourewa Beach on the southeast coast of Viti Levu. The highest concentration of the pottery is found at Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park.
In pre-European times, pottery formed the basis of Fijian homewares, with clay vessels used as water containers, yaqona bowls, and pots for baking, steaming and frying food. Today, potters around the islands retain traditional motifs, some using woven mats to create patterns, others using carved paddles or leaves. The potters, almost exclusively women, knead the clay with fine sand using the heels of the feet, beat it into shape using a wooden mallet, crudely fire the pots and then glaze them for waterproofing by rubbing over with the hot wax-like gum of the dakua tree which was also used as a candle in pre-European times.