Lapita pottery trade in Papua
For over forty years, archaeologists working along Papua New Guinea’s southern coastline have sought evidence for early ceramics and its relationship with Lapita wares of Island Melanesia. Failing to find any such evidence of pottery more than 2000 BP, and largely based on the excavation of eight early pottery-bearing sites during the late 1960s into the early 1970s, synchronous colonization some 2000 BP along 500km of the south Papuan coastline by post-Lapita ceramic manufacturers has been posited. This paper presents conclusive evidence for the presence of Lapita ceramics along the Papuan south coast between c. 2500 and 2900 cal. BP, thereby indicating that current models of colonization by ceramicists for the region need to be rethought. We conclude with a brief reflection as to why these Lapita horizons were missed by previous researchers.
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