Early Lapita skeletons from Vanuatu show Polynesian craniofacial shape: Implications for Remote Oceanic settlement and Lapita origins

Frederique Valentin, Florent Detroit, Matthew Spriggs, Stuart Bedford

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    With a cultural and linguistic origin in Island Southeast Asia the Lapita expansion is thought to have led ultimately to the Polynesian settlement of the east Polynesian region after a time of mixing/integration in north Melanesia and a nearly 2,000-y pause in West Polynesia. One of the major achievements of recent Lapita research in Vanuatu has been the discovery of the oldest cemetery found so far in the Pacific at Teouma on the south coast of Efate Island, opening up new prospects for the biological definition of the early settlers of the archipelago and of Remote Oceania in general. Using craniometric evidence from the skeletons in conjunction with archaeological data, we discuss here four debated issues: the Lapita-Asian connection, the degree of admixture, the Lapita-Polynesian connection, and the question of secondary population movement into Remote Oceania.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)292-297
    JournalPNAS - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
    Volume113
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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