A series of well-preserved Lapita sites was first identified on the small islands of Uripiv, Wala, Atchin and Vao, Malakula, in northern Vanuatu in 2001–2002. Further excavation on Vao and particularly Uripiv continued until 2011. The pottery shows the standard similarities with Lapita pottery generally but also demonstrates the development of very distinctive regional and even island-specific variation in form and motif design during the Lapita period. It suggests very rapid change in pottery form and decoration soon after initial colonisation of the archipelago; an aspect largely masked by the radiocarbon chronology. It also confirms that regional diversification was well underway during the Lapita period itself. This may relate both to the potential that these communities came from different origin points further west and that even during a single generation a range of factors may have encouraged localisation in a range of practices including pottery production.
|Title of host publication||Debating Lapita: Distribution, Chronology, Society and Subsistence (Terra Australis 52)|
|Editors||Stuart Bedford and Matthew Spriggs|
|Place of Publication||Canberra|
|Publication status||Published - 2019|