Provenance and Technology of Lithic Artifacts from the Teouma Lapita Site, Vanuatu

Christian Reepmeyer, Matthew Spriggs, Stuart Bedford, Wallace Ambrose

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Fifty-six obsidian artifacts and 141 non-obsidian artifacts were excavated in three field seasons at Teouma, Efate Island, central Vanuatu. Using LA-ICP-MS the majority of the obsidian artifacts were provenienced to the obsidian subsource of Kutau/Bao on West New Britain in the Bismarck Archipelago, Papua New Guinea. This study is the first geochemical analysis of a significant assemblage of West New Britain obsidian south of the Solomon Islands. Moreover, this finding represents only the second sizable assemblage of West New Britain obsidian in Remote Oceania beyond the Reefs-Santa Cruz Lapita sites and further establishes Vanuatu as a key area in understanding the initial Lapita settlement of Remote Oceania. Six obsidian artifacts were sourced to the Banks Islands, northern Vanuatu, supporting the hypothesis that sources there were known and utilized from the initial colonization of the Vanuatu Archipelago. A single artifact from the West New Britain subsource of Mopir was found. This is the only Lapita-period Mopir obsidian artifact found so far outside the Bismarck Archipelago. The geochemical analysis was accompanied by a quantitative attribute analysis investigating the reduction technology of the flaked assemblage.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)205-225
    JournalAsian Perspectives
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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