The Archaeology of Vanuatu: 3,000 Years of History across Islands of Ash and Coral

Stuart Bedford, Matthew Spriggs

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    The more than 1,000-kilometer stretch of eighty-two inhabited islands comprising the Vanuatu archipelago is centrally situated in the southwest Pacific. These islands were first settled in the late Holocene by Lapita colonists as part of a rapid migratory event that travelled as far east as Tonga. Over three millennia Vanuatu has transformed into an extraordinarily diverse country both linguistically and culturally. The challenge to archaeology is to explain how such diversity has arisen. This chapter addresses a range of themes that are central to the definition and understanding of the timing and nature of initial settlement, levels of interconnectedness, cultural transformation and diversification, human impact on pristine environments, and impacts of natural hazards on resident populations. Vanuatu research contributes to regional debates on human colonization, patterns of social interaction, and the drivers of social change in island contexts.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Prehistoric Oceania
    Editors Ethan Cochrane and Terry Hunt
    Place of PublicationOxford
    PublisherOxford University Press
    ISBN (Print)9780199925070
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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