The ceramic trail: Evaluating the Marianas and Lapita West Pacific connection

Geoffrey Clark, Olaf Winter

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Establishing the prehistoric migration pattern from the similarity of pottery attributes is a fundamental archaeological approach that was validated in the Pacific by the recognition that Lapita ceramics dated to c. 3200–2650 years ago are distributed from south New Guinea to Samoa. Recent work has suggested a connection between Lapita ceramics and the oldest pottery from the Mariana Islands based on the similarity of selected traits that are also widespread in Neolithic and Iron Age assemblages of the region. We compared decoration, vessel form and tool type in Lapita Western Pacific and early Marianas pottery assemblages to determine whether a Marianas ceramic signal can be detected in Lapita pottery from the Bismarck Archipelago. Results indicate that Marianas ceramics are significantly different from Lapita pottery and the presence of simple ceramic traits in different assemblages do not of themselves provide evidence for a migration from the Marianas to the Bismarck Archipelago.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationDebating Lapita: Distribution, Chronology, Society and Subsistence (Terra Australis 52)
    Editors Stuart Bedford and Matthew Spriggs
    Place of PublicationCanberra
    PublisherANU Press
    ISBN (Print)9781760463304
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


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