This paper is focused on the archaeology of Massim exchange and the development of the Kula Ring. It establishes an ethnographic baseline for the European contact period, and summarises fieldwork in the southern Massim. It provides a first description of the prehistoric pottery sequence and draws together previous information from the northern Massim and the Mailu area into a study of the archaeological origins of the Kula Ring. In the last centuries of prehistory the Massim became isolated from the PNG mainland by warfare and, at the same time, islands of the Massim became more connected. The geographical configuration of the Kula was influenced by seasonal winds and the sailing performance of nagega canoes. Some islands were advantaged in their location, but others lay upwind from the Kula islands and outside the Ring. Among the Kula islands, exchanges resolved into a gyre and concepts of Kula magic and ritual spread across the open borders of adjacent communities. In late prehistory the small southern island of Tubetube became a dominant centre when it established a direct connection with the trade in industrial stone from Woodlark Island. Finally, when the Massim was pacified by the colonial government the ethnographic Kula was free to sail, and sea lanes to the mainland opened again.