Debating Lapita

Debating Lapita

Distribution, Chronology, Society and Subsistence

Edited by: Stuart Bedford orcid, Matthew Spriggs orcid

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‘This volume is the most comprehensive review of Lapita research to date, tackling many of the lingering questions regarding origin and dispersal. Multidisciplinary in nature with a focus on summarising new findings, but also identifying important gaps that can help direct future research.’
— Professor Scott Fitzpatrick, Department of Anthropology, University of Oregon

‘This substantial volume offers a welcome update on the definition of the Lapita culture. It significantly refreshes the knowledge on this foundational archaeological culture of the Pacific Islands in providing new data on sites and assemblages, and new discussions of hypotheses previously proposed.’
— Dr Frédérique Valentin, Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Paris

This volume comprises 23 chapters that focus on the archaeology of Lapita, a cultural horizon associated with the founding populations who first colonised much of the south west Pacific some 3000 years ago. The Lapita culture has been most clearly defined by its distinctive dentate-stamped decorated pottery and the design system represented on it and on further incised pots. Modern research now encompasses a whole range of aspects associated with Lapita and this is reflected in this volume. The broad overlapping themes of the volume—Lapita distribution and chronology, society and subsistence—relate to research questions that have long been debated in relation to Lapita.


ISBN (print):
ISBN (online):
Publication date:
Dec 2019
Terra Australis 52
ANU Press
Terra Australis
Arts & Humanities: Archaeology, History

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Debating Lapita »

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Debating Lapita

  1. Debating Lapita: Distribution, chronology, society and subsistence (PDF, 0.4MB)Stuart Bedford, Matthew Spriggs, David V. Burley, Christophe Sand, Peter Sheppard and Glenn R. Summerhayes doi

Distribution and chronology

  1. The ceramic trail: Evaluating the Marianas and Lapita West Pacific connection (PDF, 2.9MB)Geoffrey R. Clark and Olaf Winter doi
  2. Moiapu 3: Settlement on Moiapu Hill at the very end of Lapita, Caution Bay hinterland (PDF, 3.6MB)Bruno David, Ken Aplin, Helene Peck, Robert Skelly, Matthew Leavesley, Jerome Mialanes, Katherine Szabó, Brent Koppel, Fiona Petchey, Thomas Richards, Sean Ulm, Ian J. McNiven, Cassandra Rowe, Samantha J. Aird, Patrick Faulkner and Anne Ford doi
  3. Kamgot at the lagoon’s edge: Site position and resource use of an Early Lapita site in Near Oceania (PDF, 1.6MB)Glenn R. Summerhayes, Katherine Szabó, Matthew Leavesley and Dylan Gaffney doi
  4. Lapita: The Australian connection (PDF, 0.3MB)Ian Lilley doi
  5. A Lapita presence on Arop/Long Island, Vitiaz Strait, Papua New Guinea? (PDF, 1.3MB)Dylan Gaffney, Glenn R. Summerhayes and Mary Mennis doi
  6. Early Lapita colonisation of Remote Oceania: An update on the leapfrog hypothesis (PDF, 0.8MB)Peter Sheppard doi
  7. Small islands, strategic locales and the configuration of first Lapita settlement of Vanua Levu, northern Fiji (PDF, 1.1MB)David V. Burley, Travis Freeland and Jone Balenaivalu doi
  8. New dates for the Makekur (FOH) Lapita pottery site, Arawe Islands, New Britain, Papua New Guinea (PDF, 0.9MB)Jim Specht and Chris Gosden doi


  1. A new assessment of site WKO013A of Xapeta‘a (Lapita), New Caledonia (PDF, 2.7MB)Christophe Sand, Stéphanie Domergue, Louis Lagarde, Jacques Bole, André-John Ouetcho and David Baret doi
  2. Lapita pottery from the small islands of north-east Malakula, Vanuatu: A brief overview and implications (PDF, 2.7MB)Stuart Bedford doi
  3. Plaited textile expression in Lapita ceramic ornamentation (PDF, 1.4MB)Wallace Ambrose doi
  4. The hat makes the man: Masks, headdresses and skullcaps in Lapita iconography (PDF, 2.4MB)Matthew Spriggs doi
  5. A view from the west: A structural approach to analysing Lapita design in the Eastern Lapita Province (PDF, 1.7MB)Kathleen LeBlanc, Stuart Bedford and Christophe Sand doi
  6. Measuring social distances with shared Lapita motifs: Current results and challenges (PDF, 3.9MB)Scarlett Chiu doi
  7. Along the roads of the Lapita people: Designs, groups and travels (PDF, 1.2MB)Arnaud Noury doi
  8. Lapita to Post-Lapita transition: Insights from the chemical analysis of pottery from the sites of Teouma, Mangaasi, Vao and Chachara, Vanuatu (PDF, 1.1MB)Mathieu Leclerc doi


  1. Early Lapita subsistence: The evidence from Kamgot, Anir Islands, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea (PDF, 0.9MB)Glenn R. Summerhayes, Katherine Szabó, Andrew Fairbairn, Mark Horrocks, Sheryl McPherson and Alison Crowther doi
  2. Green desert or ‘all you can eat’? How diverse and edible was the flora of Vanuatu before human introductions? (PDF, 1.0MB)Vincent Lebot and Chanel Sam doi
  3. Lapita maritime adaptations and the development of fishing technology: A view from Vanuatu (PDF, 1.5MB)Rintaro Ono, Stuart Hawkins and Stuart Bedford doi
  4. Lapita colonisation and avian extinctions in Oceania (PDF, 0.7MB)Stuart Hawkins and Trevor H. Worthy doi


  1. Connecting with Lapita in Vanuatu: Festivals, sporting events and contemporary themes (PDF, 1,4MB)Richard Shing and Edson Willie doi
  2. Five decades of Lapita archaeology: A personal retrospective (PDF, 0.2MB)Patrick V. Kirch doi

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