Lapita - the Australian connection

Author(s): Ian Lilley

Year: 2015


Recent research in southern New Guinea, Torres Strait and northeastern Australia suggests that Lapita users and possibly makers may have been present in regions hitherto believed to be beyond their reach. In New Guinea, the discovery of late Lapita near Port Moresby has just been complemented by findings of late Lapita ceramics in the western Gulf of Papua. Southwest of the Gulf, undiagnostic ceramics dating to perhaps 2500 years are now known in the Torres Strait. Bill Dickinson showed that some of this latter material is from New Guinea. In northern Australia, undiagnostic material has been found in surface contexts on Lizard Island off Cape York Peninsula. The Lizard sherds remain undated but are hypothesised to be pre-colonial. They were discovered after Dickinson suggested that late Lapita in the Solomons could originate from places such as Lizard. Ceramics have never been found before in pre-colonial contexts in either Torres Strait or mainland Australia and its offshore islands. The proximity of their find-spots to the new discoveries of Lapita in southern New Guinea, and the dating of at least some of the Torres Strait material, raise dramatic new possibilities regarding the course of prehistory in those areas.

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Cite this Record

Lapita - the Australian connection. Ian Lilley. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395146)


Australia Lapita Oceania

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: 111.973; min lat: -52.052 ; max long: -87.715; max lat: 53.331 ;