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Dating Lapita Pottery in the Bismark Archipelago, Papua New Guinea

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Title:Dating Lapita Pottery in the Bismark Archipelago, Papua New Guinea
Authors:Specht, Jim
Gosden, Chris
LC Subject Headings:Prehistoric peoples--Asia--Periodicals.
Prehistoric peoples--Oceania--Periodicals.
East Asia--Antiquities--Periodicals.
Date Issued:1997
Publisher:University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu)
Citation:Specht, J., and C. Gosden. 1997. Dating Lapita Pottery in the Bismark Archipelago, Papua New Guinea. Asian Perspectives 36 (2): 175-99.
Series:Volume 36
Number 2
Abstract:Dates for the appearance of Lapita pottery suggest a rapid expansion from the Bismarck Archipelago in the north to Western Polynesia in the south. Kirch and Hunt (1988a, 1988b) see this as instantaneous in archaeological and radiocarbon terms, but Spriggs (1990) proposes a "pause" in the Bismarck Archipelago. We review the dates from the Bismarck area and note that two interpretations are possible, depending on which dates are accepted. Lapita pottery may have begun there later than the accepted date of cal. 3450-3550 B.P., or it could have begun in the Mussau Islands earlier than in New Britain. Both views raise questions about Lapita presence in this region and have implications for its spread to more southerly islands. A maximum time range of from cal. 3300 to 2100 B.P. is suggested for the Bismarck Archipelago, with most dates falling between 3100 and 2300 B.P. The end date of Lapita is problematical, since it depends on how the end is defined. The paper concludes with some observations on the implications of the revised dating for understanding Lapita sites. KEYWORDS: dating, calibration, Lapita, shell, charcoal.
ISSN:1535-8283 (E-ISSN)
0066-8435 (Print)
Appears in Collections: Asian Perspectives, 1997 - Volume 36, Number 2 (Fall)

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