University of Cambridge > > Pitt-Rivers Archaeological Science Seminar Series > A short-lived but memorable style: Lapita Pottery in Vanuatu (NOTE: Unusual time)

A short-lived but memorable style: Lapita Pottery in Vanuatu (NOTE: Unusual time)

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  • UserDr. Mathieu Leclerc (Australian National University)
  • ClockFriday 27 November 2020, 11:00-11:45
  • HouseOnline via zoom.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Laura Courto.

In the South Pacific, pottery is a key element of the Lapita Cultural Complex, a set of artefacts and practices that finds its origin about 3000 years ago in the Bismarck Archipelago in Papua New Guinea. In the centuries following its appearance, Lapita pottery, characterised by fine dentate-stamped decorations, is associated with the first human settlers in Remote Oceania, i.e., east of the Solomon Islands, in today’s Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa.

In this presentation I will detail how petrographic, chemical and organic residue analysis of pottery can be used in conjunction with the rest of the archaeological record to provide information about raw material procurement strategies and the role of Lapita pottery. While descriptions of morpho-stylistic attributes to infer chronological and cultural affiliations have been and remain the major focus of ceramic analyses in the region, chemical and mineralogical data directly acquired from the vessels can contribute to our understanding of the reasons behind continuity and change in ceramic traditions in the region.


Dr Mathieu Leclerc is a Lecturer in the School of Archaeology & Anthropology of the Australian National University. His primary research interests include investigating provenance and technological attributes of artefacts using advanced analytical techniques. His most recent work includes petrographic and chemical analysis of Lapita pottery from Vanuatu, using microCT to investigate the internal structure of pottery sherds and developing non-traditional research outputs in an effort to disseminate more efficiently academic information outside academia.

This talk is part of the Pitt-Rivers Archaeological Science Seminar Series series.

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