Another Lapita Site Found in Vanuatu

Journalist, Elton Barley, of the Vanuatu Daily Post, recently wrote about how a Lapita site that was  recently discovered by archeologists from the Vanuatu Kaljarol Senta (VKS) was the 15th Lapita site to be discovered in Vanuatu.

Lapita is the term is used to represent a certain group of people moving throughout Oceania in a given period and were the first people to settle the islands of Oceania.

A Lapita site is an evidence of these first colonizers of the Oceania and their way of life.


The Lapita People. Image from

Reports from VKS reveals that 14 Lapita sites were already discovered by archeologists on the island of Motalava, Espiritu Santo, Malekula, Efate, Aneityum and Erromango and the latest on Pangpang Efate, makes it at 15.

There is one site in Motalava at Lequesdwen, four at Matantas in Espiritu Santo, Port Olry, Aore and Malo, and five at Vao, Atchin, Wala, Uripiv and North West area in Malekula. On Efate there are three sites located at Teouma, at Erueti and the latest discovery at Pangpang. There is one site on Erromango at Ifo and one on Aneityum.

Archeologist and Director of VKS, Richard Shing explains that the first Lapita site to be identified was at Erueti on Efate in the 1960s by a French government official Bernard Hébert.

The site was investigated by the pioneering archaeologist José Garanger, but it was very disturbed. Then more than 40 years later the extraordinary site of Teouma was discovered, at which the VKS led six seasons of excavation.

Mr. Shing also stated that there are Lapita sites on other islands, yet to be discovered and some are hard to be discovered as they are buried under ash fall as is the case of Shepherds because of Kuwae, as well as Ambrym and Ambae.

The archeologist further elaborate that these sites provide wealth of knowledge about the origins of men colonizing the Oceania and the fascinating things about them. “Chemical analysis of bones found at Teouma shows that there were tortoises, big flightless birds and crocodiles which are all extinct mainly eaten by these first people,” said Mr. Shing.

The Lapita site at Teouma is one of the biggest sites in the Pacific region. The excavation of the site was done in 2004 and a burial site of these early men was discovered.

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