7 Jul 2015

Expert says there are still many more Lapita sites to be found

8:02 am on 7 July 2015

An archaeologist says there are still many years of work to be done to discover Lapita sites in the Pacific.

Archaeological site near Taupiri in the Waikato Region, which uncovered a a pre-European horticultural operation.

Archaologists are meeting in Vanuatu this week. Photo: RNZ / Rosemary Rangatauira

Archaeologists and researchers from around the world are meeting in Vanuatu this week for the Lapita Conference - the first to be held in four years.

The Lapita people, generally identified by their decorated pottery, were the first to colonise parts of Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji, Tonga, and Samoa.

This year's conference takes place just a few miles from where the largest community to date was discovered in the Teouma Lapita Cemetery site on Vanuatu's Efate Island.

The Australian National University's Stuart Bedford says there is plenty left to be found.

"There's no question that there's got to be some other fabulous sites here. I mean the Teouma site was found in many respects by chance. It's hard to argue that on an island that's 1000 kilometres square that that's the only site of its kind to be found. So there's lots and lots of work to be done here and in all the other islands."