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Birds on the rim: a unique Lapita carinated vessel in its wider context.


This paper describes a decorated carinated vessel excavated at the Teouma Lapita site, on the south coast of Efate, central Vanuatu. The vessel contained human bones and, following reconstruction, was found to have had four modelled birds on its rim. The incidence and dating of other burial pot assemblages is examined to place the find in a wider context within the Island Pacific.

Keywords: Lapita, Teouma, modelled clay birds, pot burials.


The Teouma Lapita site on the south coast of Elate, Central Vanuatu was uncovered through construction work in 2003. It is one of the earliest Lapita sites yet identified in Vanuatu, dating to c. 3200-3000 BP, and excavations in 2004 revealed it to be the site of the earliest cemetery yet found in the Pacific (Bedford et al. 2004, 2006). The well-preserved nature of the site and the identification of distinct activity areas provide a rare opportunity to define in detail Lapita ceramic function and use. This is particularly the case in the cemetery area where an assortment of decorated Lapita vessels was associated with burial ritual.

Amongst the sherds recovered in the cemetery area of the site in 2004 was a modelled clay bird's head (Figure 1) very similar to one found in the SZ-8 Lapita site on Nendo Island in the Reef-Santa Cruz Group of the Southeast Solomons (Green 1979b:41). Dentate decoration can be seen running from behind the neck to underneath the eye and again above the eye. The eyes are represented by impressed circles and further dentate-stamping appeared to define a wing. Initial interpretations, based entirely on conjecture, were that it may have been a handle of some kind.


Investigations at Teouma in 2005 concentrated on the cemetery area alone, where some 100 square metres were excavated. The western edge of the 10 by 10 metre area was adjacent to the area where the bird's head had been uncovered. Clarification of the vessel form and function associated with the modelled head was soon revealed, although some radical reinterpretation of the handle hypothesis was required. Vessel association was initially hinted at by a number of rim sherds from a carinated vessel decorated with a dentate-stamped face motif. On the inside of the rim of three sherds were signs that something had once been attached. This was confirmed when an almost whole bird was recovered, still attached to a rim sherd of the same vessel (Figure 2). The bird, it was revealed, was not remotely handle-like but rather positioned on the inside of the rim, fulfilling a symbolic and decorative role, with its head orientated towards the centre of the vessel (Figure 3). The three rim sherds with signs of once having had a bird attached, along with the more intact example, indicate a minimum of four birds on the rim.


The decorated sherds of this vessel were spread primarily over four square metres through different spits of the lowest cultural layer, although the largest concentrations were found in only two adjacent square metres. The basal part of the pot, largely still in situ, contained a collection of assorted human bone. The upper part of the pot had been broken and scattered in antiquity as a result of disturbance from later burials in the same area of the site.

The recovery and reconstruction of this carinated pot with modelled birds on the rim adds a further very distinctive vessel form to the Lapita repertoire. However, the accumulated evidence of 50 years of research, along with the recovery of only a single example to date from the extensive excavations at Teouma, suggest that it will remain an extremely rare find. Its association with human remains both highlights and confirms the ceremonial nature of these decorated vessels generally and this form in particular. At the same time it indicates variation in burial practice and ritual at the site. This pot, along with another containing a skull (Bedford et al. 2006) from Teouma, provides the earliest evidence for pot or jar burials in the Pacific, a practice that has close parallels to burial ritual in Neolithic Island Southeast Asia including Taiwan (Bellwood 1997:220-1,240-1,272; Bintarti 2000; Chazine 2005; Harrisson 1974; Thiel 1986-7).


Amongst the tens of thousands of decorated sherds that have been recovered through archaeological excavation, survey and avocational collection across the Lapita distribution there are very rare reports of modelled clay anthropomorphic figures, faces and heads. Those that are decorated with dentate-stamping include a possible modelled human figure with decoration on the buttocks from site RL-6 in the Reef Islands of the southeast Solomons (Green 1979a: 16), a clay head from Kamgot, on Babase Island, New Ireland (Summerhayes 1998:100) and three faces from Boduna Island, West New Britain (Torrence and White 2001). A further, somewhat ill-defined modelled object with dentate-stamping, has been recovered from the Lau Islands in Fiji (O'Day et al. 2004). Another clay modelled head, without dentate decoration was found at NKM001 in New Caledonia (Frimigacci 1981; Sand 1996:122) and a moulded face, of somewhat uncertain provenance, has been found at Naigani in Fiji (Best 1981:11). A further modelled clay figure, of the avian variety, is the already-mentioned dentate-stamped bird head from SZ-8 in the Reef-Santa Cruz Group (Green 1979b:41).

Across the Pacific, archaeologically recovered clay modelled faces or figures of any form that post-date the Lapita period, are very rare. Some of the few examples identified to date are those from the Mangaasi site, also on Efate. They included a number of animal-like handles and an animal head (Garanger 1971:Figs 2 and 9) dating to around 2000 BE Undated excavated assemblages containing pottery vessels with modelled human faces and heads and bird's heads are known from Selesmilage sites 3 and 4 in the Makbon area of the Bird's Head of western New Guinea, and turtle heads were found applied to the rim of an excavated vessel from Kumo Island, off Tobelo in northern Halmahera (Solheim 1991:14, 16-17). Pots with moulded human heads have been surface-collected from Jembekaki Fort on Batanta Island, off the western tip of the Bird's Head of New Guinea (Galis 1960; Galis and Kamma 1958). Some of the modelled heads from Jembekaki were placed on the rim looking into the pot.

For the recent past the picture is very different than the few examples above might suggest. A wide array of modelled faces on pot surfaces, modelled figures on the rims of pots and figurines have been recorded across much of New Guinea. They are vessel forms that are often, although not exclusively, used in a range of ceremonial activities (May and Tuckson 1982). Face pots have also been recorded in similarly late contexts in New Caledonia (Glaumont 1895:45; Sand 1995:146). While there is as yet little information on the antiquity of this tradition of modelling in New Guinea, the well-defined and lengthy ceramic sequences from such places as Buka, New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji indicate that such modelling was restricted both in terms of production and chronology, features also noted for the Lapita period (see also Best 2002:72).

Modelled anthropomorphic heads or faces with dentate-stamped designs have been argued as providing supportive evidence (Summerhayes 1998; Torrence and White 2001) of earlier assertions that associated tattooing with dentate-stamping (Green 1979a; Green 1985; Kirch 1997). In terms of contributing to this debate the dentate-stamped birds are somewhat neutral. Others have suggested that modelled heads reinforce the idea that dentate-stamping is being combine with an earlier tradition of carved three-dimensional art, most of which has not survived due to utilisation of perishable materials (Torrence and White 2001:139). This may well be the case but the parallels found in Island Southeast Asia in vessel form, modelled clay figures and association with human remains suggest that the Teouma bird pot at least is connected with traditions that had their origins much further to the northwest (Cameron 2005; Dizon and Santiago 1996; Fox 1970:113-4; Lape 2000:162-3; van Stein-Callenfels 1952:90, Plate XIX; Tenazas 1974).

Pot burial

Burial in pots has been reported previously from Oceania but is comparatively rare, being found in New Guinea and its offshore islands, Bougainville, New Caledonia, and now in Vanuatu. As there has been no recent survey of this phenomenon in Oceania an Appendix is provided below in tabular form showing the distribution of the practice and, where such information is available, dates for its occurrence. A useful survey of pot burial for West Papua and Papua New Guinea was given by Guise (1985), based largely on the PNG National Museum site flies. This included two accompanying maps but was largely without other references. This information was drawn upon, along with further references that were apparently not available to Guise at the time or which are of more recent date. Ollier and Holdsworth (1977) summarised cave burial practices from Milne Bay Province, PNG, with many useful references.

From the references examined it is not always clear whether burial in pots or burial with accompanying pots as grave goods is being referred to. This latter practice is also found at Teouma, where a large upturned carinated vessel with dentate-stamped decoration was seemingly in association either with a pot containing a human skull with an upturned flat-bottomed dish on top of it, and/or with an adjacent inhumation (see photographs in Bedford et al. 2006). For this reason we have included references to both practices in the Appendix. Pots as grave goods are attested from the New Guinea region, possibly Bougainville, Vanuatu, Fiji, the Marianas Islands and Palau.

Whether in fact the upturned flat-bottomed dish at Teouma was merely sealing the burial urn, or whether it represents the practice of placing a pot on top of the skull is unclear. This latter practice, as can be seen from the several examples given in the Appendix, is surprisingly widespread in the Island Pacific. It has been recorded for New Guinea, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji and possibly Guam. The practice of placing a pot over the skull attracted the notice of Riesenfeld (1950:329-330), who considered it typical of his "stone-using" or "megalithic" migrants, and the practice was supposedly often combined with burial in a sitting position. It is notable that it is also a practice recorded for Taiwan in the Neolithic Beinan Culture, where placing "a large half pot over the face or head of the dead person" was common practice at the Peinan burial site where pottery was also found as grave goods with primary inhumations in slate coffins (Lien 1990: 345,346). Placing a pot over the skull is also found later in Taiwan in the Iron Age Fanziyuan Culture. Extended and prone burials are found in that culture and "the skull is usually covered by a pot" (Tsang 2000:155).

The Appendix does not claim to be exhaustive but represents occurrences from all the areas where we believe that pot burial was practiced in the Island Pacific. In compiling the Appendix it was necessary to be somewhat selective in what references were accepted as relevant. For instance, Riesenfeld (1950:639) quotes Schlaginhaufen (1910:39) as suggesting that some of the jars produced in the Sepik area of New Guinea might have been used for burial, but the reference is vague and not supported by other authors, and so is omitted from the Appendix. Also omitted, but worth noting, is the presence of burial urns in stone on Choiseul Island in the Western Solomons (Bernatzik 1935:73-5, fig. 43). As far as could be ascertained this is a unique occurrence in the Island Pacific, although not uncommon in prehistoric Island and Mainland Southeast Asia, where stone sarcophagi are also found in Metal Age contexts of the last 2000 years (Bellwood 1997: 290, 293, 306; Sayavongkhamdy and Bellwood 2000).

The Appendix shows that pot burial is by no means found in all areas where pottery was used prehistorically, and tends in many cases to be a phenomenon of the last millennium, particularly in the New Guinea area. In New Caledonia it is a practice that is primarily found between 2000 and 1000 BP. If we turn to burial where pots have been placed on top of the head, there is a New Caledonian example from the immediately post-Lapita period, dating to about 2700 BP. The only Fijian example of this practice dates to about 1700-1500 BP and comes from Sigatoka on Viti Levu. Pots as grave goods as opposed to burial in pots have been reported ethnographically from various places.

Archaeologically it is sometimes difficult to establish a convincing primary association between pottery and burials in a site. Early first millennium BC Palau would seem at first glance to be the nearest in age to the Teouma case for pottery as grave goods, but there are serious problems with radiocarbon dates from that archipelago, particularly those involving the dating of pottery temper (Anderson et al. 2005). This means that the examples from Palau could potentially be much younger than their apparent age. All of these practices are associated with Austronesian-speaking areas, or areas such as Koiari in southern Papua which were in close association with and adjacent to Austronesian-speaking groups.


The study of the Teouma pots and a survey of the comparative literature reveal that Teouma presents the earliest known Pacific examples of pot burial, and the earliest example of pottery as grave goods yet found in the region. If the dentate-decorated fiat-bottomed dish placed over the skull contained in a second burial pot is taken as a representative of the mortuary practice of placing a pot over the skull, rather than simply as a convenient 'lid' for the burial vessel, then this practice too finds its earliest Pacific representative in Teouma (1).

Pot burial and pottery as grave goods are widespread in Island Southeast Asia in Neolithic contexts that might be seen as at least in part ancestral to Lapita, and placement of a pot over the skull in mortuary ritual is known from Neolithic and later contexts in Taiwan. One possibility is that such practices were continually reinvented, as might be perceived to be the explanation for pot burial in the Massim area of Milne Bay Province, PNG during the last 1000 years and its practice in the preceding millennium in distant New Caledonia.

An alternative would be to see them as an ancestral Island Southeast Asian Neolithic burial complex that spread to the Pacific with Lapita and represents a continuous tradition in some areas until European contact. Golson (1972:581-586) saw the Massim examples as representing a later period of contact with Island Southeast Asia in the more recent past. As we clearly lack the evidence of continuous mortuary ritual sequences over much of the Island Pacific in the areas covered by the Appendix, an open mind on the question until further evidence is adduced would seem to be perhaps the most prudent stance to take.

Appendix: The associations of burials with pottery in the Pacific Islands
Area/site          References        Association       Dating

West Papua

Near Asoker,       Anon. 1957;       Burial cave
Waigeo Island      Galis 1964;       with pottery
                   Guise 1985

Bakaro Cave,       Galis 1964        Burial cave       Thought to date
near Pasir                           with pottery,     to c.1825-1855
Putih,                               probable pot      AD
Manokwari                            burials

Rockshelters on    Galis 1964;       Burial caves
small Island,                        with pottery
west of Sowek,
Supiori Island

Sarwadori          Galis 1964;       Burial cave
Cave, W. coast     Guise 1985        with pottery?
of Supiori                           Ref. makes this
Island                               unlikely.

Maoendori          Galis 1964;       Burial cave
Inlet, W. coast,   Guise 1985        with pottery?
Supiori Island                       Ref. makes this

Nube West          Solheim           Burial cave       Used until
shelter, Padwa,    1998:65           with pottery      c.1934
S. coast, Biak

Napido(ri)         Galis 1964;       Burial cave
cave, W. coast     Guise 1985        with pottery?
Biak Island                          Ref. makes this

Onin coast and     Galis 1964;       Burial caves      Practiced until
S. coast of        Roder             with pot          20th century
Bintuni            1959:59ff.        burials, and
(MacCluer)                           with pots as
Gulf                                 grave goods

Kwadeware,         de Bruyn 1959     Open site         Said to be
Jonokom                              burials with      older than 12
Island, Lake                         potsherds         generations
Sentani                                                before 1958

Papua New Guinea

Morobe Province

Cave, Gitua        Specht 1973:      Burial cave
area (KCH)         Section 6         with potsherds

9 caves, Sialum    Guise 1985        Burial caves
area (KEO,                           with pot
KCU, KCX,                            burials?

Cave, Lakona       Green             Burial cave
area, Kotte CD,    1990:421          with incised
Finschhafen                          potsherds

2 sites,           Green             Burial cave and
Wandokai and       1990:410, 427     Burial crevice
Ago areas,                           with potsherds,
Dedua CD,                            decorated at
Finschhafen                          KNK

5 sites,           Green             Pot burials
Hubegong,          1990:411, 414,    in caves,
Walingai and       415,425,426       shelters,
Ago areas,                           crevices and on
Dedua CD,                            ledges, in
Finschhafen                          decorated pots.

7 caves or         Green             Burial caves      Used into 20th
shelters with      1990:408, 418,    with cooking      century
burials, near      419; Guise        pots
Biring Village,    1985; May and
Onga CD,           Tuckson
Kaiapit, (KAJ,     1982:22, 136-7

Carambazad,        Specht &          Open site, pots   'Style A'
near Waritsian,    Holzknecht        as grave goods    pottery. Site
Markham            1971; Guise                         last used 1920s
Valley (KGL)       1985

Milne Bay Province

Oreresan           Chignell 1911:    Pots placed on    Ethnographic,
village,           opp. 342, 347     and near the      1900s
Wanigela area,                       grave

Stone circle,      Williams          Pots placed       Excavation by
Boianai village,   1931:138          over the head,    Williams
Goodenough                           or 3 skulls in
Bay                                  pots

Wedau village,     Seligman          Pots etc broken   Ethnographic,
Bartle Bay         1910:615-6        and put on the    1900s
                                     grave; burial
                                     with 'dish of
                                     food' near face

Suau area,         Chalmers and      Pot placed over   Ethnographic,
South Cape         Gill 1885:333     the head          1877-1885

Sudest Island      de Vera &         Pot burials
                   Young 1980
                   citing M.
                   Lepowsky pers.

Biniwaga Cave,     Tindale &         Pot burials       <800BP
Panaeati Island    Bartlett 1937

Tube Tube          Guise 1985;       Pot placed over
Island,            Macintyre         the head at
Engineer Group     1983:27, 29;      initial burial
                   MacIntyre         in the ground;
                   1989:137;de       Burial caves
                   Vera & Young      mentioned by
                   1980 citing       Macintyre 1983
                   MacIntyre pers.   & 1989; de
                   comm.             Vera & Young
                                     claim pot

5 caves,           Austen 1939;      Pot burials       <800BP
Kiriwina           Egloff 1979:
(Kilivila)         107; Guise
Island,            1985; Ollier &
Trobriands         Holdsworth
(BDZ, BQA,         1968; Williams
BQB, BEG,          1931:140 citing
BIM)               Rentoul pers.
                   comm. (BQA).

Neguya cave,       Ollier &          Prob. Pot         <800BP
Kiriwina Island    Holdsworth        burials

Obuwaga cave,      Burenhult         Pot burials       <800BP
near Labai,        2002:
Kiriwina Island    9,34,109,127;
                   Egloff 1973:
                   plate IVb;
                   Lauer 1971:206

Otuyam             Austen 1939       Burials &         Found in
megaliths,                           pottery           excavation
Kiriwina Island

Old village        Burenhult         Burials &         [sup.14]C dates
site, Odubekoya,   2002:             pottery in        on human bone
Kiriwina Island    104,074,127       association       of 1100+/-70BP
                   133; Winter                         (grave 2), and
                   2003                                755+/-70BP
                                                       (grave 3)

3 caves, Kitava    Guise 1985;       Pot burials       <800BP
Island,            Ollier &
Trobriands         Holdsworth
(BCK, BCL,         1970
BCN); also
probably Kausi

5 caves:           Gerrits 1974;     Burials and       <800BP
Yavakuta,          Ollier et al.     pottery,
Olokwaleku,        1971              probably pot
Bokaulawola,                         burials
(Ollier et al),
Kitava Island

Kadalalai          Austen 1939       Burials and       Found in
megaliths,                           pottery           excavation
Kitava Island

4 caves, Vakuta    Austen 1939;      Pot burials       <800BP
Island,            Guise 1985;
Trobriands         Ollier &
(BDB, BDC,         Holdsworth
BDE, BDF)          1969

Wagaru             Ollier et al.     Probable burial
megaliths,         1970              and pottery
Vakuta Island                        under one of
                                     the stones

3 caves etc,       Guise 1985;       Pot burials       <800BP
Kaileuna Island,   Ollier &
Trobriands         Holdsworth
(BQC, BQD,         1971b

Rockshelter,       Lyons 1922        Pot burials       <800BP
Mapas Island,
in Suloga
Woodlark Is.

many caves etc,    Bickler 1998,     Pot burials       <800BP
Woodlark           1999; Bickler                       (Bickler has
Island (incl.      & Turner 2002:                      dates 787-
BJN, BMV,          15; Guise 1985;                     650BP, 697-
BJM, BKG,          Ollier & Pain                       548 BP, 620-
BMY, BNA,          1978a; Seligman                     320BP, 636-
BKH. BJG)          1910:731;                           503BP on bone
                   Seligman &                          from pot
                   Strong                              burials)

Bunmuyuw and       Bickler 2006;     Pot burials       <800BP
other              Bickler &         later than        (Bickler has
megaliths, near    Ivuyo 2002;       megaliths         dates 740-
Kaurai,            Forth 1965;                         540BP (780+/-
Woodlark           Ollier & Pain                       55), 670-510BP
Island (incl.      1978b                               (685+/-55) on
BMD)                                                   bone from pot

Cave,              Guise 1985        Burial caves
Nasikwabw                            with pot
(Alcester)                           burials?
Island, S. of

Rockshelter,       Bickler 1999      Pot burials       <800BP
Unavek Island,
Islands, E. of

Cliff complex,     Egloff 1972,      Pot burials       <800BP
Nuamata            1979:107-8;
Island, near       Guise 1985
Island (BJJ)

5 caves etc,       Guise 1985; de    Pot burials       <800BP
Goodenough Is.     Vera & Young
(BMB, BMC,         1980
and more)

Normanby           Guy 1937:26       Pot placed over   Ethnographic,
Island, near                         the head of       1930s
Goodenough                           corpse

Dobu Island        Fortune           Pot placed over   Ethnographic,
                   1932:180          the head of the   1920s
                                     corpse for
                                     about a week
                                     prior to burial

8 caves etc,       Guise 1985;       Pot burials       <800BP
Misima Island      Pain & Ollier
(BNL, BNN,         1978

Wamea Island,      Guise 1985;       Burials and       Pottery similar
Amphlett           Lauer             pots              to historic
Islands (BPZ)      1971:207; 1973                      wares

Central Province

Maopa and          Irwin (n.d.),     Pot Burials
Wanigela areas,    cited by
west of Mailu      Bickler 1999;
                   Irwin, pers.

Near mouth of      Guise 1985        Burial cave
Baibara River                        with pot
(ATK)                                burials?

4 rockshelters,    Allen &           Pot burials       <800BP
Cape Rodney        Littlewood
(AES, AET,         1974; Egloff
AEU, AEV)          1979: 108;
                   Guise 1985

Galogarigo         Guise 1985:       Pot burials       c.800-300BP
rockshelter,       10-12,42
Hood Hills

Rogagolo           Guise 1985:       Pot burials       c.800-300BP
rockshelters       12-13
1&2, Hood
Hills (AXD)

Rockshelter        Guise 1985        Burial cave
near Daumagini                       with pot
(ANQ)                                burials?

Eriama rock        Guise 1985        Burial cave
shelter (ACU)                        with pot

Sapphire creek     Guise 1985        Burial cave
rockshelter                          with pot
(AFK)                                burials?

2 sites,           Guise 1985        Burial caves
Hombrum bluff                        with pot
(AWK, ALI)                           burials?

Subitana           Guise 1985        Burial cave
rockshelter                          with pot
(ALE)                                burials?

Wagava             Williams          Charred human
rockshelter,       1931:137 *        bones and
Sogeri area                          potsherds in a
(Koiari people)                      cleft

Wureva Yani        Leask             Burials and       Pottery said to
rockshelter,       1943:117 *        potsherds         be similar to
Sogeri area                                            ethnographic
(Koiari people)                                        pottery

Village in the     Stone 1880:117    Pot as burial     Ethnographic,
Koiari area                          goods             c.1870s

Bougainville Autonomous Region (N. Solomons)

South              Parkinson         Pot burial        Ethnographic,
Bougainville       1999:211 [orig.   (cremation)       Late 19th
(general ref.)     1907:484]         buried between    century
                                     4 wood posts

Turiboirou         Thurnwald         Burials           Found in
megaliths,         1934              possibly          excavation
Paubake area,                        associated with
Buin,                                potsherds

Loiai, Paubake     Terrell           Pot burial        Pottery is
area, Buin,        1976:309-314;     (cremation)       early Buin
Bougainville       1986:235-7        buried within     style, c.
Island                               stone enclosure   1000BP.
                                                       Charcoal in
                                                       the pit fill
                                                       around the pot
                                                       dated to


Melpmes            Deacon            Burial with       Traditional
village,           1934:628-636,     pots over head,   story of the
Mewun, S.          646-9,653         knees and at      Kabat
Malakula                             buttocks

Olal village,      July 1904:365;    Burials,          Under a layer
Ambrym Island      contradicted by   possibly with     of tephra
                   Suas 1917/8:      pottery?
                   203-5 (see

New Caledonia

Lapita, Grande     Valentin 2003;    Burial with pot   [sup.14]C date
Terre, New         Valentin &        over the head     on human bone
Caledonia          Sand 2000,                          2700+/-80BP

Grand Terre        Valentin &        Pot burial        Plum pottery,
(widespread),      Sand 2001, &                        2000-1000BP
Ile Ouen, Ile      refs. therein
des Pins,


Sigatoka,          Marshall et al.   Burial with pot   Cross-hatched,
Burial Ground      2000: 48          over the head,    paddle-
1, Viti Levu                         other burials     impressed
                                     with large        pottery, 1700-
                                     potsherds         1500 BP

Mariana Islands

Guam Island        Thompson          Inverted pot      Latte period?
                   1932:31           placed over       800-400 BP?

Mariana Islands    Thompson          Pottery &         Mainly Latte
(general           1932:24-5         burials at        period? 800-
reference)                           Latte sites       400BP?
                                     and in caves

Palau Islands

Cave, Eil ra       Osborne           Burial with
Rechiklau, near    1966:436, see     pottery dishes,
Ngurkthabel        also 65,70        one with cover,
Island, southern                     and stone and
Palau                                shell artefacts

Sengall Ridge      Beardsley &       Pottery           [sup.14]C date
cave, Koror        Basileus 2002     dishesibowls      of 2630+/-60BP
Island                               with burials in   on pottery
                                     cave              inclusions is
                                                       unreliable (See
                                                       Anderson et al.

Noermereues        Welch             Burials and       [sup.14]C dates
Ridge caves,       2001:181,         pottery in two    on human bone:
Koror Island       citing Rieth &    caves             2480+/-40BP,
                   Liston 2001                         1720+/-40BP,

* These sites are possibly the same as some sites in the four columns
above them.

References for the Appendix

Allen, J. and H. Littlewood 1974. Funerary cave pottery from the Cape Rodney area, Central Papua. Records of the P.N.G. Museum 4:1-20. Port Moresby: IPNGS.

Anderson, A., J. Chappell, G. Clark and S. Phear 2005. Comparative radiocarbon dating of lignite, pottery, and charcoal samples from Babeldaob Island, Republic of Palau. Radiocarbon 47(1): 1-9.

Anonymous 1957. Interessante vondst op her Eiland Waigeo. Nieuw-Guinea Studien 1:59-60.

Austen, L. 1939. Megalithic structures in the Trobriand Islands. Oceania 10(1):30-53.

Beardsley, F. and U. Basileus 2002. Sengall Ridge, Belau: burials, spirit walks, and painted pottery. Bulletin of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association 22:147-151.

Bickler, S. 1998. Eating Stone and Dying: archaeological survey on Woodlark Island, Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Virginia.

Bickler, S. 1999. Secondary burial practices in the northern Kula Ring. In M. Boyd, J.C. Erwin and M. Hendrickson (eds) The Entangled Past: Integrating history and archaeology, pp. 98-107. Proceedings of the 30th Annual Chacmool Conference. Calgary: Archaeological Association of the University of Calgary.

Bickler, S. 2006. Prehistoric stone monuments in the northern region of the Kula Ring. Antiquity 80:38-51.

Bickler, S. and B. Ivuyo 2002. Megaliths of Muyuw (Woodlark Island), Milne Bay Province, PNG. Archaeology in Oceania 37:22-36.

Bickler, S. and M. Turner 2002. Food to stone: investigations at the Suloga adze manufacturing sites, Woodlark Island, Papua New Guinea. Journal of the Polynesian Society 111(1):11-43.

De Bruyn, J.V. 1959. New archaeological finds at Lake Sentani. Nieuw-Guinea Studien 3: 1-8.

Burenhult, G. (ed.) 2002. The Archaeology of the Trobriand Islands, Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea, Excavation Season 1999. British Archaeological Reports International Series 1080. Oxford: BAR.

Chalmers, J. and W.W. Gill 1885. Work and Adventure in New Guinea. London: Religious Tract Society.

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Investigations at Teouma are being undertaken as a joint project of the Australian National University and the Vanuatu Cultural Centre. Fidel Yoringmal drew Figure 3. Funding has been provided by the Australian Research Council (DP 0556874), the Pacific Biological Foundation, the Royal Society of New Zealand (Marsden Faststart), Snowy Mountains Electricity Commission Foundation, the Department of Archaeology and Natural History and School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University and Mr Brian Powell. We would like to thank Pam Swadling for providing an unpublished translation of Galis' 1964 publication, and Simon Bickler, Geoff Irwin and Vincent Kewibu for other helpful assistance. Useful comments were received on an earlier draft of the paper from Hallie Buckley and Frederique Valentin. Editorial comments from Peter White and an anonymous referee have also been very helpful.


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(1.) A skull with large potsherds placed over it was found during the 2006 field season at Teouma, as was a further pot with human bones placed within it.

SB: Department of Archaeology and Natural History, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University.; MS: School of Archaeology and Anthropology, College of Arts and Social Sciences, Australian National University. matthew.spriggs@
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Author:Bedford, Stuart; Spriggs, Matthew
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Date:Apr 1, 2007
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