added by archaeologs The major archaeological culture of the southwestern Pacific, named after the site of Lapita in New Caledonia, the Lapita culture spans the area from New Guinea to Samoa between cl500 and 500 bc, after which it loses coherence. Lapita sites are characterized by homogeneous dentate-stamped pottery, a range of shell goods and stone adzes, and a small but widespread trade in obsidian, mainly from theTALASEA source on New Britain. The culture is almost certainly associated with ancestral Polynesians moving eastwards from Island Southeast Asia (perhaps from the Philippines), through previously inhabited Melanesia, to the hitherto empty islands of Tonga and Samoa in Western Polynesia. The culture therefore represents the origin of the Polynesians prior to their settlement of geographical Polynesia.
The Macmillan dictionary of archaeology, Ruth D. Whitehouse, 1983