Lapita Pottery

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Very extensive horizon or a long enduring tradition and as a major intrusive culture within western island Melanesia from Southeast Asia.) elaborate decorated pottery, especially characteristic of the early assemblages in each region. Historically, the pottery is best described as comprising a ceramic series, which begins with complex vessel shapes decorated by dentate stamping, incising, and appliqué techniques that everywhere form an easily recognizable design style, whose common geometric motifs can be analyzed and coded according to a limited set of rules. Over time the ceramic assemblages within the various island sequences change, usually independently of one another. Frequently this is by the loss of the more complex vessel shapes bearing the most elaborate decorations, until simpler vessels of largely plain ware predominate. These ceramic changes, traceable over spans of up to a thousand and more years, have caused some to speak of a Lapita tradition, as they provide a deep but variable set of time depths to the horizon concept. Thus terminal Lapita assemblages in the ceramic series end in different regions at various intervals from 500 B.C. to A.D. 200 or 300.