New Caledonia

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A French overseas territory in the southwestern Pacific, the largest island of southwest Melanesia, with an Austronesian-speaking population and an archaeological record going back to Lapita settlement, about 1300 BC. The island is well known for its prehistoric and ethnographic systems of terraced wet taro cultivation, and also has the richest assemblage of rock-carvings in Oceania. Lapita, on the Foué Peninsula on New Caledonia island, is the type site for Lapita ware, which indicates an Austronesian presence in the area about 2000-1000 BC.