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Chapter Nine - Lapita Long-Distance Interactions in the Western Pacific

From Prestige Goods to Prestige Practices

from Part III - The Role of Political Economy and Elite Control in Long-Distance Exchange

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 August 2022

Johan Ling
Affiliation:
University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Richard Chacon
Affiliation:
Winhrop University, South Carolina
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Summary

This chapter will explore aspects of the Lapita culture of the Western Pacific, the culture of the initial colonizers of ‘Remote Oceania’, the area beyond the main Solomons chain around 3000 BP (Figure 9.1). The Lapita culture appears earliest in identifiable form in the Bismarck Archipelago off New Guinea a century or two earlier but derives in large part from the strand of the Island Southeast Asian Neolithic traceable to Taiwan around 5500 BP and beyond to southern China. There is evidence for Lapita long-distance interactions across some of the greatest distances found in Neolithic societies worldwide. The question must be posed, however, as to whether this represents exchange, particularly of prestige goods, or whether it signals some other form of interaction?

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Trade before Civilization
Long Distance Exchange and the Rise of Social Complexity
, pp. 209 - 229
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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