Weaving the Past, Present and the Future

The Fiji Museum, The University of the South Pacific (USP), Laucala Campus, Fiji National University (FNU), University of Fiji, the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs, the iTaukei Trust Fund Board and the Australian National University are planning the 10th International Lapita Conference at USP’s Japan-Pacific ICT Theatre and the Fiji Museum on the 26th-30th of June 2023, with the possibility of a round island field trip on the 29th-30th June.

Lapita and Post-Lapita Pacific Dispersals: migration and exchange

The earliest people to settle the islands of Fiji were some of the Lapita peoples. They may have settled first in Nadroga around 3000 years ago at the sites of Bourewa and Qoqo and then spread out through southwest Vitilevu and then along all this island’s coasts, eventually reaching Vanua Levu and many of the smaller islands offshore includ- ing Yadua (Bua), Moturiki and Naigani (Lomaiviti) before occupying Lau islands like Lakeba and Mago. Archaeological research shows that the Lapita settlers of Fiji came from the west, probably from Vanuatu or the eastern outer islands of Solomon Islands which they had reached from the Bismarck Archipelago in Papua New Guinea or from the west, perhaps directly from Vanuatu or ‘leapfrogging’ from elsewhere in Near Oceania. The Lapita settlers of Fiji represent the world’s greatest voyagers for their time and exhibited a complex culture that included elaborately decorated pottery and shell tools and ornaments as well as an extraordinary ability to sail and navigate their way across hundreds of kilometers of open ocean. We know that in Fiji, the Lapita culture disappeared as a distinct culture about 2500 years ago but their descendants still live in these islands today, doing many of the same things and speaking related languages to those of their distant ancestors.

This conference will present some of the latest scientific research about the Lapita settlers of the southwest Pacific islands, including Fiji. In addition to archaeological re- search, there will be reports about work on Lapita and later ancient DNA to assist in better understanding the origins and population history of Lapita peoples across the Pa- cific; we will learn about the nature of their migration, whether it was a wave of voyagers or a slower, more drawn-out trickle over a longer period of time. Since Lapita peoples relied heavily on marine foraging and fishing, this conference will also report on the abundant resources that might have played a role in encouraging further expansion of Lapita communities.

The 10th Lapita conference will be a celebration of the deep-rooted cultures of the Pacific Islands and is likely to include themed sessions on
1. The History of Lapita Archaeology.
2. Lapita DNA and its Contribution to Population Studies. .
3. Fiji Lapita History, 3100-2500 years ago
4. Lapita and Language
5. Lapita Symbols, Societies and Networks
6. New Lapita Research
7. New Research in Pacific Islands Archaeology
8. Archaeology, Land and Identity in Oceania
We invite academics and researchers to submit their paper title and abstract (up to 150 words) by 1 March 2023 at the latest. Please indicate if the paper is for a spoken pre- sentation or for a poster session, identify the session name, and list all authors with their affiliations and emails. Session chairs will contact you shortly early in March to let you know if your paper has been accepted.

Event Date

26 – 30 June 2023

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