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Cultural complex of what were presumably the original human settlers of Melanesia, much of Polynesia, and parts of Micronesia. The Lapita people were originally from New Guinea or some other region of Austronesia. Seaborne explorers, they spread to the Solomon Islands (c. 1600 BC), then to Fiji, Tonga and the rest of western Polynesia (c. 1000 BC), and finally to Micronesia (c. 500 BC). They are known principally on the basis of the remains of their fired pottery, which was first extensively investigated at the site of Lapita in New Caledonia. They appear to have subsisted largely by fishing but may also have practiced some domestic agriculture and animal husbandry.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Lapita culture, visit Britannica.com.
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