Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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VANUATU

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

World Roundup Vanuatu VANUATU: Analysis of seven 3,000-year-old skulls from the oldest cemetery in the South Pacific, on Efate, an island in Vanuatu, is helping explain how the region was settled. The people of this island nation today resemble Melanesians—natives of Australia and New Guinea—more than Polynesians, such as natives of New Zealand and Hawaii. Osteological data are showing that a people called the Lapita, who first colonized the Pacific, looked more like Polynesians. Melanesians apparently came later and the groups intermarried. In places such as Vanuatu and Fiji, Melanesian traits won out, while Polynesian ancestry dominated elsewhere, as people island-hopped to the east. —Samir S. Patel

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