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The use of Lapita pottery: results from the first analysis of lipid residues

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JournalJournal of Archaeological Science Reports
DateAccepted/In press - 8 Dec 2017
DateE-pub ahead of print - 23 Dec 2017
DatePublished (current) - Feb 2018
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)712-722
Early online date23/12/17
Original languageEnglish


Biomolecular and isotopic characterisation of absorbed organic residues have been performed on eight dentate-stamped and two plain Lapita potsherds from the site of Teouma, in Vanuatu. Lipid profiles associated with decorated pots are homogenous, suggesting that similar food types or mixtures of food types were placed in these vessels. This suggests a high degree of consistency in the use of Lapita decorated pots, irrespective of the morphological and stylistic variation of these vessels. Data obtained from single-compound isotope analysis are also not consistent with marine resources as potential food sources for Lapita vessels. The absence of such commonly consumed, ubiquitous and easily accessible resources in Lapita vessels suggests that these pots were not manufactured to be used for ordinary occasions and day-to-day food consumption. This is the first time tangible data related to the use of these vessels are provided to support this claim in addition to contextual inferences.

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Crown Copyright © 2017 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy.

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