Avanata: a possible Late Lapita site on Fergusson Island, Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea. In From Field to Museum—Studies from Melanesia in Honour of Robin Torrence, ed. Jim Specht, Val Attenbrow, and Jim Allen
West Fergusson obsidian has been identified in a number of Lapita and Early Papuan pottery (EPP) sites on the south coast of Papua New Guinea and wider afield in the Pacific. Yet, the archaeological history of the island and its obsidian sources remains mostly unknown. Recent fieldwork aimed at establishing a chronological sequence for human occupation of the island, identified the site of Avanata, on the south coast of the Kukuia Peninsula. It has a pottery assemblage decorated with shell impression and paint, techniques not previously recorded on Massim pottery. Although no dateable material was obtained from the site, we argue that archaeological correlates on the Papuan mainland indicate that Avanata belongs to an early ceramic occupation of Fergusson Island dating > 1000 years ago and possibly to the late Lapita period.