Economic Botany

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 225–240

Second millenniumB.C. arboriculture in Melanesia: Archaeological evidence from the Mussau Islands

  • Patrick V. Kirch

DOI: 10.1007/BF02859865

Cite this article as:
Kirch, P.V. Econ Bot (1989) 43: 225. doi:10.1007/BF02859865


The Malayo-Oceanic tropics have long been regarded as a center for plant domestication, but archaeology has as yet contributed little direct evidence of the processes of domestication in prehistory. Recent excavations of Lapita culture sites in the Mussau Islands dating to 1600–500 B.C. have yielded the first significant assemblage of preserved seeds and other floral remains representing 20+ taxa. Nearly all of these are tree crops of widespread importance in Malayo-Oceanic cultivation systems. These materials confirm that the Lapita culture, responsible for the initial human settlement of much of the southwestern Pacific, included developed arboriculture in its economic system.

Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick V. Kirch
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeley