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In the west, villages were located on small offshore islands or the beaches of larger islands.
This may have been to avoid areas already settled in coastal New Guinea, or malaria-carrying mosquitoes for which Lapita people had no immune defence.
Archaeologists believe that the Lapita are the ancestors of historic cultures in Polynesia, Micronesia, and some coastal areas of Melanesia.
The characteristics of the Lapita culture are the extension of human settlement to previously uninhabited islands scattered over a large area in the Pacific Ocean, the spread of Oceanic languages in that area, the distinctive geometric dentate-stamped pottery, and the use and widespread distribution of obsidian.
Domesticates consisted of pigs, dogs, and chickens.
Horticulture was based on root crops and tree crops, most importantly taro and yam, coconuts, bananas, and varieties of breadfruit.
A late variety might have been produced there up to 250 BCE.
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One burial jar featured four birds looking into the jar.
Carbon dating of the shells placed this cemetery at about 1000 BC.
The Lapita were expert seafarers and navigators, reaching out and finding islands separated from each other by hundreds of kilometres of empty ocean.
Their descendants, the Polynesians, went on to populate islands across the Pacific, ranging from New Zealand to Hawaii and Easter Island.