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Long-distance connections in Vanuatu: New obsidian characterisations for the Makué site, Aore Island

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Abstract

A geochemical study using pXRF and LA–ICP–MS to characterise artefacts from sites dating to the initial phase of colonisation on Aore and Malo islands, Vanuatu, has confirmed the dominance of obsidian from the distant Kutau/Bao source in West New Britain, with a smaller group from local outcrops in the Banks Islands, Vanuatu. Three flakes from the Umleang/Umrei source in the Admiralty Islands have also been identified in later levels. Distance fall-off analysis of metric and technological attributes suggests that during the early phase of human colonisation of Remote Oceania, obsidian circulated within a series of separate, loosely connected social spheres.

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