Port Moresby, 01 October 2019
A small exhibition showcasing remnants of Lapita pottery and other archaeological materials from the PNG LNG Plant Site and south coast of New Guinea kept in Monash University in Melbourne, Australia will be exhibited at the National Museum & Art Gallery (NMAG) in Port Moresby.
This comes after the recent trip undertaken by Deputy Director for Science Research and Consultancy Division of NMAG, Mr Alois Kuaso and Site Curator for the Pre-history department, Kenneth Miamba to Monash University in September.
Kuaso said, the trip was to extend the export permit for archaeological salvage from the PNG LNG Site currently stored at Monash and repatriate Lapita remnants for a small exhibition in October 2019.
In September 2009, Monash University was contracted by Coffeey International to embark on an archaeological salvage work at the PNG LNG Plant Site in Caution Bay, Port Moresby. The project ended in March 2010 and archaeological finds were permitted to Monash University for scientific analysis and a project report to be finalized before its repatriation.
“NMAG has extended the export permit for storage and scientific analysis of these archaeological materials from Caution Bay for another 2 years.
According to Miamba, Lapita remnants excavated in Caution Bay is the first discovery on mainland of New Guinea apart from the undated surface find in Aitape.
He said, archaeologists have been discovering lapita in the Bismarck Archipelago and towards the Solomon chains, New Caledonia, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.
“It is a prehistoric marker, indicating the movement of Polynesians (Austronesian speakers) into the pacific at around 5000 to 3000 years ago.
During the project, 122 sites were salvage and archaeologists were able to dig up the 2900 year old site. The site has three locations which are: Pogi 1, located close to the PNG LNG Plant Site, JD 6 also called Tanumu 1 and RS 87”
Miamba said, recently, Lapita (c 2900 BP) has also been discovered by archaeologists from UNSW, NMAG and UPNG on Brooker Island, in the Calvados Chain in Milne Bay Province.
Materials collected during the project together with a few collected by archeologists Professor Patrick Kirch of Berkely University in California and Professor Glenn Summerhayes of Otago University in New Zealand will be exhibited in the Bernard Mullu Narokobi Gallery at the Museum.
The exhibition coincides with the 9th International Lapita Conference and will feature 3 reconstructed lapita vessels from Caution Bay area and others from Bismarck Archipelago. The exhibition opens in October and ends in January 2020.
National Museum & Art Gallery