The clear traces of human presence in the Fetra-He cave after around 2800 years ago, demonstrate the antiquity of inland occupation in the Loyalty Islands.
Recent Archaeological Research in the Loyalty Islands of New Caledonia.
This collaborative programme between the Department of Archaeology of New Caledonia and the CEACNRS, has been conducted with the permission of the traditional landowners of Fetra He and has received the authorisation of the Loyalty Island Province.
Intensification strategies also developed in the up-lifted coral environments of the Loyalty Islands (Sand 1998).
In New Caledonia, renewed links between Grande Terre and the Loyalty Islands led to the introduction of pots, adzes, flaked stones, ceremonial axes etc.
This research was conducted as part of the programmes of the New Caledonia Department of Archaeology for the Loyalty Islands Province, the Northern Province and the Southern Province.
Some Kone-period sites have been excavated in the Loyalty Islands, uplifted coral islands with very little or no natural clay to make pots.
Firstly, the foundation of the three major Lapita sites on the west coast of Grande Terre and Ile des Pins was almost instantaneous, at the turn of the 1st millennium BC; and secondly the dates for Lapita sites in the Loyalty Islands are around 150-200 years later.
All the well-dated sites in New Caledonia have a period of production of Lapita pottery not exceeding probably 800 BC in the south of Grande Terre and 700-600 BC on the west coast and Loyalty Islands [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 3 OMITTED].
Some Lapita and Podtanean sherds discovered in the Loyalty Islands (Sand 1995c) have in their temper chromiphere spinella, geologically characteristic of the north of Grande Terre (Galipaud 1990) and found in Lapita pottery from site NKM001 of Boirra (Galipaud 1988) and locality WKO013A of Lapita (Sand 1996a; 1996c).
Instead, the present evidence shows the rather instantaneous establishment of ceramic sites in various parts of the west coast and in the Ile des Pins around 1000-900 BC, and a delay of approximately 100200 years for the Loyalty Islands.