Primary Source

Lapita Pottery from the Santa Cruz Islands

Three reddish-brown fragments of potter featuring a human face and geographic patterns.


This pottery sherd dates from around 1000 BCE and is from the Lapita culture, the likely common ancestor of contemporary Polynesian cultures. This sherd was found in the Santa Cruz Islands, part of the Solomon Islands. Around 1500 BCE, Lapita peoples began to migrate from Southeast Asia to inhabit islands across the Pacific, bringing with them their pottery and unique style of geometric patterns and designs focusing on human figures, such as the head on this piece. Pottery is the most important of the art artifacts from the Lapita people. Students can view this and other images of pottery to consider how pottery would have been used both as an art form, noted by the decorative motifs , and also for pragmatic use, such as cooking or storing food. The pottery also exemplifies the Pacific migration of people throughout the Polynesian, Micronesian, and Melanesian islands. 


Lapita Pottery from the Santa Cruz Islands, 1000 BCE, Department of Anthropology at the University of Auckland,

How to Cite This Source

"Lapita Pottery from the Santa Cruz Islands ," in World History Commons, [accessed December 8, 2023]