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Introduced Dioscorea spp. starch in Lapita and later deposits, Vao Island, Vanuatu

by Mark Horrocks last modified 2011-01-11 11:21 AM

Horrocks M, Bedford S. 2010. New Zealand Journal of Botany 48, 179-183.


Analysis of deposits at a Lapita site in Vanuatu revealed putative starch grains of Dioscorea nummularia in c. 2800-3100 cal BP layers and of D. pentaphylla in a c. 2000 cal BP layer suggesting local cultivation of these tuberous crops. The Dioscoreaceae are a new addition to the introduced cultigens thus far directly identified for prehistoric Vanuatu.


Prehistoric horticulture, ancient starch, Dioscorea, Lapita, Vanuatu.

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