Oldest known pottery in PNG unearthed

7:57 pm on 4 September 2015

A team of Australian and New Zealand archaeologists has unearthed the oldest known pottery from Papua New Guinea.

Examples of Wanelek pottery

Examples of Wanelek pottery Photo: Supplied

Sci-News reports that nearly 20 fragments of pottery were discovered at a remote site in the Bismarck Range of Madang Province.

According to the team led by Dylan Gaffney from New Zealand's University of Otago, one of the fragments is at least 3,000 years old, several hundred years older than the previous oldest known pottery in New Guinea.

The small and fragmented sherds reportedly resemble the Lapita plain-ware pottery style associated with the Austronesian colonisation of neighbouring Western Pacific.

Dr Gaffney said the team's study overturns the existing consensus that the Austronesians associated with Lapita culture simply skirted the coastal areas of New Guinea and did not interact with inland populations.