Under the mission steps: An 800 year-old human burial from south Tanna, Vanuatu
Keywords:Vanuatu, burial archaeology, missions
Archaeological excavations at the late-19th century mission house at Kwamera, south Tanna Island, Vanuatu uncovered an inhumation directly underneath the mission step. Radiocarbon dating of the context revealed this burial to date to the 12th or 13th century AD. In addition to providing new information about the deeper past on Tanna, this finding provides some interesting material for thinking about long-term relationships to ancestors and sacred places on the island and how these related to interactions with missionaries in the 1800s.