Welcome to the cyberhome of the project Pioneers of Island Melanesia. The aim of this three-year (2002–2005) project was to investigate the deep prehistory of Island Melanesia, from the time of first settlement some 40.000 years ago until the arrival of speakers of Austronesian languages less than 4.000 years ago. Sadly, these pages are not up to date with results and publications but will still give an idea of the focus of the project.
The project combines the insights of linguistics, genetics, archaeology, and biological anthropology, all fields in which the understanding of the prehistory in this part of the world has developed significantly in the last few years. Researchers from institutions in The Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain and Sweden are working together to increase the body of data, and to formulate a unitary model of the first inhabitants of Island Melanesia.