Locations

Locations

Description: 

In exploring these sites, it is worth keeping in mind that all of this material came from Melanesian landscapes in which living ni-Vanuatu (indigenous people of Vanuatu) continue to practice traditional methods of housebuilding, cooking, and other crafts. While many people converted to Christianity, traditional beliefs about spirits and magic also remain strong on these islands. Often Christian and kastom (traditional) beliefs occur together in local cosmologies.

This project was initially conceived by local chiefs and Presbyterian Church elders on Tanna and Erromango. Archaeologists were brought in to help these communities to systematically record historical places, and to recover artefacts from the mission sites. While many of the people and things here are ‘European’ in one sense, the broader places were and remain Melanesian. Much of the food the missionaries ate, most of their friends and people who they saw every day, and some of their household items (many o f which don’t survive archaeologically, such as pandanus mats) were from Vanuatu. The story is partly about the experiences of European missionaries and their families. But, it is worth keeping in mind the broader context of Melanesian life and Melanesian communities that shaped mission history in Vanuatu.

Digital Heritage Items: 
Around Potnuma.png
Community: 
Public
Category: 
Erromango, Location
Summary: 
Potnuma was the primary mission settlement of James Gordon, who moved from Dillon’s Bay in 1868. He built a church with stone and mortar foundations. Some of the walls of the church were still standing in 2013 when we did fieldwork in the area.
CooksBayMap.png
Community: 
Public
Category: 
Erromango, Location
Summary: 
Cook’s Bay was not inhabited as a long-term mission, but was instead used periodically by the missionaries.
DillonsBayEnclosures2014.png
Community: 
Public
Category: 
Erromango, Location
Summary: 
Dillon’s Bay was the site of the first missionary contacts on Erromango. There were also longer-term mission settlements that were explored with excavations.
KwameraAreaFeatures.png
Community: 
Public
Category: 
Location, Tanna
Summary: 
The Kwamera area had one of the richest archaeological landscapes recorded for this project. Findings dated from 800 years ago through the mission period.
LenakelAreaFeatures.png
Community: 
Public
Category: 
Location, Tanna
Summary: 
Lenakel was one of the later areas on Tanna to allow missionary settlement. It was home to a significant church building.
PortResolutionFeatures.png
Community: 
Public
Category: 
Location, Tanna
Summary: 
Port Resolution was an important place of early European contacts on Tanna.
WaisisiAreaFeatures.png
Community: 
Public
Category: 
Location, Tanna
Summary: 
The missionaries at Waisisi were William and Elizabeth Gray, who came from South Australia to Tanna in 1882. There are also many kastom sites in the area.