Island Melanesia consists of the archipelagos to the east and southeast of the island of New Guinea: the Biskmarcks (New Britain, New Ireland and Manus), the Solomons, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. I have recently discussed the distinctiveness of Island Melanesia in relation to New Guinea to the west and Fiji-West Polynesia to the east (Spriggs 1993). On present evidence the Bismarcks and the main Solomons chain were occupied by people by about 35000-30000 bp, but the eastern outer islands of the Solomons (the Reef-Santa Cruz group), Vanuatu and New Caledonia do not appear to have been reached before about 3200 BP during the expansion of the Lapita cultural complex. The boundary between the main Solomons and the eastern outer islands is a major biogeographical divide, separating what Green (1991a) has called Near and Remote Oceania. This boundary may have represented an absolute barrier to pre-agricultural settlement (Spriggs 1989a).