Gendering the archaeology of the mission frontier in the New Hebrides
The New Hebrides (now Vanuatu) was the location of a series of sometimes dramatic encounters with Presbyterian missionaries from the 1840s through the early 20th century. Survey and excavations of mission landscapes revealed the ways that missionaries sought to carve out a ‘civilised’ space in the ‘savage’ Melanesian islands where they settled. Mission encounters were also heavily gendered, both in the domestic relationships between missionary husbands, wives, and children, and in the relationships missionaries formed with local Islanders. Evidence from nine years of archaeological research on mission landscapes and material culture from southern Vanuatu is used to explore the implications of gender for understanding these colonial encounters.