The excavation of 6 [sq m] from a rock shelter in New Ireland is described. The maximum depth of deposit was 80 cm, with no clear strata being visible. A radiocarbon date of 6–7,000 years b.p. was obtained from the lowest levels, and one of 2,500 years b.p. from the middle. Faunal materials recovered include mammals (all except one still extant), lagoon fishes, reptiles and shellfish, the last being primarily from reef and lagoon environments. Artefacts from earlier levels include bone bi-points, flaked stone tools patterned similarly to those from the New Guinea Highlands and made from stone from a variety of resources, and obsidian imported from Talasea, New Britain. Obsidian from the Lou (Admiralty Is.) source, and pottery date from about 2,500 years ago. The site is the oldest so far excavated in Melanesia, and data from it provide insights into the development of trade patterns in the area over the last 7,000 years.