The thesis concentrated on agricultural intensification and human impact on the environment of Aneityum, the southern-most inhabited island of the archipelago, as well as ethno-archaeological study of irrigation systems on the northern island of Maewo (Spriggs 1981, 1986).
In 1995 research was extended to the island of Malakula and in 1996 to Aneityum, Efate and Maewo.
Traditionally, however, like all Oceanic peoples, the people of Ambae were very much a seafaring people, using canoes not only for travel to other parts of the island and the nearby, visible islands of Maewo and Pentecost, but for much lengthier journeys to distant islands, for which they required considerable navigation skills.
For example my recent research into the closely related languages of the neighbouring island of Maewo reveals that the systems operating in the three languages spoken on this island are virtually identical to that used in Ambae.
He was travelling from the nearby island of Maewo to Santo, taking yams to feed his pigs there.
A man came to Maewo from the west coast of Santo, seeking a wife for one of his sons.
For example, rows of cupules found in the caves of Malakula, Maewo
and Erromango are among the most dominant motif arrangements in the engraved rock-art.