Papua New Guinea highland research redates Neolithic period


Graphic: College of Otago Professor of Archaeology Professor Glenn Summerhayes with area crew in Papua New Guinea.
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Credit history: College of Otago

A new report posted in Science Innovations on the emergence of agriculture in highland Papua New Guinea reveals advancements often related with a later on Neolithic time period transpired about one thousand years’ before than earlier imagined.

College of Otago Archaeology Programme Professor and report co-writer Glenn Summerhayes suggests results in Emergence of a Neolithic in highland New Guinea by 5000 to 4000 a long time ago, present insights into when and how the highlands have been very first occupied the role of financial vegetation in this system the advancement of trade routes which led to the translocation of vegetation and systems and an related report of landscape, setting and local weather modify via time.

The report facts the earliest figurative stone carving and formally made pestles in Oceania, relationship to 5050 to 4200 a long time ago, which have been observed at a dig web page in Waim. Also observed have been the earliest planilateral axe-adzes uncovered in New Guinea to day, and the very first evidence for fibrecraft and interisland obsidian transfer from neighbouring islands around distances of at the very least 800km.

“The new evidence from Waim fills a crucial hole in our understanding of the social changes and technological innovations that have contributed to the establishing cultural variety in New Guinea,” Professor Summerhayes suggests.

The mix of symbolic social units, elaborate systems, and highland agricultural intensification supports an impartial emergence of a Neolithic all-around one thousand a long time just before the arrival of Neolithic migrants, the Lapita, from Southeast Asia. When considered collectively with a expanding corpus of reports indicating expansion and intensification of agricultural techniques, these combined cultural elements stand for the advancement of a regionally distinct Neolithic.

The study establishes relationship for other finds at the web page, such as a fire lights resource, postholes, and a fibrecraft resource with ochre, quite possibly applied for colouring string fibre.

The report indicates increased population tension on the uneven distribution of organic assets probably drove this system, which is additional inferred by language and genetic divergence.

The job arose out of an Australian Study Council Grant awarded to Dr Judith Area (College of New South Wales) and Professor Summerhayes.

“Previous Otago postgraduate student Dr Ben Shaw was used as postdoctoral fellow to do the “leg get the job done in the area” and Dr Anne Ford (Otago Archaeology Programme) contributed to understandings of the stone resource systems. As it worked out numerous of these wealthy discoveries have been built by Dr Shaw. It was a single of the greatest appointments Dr Area and I have ever built. I am proud of our Otago graduates who are some of the greatest in the world.”

Professor Summerhayes and his group experienced earlier concluded a Marsden funded job in the Ivane Valley of Papua, establishing the starting of human occupation at 50,000 a long time ago. The outcomes of this get the job done have been posted in Science in 2010.

“This job is a abide by-on the place we wished to build a chronology of human presence in the Simbai/Kaironk Valley of Papua New Guinea by systematic archaeological survey with subsequent excavation and examination of a decide on range of sites.

“This get the job done tracks prolonged-term designs of settlement heritage, useful resource use and trade, and establishes an environmental context for these developments by compiling vegetation histories, with particular focus paid out to fire histories, indicators of landscape disturbance and markers of local weather variability. This will increase to understandings of peoples’ affect on the setting.”

Professor Summerhayes gained a Marsden grant in late 2019 for his job “Crossing the divide from Asia to the Pacific: Knowledge Austronesian colonisation gateways into the Pacific”. This will contain get the job done in the Ramu Valley, which was when section of an inland sea, and will tie in the developments of Highland New Guinea, with the movements of Austronesian speakers into the Pacific.


For additional data call

Professor Glenn Summerhayes

College of Otago, Department of Archaeology

E mail: [email protected]

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