Australian Museum Journal Approaching the prehistory of Norfolk Island

Shortform:
Anderson and White, 2001, Rec. Aust. Mus., Suppl. 27: 1–9
Author(s):
Anderson, Atholl; White, Peter
Year published:
2001
Title:
Approaching the prehistory of Norfolk Island
Serial title:
Records of the Australian Museum, Supplement
Volume:
27
Start page:
1
End page:
9
DOI:
10.3853/j.0812-7387.27.2001.1335
Language:
English
Date published:
28 November 2001
Cover date:
28 November 2001
ISBN:
ISBN 0-7347-2305-9
ISSN:
0812-7387
CODEN:
RAMSEZ
Publisher:
The Australian Museum
Place published:
Sydney, Australia
Subjects:
ARCHAEOLOGY; NORFOLK ISLAND; ANTHROPOLOGY
Digitized:
28 November 2001
Available online:
28 November 2001
Reference number:
1335
EndNote package:
EndNote file
Title page:
Title page (16kb PDF)
Complete work:
Complete work (232kb PDF)

Abstract

Norfolk Island, on the northeast edge of the Tasman Sea, is of volcanic origin and moderate height. A humid, forested subtropical landmass, it had a diverse range of natural resources, including some food plants such as Cyathea, forest birds such as pigeon and parrot species and substantial colonies of seabirds, notably boobies and procellariids. Its shoreline had few shellfish, but the coastal waters were rich in fish, of which Lethrinids were especially abundant. The island had no inhabitants when discovered by Europeans in A.D. 1774. It was settled by them in A.D. 1788. From the eighteenth century discovery of feral bananas and then of stone adzes, knowledge of the prehistory of Norfolk Island has developed over a very long period. Collections of stone tools seemed predominantly East Polynesian in orientation, but Melanesian sources could not be ruled out. Research on fossil bone deposits established the antiquity of the human commensal Rattus exulans as about 800 B.P. but no prehistoric settlement site was known until one was discovered in 1995 at Emily Bay during the Norfolk Island Prehistory Project.