Australian Museum Journal Balof Shelter, New Ireland—report on a small excavation

Shortform:
Downie and White, 1978, Rec. Aust. Mus. 31(19): 762–802
Author(s):
Downie, J. E.; White, J. Peter
Year published:
1978
Title:
Balof Shelter, New Ireland—report on a small excavation
Serial title:
Records of the Australian Museum
Volume:
31
Issue:
19
Start page:
762
End page:
802
DOI:
10.3853/j.0067-1975.31.1978.220
Language:
English
Date published:
31 December 1978
Cover date:
31 December 1978
ISSN:
0067-1975
CODEN:
RAUMAJ
Publisher:
The Australian Museum
Place published:
Sydney, Australia
Subjects:
ANTHROPOLOGY; NEW BRITAIN; NEW GUINEA; MAMMALIA
Digitized:
24 December 2008
Available online:
02 March 2009
Reference number:
220
EndNote package:
EndNote file
Title page:
Title page (90kb PDF)
Complete work:
Complete work (3580kb PDF)

Abstract

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.