Refereed Article The contribution of use-wear/residue studies of obsidian for understanding changes in settlement and subsistence patterns in West New Britain, Papua New Guinea

Citation: Kononenko N.A.. 2007. The contribution of use-wear/residue studies of obsidian for understanding changes in settlement and subsistence patterns in West New Britain, Papua New Guinea. Bulletin of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association. 27. 135-143.

Abstract:

This paper considers how patterns in use-wear/residues
relate to debates about the nature of the day-to-day lives
of the people who created the Lapita Cultural Complex.
Changes in subsistence and settlement patterns have often
been proposed as being the result of the introduction of
new kinds of agriculture to the Bismarck Archipelago by
people using Lapita pottery (Green 2002:95-120; Kirch
1997:45-52; Spriggs 1997:67-106). In contrast, several
recent use-wear/residue studies of stone tools in West
New Britain, Papua New Guinea have reconstructed a
complex pattern with a much longer term trend toward
the intensification of resource exploitation and a decrease
in mobility (Fullagar 1992:135-43; Torrence 1992:111-
26; Torrence et al. 2000:225-44). To further examine the
impact of Lapita on subsistence and settlement patterns, a
use-wear/residue study was made of a large number of
obsidian artefacts excavated from two test pits at the FAO
site on Garua Island. The sample included artefacts dating
from both before and during the time of Lapita pottery.
My preliminary analyses indicate there were no differences
between these periods in terms of the kinds of
tool use or the nature of the activities apparent at the site.

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