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Regional Interaction Networks in Southern Papua New Guinea During the Late Holocene: Evidence from the Chemical Characterisation of Chert Artefacts

  • Nicholas Sutton (a1), Glenn Summerhayes (a1) and Anne Ford (a1)

Abstract

Over 40 years of archaeological investigations along the south coast of Papua New Guinea has identified a rapid succession of cultural changes during the late Holocene. The so-called ‘Papuan Hiccup’ (c. 1200–800 cal bp) is a poorly understood period of socio-economic upheaval along the coast, identified mainly from changes in archaeological ceramic styles and settlement patterns. During this period, the region-wide Early Papuan Pottery (EPP) tradition diverges into separate, localised ceramic sequences that have generic associations with local ethnographic wares. A correspondence between the timing of the Papuan Hiccup and a period of peak El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) activity implies a link between cultural and climate change. This paper explores this relationship further by examining changes in interaction networks along the south coast of Papua New Guinea, specifically focusing on chert artefacts. Chemical characterisation (portable X-Ray Fluorescence; pXRF) and technological analysis are used to map changes in lithic technology over time, including access to raw materials and technological organisation, at the site of Taurama, a prehistoric coastal village site that was occupied both prior to and after the Papuan Hiccup. Although the sample sizes are small and the interpretations necessarily circumscribed, it is argued that changes in the number of chert sources being exploited and in the intensity of core reduction at Taurama may be related to climate change in the region.

Réseaux régionaux d’interaction en Papouasie Nouvelle Guinée du sud au cours de l’Holocène final: témoignages de caractérisation chimique d’objets manufacturés en chert, de Nicholas Sutton, Glenn Summerhayes, et Anne Ford

Plus de 40 ans de recherches archéologiques le long de la côte sud de la Papouasie Nouvelle Guinée ont identifié une succession rapide de changements culturels au cours de l’Holocène final. Le soi-disant ‘Contretemps Papouasien’ (env. 1200–800 bp cal.) est une période de bouleversement socio-économique le long de la côte, mal comprise,elle est identifiée surtout par des changements dans les styles de céramique archéologique et dans les modèles d’occupation. Au cours de cette période, la tradition régionale de la Poterie Papouasienne Primitive (EPP) diverge en séquences séparées de céramiques localisées qui ont des associations génériques avec la vaisselle ethnographique locale. Une correspondance entre l’apparition du ‘Contretemps Papouasien’ et une période de pic d’activité d’oscillation sud d’El Nino (ENSO) implique un lien entre changements culturels et climatiques. Cette étude explore cette relation plus en profondeur, examinant les changements dans les réseaux d’interaction le long de la côte sud de la Papouasie Nouvelle Guinée, se concentrant plus spécifiquement sur les objets en chert. La caractérisation chimique (fluorescence des rayons X portable;pXRF) et l’analyse technologique sont utilisées pour cartographier les changements dans la technologie lithique au fil du temps, y compris l’accès à la matière première et l’organisation technologique, sur le site de Taurama, site d’un village côtier préhistorique qui était occupé aussi bien avant qu’après le ‘Contretemps Papouasien’. Bien que la taille des échantillons soit petite et les interprétations nécessairement circoncrites, nous argumentons que les variations dans le nombre de sources de chert exploitées et dans l’intensité de la réduction de noyau à Taurama peuvent avoir un rapport avec le changement climatique dans la région.

Regionale Interaktionsnetzwerke im südlichen Papua-Neuguinea während des späten Holozäns: Belege aus chemischer Bestimmung von Silexartefakten, von Nicholas Sutton, Glenn Summerhayes, und Anne Ford

Mehr als 40 Jahre archäologischer Untersuchungen entlang der Südküste von Papua-Neuguinea führten zur Identifikation einer schnellen Folge von kulturellem Wandel während des späten Holozäns. Der sogenannte „Papua-Schluckauf“ (ca. 1200–800 bp) ist eine noch wenig greifbare Epoche sozioökonomischer Umbrüche entlang der Küste, was vor allem durch Änderungen in den archäologischen Keramikstilen und den Siedlungsweisen festgestellt wurde. In dieser Periode zerfällt die überregionale „Early Papuan Pottery“ (EPP) in separate lokale Keramiktraditionen, die generische Verbindungen zu lokalen ethnographischen Waren haben. Eine Übereinstimmung zwischen der zeitlichen Abfolge des Papua-Schluckaufs und einer Periode von Aktivitätsspitzen der El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) legt nahe, dass es eine Verbindung gibt zwischen kulturellem und klimatischem Wandel. Dieser Beitrag untersucht diese Beziehungen weiter, indem er Veränderungen in Interaktionsnetzwerken entlang der Südküste von Papua-Neuguinea untersucht und dabei vor allem auf Silexartefakte fokussiert. Chemische Bestimmungsverfahren (tragbare Röntgenfluoreszenz, pXRF) und technologische Analysen werden angewandt, um Veränderungen in der lithischen Technologie im Verlauf der Zeit am Fundort Taurama festzustellen, einschließlich des Zugangs zu Rohmaterial und technologischer Organisation; Taurama ist eine prähistorische Küstensiedlung, die sowohl vor als auch nach dem Papua-Schluckauf bewohnt war. Auch wenn die Probengrößen gering und die Interpretationen notwendigerweise eingeschränkt sind, kann argumentiert werden, dass Veränderungen in der Anzahl ausgebeuteter Silex-Quellen und in der Intensität des Abbaus der Silex-Kerne in Taurama mit dem Klimawandel in der Region in Verbindung gebracht werden kann.

Redes de interacción regional en el sur de Papua Nueva Guinea durante el Holoceno final: evidencias a partir de la caracterización química de los objetos de sílex, por Nicholas Sutton, Glenn Summerhayes, y Anne Ford

Tras unos cuarenta años de investigaciones arqueológicas en la costa sur de Papua Nueva Guinea se ha identificado una rápida sucesión de cambios culturales durante el Holoceno final. El denominado “Papuan Hiccup” (ca. 1200–800 cal bp) es un período escasamente conocido de turbulencias socioeconómicas a lo largo de la costa, identificadas principalmente a partir de los cambios en los estilos de las cerámicas arqueológicas y de los patrones de asentamiento. Durante este período, la tradición a escala regional de la Early Papuan Pottery (EPP) se divide en distintas secuencias cerámicas asociadas genéricamente con las producciones etnográficas locales. La correspondencia entre la cronología del Papuan Hiccup y el momento de máxima actividad de la Oscilación Sureste de El Niño (ENSO) implica una relación entre los cambios culturales y climáticos. Este artículo explora esta relación examinando los cambios en las redes de interacción a lo largo de la costa sur de Papua Nueva Guinea, centrándose principalmente en los útiles de sílex. En el sitio de Tauama, un poblado prehistórico costero que fue ocupado en los momentos previos y posteriores al Papuan Hiccup se ha empleado la caracterización química (Fluorescencia de Rayos X portátil; pXRF) y el análisis tecnológico para cartografiar cambios en la tecnológica lítica a lo largo del tiempo, incluyendo el acceso a las materias primas y la organización tecnológica. Aunque el tamaño de la muestra es pequeño y las interpretaciones son necesariamente restringidas, se sostiene que los cambios en las variedades de recursos de sílex explotados y la intensidad en la reducción de los núcleos en Taurama podrían estar relacionados con los cambios climáticos en la región.

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References

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