The Archaeology of the Aru Islands, Eastern Indonesia

The Archaeology of the Aru Islands, Eastern Indonesia

Edited by: Sue O'Connor, Matthew Spriggs orcid, Peter Veth
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This volume describes the results of the first archaeological survey and excavations carried out in the fascinating and remote Aru Islands, Eastern Indonesia between 1995 and 1997. The naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, who stopped here in search of the Birds of Paradise on his voyage through the Indo-Malay Archipelago in the 1850s, was the first to draw attention to the group. The results reveal a complex and fascinating history covering the last 30,000 years from its early settlement by hunter-gatherers, the late Holocene arrival of ceramic producing agriculturalists, later associations with the Bird of Paradise trade and the colonial expansion of the Dutch trading empires.

The excavations and finds from two large Pleistocene caves, Liang Lemdubu and Nabulei Lisa, are reported in detail documenting the changing environmental and cultural history of the islands from when they were connected to Greater Australia and used by hunter/gatherers to their formation as islands and use by agriculturalists. The results of the excavation of the late Neolithic — Metal Age midden at Wangil are discussed, as is the mysterious pre-Colonial fort at Ujir and the 350-year old ruins of forts and a church associated with the Dutch garrisons.


ISBN (print):
ISBN (online):
Publication date:
Feb 2007
Terra Australis 22
ANU Press
Terra Australis
Arts & Humanities: Archaeology
Southeast Asia

PDF Chapters

The Archaeology of the Aru Islands, Eastern Indonesia »

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  1. The Aru Islands In Perspective: A General Introduction (PDF, 412KB) Matthew Spriggs, Sue O’Connor and Peter Veth
  2. Environmental Change in the Aru Islands (PDF, 291KB) Geoffrey Hope and Ken Aplin
  3. Mammals and Other Vertebrates from Late Quaternary Archaeological Sites on Pulau Kobroor, Aru Islands, Eastern Indonesia (PDF, 232KB) Ken Aplin and Juliette Pasveer
  4. Three Seasons of Archaeological Survey in the Aru Islands, 1995–97 (PDF, 511KB) Matthew Spriggs, Peter Veth, Sue O’Connor, Husni Mohammad, Ako Jatmiko, Widya Nayati, Aliza Diniasti Saleh, and Djoko Witjaksono
  5. The Ujir Site: An Early Historic Maritime Settlement in Northwestern Aru (PDF, 174KB) Peter Veth, Sue O’Connor, Matthew Spriggs, Widya Nayati, Ako Jatmiko and Husni Mohammad
  6. Wangil Midden: A Late Prehistoric Site, With Remarks on Ethnographic Pottery Making (PDF, 446KB) Peter Veth, Matthew Spriggs, Sue O’Connor, and Aliza Diniasti Saleh
  7. Liang Nabulei Lisa: A Late Pleistocene and Holocene Sequence from the Aru Islands (PDF, 607KB) Sue O’Connor, Ken Aplin, Juliette Pasveer and Geoff Hope
  8. Human Remains from Liang Nabulei Lisa, Aru Islands (PDF, 103KB) David Bulbeck
  9. Liang Lemdubu: A Pleistocene Cave Site in the Aru Islands (PDF, 416KB) Sue O’Connor, Ken Aplin, Katherine Szabó, Juliette Pasveer, Peter Veth, and Matthew Spriggs
  10. Artefacts on Aru: Evaluating the Technological Sequences (PDF, 244KB) Peter Hiscock
  11. Bone Artefacts from Liang Lemdubu and Liang Nabulei Lisa, Aru Islands (PDF, 182KB) Juliette Pasveer
  12. The Last Glacial Maximum Human Burial from Liang Lemdubu in Northern Sahulland (PDF, 352KB) David Bulbeck
  13. Isoleucine Epimerization in Casuarius Eggshells from Archaeological Sites in the Aru Islands (PDF, 172KB) Simon J. Clarke and Gifford H. Miller
  14. On the Cultural History of the Aru Islands: Some Conclusions (PDF, 87KB) Sue O’Connor, Matthew Spriggs, and Peter Veth

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