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Histories of Australian Rock Art Research »

Publication date: September 2022
Australia has one of the largest inventories of rock art in the world with pictographs and petroglyphs found almost anywhere that has suitable rock surfaces – in rock shelters and caves, on boulders and rock platforms. First Nations people have been marking these places with figurative imagery, abstract designs, stencils and prints for tens of thousands of years, often engaging with earlier rock markings. The art reflects and expresses changing experiences within landscapes over time, spirituality, history, law and lore, as well as relationships between individuals and groups of people, plants, animals, land and Ancestral Beings that are said to have created the world, including some rock art. Since the late 1700s, people arriving in Australia have been fascinated with the rock art they encountered, with detailed studies commencing in the late 1800s. Through the 1900s an impressive body of research on Australian rock art was undertaken, with dedicated academic study using archaeological methods employed since the late 1940s. Since then, Australian rock art has been researched from various perspectives, including that of Traditional Owners, custodians and other community members. Through the 1900s, there was also growing interest in Australian rock art from researchers across the globe, leading many to visit or migrate to Australia to undertake rock art research. In this volume, the varied histories of Australian rock art research from different parts of the country are explored not only in terms of key researchers, developments and changes over time, but also the crucial role of First Nations people themselves in investigations of this key component of their living heritage.
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Uncovering Pacific Pasts »

Histories of Archaeology in Oceania

Publication date: June 2022
Objects have many stories to tell. The stories of their makers and their uses. Stories of exchange, acquisition, display and interpretation. This book is a collection of essays highlighting some of the collections, and their object biographies, that were displayed in the Uncovering Pacific Pasts: Histories of Archaeology in Oceania (UPP) exhibition. The exhibition, which opened on 1 March 2020, sought to bring together both notable and relatively unknown Pacific material culture and archival collections from around the globe, displaying them simultaneously in their home institutions and linked online at www.uncoveringpacificpasts.org. Thirty‑eight collecting institutions participated in UPP, including major collecting institutions in the United Kingdom, continental Europe and the Americas, as well as collecting institutions from across the Pacific.
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Archaeological Perspectives on Conflict and Warfare in Australia and the Pacific »

Publication date: March 2022
When James Boswell famously lamented the irrationality of war in 1777, he noted the universality of conflict across history and across space – even reaching what he described as the gentle and benign southern ocean nations. This volume discusses archaeological evidence of conflict from those southern oceans, from Palau and Guam, to Australia, Vanuatu and Tonga, the Marquesas, Easter Island and New Zealand. The evidence for conflict and warfare encompasses defensive earthworks on Palau, fortifications on Tonga, and intricate pa sites in New Zealand. It reports evidence of reciprocal sacrifice to appease deities in several island nations, and skirmishes and smaller scale conflicts, including in Easter Island. This volume traces aspects of colonial-era conflict in Australia and frontier battles in Vanuatu, and discusses depictions of World War II materiel in the rock art of Arnhem Land. Among the causes and motives discussed in these papers are pressure on resources, the ebb and flow of significant climate events, and the significant association of conflict with culture contact. The volume, necessarily selective, eclectic and wide-ranging, includes an incisive introduction that situates the evidence persuasively in the broader scholarship addressing the history of human warfare.
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Forts and Fortification in Wallacea »

Archaeological and Ethnohistoric Investigations

Publication date: September 2020
‘This volume presents ground-breaking research on fortified sites in three parts of Wallacea by a highly regarded group of scholars from Australia, Europe, Southeast Asia and the United States. In addition to surveying and dating defensive sites in often remote and difficult terrain, the chapters provide an important and scholarly set of archaeological and ethnohistoric studies that investigate the origin of forts in Wallacea. Socio-political instability from climate events, the materialisation of indigenous belief systems, and the substantial impact of imperial expansion and European colonialism are examined and comprise a significant addition to our knowledge of conflict and warfare in an under-studied part of the Indo-Pacific. The archaeological record for past conflict is frequently ambiguous and the contribution of warfare to social development is mired in debate and paradox. Authors demonstrate that forts and other defensive constructions are costly and complicated structures that, while designed and built to protect a community from a threat of imminent violence, had (and have) complicated life histories as a result of their architectural permanence, strategic locations and traditional cultural and political significance. Understanding why conflict outbreaks – like human colonisation – often appear in the past as a punctuated event can best be approached through long-term records of conflict and violence involving archaeology and allied historical disciplines, as has been successfully done here. The volume is essential reading for archaeologists, cultural heritage managers and those with an interest in conflict studies.’ — Professor Geoffrey Clark, College of Asia and the Pacific, The Australian National University, Canberra.
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Debating Lapita »

Distribution, Chronology, Society and Subsistence

Publication date: December 2019
‘This volume is the most comprehensive review of Lapita research to date, tackling many of the lingering questions regarding origin and dispersal. Multidisciplinary in nature with a focus on summarising new findings, but also identifying important gaps that can help direct future research.’ — Professor Scott Fitzpatrick, Department of Anthropology, University of Oregon ‘This substantial volume offers a welcome update on the definition of the Lapita culture. It significantly refreshes the knowledge on this foundational archaeological culture of the Pacific Islands in providing new data on sites and assemblages, and new discussions of hypotheses previously proposed.’ — Dr Frédérique Valentin, Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Paris This volume comprises 23 chapters that focus on the archaeology of Lapita, a cultural horizon associated with the founding populations who first colonised much of the south west Pacific some 3000 years ago. The Lapita culture has been most clearly defined by its distinctive dentate-stamped decorated pottery and the design system represented on it and on further incised pots. Modern research now encompasses a whole range of aspects associated with Lapita and this is reflected in this volume. The broad overlapping themes of the volume—Lapita distribution and chronology, society and subsistence—relate to research questions that have long been debated in relation to Lapita.
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Archaeologies of Island Melanesia »

Current approaches to landscapes, exchange and practice

Publication date: August 2019
‘The island world of Melanesia—ranging from New Guinea and the Bismarcks through the Solomons, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia—is characterised more than anything by its boundless diversity in geography, language and culture. The deep historical roots of this diversity are only beginning to be uncovered by archaeological investigations, but as the contributions to this volume demonstrate, the exciting discoveries being made across this region are opening windows to our understanding of the historical processes that contributed to such remarkably varied cultures. Archaeologies of Island Melanesia offers a sampling of some of the recent and ongoing research that spans such topics as landscape, exchange systems, culture contact and archaeological practice, authored by some of the leading scholars in Oceanic archaeology.’ — Professor Patrick Vinton Kirch Professor of Anthropology, University of Hawai‘i Island Melanesia is a remarkable region in many respects, from its great ecological and linguistic diversity, to the complex histories of settlement and interaction spanning from the Pleistocene to the present. Archaeological research in Island Melanesia is currently going through a vibrant phase of exciting new discoveries and challenging debates about questions that apply far beyond the region. This volume draws together a variety of current perspectives in regional archaeology for Island Melanesia, focusing on Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea. It features both high-level theoretical approaches and rigorous data-driven case studies covering recent research in landscape archaeology, exchange and material culture, and cultural practices.
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The Spice Islands in Prehistory »

Archaeology in the Northern Moluccas, Indonesia

Edited by: Peter Bellwood
Publication date: June 2019
This monograph reports the results of archaeological investigations undertaken in the Northern Moluccas Islands (the Indonesian Province of Maluku Utara) by Indonesian, New Zealand and Australian archaeologists between 1989 and 1996. Excavations were undertaken in caves and open sites on four islands (Halmahera, Morotai, Kayoa and Gebe). The cultural sequence spans the past 35,000 years, commencing with shell and stone artefacts, progressing through the arrival of a Neolithic assemblage with red-slipped pottery, domesticated pigs and ground stone adzes around 1300 BC, and culminating in the appearance of Metal Age assemblages around 2000 years ago. The Metal Age also appears to have been a period of initial pottery use in Morotai Island, suggesting interaction between Austronesian-speaking and Papuan-speaking communities, whose descendants still populate these islands today. The 13 chapters in the volume have multiple authors, and include site excavation reports, discussions of radiocarbon chronology, earthenware pottery, lithic and non-ceramic artefacts, worked shell, animal bones, human osteology and health.
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Drawing in the Land »

Rock Art in the Upper Nepean, Sydney Basin, New South Wales

Authored by: Julie Dibden
Publication date: February 2019
Drawing in the Land offers an important contribution to the field of rock art research and Australian archaeology. It provides a detailed study of the previously under-examined rock art of the Hawkesbury/Nepean area of New South Wales. The study presents a detailed historiography of Australian rock art research and, through the lens of landscape archaeology, offers an innovative contribution to rock art studies in the wider Sydney Basin. The volume’s theoretical focus on materiality, embodied practice and performance allows for the charting of ideational change and provides a unique contribution to the late Holocene archaeology of NSW and contact archaeology within Australia more broadly.
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The Archaeology of Sulawesi »

Current Research on the Pleistocene to the Historic Period

Publication date: November 2018
The central Indonesian island of Sulawesi has recently been hitting headlines with respect to its archaeology. It contains some of the oldest directly dated rock art in the world, and some of the oldest evidence for a hominin presence beyond the southeastern limits of the Ice Age Asian continent. In this volume, scholars from Indonesia and Australia come together to present their research findings and views on a broad range of topics. From early periods, these include observations on Ice Age climate, life in caves and open sites, rock art, and the animals that humans exploited and lived alongside. The archaeology presented from later periods covers the rise of the Bugis kingdom, Chinese trade ceramics, and a range of site-based and regional topics from the Neolithic through to the arrival of Islam. This carefully edited volume is the first to be devoted entirely to the archaeology of the island of Sulawesi, and it lays down a baseline for significant future research. Peter Bellwood Emeritus Professor The Australian National University
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The Archaeology of Rock Art in Western Arnhem Land, Australia »

Publication date: November 2017
Western Arnhem Land, in the Top End of Australia’s Northern Territory, has a rich archaeological landscape, ethnographic record and body of rock art that displays an astonishing array of imagery on shelter walls and ceilings. While the archaeology goes back to the earliest period of Aboriginal occupation of the continent, the rock art represents some of the richest, most diverse and visually most impressive regional assemblages anywhere in the world. To better understand this multi-dimensional cultural record, The Archaeology of Rock Art in Western Arnhem Land, Australia focuses on the nature and antiquity of the region’s rock art as revealed by archaeological surveys and excavations, and the application of novel analytical methods. This volume also presents new findings by which to rethink how Aboriginal peoples have socially engaged in and with places across western Arnhem Land, from the north to the south, from the plains to the spectacular rocky landscapes of the plateau. The dynamic nature of Arnhem Land rock art is explored and articulated in innovative ways that shed new light on the region’s deep time Aboriginal history.
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