The Murray Islands archaeological project: excavations on Mer and Duar, eastern Torres Strait

Carter, Melissa, Barham, Anthony J., Veth, Peter, Bird, Doug W., O'Connor, Sue, and Bliege Bird, Rebecca (2004) The Murray Islands archaeological project: excavations on Mer and Duar, eastern Torres Strait. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum, Cultural Heritage Series, 3 (1). pp. 163-182.

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Abstract

This paper reports results of excavations undertaken on the islands of Mer and Dauar, eastern Torres Strait. These investigations were conducted as the first phase of the Murray Islands Archaeological Project, coordinated as an interdisciplinary and collaborative investigation into the cultural and natural prehistory of the Murray Islands. The excavations at Kurkur Weid and Pitkik on Mer produced dense shell deposits and a radiocarbon chronology that suggests initial use of marine resources at these sites around 1200 BP. The excavation of a shell midden deposit at Sokoli on Dauar recovered over 2m of marine faunal remains, and at that time produced the earliest radiocarbon dates for occupation in the Torres Strait at around 2500 to 3000 year BP. The recovery of a ceramic shard from the excavation at Sokoli dated to around 1200 years BP also attests to an established prehistoric trade network with Papua New Guinea. These results have established the significant archaeological potential of the Meriam Islands and will continue to further our understanding of occupation and subsistence in the Torres Strait and its Papua New Guinea connections.

Item ID: 13935
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: cultural complex; ethnohistory; holocene; north Queensland; palaeoenvironments; Torres Strait
ISSN: 1440-4788
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2011 22:44
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210102 Archaeological Science @ 50%
21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210108 Historical Archaeology (incl Industrial Archaeology) @ 25%
21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210110 Maritime Archaeology @ 25%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9503 Heritage > 950302 Conserving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage @ 100%
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