Sentinel sites in a cosmo-political seascape

Greer, Shelley, Mcintyre-Tamwoy, Susan, and Henry, Rosita (2011) Sentinel sites in a cosmo-political seascape. In: Refereed Papers from the Seventh International Small Islands Cultures Conference, pp. 2-10. From: ISIC 7 - 2011 7th International Small Islands Conference, 12-15 June 2011, Airlie Beach, QLD, Australia.

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Abstract

We describe here a pattern of archaeological sites that suggest that 'mainland' Aboriginal people were viewed by their Torres Strait neighbours as being specialists in particular ritual knowledge. The region under consideration includes the northern-most tip of the Australian continent and extends northward through Torres Strait to Papua. Our study area focuses on the southern end of the region: the Australian mainland as well as Pabaju (Albany Island), Muri (Mt Adolphus Island) and associated islands and islets. Archaeological investigation over many years reveals a high density of ritual sites over this relatively small area. These include sites on prominent headlands. The density and visibility of sites could be interpreted as both marking and 'marketing' ritual expertise. The location of some of the sites also suggests they served as 'sentinels' within a cosmo-political seascape. Far from having an impoverished role in regional exchange networks, Australian mainlanders clearly held something of extraordinary value that drew people from the Torres Strait to their shores. We contend that southern reciprocity in regional trade and exchange may have been based on intangible knowledge transactions, in particular, knowledge related to increase ritual.

Item ID: 19866
Item Type: Conference Item (Refereed Research Paper - E1)
Keywords: Cape York, Torres Strait, increase ritual, stone arrangement, ritual landscape
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Date Deposited: 02 Apr 2012 04:27
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Archaeology @ 50%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australias Past @ 100%
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