Specialised lithic technology of terminal Pleistocene maritime peoples of Wallacea

Maloney, Tim Ryan, Mahirta, , O'Connor, Susan, and Reepmeyer, Christian (2018) Specialised lithic technology of terminal Pleistocene maritime peoples of Wallacea. Archaeological Research in Asia, 16. pp. 78-87.

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Abstract

Excavation in Tron Bon Lei shelter on the Indonesian Island of Alor has uncovered a rich Pleistocene lithic assemblage, which includes obsidian artefacts representing a specialised industry previously undetected in any early stone tool assemblage of Island South East Asia (ISEA). Portable X-ray florescence of the obsidian assemblage has revealed three discrete sources, and that at least one of the sources is likely off-island. This indicates that inter-island exchange networks were active from the terminal Pleistocene onwards. Obsidian from all sources was reduced exclusively using bipolar anvil-resting techniques, resulting in the production of exceptionally small bipolar cores and flakes. The assemblage reveals extraordinary effort to reduce the obsidian, with cores being typically smaller than ten millimetres, and many around six millimetres at discard. Using reduction sequence analyses and technological observations, we document this specialised industry and discuss the role these artefacts may have played in the lifeways of the people of Alor Island.

Item ID: 54890
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2352-2275
Keywords: obsidian technology, bipolar reduction, inter-island exchange networks, Indonesia, Wallacea
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC Laureate Fellowship FL120100156, ARC DECRA DE130100046
Date Deposited: 27 Aug 2018 00:43
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210102 Archaeological Science @ 40%
21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210103 Archaeology of Asia, Africa and the Americas @ 60%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950502 Understanding Asias Past @ 100%
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