Stone-walled fish traps of Australia and New Guinea as expressions of enhanced sociality

McNiven, Ian J., and Lambrides, Ariana B.J. (2021) Stone-walled fish traps of Australia and New Guinea as expressions of enhanced sociality. In: David, Bruno, and McNiven, Ian J., (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Indigenous Australia and New Guinea. Oxford University Press, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

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Fishing was and remains an important subsistence activity of many coastal and inland Indigenous peoples of Australia and New Guinea. The range of ethnographically known fishing methods used to obtain freshwater and marine fishes is similar across the two regions. This ethnographic picture of diversity and complexity is not matched archaeologically, where stone-walled fish traps dominate. Archaeological research on stone-walled fish traps has focused on technical dimensions (e.g., mapping, classification, and dating) and social dimensions (e.g., gender, social complexity, and social organization). Stone- walled fish traps can transform the social and ecological landscape and, in an archaeological context, provide an opportunity to explore decision making and the sociocultural changes associated with the installation of these fixed-in-place facilities. Relevant social organizational changes with potential material correlates amenable to archaeological research include the restructuring of residential sites; interregional gatherings and exchange relationships; aquatic resource enhancement and regularization; and ownership and control of facilities and resources, including territorial partitioning of land- and seascapes.

Item ID: 67777
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-0-19-009561-1
Keywords: Indigenous fishing, stone-walled fish traps, interregional gatherings, resource enhancement, landscapes, seascapes, ownership
Copyright Information: (C) Oxford University Press
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Date Deposited: 24 May 2021 23:04
FoR Codes: 45 INDIGENOUS STUDIES > 4501 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, language and history > 450101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander archaeology @ 50%
43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4301 Archaeology > 430101 Archaeological science @ 50%
SEO Codes: 13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1307 Understanding past societies > 130703 Understanding Australia’s past @ 100%
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