A Holocene sequence from Walufeni Cave, Southern Highlands Province, and its implications for the settlement of the Great Papuan Plateau, Papua New Guinea

Barker, Bryce, Lamb, Lara, Leavesley, Matthew, Manne, Tiina, Fairbairn, Andrew, Coe, Andrew, Lowe, Kelsey M., Beni, Teppsy, Neanda, Betty, and Aubert, Maxime (2023) A Holocene sequence from Walufeni Cave, Southern Highlands Province, and its implications for the settlement of the Great Papuan Plateau, Papua New Guinea. Australian Archaeology, 89 (1). pp. 47-65.

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Abstract

This paper presents preliminary results from the 2019 excavations at Walufeni Cave, at the eastern end of the Great Papuan Plateau (GPP) in western Papua New Guinea. Preliminary dating and analysis of the unfinished excavations at Walufeni Cave span the Holocene and probably continue into the Late Pleistocene, confirming the presence of people on the Plateau from at least the Early Holocene and potentially much earlier. The data presented here offer a site-specific model of early intensive site use from at least 10,000 years ago, then ephemeral use, followed by a sustained Late Holocene occupation. Although there are significant changes in the quantity of material discard over time, there is little evidence for significant change in the subsistence base or technology, reflecting a degree of relative homogeneity until the Late Holocene, when we see the introduction of pig, a change of focus in the plant economy and the presence of marine shell from the southern coast.

Item ID: 78489
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0312-2417
Keywords: Great Papuan Plateau, Holocene occupation, Migration, Nassarius shell, rainforest subsistence, Southern Highlands, Terminal Pleistocene
Copyright Information: © 2023 The Author(s). This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/)
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC DP190100159
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2023 23:46
FoR Codes: 43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4301 Archaeology > 430199 Archaeology not elsewhere classified @ 50%
37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3709 Physical geography and environmental geoscience > 370905 Quaternary environments @ 50%
SEO Codes: 13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1307 Understanding past societies > 130799 Understanding past societies not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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