Rock engravings and occupation sites in the Mount Bosavi Region, Papua New Guinea: Implications for our understanding of the human presence in the Southern Highlands

Article


Lamb, Lara, Barker, Bryce, Leavesley, Matthew, Aubert, Maxime, Fairbairn, Andrew and Manne, Tiina. 2021. "Rock engravings and occupation sites in the Mount Bosavi Region, Papua New Guinea: Implications for our understanding of the human presence in the Southern Highlands." Archaeology in Oceania. 56 (3), pp. 304-321. https://doi.org/10.1002/arco.5247
Article Title

Rock engravings and occupation sites in the Mount Bosavi Region, Papua New Guinea: Implications for our understanding of the human presence in the Southern Highlands

ERA Journal ID7916
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsLamb, Lara (Author), Barker, Bryce (Author), Leavesley, Matthew (Author), Aubert, Maxime (Author), Fairbairn, Andrew (Author) and Manne, Tiina (Author)
Journal TitleArchaeology in Oceania
Journal Citation56 (3), pp. 304-321
Number of Pages18
Year2021
Place of PublicationHoboken, NJ, United States
ISSN0003-8121
1834-4453
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1002/arco.5247
Web Address (URL)https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/arco.5247
Abstract

An extensive body of engraved rock art on the Great Papuan Plateau is documented here for the first time, along with the first dates for occupation. Consisting largely of deeply abraded or pecked barred ovals and cupules, the rock art of this region does not fit comfortably into any regional models for rock art previously described. It does, however, exhibit some similarity to art in regions to the east and the west of the plateau. Subject to further archaeological testing, we present a number of exploratory hypotheses with which to explain the presence of the engravings; as part of the ethnographic and contemporary Kasua's cultural suite; as part of a relatively recent (late Holocene) migration of peoples from the Gulf to the plateau; or as part of an earlier movement of people from the west, possibly as part of the movement of people into the Sahul continent in the Late Pleistocene. We conclude that the Great Papuan Plateau is not a late and marginally occupied 'backwater' but rather part of a possible corridor of human movement across northern Sahul and a region that could allow us to better understand modern humans as they reached the Sahul continent.

Keywordsrock art, barred ovals, cupules, engravings, Papua New Guinea, Papuan Plateau, history, archaeology
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020439999. Other history, heritage and archaeology not elsewhere classified
430199. Archaeology not elsewhere classified
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Byline AffiliationsCentre for Heritage and Culture
University of Papua New Guinea, Papua New Guinea
Griffith University
University of Queensland
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Funding source
Australian Research Council (ARC)
Grant ID
DP190100159
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Barker, Bryce and Lamb, Lara. 2011. "Archaeological evidence for south sea islander traditional ritual practice at Wunjunga, Ayr, central Queensland coast." Australian Archaeology.
Nawarla Gabarnmang, a 45,180 ± 910 cal BP site in Jawoyn Country, southwest Arnhem Land plateau
David, Bruno, Geneste, Jean-Michel, Whear, Ray L., Delannoy, Jean-Jacques, Katherine, Margaret, Gunn, R. G., Clarkson, Christopher, Plisson, Hugues, Lee, Preston, Petchey, Fiona, Rowe, Cassandra, Barker, Bryce, Lamb, Lara, Miller, Wes, Hoerle, Stephane, James, Daniel, Boche, Elisa, Aplin, Ken, McNiven, Ian J., ..., Matthews, Jacqueline. 2011. "Nawarla Gabarnmang, a 45,180 ± 910 cal BP site in Jawoyn Country, southwest Arnhem Land plateau." Australian Archaeology.
A new ceramic assemblage from Caution Bay, south coast of mainland PNG: the Linear Shell End-Impressed Tradition from Bogi 1
David, Bruno, McNiven, Ian J., Leavelsey, Matthew, Barker, Bryce, Mandui, Herman, Richards, Thomas and Skelly, Robert. 2012. "A new ceramic assemblage from Caution Bay, south coast of mainland PNG: the Linear Shell End-Impressed Tradition from Bogi 1 ." Journal of Pacific Archaeology. 3 (1), pp. 73-89.
Prehistory of Australia by D.J. Mulvaney and J. Kamminga
Barker, Bryce. 1999. "Prehistory of Australia by D.J. Mulvaney and J. Kamminga." World Archaeological Bulletin. 10.
Shamans, sorcerers and saints: a prehistory of religion by Brian Hayden
Barker, Bryce. 2007. "Shamans, sorcerers and saints: a prehistory of religion by Brian Hayden." Australian Archaeology. 64, pp. 53-53.
Contemporary archaeology in theory: a reader
Barker, Bryce. 1997. "Contemporary archaeology in theory: a reader." Australian Archaeology. 44, pp. 70-71.
The archaeology of poverty and human dignity: charity and the work ethic in a 1930s Depression era itinerant's camp on the Toowoomba Range escarpment, Queensland
Barker, Bryce and Lamb, Lara. 2009. "The archaeology of poverty and human dignity: charity and the work ethic in a 1930s Depression era itinerant's camp on the Toowoomba Range escarpment, Queensland." Archaeologies: journal of the World Archaeological Congress. 5 (2), pp. 263-279. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11759-009-9101-4
An interview with Harry Lourandos
Lourandos, Harry, David, Bruno, Barker, Bryce and McNiven, Ian J.. 2006. "An interview with Harry Lourandos." David, Bruno, Barker, Bryce and McNiven, Ian J. (ed.) The social archaeology of Australian indigenous societies. Canberra, Australia. Aboriginal Studies Press. pp. 20-39
The social archaeology of indigenous Australia
McNiven, Ian J., David, Bruno and Barker, Bryce. 2006. "The social archaeology of indigenous Australia." David, Bruno, Barker, Bryce and McNiven, Ian J. (ed.) The social archaeology of Australian indigenous societies. Canberra, Australia. Aboriginal Studies Press. pp. 2-19
Hierarchies of knowledge and the tyranny of text: archaeology, ethnohistory and oral traditions in Australian archaeological interpretation
Barker, Bryce. 2006. "Hierarchies of knowledge and the tyranny of text: archaeology, ethnohistory and oral traditions in Australian archaeological interpretation." David, Bruno, Barker, Bryce and McNiven, Ian J. (ed.) The social archaeology of Australian indigenous societies. Canberra, Australia. Aboriginal Studies Press. pp. 72-84
Morphometric analyses of Batissa violacea shells from Emo (OAC), Gulf Province, Papua New Guinea
Thangavelu, Anbarasu, David, Bruno, Barker, Bryce, Geneste, Jean-Michel, Delannoy, Jean-Jacques, Lamb, Lara, Araho, Nick and Skelly, Robert. 2011. "Morphometric analyses of Batissa violacea shells from Emo (OAC), Gulf Province, Papua New Guinea." Archaeology in Oceania. 46 (2), pp. 67-75.
The Emo site (OAC), Gulf Province, Papua New Guinea: resolving long-standing questions of antiquity and implications for the history of the ancestral Hiri maritime trade
David, Bruno, Geneste, Jean-Michel, Aplin, Ken, Delannoy, Jean-Jacques, Araho, Nick, Clarkson, Christopher, Connell, Kate, Haberle, Simon, Barker, Bryce, Lamb, Lara, Stanisic, John, Fairbairn, Andrew, Skelly, Robert and Rowe, Cassandra. 2010. "The Emo site (OAC), Gulf Province, Papua New Guinea: resolving long-standing questions of antiquity and implications for the history of the ancestral Hiri maritime trade." Australian Archaeology. 70, pp. 39-54.
The ritual dugong bone mounds of Koey Ngurtai, Torres Strait, Australia: investigating their construction
Skelly, Robert, David, Bruno, McNiven, Ian J. and Barker, Bryce. 2011. "The ritual dugong bone mounds of Koey Ngurtai, Torres Strait, Australia: investigating their construction." International Journal of Osteoarchaeology. 21 (1), pp. 32-54. https://doi.org/10.1002/oa.1104
Koey Ngurtai: the emergence of a ritual domain in Western Torres Strait
David, Bruno, McNiven, Ian J., Crouch, Joe, Hewitt, Geoffrey, Skelly, Robert, Barker, Bryce and Courtney, Kris. 2009. "Koey Ngurtai: the emergence of a ritual domain in Western Torres Strait." Archaeology in Oceania. 44 (1), pp. 1-17.
Keveoki 1: exploring the Hiri ceramics trade at a short-lived village site near the Vailala River, Papua New Guinea
David, Bruno, Araho, Nick, Barker, Bryce, Kuaso, Alois and Moffat, Ian. 2009. "Keveoki 1: exploring the Hiri ceramics trade at a short-lived village site near the Vailala River, Papua New Guinea." Australian Archaeology. 68, pp. 11-22.
Living landscapes of the dead: archaeology of the afterworld among the Rumu of Papua New Guinea
David, Bruno, Pivoru, Max, Pivoru, William, Green, Michael, Barker, Bryce, Weiner, James F., Simala, Douglas, Kokents, Thomas, Arabo, Lisa and Dop, John. 2008. "Living landscapes of the dead: archaeology of the afterworld among the Rumu of Papua New Guinea." David, Bruno and Thomas, Julian (ed.) Handbook of landscape archaeology. Walnut Creek, CA. United States. Left Coast Press, Inc. pp. 158-166
Massacre, frontier conflict and Australian archaeology
Barker, Bryce. 2007. "Massacre, frontier conflict and Australian archaeology." Australian Archaeology. 64, pp. 9-14.
Evidence for early Holocene change in the Whitsunday Islands: a new radiocarbon determination, Nara Inlet 1
Lamb, Lara and Barker, Bryce. 2001. "Evidence for early Holocene change in the Whitsunday Islands: a new radiocarbon determination, Nara Inlet 1." Australian Archaeology. 53, pp. 42-43.
Holocene palynology of Whitehaven Swamp, Whitsunday Island, Queensland, and implications for the regional archaeological record
Genever, Matt, Grindrod, John and Barker, Bryce. 2003. "Holocene palynology of Whitehaven Swamp, Whitsunday Island, Queensland, and implications for the regional archaeological record." Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 201 (1-2), pp. 141-156. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0031-0182(03)00542-X
The sea people: late Holocene maritime specialisation in the Whitsunday Islands, central Queensland
Barker, Bryce. 2004. The sea people: late Holocene maritime specialisation in the Whitsunday Islands, central Queensland. Canberra, Australia. Pandanus Books.
Use and continuity in the customary marine tenure of the Whitsunday Islands
Barker, Bryce. 1998. "Use and continuity in the customary marine tenure of the Whitsunday Islands." Peterson, Nicholas and Rigsby, Bruce (ed.) Customary marine tenure in Australia. Sydney, Australia. Oceania Publications (University of Sydney). pp. 89-95
The temporality of cultural material on a deflated dune system at Abbot Point, Central Queensland coast
Barker, Bryce. 2006. "The temporality of cultural material on a deflated dune system at Abbot Point, Central Queensland coast." Australian Archaeology. 62, pp. 44-46.
Backed and forth: an exploration of variation in retouched implement production on the South Molle Island Quarry, Central Queensland
Lamb, Lara. 2005. "Backed and forth: an exploration of variation in retouched implement production on the South Molle Island Quarry, Central Queensland." Clarkson, Christopher and Lamb, Lara (ed.) Lithics down under: Australian perspectives on lithic reduction, use and classification. Oxford, England. Archaeopress. pp. 35-42
Casting new light on old stones
Clarkson, Christopher and Lamb, Lara. 2005. "Casting new light on old stones." Clarkson, Christopher and Lamb, Lara (ed.) Lithics down under: Australian perspectives on lithic reduction, use and classification. Oxford, England. Archaeopress. pp. 1-6
Investigating changing stone technologies, site use and occupational intensities at Fern Cave, north Queensland
Lamb, Lara. 1996. "Investigating changing stone technologies, site use and occupational intensities at Fern Cave, north Queensland ." Australian Archaeology. 42 (1), pp. 1-7. https://doi.org/10.1080/03122417.1996.11681564