The palaeoenvironments of Kuk Swamp from the beginnings of agriculture in the highlands of Papua New Guinea

Haberle, Simon G., Lentfer, Carol, O'Donnell, Shawn and Denham, Tim (2012) The palaeoenvironments of Kuk Swamp from the beginnings of agriculture in the highlands of Papua New Guinea. Quaternary International, 249 129-139. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2011.07.048

Author Haberle, Simon G.
Lentfer, Carol
O'Donnell, Shawn
Denham, Tim
Title The palaeoenvironments of Kuk Swamp from the beginnings of agriculture in the highlands of Papua New Guinea
Journal name Quaternary International   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1040-6182
Publication date 2012-02-06
Year available 2011
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.quaint.2011.07.048
Volume 249
Start page 129
End page 139
Total pages 11
Place of publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Pergamon
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Pollen, phytolith and charcoal records from the archaeological wetland site of Kuk Swamp, Wahgi Valley, Papua New Guinea spanning the period from <20,000 to 270 cal BP are compiled to reconstruct past vegetation and plant exploitation during the earliest to late phases of agricultural development. Samples collected from exposed stratigraphic sections associated with archaeological excavations enable detailed reconstructions of local vegetation and fire histories that can be directly linked to archaeological evidence for agricultural activity. The record of past environmental change is constructed through detailed chronological control and stratigraphic correlation across the swamp, revealing evidence of early Holocene vegetation disturbance including short-term, patchy forest loss and burning considered indicative of plant exploitation. It is not until the mid-Holocene (after 7000 cal BP) that persistent and widespread forest loss occurs, with burning and the transplanting of Musa banana into an open grassland environment, which is contemporary with local archaeological features representing cultivation practices. Multi-proxy palaeoecological evidence at Kuk provides a robust vegetation history and land use chronology for the Upper Wahgi Valley for the late Pleistocene and Holocene, including the emergence of an agricultural landscape by 7000 cal BP. Subsequent agricultural developments in the highlands of New Guinea can be seen as a series of continuing indigenous innovations in agricultural technology in the face of increased land degradation, climate change and external influences.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Available online 22 August 2011.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Social Science Publications
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Created: Thu, 29 Sep 2011, 17:45:12 EST by Carol Lentfer on behalf of School of Social Science