Migration and material culture at Mask Cave, Torres Strait

Harricks, Ryan (2007). Migration and material culture at Mask Cave, Torres Strait Honours Thesis, School of Social Science, The University of Queensland.

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Author Harricks, Ryan
Thesis Title Migration and material culture at Mask Cave, Torres Strait
School, Centre or Institute School of Social Science
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2007
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Andrew Fairbairn
Ian Lilley
Total pages 60
Language eng
Subjects L
210101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Archaeology
Formatted abstract

This thesis examines claims recently put forward by McNiven et al. (2006) for a migration into the Torres Strait by mainland New Guinea groups c.2500 BP. Support for this hypothesis rests mostly on fragments of pottery dating from c.2 500 BP that have been recovered from the Mask Cave, Pulu Islet (Western Islands) site. The discovery of ancient pottery in the Torres Strait has implications for how researchers currently understand interactive processes amongst populations living in the New Guinea-Torres Strait-Australia region c.2500 BP. Proving or disproving McNiven et al.'s (2006), or any other, hypothesis is not the main aim of this paper. However, critical evaluation of the evidence and arguments put forward by McNiven et al. (2006) and others, and viewed within certain theoretical perspectives, shows that a migration hypothesis is not easily supported. Alternative explanations are explored, including diffusionary processes centered on the Eastern Islands of Torres Strait, which show much clearer archaeological affiliations with mainland New Guinea populations than do the Western Islands. Examining how the skills necessary to create pottery arrived in the Western Islands of Torres Strait is as significant for our understanding of the prehistory of the region as the discovery of the pottery itself.

Keyword Archaeology - Australia

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Created: Wed, 12 Feb 2014, 11:50:44 EST by Nicole Rayner on behalf of Scholarly Communication and Digitisation Service