Early and mid Holocene tool-use and processing of taro (Colocasia esculenta), yam (Dioscorea sp.) and other plants at Kuk Swamp in the highlands of Papua New Guinea

Fullagar, Richard, Field, Judith, Denham, Tim and Lentfer, Carol (2006) Early and mid Holocene tool-use and processing of taro (Colocasia esculenta), yam (Dioscorea sp.) and other plants at Kuk Swamp in the highlands of Papua New Guinea. Journal of Archaeological Science, 33 5: 595-614. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2005.07.020

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Author Fullagar, Richard
Field, Judith
Denham, Tim
Lentfer, Carol
Title Early and mid Holocene tool-use and processing of taro (Colocasia esculenta), yam (Dioscorea sp.) and other plants at Kuk Swamp in the highlands of Papua New Guinea
Journal name Journal of Archaeological Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0305-4403
1095-9238
Publication date 2006-05
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.jas.2005.07.020
Volume 33
Issue 5
Start page 595
End page 614
Total pages 20
Editor J. P. Grattan
K. W. Butzer
R. G. Klein
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Academic Press
Collection year 2006
Language eng
Subject 210106 Archaeology of New Guinea and Pacific Islands (excl. New Zealand)
210102 Archaeological Science
Abstract Recent multidisciplinary investigations document an independent emergence of agriculture at Kuk Swamp in the highlands of Papua New Guinea. In this paper we report preliminary usewear analysis and details of prehistoric use of stone tools for processing starchy food and other plants at Kuk Swamp. Morphological diagnostics for starch granules are reported for two potentially significant economic species, taro (Colocasia esculenta) and yam (Dioscorea sp.), following comparisons between prehistoric and botanical reference specimens. Usewear and residue analyses of starch granules indicate that both these species were processed on the wetland margin during the early and mid Holocene. We argue that processing of taro and yam commences by at least 10,200 calibrated years before present (cal BP), although the taro and yam starch granules do not permit us to distinguish between wild or cultivated forms. From at least 6950 to 6440 cal BP the processing of taro, yam and other plants indicates that they are likely to have been integrated into cultivation practices on the wetland edge.
Keyword starch grains
taro (Colocasia esculenta)
yam (Dioscorea sp.)
banana (Musa spp.)
phytoliths
plant processing
usewear
residue
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
School of Social Science Publications
 
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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 08:39:37 EST