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Prehistory of the eastern highlands of New Guinea

CollectionsANU Press (1965- Present)
Title: Prehistory of the eastern highlands of New Guinea
Author(s): Watson, Virginia
Date published: 1978
Publisher: Canberra, ACT : Australian National University Press
This volume examines the prehistory of the Eastern Highlands of New Guinea through a study of its archeology. Working from artifacts collected from seventy-six sites by J. David Cole, Virginia Watson has constructed a paradigmatic classification of stone tools which has the potential of greater elaboration and wider application in New Guinea. The classification represents a distinct departure from most previous attempts to interpret stone tools and carries to a more productive conclusion a line of investi gation that is similar to J. Peter White{u2019}s pioneer ing analysis of "altered edges." Using the data from similarity coefficients, frequency seriation, stratigraphy, and radiocarbon analysis, Watson has established a chronology of three phases which spans the period from 18,000 B.P. to the present, from hunting and gathering to a largely horticultural existence. The findings are also compared with those from five other sites excavated in the Eastern Highlands, and similarities and differences are assessed. Finally, an attempt is made to relate the archeological data, especially those from the latest phase, to groups of New Guineans currently living in the area, who have been the subject of intensive study.


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