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  Worked shell from the Northern Moluccas

Szabó, K. (2019). Worked shell from the Northern Moluccas. In P. Bellwood (Ed.), The Spice Islands in prehistory: archaeology in the Northern Moluccas, Indonesia (pp. 121-134). Canberra: ANU Press. doi:10.22459/TA50.2019.09.

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 Creators:
Szabó, Katherine1, Author              
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1Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society, ou_2074312              

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 Abstract: The Northern Moluccas occupy a pivotal geographical zone at the interface of the Island Southeast Asian and Melanesian spheres. Whether one looks at genes, languages, Holocene animal translocations, or the archaeological record, it is clear that the cultures through time on these islands have both been shaped by, and have contributed to shaping, the complex fusion of influences that characterises the Asia/Pacific margin. The project reported on in this monograph intensively investigated this area for the first time, and uncovered a rich range of sites spanning c. 35,000 years of the islands’ history. There are few constants in the archaeological record that can be tracked through time. The vertebrate record of the Northern Moluccas shows dramatic shifts at different points in the past, and the ceramic record is necessarily restricted to the last few thousand years. The pre‑eminence of lithic technology in the study of human cultural change through time is due to its global presence as a robust archaeological constant, but in Island Southeast Asia, and the Northern Moluccas in particular, another constant has emerged: shell technology. From the earliest archaeological deposits at the oldest excavated site, Golo Cave, a range of shell technologies were in use ranging from the formal to the expedient (Szabó et al. 2007; Szabó and Koppel 2015). In contrast, associated lithic technologies were found to be non-standardised and uncomplicated in their manufacture (Szabó et al. 2007). While, to some extent, the early diversification of shell technologies at Golo Cave can be seen as a response to the low-quality lithic materials that were locally available, this in itself does not provide an adequate explanation. The diversity of shell-working from the lowest levels at Golo, both in terms of materials used and reduction techniques employed, clearly implies that a broad tradition of shell-working was well established by the time the site was initially occupied. Additionally, the techniques applied to various types of shell diverge from those applied to lithic material, confirming that shell was no simple technological substitute for stone. The range of stratified sites excavated as part of this archaeological project provides snapshots through time of the rise and decline of a variety of shell-working traditions. Some have clear links beyond the Northern Moluccas whilst others are seemingly idiosyncratic. The shell artefacts will be reported upon site by site, with temporal patterning and extra-Moluccan associations being considered in the discussion section.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2019-062019-06
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: 15
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.22459/TA50.2019.09
Other: shh2287
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Title: The Spice Islands in prehistory: archaeology in the Northern Moluccas, Indonesia
Source Genre: Book
 Creator(s):
Bellwood, Peter, Editor
Affiliations:
-
Publ. Info: Canberra : ANU Press
Pages: 236 Volume / Issue: 9 Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 121 - 134 Identifier: ISBN: 9781760462901
ISBN: 9781760462918
DOI: 10.22459/TA50.2019
Other: DS 646 .65 BEL 2019

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Title: Terra australis
Source Genre: Series
 Creator(s):
The Australian National University, Editor              
Affiliations:
-
Publ. Info: Canberra : ANU Press
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 50 Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: - Identifier: -