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Organic Artefacts and Organic Residues in Island Southeast Asia and Australia: Seeking Intangible Behaviours in the Deep Past

Author(s): Michelle Langley ; Sue O'Connor ; Jane Balme

Year: 2017

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Summary

Exploring intangible behaviours—such as the decoration of oneself, or the manufacture of clothing or baskets— in the deep past is often beyond the reach of archaeologists. The microscopic examination of use wear and residues, however, allows researchers to gain significant insights into such ‘invisible’ behaviours. Organic artefacts recently excavated from sites located in both northern Australia and Timor-Leste (Island Southeast Asia) were microscopically examined for use wear and residues, and resulted in the identification of early decorative traditions in each region. Shells artefacts from the sites of Jerimalai, Lene Hara, and Matju Kuru 1 & 2 in Timor-Leste represented the earliest shell beads in Southeast Asia and the earliest shell appliqués in Island Southeast Asia, while bone artefacts from Carpenter’s Gap 1 and Riwi, Kimberleys, Australia, resulted in the identification of the earliest example of a personal ornament on the Australian continent. Such research demonstrates the power of use wear and residue research for examining some of the most remarkable aspects of early human communities.


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Organic Artefacts and Organic Residues in Island Southeast Asia and Australia: Seeking Intangible Behaviours in the Deep Past. Michelle Langley, Sue O'Connor, Jane Balme. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431918)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: 66.885; min lat: -8.928 ; max long: 147.568; max lat: 54.059 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15757

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America