Excavating and Interpreting Ancestral Action – Stories from the Subsurface of Orokolo Bay, Papua New Guinea
Author(s): Chris Urwin
Orokolo Bay is a rapidly changing geomorphic and cultural landscape in which the ancestral past is constantly being interpreted and negotiated. This paper examines the importance of subsurface archaeological and geomorphological features for the various communities of Orokolo Bay as they maintain and re-construct cosmological and migration narratives. Everyday activities of gardening and digging at antecedent village locations bring Orokolo Bay locals into regular engagement with buried ceramics (deposited during the ancestral ‘hiri’ trade) and thin strata of ‘black sand’ (iron sand). These deposits – both dating to within the past 700 years – provide material evidence for various spatio-temporal interpretations of the ancestor’s actions and the structure of ancestral settlements. I conclude by examining how Orokolo understandings of their tangible past might interact with my own archaeological methods and results, and with proposed iron-sand mining on the south coast of Papua New Guinea.
Cite this Record
Excavating and Interpreting Ancestral Action – Stories from the Subsurface of Orokolo Bay, Papua New Guinea. Chris Urwin. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443972)
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min long: 153.633; min lat: -51.399 ; max long: -107.578; max lat: 24.207 ;
Abstract Id(s): 20405