The archaeology of community emergence and development on Mabuyug in the western Torres Strait

01st December 2011

Duncan Wright

PhD, Centre for Australian Indigenous Studies, Monash University, December 2009

This thesis examines the archaeology of one Torres Strait Islander community, the Goemulgal of Mabuyag in central western Torres Strait. It provides the first detailed archaeological study into the emergence and development of historically and ethnographically-known villages in the Torres Strait. It offers a detailed chronology for settlement shifts during the past 1000 years across a residential island. The close examination of settlement and subsistence histories on Mabuyag furnishes chronological insights into the changing role of villages for a single island community. By examining chronologies previously established by archaeological researchers working in Torres Strait, this thesis adds to emerging broad chronological patterns across the region.

Torres Strait lies at a crucial point both geographically and conceptually between Australia and the Pacific. This thesis examines methodologies used in both regions for examining bounded archaeological communities. It then applies a model of social archaeology and regionalisation to identify the settlement history of Mabuyag. By investigating sites of importance to the community this thesis provides an archaeology that is alive and important to the Goemulgaw people today.

Duncan Wright
The archaeology of community emergence and development on Mabuyug in the western Torres Strait
December 2011
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Thesis Abstracts
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