Thesis abstract ‘Mobile Traders or Impoverished Harvesters: A Re-Evaluation Earthenwares from ‘Macassan’ Trepanging Sites in Northern Australia’

13th November 2013

Brad Smith

BA(Hons), Division of Archaeology and Palaeoanthropology, School of Human and Environmental Sciences, University of New England, Armidale, November 1999

The trepanging visits to the northern Australian coastline by island Southeast Asian maritime voyagers have been the focus of several archaeological and historical investigations in recent decades. The primary archaeological markers of annual trepanging visits to the northern Australian coastline are the processing sites and a significant component of the material culture represented at these sites is discarded earthenware pottery shards. Ethnohistorical evidence suggested that trepanging was an integral part of the rich and diverse inter-archipelago trade system and that from the 17th century the voyages to northern Australia were an expansion of a later trading network. Previous scientific analyses of the earthenwares from along the northern Australian coastline, however, suggested that any involvement by the “Macassan” trepangers within these cyclical trade networks was considerably more constrained than would be expected from the ethnohistorical data. This thesis re-evaluates prior analyses of island Southeast Asian earthenwares. Utilising an ethnoarchaeological framework and introducing new earthenware data, it presents alternative perspectives on the role played by trepangers within the wider historical context of island Southeast Asian trade in a turbulent but little understood period of regional de

Smith, B.
Thesis abstract 'Mobile Traders or Impoverished Harvesters: A Re-Evaluation Earthenwares from 'Macassan' Trepanging Sites in Northern Australia'
2001
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