Thesis abstract ‘Pots, Plants and Pacific Prehistory: Residue Analysis of Plain Lapita Pottery from Anir, New Ireland, ca 3300 BP’

13th November 2013

Alison Crowther

BA(Hons), School of Social Sciences, University of Queensland, St Lucia, 2001

Identification of plant-processing in Pacific prehistory is problematic: because direct evidence in the form of macrobotanical remains is rare, particularly for roots and tubers. Hypotheses for the exploitation of roots and tubers by the Lapita peoples have been formulated on the basis of comparative ethnography and historical linguistics. Indirect evidence has come from putative plant-processing artefacts, domestic animal remains (arguably associated with a horticultural production system), land-use patterns and other evidence in the archaeological record. Residue analysis of undecorated potsherds and sediment samples from the Early Lapita site, Kamgot, New Ireland, dating to ca 3300 BP, revealed the presence of starch and raphides. Species identification indicated that these remains originated from taro (Colocasia esculenta). This represents direct evidence that Colocasia esculenta was processed by the Lapita peoples. This research demonstrated that the analysis of cooking residues on pottery is an alternative to traditional archaeobotanical recovery methods in the Pacific.

Crowther, A.
Thesis abstract 'Pots, Plants and Pacific Prehistory: Residue Analysis of Plain Lapita Pottery from Anir, New Ireland, ca 3300 BP'
2002
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