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20 May 2011 Chapter 15: Conclusions
John Edward Terrell, Esther M. Schechter, Mark Golitko
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The investigations described in this monograph have shown us that the Sepik coast is an appealing place where people have devised strikingly effective ways of handling the challenges of living in such a hazardous and changing environment. Contrary to the expectations of some before our fieldwork began on this coast in 1990, we have recovered no evidence linking Lapita pottery in the Bismarck Archipelago directly with early ceramics in mainland Southeast Asia, Taiwan, the Philippines, or Indonesia. Nor have we found anything confirming that the craft of pottery making in northern New Guinea is older than Lapita Ware. However, we have found a range of previously unrecorded prehistoric wares, both locally in the Aitape area and elsewhere along the coast east and west of Aitape. It has been possible to use the ceramic evidence recovered to propose tentative local pottery sequences for both the Aitape and the Serra localities. Additionally, it seems likely that all the ceramic wares, extant and prehistoric, now documented for this coast from Aitape to Jayapura in Papua, Indonesia, are alike derived historically from the same red-slip tradition—which on present evidence was established on Tumleo, for example, around 2,000 years ago if not before. Our sourcing results for both ceramics and obsidian suggest that communities on this coast, as well as those on the nearby offshore islands, have been in contact with people elsewhere in Melanesia at least for the past 2,000 years, and quite possibly for the past 6,000 or more years.

John Edward Terrell, Esther M. Schechter, and Mark Golitko "Chapter 15: Conclusions," Fieldiana Anthropology 2011(42), 295-303, (20 May 2011).
Published: 20 May 2011

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