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date: 14 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

New Guinea, inhabited for approximately 50,000 years, has been the focus of far less archaeological research compared to Australia and Polynesia, to the south and east, respectively. However, the archaeology of this island is significant to perennial archaeological topics including the development of agriculture and social complexity, the explanation and effects of human interaction, the archaeological relevance of paleoenvironmental research, and the intersection of different dimensions of human variation, linguistic, biological, and cultural. This chapter focuses on both the changing subsistence practices of New Guinean populations over some 50 millennia, and the development of interaction and social networks between and within highland and lowland populations over the same time. Although Lapita pottery, often considered a marker of Austronesian migrants, is found in relatively small quantities on New Guinea, post-Lapita ceramics, document production, and exchange systems over the last two thousand years.

Keywords: agriculture, interaction, social complexity, pottery, Lapita, Austronesian, Early Papuan Pottery

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