Cultural Landscapes on Garua Island, Papua New Guinea

By Torrence, Robin | Antiquity, September 2002 | Go to article overview

Cultural Landscapes on Garua Island, Papua New Guinea


Torrence, Robin, Antiquity


Biases in Lapita archaeology

Most archaeological research on the period characterized by Lapita pottery--dating to c. 3300-1500 cal BP in the Pacific region--has assumed that villages located on the beach were the primary form of settlement (e.g. Kirch 1997: 162, 296) and, by inference, that people were sedentary and had `full-on' agriculture (e.g. Spriggs 1997: 88,121). One should be suspicious, however, of the unproblematic links made between artefact scatters, permanent settlement and agriculture, especially since they are based on dubious analogies to modern villages, which are often products of European colonization. In contrast, Gosden & Pavlides (1994) argued that Lapita sites were visited irregularly by people practising low-intensity agriculture. It is also possible that at least some Lapita sites represent locations where pottery and shell valuables were made and used on special occasions for particular, possibly ritual, purposes. Testing the orthodox package of Lapita villages, sedentism and agriculture requires considering a broader range of land-use models and employing new methodologies to evaluate them. In this paper I present a case study to show how adopting the perspective of cultural landscapes can lead to a more comprehensive, and therefore more accurate, view of past human behaviour during the time of Lapita pottery.

Cultural landscapes

By definition, the term `landscape' takes in all physical and natural components of the terrestrial environment. For Pacific archaeology it should be combined with `seascape' (Gosden & Pavlides 1994) to encompass adequately the settings where human behaviour took place. Adding `cultural' to land- and seascapes emphasizes the role of the individuals who conceptualized these spaces and actively created and modified them in culturally specific ways (cf. Ashmore & Knapp 1999). The process is interactive: human behaviour is both conditioned by the ideological and physical components of cultural landscapes and also incorporated within the landscapes themselves. Since cultural landscapes are the material manifestations of the complex interactions between humans and their environment, they are the ideal focus for archaeological research (Gosden & Head 1994). The terms `social' and `cultural' landscape are both used in the literature, often to mean roughly the same thing. I prefer the latter adjective because it is more inclusive and avoids the possibility of a false dichotomy between the so-called social and utilitarian aspects of behaviour.

Although there are numerous archaeological studies of landscape, most have focused either on the mundane aspects of human behaviour, such as settlement and subsistence (i.e. processual studies), or only considered the ritual or sacred components (i.e. post-processual studies) (cf. Knapp and Ashmore in Ashmore & Knapp 1999). Gosden (1989; 1991) introduced the concept of social landscapes to the Pacific region. Although he considered various kinds of human behaviour--conceptions of places, social interaction and mobility--his work was nevertheless tied to specific localities identified by archaeologists by the presence of pottery or other artefact types and called `sites', rather than conceiving of the cultural landscape as a whole.

As with Gosden's work, many studies assume that one can differentiate the social or ideological aspects of the landscape and relate these to a particular set of archaeological components. These researchers have tended to over-emphasize the built environment (especially monuments, standing stones, etc.) or rock art. These post-processual studies generally concentrate on places or `sites' within a landscape, rather than on the whole landscape itself (e.g. Ashmore & Knapp 1999). In contrast, studies using `distributional' or `non-site' archaeology (e.g. Rossignol & Wandsnider 1992) have targeted the spatial patterning of artefacts across large areas, rather than within specific places.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Cultural Landscapes on Garua Island, Papua New Guinea
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.