This paper reports new AMS dates for Late Pleistocene occupation of the Ayamaru Plateau in the central Bird's Head of Papua. Two cave sites, Kria Cave and Toé Cave, together provide occupation sequences that span the Holocene and extend back to the Last Glacial Maximum. The associated faunal remains suggest that this lowland area has supported continuous rainforest cover throughout the entire period of occupation. During the Last Glacial Maximum a suite of montane mammal species extended their altitudinal range down onto the plateau, some persisting locally until around 6000 BP. While the Late Pleistocene age of the basal deposit in Toe Cave was previously suggested, new AMS radiocarbon dates on Casuarius eggshell confirm occupation from 24,000 cal BP. Amino acid racemisation data paired with the AMS dates, provide additional support for the improved chronology. The new dates indicate consistent human exploitation of lowland rainforest environments in a relatively rugged and remote region of the central Bird's Head.
|Journal||Archaeology in Oceania|
|Publication status||Published - 2002|