Metal-Age maritime culture at Jareng Bori rockshelter, Pantar Island, eastern Indonesia

Stuart Hawkins, Fayeza Shasliz Arumdhati, Mirani Litster, Tse Siang Lim, Gina Basile, Mathieu Leclerc, Christian Reepmeyer, Tim Maloney, Clara Boulanger, Julien Louys, X Mahirta, Geoffrey Clark, Gendro Keling, Richard C. Willan, Pratiwi Yuwono, Susan O'Connor

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    The archaeological record of Wallacea remains exceptionally fragmentary. This is especially the case for late Holocene human occupation of the region when lifestyle and culture in marginal island environments is relatively unknown. Here we report on the archaeology of Jareng Bori rockshelter, a Metal-Age site spanning c. 1800 cal. BP up to the late historic period and situated on the eastern coast of Pantar Island in the Lesser Sunda Islands of eastern Indonesia. We use osteoarchaeological (human and vertebrate remains), invertebrate zooarchaeological (crustacean and molluscan remains), technological (lithics, shell, and pottery) and chemical sourcing (obsidian and metal) datasets to discuss networking, migration, and human subsistence strategies during this recent period of history. While some communities were no doubt living in open village settlements where they were producing pottery, the data indicate that aspects of maritime life-ways continued much as in earlier Pleistocene settlements, with people using rockshelters like Jareng Bori to pursue a range of subsistence activities focused on the shoreline. Shellfishing of rocky and reef intertidal species and fishing for mostly small herbivorous and omnivorous fishes was practised, while domestic animals only appear in the late historic period. Wider regional cultural interactions and networking are epitomized by obsidian exchange, dental modification practices, and pottery decorations, while lithic analyses indicates continuity of stone tool technology up until recent times.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)237-262
    JournalRecords of the Australian Museum
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


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