The introduction and exchange of pottery between Pacific Islands can provide insight into interaction and social organisation from both regional and local perspectives. In the Massim island region of far eastern Papua New Guinea, pottery is present in the archaeological record from 2800 to 2600 calBP. However, on Rossel Island, a relatively isolated landmass in the far east of the Louisiade Archipelago, archaeological excavation and AMS dating of several sites has determined that pottery on this island was a late prehistoric introduction, from 550â€“500 calBP. The introduction of pottery coincided with the establishment of increasingly complex exchange networks in the Massim, namely the Kula. It is argued in this paper that the desire for Kula participants to obtain high-quality shell necklaces (bagi), which are prominently manufactured on Rossel, led to the island becoming more actively involved in down-the-line regional exchange. Pottery is largely found on the western end of Rossel, where most bagi are manufactured. The uneven distribution of pottery across the island is further argued to indicate a socio-economic/political divide between the populations living on the western and eastern ends, which is supported by linguistic and anthropological evidence.
|Journal||Archaeology in Oceania|
|Publication status||Published - 2016|