Wetland drainage and agricultural transformations in the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Models of prehistoric agricultural transformation in the New Guinea highlands have relied heavily on sequences of the use and abandonment of drained wetland gardens. Drawing on archaeological and oral historical lines of evidence, this paper offers a detailed account of wetland use in the Tari region of the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea. The relatively late exploitation of the largest and most productive wetland in this region poses problems for models of agricultural change founded principally on population pressure, and requires a more complex account that integrates environmental and social explanations, and allows for both intended and unintended consequences for the actions of historical agents. Explanations for the apparent intensification of wetland use in the Haeapugua Swamp, the case study for this paper, appear to require a complex intersection of hydrological constraints and increasing demands on production, relating specifically to the production of pigs.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)287-304
    JournalAsia Pacific Viewpoint
    Volume42
    Issue number2/3
    Publication statusPublished - 2001

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