16 February 2014

Papua New Guinea "phallic obsidian cache"

Complete obsidian stemmed tool found by workmen at Barema plantation, near Hargy, New Britain, PNG. Image: Peter White © Australian Museum

From the Australian Museum: "A beautiful and expertly-flaked obsidian tool which formed part of a cache, rescued from a development site, offers a greater insight into the lives of ancient people that inhabited the island of New Britain, Papua New Guinea (PNG).

In October 2010 Dr Robin Torrence a Senior Principal Research Scientist at the Australian Museum Reseach Institute was contacted by the General Manager at Barema oil palm plantation on New Britain Island. The company was in the process of bulldozing the side of a hill to make a house terrace. In the process they had uncovered a group of finely worked obsidian (volcanic glass) tools. A workman had recognized the obsidian as something belonging to the time of his ancestors and rescued a large tool before it could be crushed by the bulldozer."

Torrence, R., White, P., Kononenko, N. 2013. Meaningful stones: obsidian stemmed tools from Barema, New Britain, Papua New Guinea. Australian Archaeology 77: 1-8.

Torrence, R., Kelloway, S. and White, P. 2013. Stemmed tools, social interaction, and voyaging in early-mid Holocene Papua New Guinea. The Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 8: 278-310.

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