[Special section on volcanic glass] THE CONTRIBUTION OF USE-WEAR/RESIDUE STUDIES OF OBSIDIAN ARTEFACTS FOR UNDERSTANDING CHANGES IN SETTLEMENT AND SUBSISTENCE PATTERNS IN WEST NEW BRITAIN, PAPUA NEW GUINEA
AbstractThis paper considers how patterns in use-wear/residues relate to debates about the nature of the day-to-day lives of the people who created the Lapita Cultural Complex. Changes in subsistence and settlement patterns have often been proposed as being the result of the introduction of new kinds of agriculture to the Bismarck Archipelago by people using Lapita pottery (Green 2002:95-120; Kirch 1997:45-52; Spriggs 1997:67-106). In contrast, several recent use-wear/residue studies of stone tools in West New Britain, Papua New Guinea have reconstructed a complex pattern with a much longer term trend toward the intensification of resource exploitation and a decrease in mobility (Fullagar 1992:135-43; Torrence 1992:11126; Torrence et al. 2000:225-44). To further examine the impact of Lapita on subsistence and settlement patterns, a use-wear/residue study was made of a large number of obsidian artefacts excavated from two test pits at the FAO site on Garua Island. The sample included artefacts dating from both before and during the time of Lapita pottery. My preliminary analyses indicate there were no differences between these periods in terms of the kinds of tool use or the nature of the activities apparent at the site.