PhD Oral Presentation: Island Life: Technological adaptations and subsistence shellfishing in the Wallacean archipelago

Event details

PhD Seminar

Date & time

Monday 16 May 2022


Seminar Room F, HC Coombs Building (To sidestep adventure: Seminar Room F is located on the third floor across the CHL Admin office!)


Elena Piotto


CHL Communicate


My research focuses on the use of shellfish as a subsistence resource as well as a raw material for artefact manufacture in Timor-Leste and the island of Alor, the most southerly islands in the Island South East Asian Region and components of the Banda Arc islands. Using shell assemblages that date from the Pleistocene to Late Holocene from three sites, Asitau Kuru (formerly Jerimalai), Matja Kuru 2, and Tron Bon Lei, I undertake whole assemblage analyses, observing changes through time as well as similarities and differences in the composition of the subsistence shell and shell artefact assemblages. Two sites are coastal sites and one is located inland.

Comparative analyses include types of shell taxa found in the subsistence assemblages and artefact types in the shell artefact assemblages. Results show a number of similarities and some differences which are not unexpected given the variance in proximity to the coast. The results also indicate the types of aquatic habitats that were available and targeted by people using and occupying the sites over 10s of millennia during times of major environmental change.

Finally, the results allow inferences to be made about the types of activities occurring at the sites, in relation to shellfish gathering and shell artefact manufacture during changing climatic and environmental conditions.

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