The Volcanic Environment For 40,000 Years Of Human Occupation On The Willaumez Isthmus, West New Britain, Papua New Guinea

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Journal Article: The Volcanic Environment For 40,000 Years Of Human Occupation On The Willaumez Isthmus, West New Britain, Papua New Guinea

Abstract
The stratigraphic sequence of 22 tephra beds and their associated paleosols at two sites selected from our studies in West New Britain, Papua New Guinea provide the essential environmental background for understanding human responses to c. 40 ka years of volcanic activity. Lithology, grain size, and mineralogy of the tephras, interpreted for the first time, elucidate the varying volcanic provenance, especially of the Pleistocene beds, and the environmental conditions which former inhabitants experienced. This sequence provides an important long-term record of how humans coped with volcanic adversity in Papua New Guinea. The stratigraphic record contains abundant evidence for human settlement during the intervals between volcanic eruptions. Following plinian and subplinian eruptions, people abandoned the region for significant periods of time. In some cases, these cataclysmic events caused major cultural disasters characterised by local population extinction and loss of some significant types of cultural behaviour. Despite the punctuated record of settlement and changes in material culture, over the long-term, human populations found effective ways to maintain themselves within an active volcanic environment. Key responses included persistence of mobile and flexible settlement patterns, planned and staged uses of raw materials, social exchange, and increasing levels of landscape management.

Authors 
V. E. Neall, R. C. Wallace and R. Torrence








Published Journal 
Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 2008





DOI 
Not Provided
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Citation

V. E. Neall,R. C. Wallace,R. Torrence. 2008. The Volcanic Environment For 40,000 Years Of Human Occupation On The Willaumez Isthmus, West New Britain, Papua New Guinea. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. (!) .