Papuan Pasts

I tend not to do book announcements here but this book is so incredibly cool that everyone should immediately get a copy.

PACIFIC LINGUISTICS is happy to announce the publication of:
***** Papuan Pasts: Cultural, linguistic and biological histories of Papuan-speaking peoples *****

edited by Andrew Pawley, Robert Attenborough, Jack Golson and Robin Hide

PL 572

This book is an inter-disciplinary exploration of the history of humans in New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago and the Solomon Islands , which make up the biogeographic and cultural region that is coming to be known as Near Oceania, with particular reference to the people who speak Papuan (non-Austronesian) languages. Discoveries over the past 50 years have given Near Oceania a prominence in world prehistory far beyond its demographic, economic and political importance. Archaeological research has established that by 40,000 years ago people had made the ocean crossings from South-east Asia to the Australia-New Guinea continent and had reached New Britain and New Ireland. By 30,000 years ago they had penetrated the high valleys of the central highlands of New Guinea. There is evidence of cultivation of taro, yam and banana and associated forest clearance in some parts of the central highlands from 10,000 years ago and this takes on a more systematic, agricultural character after about 7,000 years ago. The northern third of New Guinea is the most linguistically diverse part of the planet, containing a concentration of disparate language families consistent with in situ diversification in the late Pleistocene. The Bismarcks and Solomons are a second area of great linguistic diversity. Research in population genetics, using mitochondrial and Y-chromosome DNA, shows a degree of genetic variation in Near Oceania consistent with at least 40,000 years of human settlement and in situ diversification of semi-isolated populations, while also in some cases suggesting several distinct population arrivals. The 28 chapters of the book (for details, see below) include state of the art reports by archaeologists, historical linguists, environmental scientists, cultural anthropologists, biological anthropologists and population geneticists, together with introductions by the four editors.

The full table of contents is given below.

2005 ISBN 0 85883 562 2

pp. 817 + xxiii

Prices: Australia AUD$148.50 (incl. GST)
Overseas AUD$135.00

Prices are in Australian dollars (one Australian dollar is currently equivalent to about US$ 0.75).

Orders may be placed by mail, e-mail or telephone with:

The Bookshop
Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies
The Australian National University
Canberra ACT 0200 Australia

Tel: +61 (0)2 6125 3269 Fax: +61 (0)2 6125 9975


Credit card orders are accepted.

For our catalogue and other materials, see:


Other enquiries (but not book orders) should go to:

The Publications Administrator
Pacific Linguistics
Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies
The Australian National University
Canberra ACT 0200 Australia

Tel: +61 (0)2 6125 2742 Fax: +61 (0)2 6125 4896




1. Andrew Pawley, Introduction to the chapters on historical linguistics

2. Malcolm Ross, Pronouns as a preliminary diagnostic for grouping Papuan languages

3. Andrew Pawley, The chequered career of the Trans New Guinea hypothesis: recent research and its implications

4. William A. Foley, Linguistic prehistory in the Sepik–Ramu basin

5. Bert Voorhoeve, Asmat-Kamoro, Awyu-Dumut and Ok: an enquiry into their linguistic relationships

6. Mark Donohue and Melissa Crowther, Meeting in the middle: interaction in North–Central New Guinea

7. Ger Reesink, West Papuan languages: roots and development


8. Jack Golson, Introduction to the chapters on archaeology and ethnology

9. Jim Specht, Revisiting the Bismarcks: some alternative views

10. Pamela Swadling and Robin Hide, Changing landscape and social interaction: looking at agricultural history from a Sepik–Ramu perspective

11. Tim Denham, Agricultural origins and the emergence of rectilinear ditch networks in the highlands of New Guinea

12. Benjamin Evans and Mary-Jane Mountain, Pasin bilong tumbuna: archaeological evidence for early human activity in the highlands of Papua New Guinea

13. Susan Bulmer, Reflections in stone: axes and the beginnings of agriculture in the Central Highlands of New Guinea 387

14. Jack Golson, The middle reaches of New Guinea history

15. Barry Craig, What can material culture studies tell us about the past in New Guinea?


16. Robin Hide, Introduction to the chapters on environmental and social sciences

17. John Chappell, Geographic changes of coastal lowlands in the Papuan past

18. Geoffrey S. Hope and Simon G. Haberle, The history of the human landscapes of New Guinea

19. Paul Roscoe, Foraging, ethnographic analogy, and Papuan pasts: contemporary models for the Sepik–Ramu past

20. Bryant J. Allen, The place of agricultural intensification in Sepik foothills prehistory

21. Terence E. Hays, Vernacular names for tubers in Irian Jaya: implications for agricultural prehistory

22. Robert Attenborough, Introduction to the chapters on biological anthropology and population genetics

23. John McDonough, Lydia Smith, Sal Cerchio, Charles Mgone and D. Andrew Merriwether, Mitochondrial genetic diversity and its determinants in Island Melanesia

24. Simon Easteal, Belinda Whittle, Andrea Mettenmeyer, Robert Attenborough, Kuldeep Bhatia and Michael P. Alpers, Mitochondrial genome diversity among Papuan-speaking people of Papua New Guinea

25. Nerida Harley, Robert Attenborough, Michael P. Alpers, Charles Mgone, Kuldeep Bhatia and Simon Easteal, The importance of social structure for patterns of human genetic diversity: Y-chromosome and mitochondrial genome variation in Papuan-speaking people of mainland Papua New Guinea

26. Penelope Main, Robert Attenborough and Xiaojiang Gao, The origins of the Papuans: the HLA story

27. Rosalind M. Harding and Yan-tat Liu, Time scales for genetic diversity found in New Guinea Highlanders: a look at some evidence for estimates of 100,000 years or more

28. Nicola van Dijk, Biological relationships amongst New Guinean populations and between New Guinean and Australian populations: the skeletal evidence


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