The development of complex cultural behaviour in our own species is perhaps the most significant research issue in modern archaeology. Until recently, it was believed that our capacity for language and art only developed after some of our ancestors reached Europe around 40,000 years ago. Archaeological discoveries in Africa now show that modern humans were practicing symbolic behaviours prior to their dispersal from that continent, and more recent discoveries in Indonesia and Australia are once again challenging ideas about human cultural development. 

Despite these significant discoveries and exciting potentials, there is a curious absence of published information about Asia-Pacific region, and consequently, global narratives of our most celebrated cognitive accomplishment — art — has consistently underrepresented the contribution of Southeast Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands. This volume provides the first outline of what this region has to offer to the world of art in archaeology. 

Readers undertaking tertiary archaeology courses interested in the art of the Asia-Pacific region or human behavioural evolution, along with anyone who is fascinated by the development of our modern ability to decorate ourselves and our world, should find this book a good addition to their library. 

chapter 1|10 pages

In search of the archaeology of portable art from Southeast Asia, the Pacific, and Australia

ByDuncan Wright, Michelle C. Langley, Mirani Litster, Sally K. May

part I|79 pages

Southeast Asia

chapter 2|12 pages

The contribution of early Southeast Asian material to a global understanding of portable art

BySue O’Connor, Michelle C. Langley

chapter 3|12 pages

Exploring red ochre use in Timor-Leste and surrounds: Headhunting, burials, and beads

ByMichelle C. Langley, Sue O’Connor

chapter 5|19 pages

Tracing the trade of heirloom beads across Zomia: A preliminary analysis of beads from the upland regions of northeast India and mainland Southeast Asia

ByAlison Kyra Carter, Barbie Campbell Cole, Quentin Lemasson, Willemijn van Noord

chapter 6|22 pages

Greenstone jewellery workshops in the Tabon Caves complex of the Philippines

ByHsiao-chun Hung, Yoshiyuki Iizuka, Mary Jane Louise A. Bolunia

part II|106 pages

The Pacific

chapter 7|9 pages

‘Portable art’ and the Pacific

ByKatherine Szabó

chapter 8|23 pages

Pendants and beads of stone, shell, and tooth from southern Vanuatu

ByEve Haddow, James L. Flexner, Stuart Bedford, Matthew Spriggs

chapter 10|20 pages

Shell beads as markers of Oceanic dispersal: A rare Cypraeidae ornament type from the Mariana Islands

ByGeoffrey Clark, Michelle C. Langley, Mirani Litster, Olaf Winter, Judith R. Amesbury

chapter 12|15 pages

Recovering lost histories: DNA analyses of kiwi feathered bags (kete kiwi)

ByKatie Hartnup, Leon Huynen, Craig D. Millar, Rangi Te Kanawa, David M. Lambert

part III|135 pages


chapter 14|21 pages

Beads and boundaries

ByLeila McAdam, Iain Davidson

chapter 15|17 pages

Tales of a fat-tailed macropod

BySteve Brown

chapter 16|16 pages

Marine shell ornaments in northwestern Australia

ByJane Balme, Sue O’Connor, Michelle C. Langley

chapter 17|25 pages

Portable art in Australia’s Western Desert

ByJo McDonald

chapter 18|20 pages

Developing approaches for understanding Indigenous Australian glass bead use during the contact period

ByMirani Litster, Daryl Wesley, Gretchen M. Stolte

chapter 19|13 pages

Lithics as portable art

ByPeter Hiscock