Kamgot (ERA)

Geographical Information

Geographical Coordinate System
Longitude :  153° 40' 7.060" E
Latitude    :  4° 1' 10.710" S
Height Above Sea Level  :  
Map Datum: WGS84
Country Papua New Guinea
Region
Far Western Lapita Province, Bismarck Archipelago, New Ireland Islands, Anir Group (Feni Islands).
Brief Description

The site of Kamgot (ERA) is located upon an area of raised limestone on the western end of the Island of Babase in the Anir Group (formerly known as the Feni Islands), Bismarck Archipelago, Papua New Guinea (Summerhayes 2000: Fig. 2, 171). The site is located near to the modern village of Kamgot and extends for over 400 meters east to west and 60 meters north-south; it is approximately 114 meters south of the high tide mark (Summerhayes 2000: 171, 2004: 146).

ERA was excavated between 1997 and 2000 under the direction of G.R. Summerhayes (Summerhayes 2001: 171, 2004: 146).

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Floor Plan

 

Stratigraphy


Site Information

Distribution of Remain(s)

Between 1997 and 2000 twenty test pits were excavated within the site (Summerhayes 2001: 171, 2004: 146). However, due to a lack of published information with regards to test pits 18-20, the discussion conducted here only utilizes information relating to test pits 17-20 and therefore is only provisional.

    Summerhayes (2000: 171) notes that cultural material is primarily found in an orange / brown sand layer which overlies a white beach sand. This layer becomes thinner when moving from west to east. Therefore, the deepest deposits (ranging from 1.4-1.6 meters) are found in the western portion of the site, where test pits 1, 2 and 17 are located (Summerhayes 2000: 171). Importantly, material culture densities directly correlate with the width of this cultural layer; therefore the highest densities of material culture are primarily concentrated in the western portion of the site (Summerhayes 2001: 171).

    Approximate Size 100,000 m2 (Anderson et al. 2001:6)
    Preservation Condition  
    Culture Type(s) Lapita
    C14Date(s)

    Conventional (uncalibrated) radiocarbon dates and sample provenance information:

    3350±45 BP (WK-7562), Test pit 1, spit 9 – Shell (Summerhayes 2001b: 33).

    3260±45 BP (WK-7560), Test pit 1, spit 6 – Shell (Summerhayes 2001b: 33).

    3075±45 BP (WK-7563), Test pit 1, spit 9 – Charcoal (Summerhayes 2001b: 33).

    3035±45 BP (WK-7561), Test pit 1, spit 6 – Charcoal (Summerhayes 2001b: 33).

    2765±50 BP (WK-7564), Test pit 1, spit 11 – Charcoal (Summerhayes 2001b: 33).

    Summary of calibrated radiocarbon dates:

    The calibrated radiocarbon dates for ERA all returned similar radiocarbon ages. The three oldest dates, by a very small margin, are WK-7561, WK-7563 and WK-7562, which date to 3,360 (3,250) 3,080 cal BP, 3,380 (3,290) 3,080 cal BP and 3,330 (3,210) 3,070 cal BP, respectively, at two standard deviations (95.4% probability) (Summerhayes 2004: 146). WK-7560 is marginally younger than those above, dating to 3,210 (3,080) 2,950 cal BP, whilst WK-7564 was the youngest dating to 2960 (2850) 2760 cal BP (95.4% probability) (Summerhayes 2001b: 33, 2004: 146).

    Summerhayes (2004: 146) argues that the sequence of occupation at ERA dates between 3,300 and 3,000 cal B.P, at two standard deviations.

    Artifact Type(s)

    Pottery, lithics, (flakes, adzes, ovens stones), worked shell (shell ring fragments, fishhooks, adzes, pendants, beads), worked bone (drilled dogs teeth, engraved bone), worked coral (pendant, file) and faunal remains (Summerhayes 2000: 171).

    Ceramic Type(s)

    Cultural information

    Significance

    The site of Kamgot (ERA) has been securely identified as an “Early” or “Far-Western” Lapita assemblage and thus is one of a very limited number of sites that has the capacity to provide information upon the beginnings of Lapita and its initial appearance in the Western Pacific (Summerhayes 2000: 171; 2004: 146).

    The large and diverse assemblage from the site has provided a substantial amount of information with regards to the Early / Far-Western Lapita period, especially with regards to ceramics and obsidian (see Summerhayes 2000; 2001; 2004).

      Finally, the site is the oldest of four Lapita sites located in close proximity to each other, within the Anir Island Group (the three other sites being Malekolon (EAQ), Balbalankin (ERC) and Feni Mission (ERG)), and thus represents the beginning of a substantial Lapita occupation in the area (Summerhayes 2000:169-172; 2004: 146-147). 

      Brief Research History

      1997-2000– Excavations lead by G.R. Summerhayes, spanning three field seasons, occurred between 1997 and 2000, a total of twenty test pits were excavated over this period (Summerhayes 2001: 171, 2004: 146).

      Note
      Reference(s)

      Anderson, A., Bedord, S., Clark, G., Lilley, I., Sand, C., Summerhayes, G., and Torrence, R. 2001. An Inventory of Lapita Sites containing dentate-stamped pottery. In G.R. Clark, A.J. Anderson and T. Vunidilo (eds.), The Archaeology of Lapita Dispersal in Oceania. Papers from the Fourth Lapita Conference, June 2000, Canberra, Australia, pp. 1-14. Terra Australis 17. Canberra; Australia: Pandanus Books, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University.

      Crowther, A. 2001. Pots, Plants and Pacific Prehistory: Residue analysis of Plain Lapita Pottery from Anir, New Ireland, ca. 3300BP. Unpublished BA (Hons) Thesis. Brisbane; Australia: School of Social Science, University of Queensland.

      Crowther, A. 2005. Starch Residues on Undecorated Pottery from Anir, New Ireland. Archaeology in Oceania 40: 62-66.

      Denham, T., Bronk Ramsey, C. and J. Specht. 2012. Dating the appearance of Lapita pottery in the Bismarck Archipelago and its dispersal to Remote Oceania. Archaeology in Oceania 47: 39-46.

      Hennessey, M. 2007. On the Move: Mobility Patterns of the Early Phase Lapita Site at Kamgot. Unpublished BA (Hons) thesis. Dunedin; New Zealand: Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, The University of Otago.

      Kennett, D.J., Anderson, A.J., Cruz, M.J., Clark, G.R. and G.R. Summerhayes. 2004. Geochemical Characterization of Lapita pottery via Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS). Archaeometry 46(1): 35-46.

      Shaw, B. 2009a. Prehistoric migration in Melanesia: Evidence from isotope, trace element and non-metric dental trait analysis. Unpublished MA Thesis. Dunedin; New Zealand: Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology, The University of Otago.

      Shaw, B. 2009b. The use of Strontium isotopes as an indicator of migration in human and pig Lapita populations in the Bismarck Archipelago Papua New Guinea. Journal of Archaeological Science 36(4): 1079-1091.

      Summerhayes, G.R. 1998. The face of Lapita. Archaeology in Oceania 33: 100.

      Summerhayes, G.R. 2000. Recent Archaeological Investigations in the Bismarck Archipelago, Anir – New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea. Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association Bulletin 19 (3): 167-174.

      Summerhayes. G.R. 2001a. Lapita in the far west: recent developments. Archaeology in Oceania 36: 53-63.

      Summerhayes. G.R. 2001b. Defining the chronology of Lapita in the Bismarck Archipelago. In G.R. Clark, A.J. Anderson and T. Vunidilo (eds.), The Archaeology of Lapita Dispersal in Oceania. Papers from the Fourth Lapita Conference, June 2000, Canberra, Australia, pp. 25 -38. Terra Australis 17. Canberra; Australia: Pandanus Books, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University.

      Summerhayes, G.R. 2003. The rocky road: the selection and transport of Admiralties obsidian to Lapita communities. Archaeology in Oceania 57: 135-142.

      Summerhayes, G.R. 2004. The Nature of Prehistoric Obsidian Importation to Anir and the Development of a 3,000 Year Old Regional Picture of Obsidian Exchange within the Bismarck Archipelago, Papua New Guinea. Records of the Australian Museum supplement 29: 145-156.

      Swete-Kelly, M.C. 2001. Lapita Lithics: An Analysis of Obsidian Acquisition, Utilisation and Discard on the Anir Islands. Unpublished BA (Hons) Thesis. Canberra; Australia: Australian National University.

      Szabó, K. 2005. Technique and Practice: Shell-Working in the Western Pacific and Island Southeast Asia. Unpublished PhD Thesis. Canberra; Australia: Department of Archaeology and Natural History, Australian National University.

      Szabó, K. 2010a. Lapita Shell-Working and Shell Artefacts. In C. Sand and S. Bedford (eds.), LAPITA: ANCÊTRES OCÉANIENS, OCEANIC ANCESTORS, pp. 227-239.Paris; France: Somogy Éditions d’Art & Musée du Quai Branly.

      Szabó, K. 2010b. Shell Artefacts and Shell-Working within the Lapita Cultural Complex. Journal of Pacific Archaeology 1(2): 115-127.

      Szabo, K.A. & Summerhayes, G.R. 2002. Worked shell artefacts – new data from Early Lapita. In S. Bedford, C. Sand and D. Burley (ed.), Fifty Years in the Field: Essays in Honour of Richard Shutler Jr's Archaeological Career, pp. 91-100. New Zealand Archaeological Association Monograph 25. Auckland; New Zealand: New Zealand Archaeological Association.