Damon Under the direction of Drs. Frederick Damon and Stephen Plog, Mr. Simon Bickler will collect data for his doctoral dissertation. He will conduct an archaeological survey and excavation on Woodland Island in the Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea. A systematic survey will be carried out to develop a model of prehistoric settlement on Woodlark, focusing initially along the coastlines of a central strip of the island. Particular areas of interest, including a prehistoric stone axe quarry and archaeological features such as stone megaliths and trenches will be examined in particular detail. Surface collections of pottery and other artifacts will provide a rough chronological sequence for the settlement of the island. In addition, clay and stone sources will be sampled to provide the basis for a petrographic and chemical characterization program to model larger interisland trade. Melanesia, which includes Woodland Island is well known to anthropologists because of the "Kula" exchange system which developed there. People who speak different languages and live on widely separated islands engage in a complex ritual exchange system in which items of symbolic value are traded among specific interlocking sets of groups in very tightly defined ways. Because of its unique nature and the role it serves to bind widely separated groups into a common social network, it has been the object of intense anthropological study. However it is not known when or how this system developed and it has not been possible to study how this system developed. The goal of Mr. Bickler's work is to provide such information. This work is important for several reasons. It will provide data of interest to many archaeologists and social anthropologists. It will shed light on social organization of people who live in traditional societies and will assist in the training of a promising young scientist. ***

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS)
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John E. Yellen
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University of Virginia
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