Kumukumu 1, a hilltop site in the Aird Hills: Implications for occupational trends and dynamics in the Kikori River delta, south coast of Papua New Guinea

Bruno David, Ken Aplin, Fiona Petchey, Robert John Skelly, Jerome Mialanes, Holly Jones-Amin, John Stanisic, Bryce Barker, Lara Lamb

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We report on archaeological excavations undertaken at Kumukumu 1 atop the dense rainforest-clad Aird Hills of the Kikori river delta islands, south coast of Papua New Guinea. Results indicate exploitation of the nearby environment, including the gathering of some 200 million shellfish from riverine habitats at the base of the hill some 600 years ago, and deposition of shell remains onto hilltop middens. We ask what the implications of such a site in a defensive location on the upper, steep hillslope of Kumukumu hill are for regional occupation and dynamics. We conclude that the hinterland-marine fringe islands of the river deltas that include the site of Kumukumu 1 were especially sensitive to heightened cross-cultural influences and inter-group raids and competition, leading to accelerated processes of centralisation and aggrandisement among some groups, and the subjugation, fragmentation and dispersal of less powerful neighbouring groups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7 - 26
Number of pages20
JournalQuaternary International
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Headhunting
  • Defensive site
  • Aird Hills
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Archaeology
  • Porome

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