Not just carbon: assessment and prospects for the application of anthracology in Oceania

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39 Citations (Scopus)


While archaeobotany is increasingly part of archaeological projects in Oceania, the specific sub-discipline focusing on wood charcoal macro-remains (anthracology) continues to be a much underdeveloped field of research in Australia and the Pacific. To initiate a regional framework for anthracology, we present here a review of studies based on wood charcoal analyses that have been implemented in Oceania, and we then present anthracological principles and methods developed in other parts of the world. We use three recent case studies, from New Caledonia, and tropical and semi-arid Australia, to illustrate the application of anthracological methods in the region. Finally, we consider the potential for the discipline to be successfully developed in Oceania, discussing identified challenges and prospects for anthracology to address key archaeological questions in the region. We argue the discipline has the potential to throw light on both palaeoenvironmental conditions and palaeoethnobotanical practices at a site, and can also offer insights in relation to mobility patterns and resource management in the past.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
JournalArchaeology in Oceania
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


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