The point of pearling: Colonial pearl fisheries and the historical translocation of Aboriginal and Asian workers in Australia's Northwest

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Abstract

In this work we present findings from historical archaeological work on Barrow Island, Northwestern Australia. We provide the first evidence for the translocation of Australian Aboriginal people to Barrow Island as part of historical maritime industries, probably pearl fisheries, suggesting the presence of unfree labourers and raising the spectre of colonial slavery. Assemblages of glass points and artefacts found on the island are assessed against previous explanations for this artefact type. We provide new insights into the relationship between materiality and survival strategies for people coerced to work on this remote off-shore island.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101143
JournalJournal of Anthropological Archaeology
Volume57
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020

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