Tigershark Rockshelter, a small midden site on the sacred islet of Pulu in central western Zenadh Kes (Torres Strait), was visited intermittently by small groups of marine specialists between 500 and 1300 years ago. The diverse faunal assemblage demonstrates procurement of turtle, dugong, shellfish, fish, shark and ray from mangrove, reef and open water environments. Apart from a characteristic flaked quartz technology, the site contains shell body adornments. Establishment of Tigershark Rockshelter reveals increasing preference for shoreline settlements possibly for enhanced intervisibility, intimacy and liminality between newly-conceptualised territorial land- and seascapes. Intensified occupation 500-700 years ago matches concomitant demographic expansions across the region. As local settlement patterns focused on large open village sites 500 years ago, Tigershark Rockshelter became obsolete and was abandoned. These settlement reconfigurations were part of broader social transformations that eventually saw the status of Pulu change from a residential to a ceremonial and sacred place.
|Issue number||June 2008|
|Publication status||Published - 2008|