(UNESCO / Japan Young Researchers' fellowships programme)

Study of the Mussau Archaeological Collection at Berkeley

Summary of research carried out: 
Study of the Mussau Archaeological Collection at Berkeley

The research was aimed at selecting, studying, and publishing a selection of the most suitable archaeological materials intended for teaching Papua New Guineans the importance of preserving cultural heritage sites. At the same time, the research was also intended to demonstrate the importance of human coexistence with the environment, as shown in archaeological records, for the preservation of natural resources in Papua New Guinea.

The research was also aimed to study the Mussau archaeological collection now located at the Anthropology Department of the University of California, Berkeley, in the United States of America. A selection of suitable materials will be included in a publication of a simple, easy-to-read booklet for distribution in schools, one that can be easily understood at the grass-roots level.

In so doing, the cultural heritage information will be disseminated to a wider audience. The reason for this is that it provides a means for the dissemination of cultural heritage information at a level suitable enough for a wider audience. It is hoped that this kind of public awareness can lead to the preservation of cultural heritage sites and encourage/promote local environmental planning.

The material will be used to teach people about the importance of maintaining a balance between exploitation and preservation of their natural habitats for future sustainability of the marine (such as shellfish, turtle, etc.) and terrestrial resources (such as wood and plants).

One of the results of archaeological work in adjacent areas has been the active management of the natural environment, the evidence of which is reflected in archaeological records. These results can contribute to discussions on the future planning and management of the marine and terrestrial environment upon which ordinary Papua New Guineans depend.

In Mussau, the archaeological record underscores the importance of peoples’ coexistence with the natural environment for thousands of years.

It is therefore important that the lessons of the past be presented in a form that is easily accessible not only to environmental managers but also to those at the grass roots, community, and high school level.


10 June 2003