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Pompeiis of the Pacific

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Nicholson Museum

Manning Road

Camperdown, NSW 2006

Australia

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A Macleay lecture in the Nicholson Museum by Dr Robin Torrence.

What lessons can we learn from ancient people in PNG about how to cope with natural disasters and extreme environmental events?

Inter-disciplinary research on New Britain Island off Papua New Guinea’s northern coast has identified at least 14 major volcanic eruptions since the island was colonised about 40,000 years ago. On each occasion thick deposits of ash buried villages and gardens forcing people to flee their homelands. Robin will talk about her long-term archaeological research project that has identified changes in subsistence and technology linked to volcanic activity, but has also uncovered evidence for incredible resilience as human groups coped with and adapted to this highly catastrophic environment.

Robin Torrence is Senior Principal Research Scientist at the Australian Museum. Her major research area is New Britain’s Willaumez Peninsula, where her team is focusing on exchange, social change, lithic technology and use-wear, landscape use, and the long-term impact of volcanic disasters on culture change. She has also conducted archaeological research on obsidian exchange in Greece, the Pacific region, and east Russia. Robin has adapted archaeological approaches to the study of ethnographic collections from PNG to identify indigenous perspectives and behaviour within cross-cultural interactions.

Date and Time

Location

Nicholson Museum

Manning Road

Camperdown, NSW 2006

Australia

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