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Hampton, Orville Winston 1997 Rock quarries and the manufacture, trade, and uses of stone tools and symbolic stones in the central highlands of Irian Jaya, Indonesia: Ethnoarchaeological perspectives , PhD Dissertation, Texas A&M University.
    © Orville Winston Hampton, 1997. Use of any part of this thesis for any purpose must be acknowledged.

Abstract

From both ethnoarchaeological and ethnogenesis perspectives, the complete cycle of quarrying, manufacture, trade, and uses of stone tools and symbolic stones, and the creation of other kinds of material goods and associated behavior within cultural systems of different language-speaking groups are documented and analyzed. Two adjacent stone tool use and trade regions are defined by the distribution and uses of mutually exclusive kinds and styles of profane ground stone tool blades. In the Grand Valley and West region, ground stone are and adze blades, knives, and chisels are manufactured and traded outward along complex trade linkages from two internal independently operated and geographically separated quarry and manufacturing centers, to the exclusion of adze blades and knives of distinctly different styles that are manufactured and traded within the adjoining Yali and East region. Tool blades trade freely across language boundaries within the two regions. Profane symbolic stones trade across the regional boundary from west to east. Slightly differing types of quarry ownership, operational technology (including uses of fire), and production techniques are discussed and shown at the different quarry-manufacturing centers. As much as 25-40 percent of the adze blades and chisels were removed by users from secular use and converted to spiritually powerful sacred symbolic ancestor stones and to empowered sacred tools , all hierophanies of great cultural importance. Adze blades and chisels were of particular importance in their uses as power objects in shamans' religio-medical kits. Profane display-exchange stones and sacred ancestor stones were the cultural binders without which the cultures would have ceased to exist as they did. These symbolic stones were combined with perishable organic materials as decoration to visually transmit important cultural information. In addition, the uses of fiber string, stems of grass, a few leaves, and a certain root were essential to maintain the continuum of supernatural power from unknown places in the domain of the unseen into those durable stone objects that had been selected to be made sacred. The sociopolitical, and to a lesser extent the socioeconomic implications of the above factors for these inhabitants of Highlands Irian Jaya also are discussed and analyzed systemically.


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