Archaeology of the Massim Island Region, Papua New Guinea

  • Ben ShawEmail author
Living reference work entry


Modern humans colonized New Guinea and Australia at least 50,000 years ago, which at this time formed a single continent known as Sahul. In the millennia that followed, descendants of these early inhabitants spread across this large mosaic landscape and eventually reached the eastern tip of New Guinea (northern Sahul) and the very edge of the continental world. Scattered off the eastern shores were groups of islands collectively known today as the “Massim region” (Fig. 1). The Massim islands have an ecological diversity substantially diminished compared to the continental landscape of New Guinea, and they have undergone considerable changes in size as global sea levels fluctuated throughout the Late Pleistocene (>12kya) and Early-Middle Holocene (12–4kya). Further to the east is the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean, with the remote islands of the Pacific some of the last landmasses on earth to be colonized by humans. The Massim is therefore well positioned to inform on...
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of New South WalesSydneyAustralia