cies to lightly armed pedestrian hunters, the utility of various prey body parts, and the transport and processing techniques likely to produce the optimal nutrient yield to consumers at a central place. These hypotheses allow Cosgrove and Allen to generate a range of predictions about archaeological outcomes, which are then tested against the actual record. The results are generally consistent with expectations. Even where predictions fail, the mismatch is informative. This is a very impressive piece of work: easily the most theoretically and empirically sophisticated contribution to the volume. Jack Golson reviews variation in the form and distribution of stone axes found in late Pleistocene and early Holocene deposits in northern Australia and southern New Guinea, compares the results with parallel patterns in rock art and language, and makes the case for what others have called an ``interaction sphere,'' ``information network,'' or ``culture area'' extending across large parts of tropical Sahul. The exercise is important in that it undercuts the long-standing proposition that Pleistocene stone tool industries continent-wide were essentially invariant. That point made, the question is whether the inductive approach Golson pursues in developing the argument leads to anything beyond a comprehensive summary of the data. The
Asian Perspectives – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Mar 26, 2004
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