Incorporating indigenous knowledge into research projects is crucial to organizing knowledge exchanges and developing appropriate inter-cultural relationships. This Working Paper discusses the ARC-funded Nakanai Caves Cultural Heritage Project, a collaboration led by James Cook University and Extent Heritage Pty Ltd. The purpose of the Project is to discuss and promote the local knowledge of the Pomio people of East New Britain. It aims to both document and integrate the natural and cultural values of the Nakanai Caves, in preparation for a World Heritage Listing Bid. We talk to the Pomio people about how their land and culture might be so important that it can be considered of value to the rest of the world. This value to the world can contribute to the idea of World Heritage listing. Method-wise, we incorporate community knowledge with anthropological and archaeological evidence to describe the surrounding landscapes from a local perspective. Recent events have added impetus to the Project. The last decade has seen the development of oil palm plantations in the area. This has, needless to say, had a detrimental effect on the surrounding environment. In addition, I highlight the role of local hosts in linking external researchers to communities so that effective research outcomes are generated.   

Parts of this talk have previously been presented at the PNG/PACIFIC Connections Research Forum & PNG Impact conferences respectively

About the presenter

Jason Kariwiga is a PhD candidate in the School of Social Science, University of Queensland. He has a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and a Bachelor of Arts with Honours, First Class (BAH) from the University of Papua New Guinea, as well as a Graduate Certificate in Education (Academic Practice) from James Cook University. Before commencing his studies at UQ, he was a tutor at UPNG. Jason has worked as a research and consultant archaeologist across PNG and Australia, and has more than ten years of experience as a field archaeologist in PNG, a country where there are (sadly) only a handful of indigenous archaeologists.

Please be aware that we are still operating under Covid-19 regulations during public events.  For those who will be attending, you will be asked to check in via QR code as a condition of entry. Those who are feeling unwell, who have travelled in from overseas or a Covid-19 hotspot in the last 14 days or have been in contact with Covid-19 positive persons, are asked not to attend the seminar. Hand sanitizers will be provided for attendee use at venue​.

About Archaeology Working Papers

The Working Papers in Archaeology seminar series provides a forum for dissemination of archaeological research and ideas amongst UQ archaeology students and staff. All students are invited to attend the series and postgraduate students, from honours upwards, are invited to present their research. The aim is to provide opportunities for students, staff and those from outside UQ, to present and discuss their work in an informal environment. It is hoped that anyone interested in current archaeological directions, both within and outside the School and University, will be able to attend and contribute to the series.