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Australiari Archaeology 33: 65
THE ARCLING CONFERENCE. ARCHAEOLOGY AND LINGUISTICS:
UNDERSTANDING ANCIENT AUSTRALIA
Northern Territory University, Darwin, 8-12 July 1991
When I first mentioned the word 'Arding' to someone
they thought I was talking about some obscure form of
sport played in rural England, similar perhaps to
'Farnarkeling' (documented by Fred Dagg) or 'Llap
Goch'the Secret Welsh Art of Self Defence.
In this context however, 'Arding' is an acronym for a
conference on Archaeology and Linguistics held
recently at the Northern Terriiory University, Darwin.
Over 100 people attended and like Famarkeling or Llap
Goch, Arding was an international affair with speakers
coming from Europe, North America and the Pacific.
The conference was a timely one - archaeologistsare
increasingly looking to linguistic research to see
whether it can prwide information on past population
mwements and culture change. A notable example of
this cross-disciplinary approach is Cdin Renfrew's
recent work linking language spread with the
development of agriculture in northern Europe.
A welcome feature of the conference was that neither
discipline used the other as a convenient data quarry.
Instead, all papers, whether given by archaeologists or
linguists, were concerned with developing new, unified
models of colonisation, social interaction and culture
Papers presented at the conference covered a wide
range of topics. Specific issues addressed induded:
the peopling of the Americas; the colonisationof Sahul;
whether the spread of new items of technology across
Australia in the mid-Holocenewas linkedwith language
expansion; the development of regionalism in art
styles, ceremonial systems and languages in northern
Australia; the antiquity of signifying systems; the
spread of section systems; evidence for recent
changes in ceremonial exchange networks; the use d
information processing models to explain changes in
social interaction; and evidence for contacts between
Aboriginal people and other groups such as
The conference was a stimulating and enjoyabie one
and there are plans to hold Arding 2.
It is intended to publish a selection d papers from the
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