Searching for the First Malayo-Polynesians: Research on the Taiwan and Philippine Neolithic

12 October 2006 (Australian National University) – Public lecture at the ANU on Wednesday, 18 October by Dr. Peter Bellwood.

Searching for the First Malayo-Polynesians: Research on the Taiwan and Philippine Neolithic

Linguistic, archaeological and genetic evidence indicate that Taiwan was a major origin region for the Austronesian-speaking peoples. Their major branch, that of the speakers of Malayo-Polynesian languages, has spread more than half way around the world, and today has over 350 million members. The archaeological roots of this dispersal can be traced in Neolithic cultures in Taiwan and the northern Philippines (Batanes Islands and northern Luzon) dating between 5000 and 3000 years ago.

Archaeological excavations in Taiwan and the Batanes Islands by ANU archaeologists (inter alia) will be discussed, as well as new sourcing research by Taiwan geochemists on Taiwan nephrite, a mineral that travelled about 2,000 years ago over huge areas of SE Asia (to Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia).


Related Books:
Southeast Asia: From Prehistory to History by P. S. Bellwood and I. Glover (Eds)
Bioarchaeology of Southeast Asia (Cambridge Studies in Biological and Evolutionary Anthropology) by M. Oxenham
Indo-Pacific Prehistory 1990. Proceedings of the 14th Congress Held at Yogyakarta. Vol 1 & 2. by P. Bellwood (Ed)
Man’s conquest of the Pacific: The prehistory of Southeast Asia and Oceania by P. Bellwood

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

7 thoughts on “Searching for the First Malayo-Polynesians: Research on the Taiwan and Philippine Neolithic”

  1. What about South America? It is not fair to rule out the South American Theory entirely! It’s like scientist are trying to hide something. I know for a fact that Polynesians have to have some sort of connection with the American Indians. I’m sick of just hearing they come from South East Asia! Who were the first inhabitants of the Pacific Islands? I’m sure it wasn’t Polynesians! You can see that Polynesian peoples physical appearance is a mixture of Asian and American Indian. Why can’t you just say that they are of both ethnicities, I’m sure that is what gives Polynesians a unique look. Also the fact that a lot of cultural customs of Polynesians are similar to Native Americans and what about the Hawaiian Totem poles? They have to have some sort of connection to come up with something exactly similar to the American Indians! Honestly what are scientist hiding? Are they hiding the truth?

  2. Oh yeah one more thing, what about the sweet potato? Don’t tell me it just floated into the South Pacific or that the Polynesians travelled 1000’s of Kilometers just for a potato. I’m sure thats proof that Polynesians have a connection with South American Indians. I know there is a lot of proof that Polynesians are closely related to Malayan people but you cannot say they have no connection to American Indians!!!!!!!!

  3. Aimee, Courtney,

    I didn’t expect this post to receive so vigorous a reaction. I personally have not heard about the South American origin of the polynesian people myself, perhaps you would care to share it here?

  4. Go to google and search “Polynesian related to Native Indians”. Then look for something with DNA. Of course. Polynesians for sure are related. That is kind of old news now. You can see it in the culture and customs.

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