World Heritage status for Hobbit site?

02 May 2007 (The Australian) – The discoverer of the Flores hominid is preparing to submit a proposal to list the Liang Bua cave, where the dimunitive hominid is found, as a World Heritage site due to the significance of the find. Personally, I think this might be too premature. While I am rooting for the hominid to be an entirely new species, the general consensus is that the jury is still out as to whether the Flores hominid represents and entirely new species. While the article’s main thrust is the nomination of LB1 as a World Heritage Site, one should also take note that the Soa Basin, located 40 km away from the cave is also proposed to be listed as a world heritage site, because of the presence of 900,000-year-old stone tools found there.

Heritage push for ‘hobbits’

THE cave where hobbit-like creatures were discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores is so crucial to the study of human evolution it should be World Heritage-listed, leading prehistorians claim.

The international experts kick-started the process at a meeting last month in Mildura, near the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area where the 40,000- to 60,000-year-old remains of Mungo Man were discovered in 1974.

Representing some of the most famous human fossil sites in Africa, China, Indonesia, Europe and Australia, as well as universities, Australian government authorities and private groups including the Getty Conservation Institute in California, the experts also called for listing of the Soa Basin of central Flores.

The basin is located about 40km from Liang Bua cave where the hobbit, Homo floresiensis, was discovered in 2003 by an Australian-Indonesian team.

An open-air site in the basin, Mata Menge, boasts 900,000-year-old stone tools associated with animal remains.

According to Mike Morwood, co-leader of the hobbit discovery team, the cave is especially significant because it contains the site where a totally new species of human was found.


Related Books:
Little People And a Lost World: An Anthropological Mystery by L. Goldenberg

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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.

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