New Paper: Rock art and the colonisation of Southeast Asia

Over the past decade, archaeologists have been able to directly date rock art, particularly in Island Southeast Asia at sites in East Kalimantan, East Timor and South Sulawesi. The dates of rock art indicate that modern humans were creating rock art during the Pleistocene, comparable to similar rock art in Europe. In this paper by Aubert et al., the authors note that the presence of these sites and dates now begs the question, did the ability to create rock art move out of Africa with human migrations, or did it erupt independently in different parts of the world? Also within Island Southeast Asia, did rock art develop from a specific place and spread throughout prehistoric Sahul, or did it arise independently among different communities in the region?

Recent technological developments in scientific dating methods and their applications to a broad range of materials have transformed our ability to accurately date rock art. These novel breakthroughs in turn are challenging and, in some instances, dramatically changing our perceptions of the timing and the nature of the development of rock art and other forms of symbolic expression in various parts of the late Pleistocene world. Here we discuss the application of these methods to the dating of rock art in Southeast Asia, with key implications for understanding the pattern of recent human evolution and dispersal outside Africa.

The Timing and Nature of Human Colonization of Southeast Asia in the Late Pleistocene: A Rock Art Perspective – Current Anthropology
https://doi.org/10.1086/694414

Panji tales awarded the status of world heritage by UNESCO

via Leiden University, 31 October 2017:

he unique collection of more than 250 ancient tales revolving around the mythical Javanese Prince Panji, which is curated by Leiden University Libraries (UBL), has been acknowledged as world heritage by UNESCO. The UBL is grateful to UNESCO for this exceptionally prestigious award.

The Leiden collection of Panji tales is included in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register, together with similar collections held by the national libraries of Indonesia, Malaysia and Cambodia. The Register contains documentary heritage of outstanding value to the world. UBL already holds two documents included in the UNESCO Register: La Galigo (2011) and Babad Diponegoro (2013). By digitising the Panji tales, they can be made available worldwide via free via open access for research and education. UBL has started a crowdfunding campaign to help digitise the Panji tales.

Source: Panji tales awarded the status of world heritage by UNESCO

Tracing the origin of Indonesian people through genetics

via The Conversation, 17 October 2017:

Using mitocondrial DNA, we found haplogroups M, F, Y2 and B in the western part of Indonesia. The people of these haplogroups are mostly speakers of Austronesia languages, spoken in Southeast Asia, Madagascar and Pacific Islands.

Meanwhile in the eastern part of Indonesia we found haplogroups Q and P. These two haplogroups are unique to people of Papua and Nusa Tenggara. People of haplogroup Q and P are non-Austronesian speakers.

What’s more interesting is Mentawai and Nias, the haplogroup of the people in those islands are grouped with the native people of Formosa, Austronesian speakers who travelled to the south around 5,000 years ago.

Source: Tracing the origin of Indonesian people through genetics

Underwater archaeology in Papua

via CNN Indonesia, 18 October 2017:

Pulau Papua dikelilingi oleh perairan yang luas, dan memiliki tinggalan arkeologi bawah air. Selama ini di Papua belum pernah dilakukan penelitian arkeologi bawah air, hal ini disebabkan oleh keterbatasan peralatan dan sumberdaya manusia.

Berbeda dengan penelitian arkeologi di daratan, penelitian arkeologi bawah air membutuhkan dana lebih besar untuk membeli peralatan, akses ke lokasi, serta tingkat kesulitan tinggi untuk penelitian arkeologi bawah air.

Papua memiliki potensi tinggalan arkeologi bawah air di antaranya kapal perang maupun pesawat terbang peninggalan Perang Pasifik terdapat di perairan Papua dan Papua Barat. Kapal peninggalan Perang Pasifik milik Amerika, The Junkyard terdapat di perairan Pulau Amsterdam. Pesawat tempur Zero di perairan Pulau Rippon, Wandamen. Pesawat Amerika P47-D Razorback di Pulau Wai, Raja Ampat.

Source: Mengintip Kekayaan Arkeologis Bawah Air di Papua

Preserving rock art at Raja Ampat

via CNN Indonesia, 16 October 2017:

Kepulauan Raja Ampat tak hanya memiliki pantai pasir putih, pesona bawah laut, keragaman biota laut, flora dan fauna hutan tropis yang menakjubkan. Destinasi wisata dunia ini juga memiliki pesona lukisan tebing prasejarah (rock art). Rock art adalah wujud seni yang dituangkan pada batuan yang dapat tertuang dalam bentuk lukisan, dengan media tebing karang. Situs lukisan prasejarah di Raja Ampat dapat dijumpai di Teluk Mayalibit, Teluk Kabui, dan kawasan Misool Selatan.

Motif lukisan tergambar pada permukaan dinding tebing karst dekat permukaan air yang mudah digapai dengan tangan. Selain itu lukisan juga terletak pada permukaan dinding tebing yang lebih tinggi. Motif lukisan tebing ini berupa figur manusia, hewan, cap tangan, geometris, fauna bawah air dan peralatan.

Source: Melestarikan Lukisan Batu di Raja Ampat

Borobudur archives listed in UNESCO Memory of the World Register

via Antara News, 11 October 2017:

Four national archives were included in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register, according to Bambang Subiyanto, chief executive of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences.

“The four archives on the Borobudur temple restoration, Panji Story, Non-Aligned Movement, and Tsunami had been registered in 2016, and the results will be announced at the end of October 2017,” Subiyanto remarked here on Tuesday.

He said Indonesia had submitted a proposal to list the archives of Borobudurs renovation during the 1973-1983 period in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register, as the second restoration had involved several parties, and Indonesia has a complete documentation on the work.

Source: Four archives listed in UNESCO Memory of the World Register – ANTARA News

The struggle to understand the Hobbit

via Cosmos, 27 September 2017:

The discovery of Homo floresiensis in 2003 threw up many questions about the history of our own species. More than a decade later, they remain unanswered. Debbie Argue, biological anthropologist at the Australian National University, explains why.

Source: The struggle to understand the Hobbit | Cosmos

UNESCO and ASEAN joint forces to strengthen the protection of underwater heritage in the Southeast Asian region

via Unesco, 21 September 2017: I was in Makassar last week to attend this meeting organised by Unesco and ASEAN. On the agenda was the 2001 convention on Underwater Cultural Heritage (of which only Cambodia is signatory to).

Source: UNESCO and ASEAN joint forces to strengthen the protection of underwater heritage in the Southeast Asian region | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

‘We’ve found the missing 20,000 years’: crucial piece in human migration puzzle

via Sydney Morning Herald, 20 August 2017: An interview with Dr Kira Westaway from the University of Wollonggong and the events leading to the paper about finding 65,000 year old human remains in Sumatra.

The discovery by Australian scientist Kira Westaway took treks through Indonesian rainforest, a dogged refusal to take no for an answer, and a fax machine.

Source: ‘We’ve found the missing 20,000 years’: crucial piece in human migration puzzle

Old teeth from a rediscovered cave show humans were in Indonesia more than 63,000 years ago

Exciting new paper just published in Nature indicates evidence for humans in Sumatra as early as 63,000 years ago from a reinvestigation of remains at Lida Ajer cave. The findings and location of the site imply that humans were adept at rainforest exploitation from a very early period, and that perhaps the migration of early humans from Southeast Asia to Australia may not necessarily hugged the coastline as theorised.

Source: Old teeth from a rediscovered cave show humans were in Indonesia more than 63,000 years ago

See also: