3,500-year-old pumpkin spice? Archaeologists find earliest use of nutmeg as a food

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via UW News, 03 October 2018: Nutmeg residues found in 3,500-year-old ceramics at Pulau Ay in Indonesia.

Found at an archaeological site on Pulau Ay, a small island in the Banda Islands, central Maluku, Indonesia, the nutmeg was found as residue on ceramic potsherds and is estimated to be 3,500 years old — about 2,000 years older than the previously known use of the spice.

The study and two excavations in 2007 and 2009 were led by Peter Lape, professor of anthropology at the University of Washington and curator of archaeology at the Burke Museum, in collaboration with colleagues from Universitas Gadjah Mada in Indonesia, the University of New South Wales in Australia and others.

The Pulau Ay archaeological site was occupied from 2,300 to 3,500 years ago, with animal bones, earthenware pottery, stone tools, and post molds of possible housing structures found. The variety of artifacts discovered provides evidence of changes in how people utilized marine food resources, pottery and domestic animals over time.

Source: 3,500-year-old pumpkin spice? Archaeologists find earliest use of nutmeg as a food | UW News

Categories: Ceramics Indonesia

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Indonesian archaeology research archive

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Highlighting a new and very significant web resource, the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture’s Repository of research. The link below is the search result for all things related to archaeology deposited in the Institute’s Repository – about 400 items! This is a great initiative, and I wish more countries and institutions would do the same.

Source: Search results for arkeologi – Repositori Institusi Perpustakaan Kemendikbud

[Paper] The spatio-temporal distribution of archaeological and faunal finds at Liang Bua (Flores, Indonesia) in light of the revised chronology for Homo floresiensis

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New Open Access paper in the Journal of Human Evolution examines the distribution stone artefacts and faunal remains of Liang Bua over 190,000 years. Changes in the assemblage suggest that modern humans arrived to Liang Bua around 46,000 years ago.

Liang Bua, the type site of Homo floresiensis, is a limestone cave on the Indonesian island of Flores with sedimentary deposits currently known to range in age from about 190 thousand years (ka) ago to the present. Recent revision of the stratigraphy and chronology of this depositional sequence suggests that skeletal remains of H. floresiensis are between ∼100 and 60 ka old, while cultural evidence of this taxon occurs until ∼50 ka ago. Here we examine the compositions of the faunal communities and stone artifacts, by broad taxonomic groups and raw materials, throughout the ∼190 ka time interval preserved in the sequence. Major shifts are observed in both the faunal and stone artifact assemblages that reflect marked changes in paleoecology and hominin behavior, respectively. Our results suggest that H. floresiensis and Stegodon florensis insularis, along with giant marabou stork (Leptoptilos robustus) and vulture (Trigonoceps sp.), were likely extinct by ∼50 ka ago. Moreover, an abrupt and statistically significant shift in raw material preference due to an increased use of chert occurs ∼46 thousand calibrated radiocarbon (14C) years before present (ka cal. BP), a pattern that continues through the subsequent stratigraphic sequence. If an increased preference for chert does, in fact, characterize Homo sapiens assemblages at Liang Bua, as previous studies have suggested (e.g., Moore et al., 2009), then the shift observed here suggests that modern humans arrived on Flores by ∼46 ka cal. BP, which would be the earliest cultural evidence of modern humans in Indonesia.

Source: The spatio-temporal distribution of archaeological and faunal finds at Liang Bua (Flores, Indonesia) in light of the revised chronology for Homo floresiensis – ScienceDirect

UK investigates fresh reports of looting of sunken navy ships

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via The Guardian, 19 August 2018: UK Government investigating the looting of sunken navy ships in Malaysian and Indonesian waters.

Infographic on shipwrecks in Malaysian and Indoensian waters from the Daily Mail, 18 August 2018

Infographic on shipwrecks in Malaysian and Indoensian waters from the Daily Mail, 18 August 2018

Gavin Williamson says UK will work closely with Indonesia and Malaysia over claims Second World War ships have been plundered

Source: UK investigates fresh reports of looting of sunken navy ships

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Indonesia’s ‘one-map’ database blasted for excluding indigenous lands

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via MongaBay, 10 August 2018: Posting because of cultural heritage interest. The Indonesian government’s One Map database has decided to exclude maps of indigenous territories (although the government is saying they want to include the maps once all the local governments have adopted them).

  • The Indonesian government has decided to not include maps of indigenous territory in its unified land-use map database when it is launched this month, despite the fact that some of the maps have been formally recognized by local governments.
  • The exclusion has drawn criticism from indigenous rights activists, who say it defeats the purpose of the so-called one-map policy, which is to resolve land conflicts, much of which involve disputes over indigenous lands.
  • The activists say the exclusion of the customary maps effectively signals the government’s denial of the existence of indigenous lands.
  • For its part, the government says the customary maps will be included once all of them have been formally recognized by local governments — a tedious and time-consuming process that requires the passage of a bylaw in each of the hundreds of jurisdictions in which indigenous lands occur.

Source: Indonesia’s ‘one-map’ database blasted for excluding indigenous lands

Categories: Indonesia

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New Issue of Kapata Arkeologi

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Kapata Arkeologi call for papers

A new issue of Kapata Arkeologi (vol 14, 2018) has been published and the articles are accessible online. The journal is published by Balai Arkeologi Maluku (Maluku Archaeology Center) and they also invite papers for the next issue.

Some papers in this new issue include

  • Traces of the History of South Cisarua Plantation: Archives and Inscription of the Dutch Tomb in Kebon Jahe Cisarua-Bogor, Jawa Barat
  • Rise and Fall of Kema Port in Sulawesi Sea Trade Routes During Colonial Period: Based on Infrastructure Data
  • Looking For a Trace of Shamanism, in the Rock Art of Maros-Pangkep, South Sulawesi, Indonesia

Visit the journal here.

[Lecture] Ten Years of Archaeological Research in Indonesia: Highlights from the National Archaeology Research Centre

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Readers in Singapore may be interested in this lecture at ISEAS on Wednesday.

Ten Years of Archaeological Research in Indonesia: Highlights from the National Archaeology Research Centre
Date: 08 Aug 2018
Time: 10:00am – 11:30am
Venue: ISEAS Seminar Room 2

About the Lecture
The National Archaeology Research Centre (PUSLIT ARKENAS) was established shortly after Indonesia’s independence, on the foundations of the Dutch colonial Antiquity Service (Oudheidkundige Dienst, 1913). For about 105 years after its creation, PUSLIT ARKENAS has conducted archaeological surveys and research on land as well as underwater throughout the archipelago. The last ten years saw groundbreaking discoveries from the prehistory to the WWII periods. These discoveries will be presented at this seminar. These endeavors range from the Harimau cave, a site once inhabited by the Sriwijayan people on the estuary of Musi River (South Sumatra), to the early Mataram period Liyangan settlement site in Java, on the slope of Mt Sindoro (9th c.), and lastly, the WWII shipwreck of the German U-boat which sank in the Java Sea.

About the Speakers
Bambang Budi Utomo is an archaeologist at the Indonesian National Archaeology Research Centre (PUSLIT ARKENAS). He has participated in numerous research projects in Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, and Lesser Sunda over the years. He has also written for various national newspapers and served as a reference source for semi-documentary films produced by private television stations. His primary research focuses on the Sriwijaya and Malayu periods, specifically on the influences of Sriwijaya in Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, the Malay Peninsula, and Southern Thailand. More recently he has used maritime archaeology and history to try to understand Sriwijaya from a maritime cultural perspective in the hope of helping Indonesians understand their strong maritime connections that come from living in an archipelago.

Shinatria Adhityatama graduated from Gadjah Mada University in 2012 with a BA in Archaeology. He has been a maritime archaeologist at the National Archaeology Research Centre (PUSLIT ARKENAS) in Jakarta, Indonesia since 2013. He is an experienced diver with more than 400 logged dives since 2006. Shinatria has been involved in domestic and international maritime archaeology training and maritime archaeological projects in Indonesia and Australian waters, including the exploration of a German U-boat in Java Sea in 2013; the exploration of prehistoric maritime culture in Misool Island, Raja Ampat in 2014; a survey of the HMAS Perth in the Sunda Strait in 2014; the exploration of underwater archaeology in the outer islands of Indonesia; Natuna Island in 2015; research for shipwrecks around Belitung Island in 2015; the Fortuyn Project in 2016; submerged prehistoric landscapes in Matano Lake in 2016; and the HMAS Perth project in 2017.

[Paper] Evolutionary history and adaptation of a human pygmy population of Flores Island, Indonesia

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A new paper in Science examining the genomes of modern pygmies in the island of Flores found similarities with Neanderthal and Denisovan  sequences, but nothing else unexpected, which would suggest that the modern pygmies have no genetic link with the island’s most famous pygmy, Homo floresiensis.

Evolutionary history and adaptation of a human pygmy population of Flores Island, Indonesia
Tucci et al.
Science, doi: 10.1126/science.aar8486

Flores Island, Indonesia, was inhabited by the small-bodied hominin species Homo floresiensis, which has an unknown evolutionary relationship to modern humans. This island is also home to an extant human pygmy population. Here we describe genome-scale single-nucleotide polymorphism data and whole-genome sequences from a contemporary human pygmy population living on Flores near the cave where H. floresiensis was found. The genomes of Flores pygmies reveal a complex history of admixture with Denisovans and Neanderthals but no evidence for gene flow with other archaic hominins. Modern individuals bear the signatures of recent positive selection encompassing the FADS (fatty acid desaturase) gene cluster, likely related to diet, and polygenic selection acting on standing variation that contributed to their short-stature phenotype. Thus, multiple independent instances of hominin insular dwarfism occurred on Flores.

Source: Evolutionary history and adaptation of a human pygmy population of Flores Island, Indonesia | Science, 03 August 2018

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