North Maluku Cultural Heritage Preservation Agency (BPCB) explored the legacy of prehistoric rock art in the form of hand-drawn paintings and other motifs on walls of caves on Kisar Island, Southwest Maluku District, Maluku Province.
“We trace the rock art paintings` record and register them as national cultural reserves, so that they can be maintained, for they are the proof of the cultural value of prehistoric civilizations,” North Maluku BPCB Head Muhammad Husni remarked in Wonreli recently.
Based in Ternate, with a working area covering the provinces of Maluku, North Maluku, Papua, and West Papua, the BPCB began the search for prehistoric cultural paintings on Kisar Island since November 17, 2018.
via ANU E-press: New free E-book on the archaeology of Sulawesi edited by O’Connor et al.
Archaeology of Sulawesi by O’Connor et al
The central Indonesian island of Sulawesi has recently been hitting headlines with respect to its archaeology. It contains some of the oldest directly dated rock art in the world, and some of the oldest evidence for a hominin presence beyond the southeastern limits of the Ice Age Asian continent. In this volume, scholars from Indonesia and Australia come together to present their research findings and views on a broad range of topics. From early periods, these include observations on Ice Age climate, life in caves and open sites, rock art, and the animals that humans exploited and lived alongside. The archaeology presented from later periods covers the rise of the Bugis kingdom, Chinese trade ceramics, and a range of site-based and regional topics from the Neolithic through to the arrival of Islam. This carefully edited volume is the first to be devoted entirely to the archaeology of the island of Sulawesi, and it lays down a baseline for significant future research.
via Tempo, 3 November 2018: A team of archaeologists discover the remains of wooden buildings in Central Java. Article is in Bahasa.
via Tempo, 3 November 2018
The research team at the Liyangan Archaeological Center in Yogyakarta discovered a unit of the remaining wooden buildings on the site Liyangan, Temanggung, during the research period October 18 to November 4, 2018. The former building was found outside the Liyangan Temple area in Liyangan Hamlet. Purbasari Village, Ngadirejo District, Temanggung Regency, Central Java.
The researchers found fibers, bamboo, and wood, all of which were shaped like charcoal and weathered. The rest of the building was buried with material from Sindoro Mountain which was known to have erupted violently and catapulted thousands of material cubes in the 11th century.
via Jakarta Observer, 02 November 2018: Results of a geoarchaelogical survey in Pulau Sawah, West Sumatra. Article is in Bahasa Indonesia.
Penelitian geoarkeologi yang dilakukan di permukiman kuno di sekitar situs Pulau Sawah, Dharmasraya, Sumatera Barat (Sumbar) menunjukkan adanya kearifan lokal dalam memilih lokasi permukiman.
Seperti disampaikan Dr Taqyuddin,peneliti dari Departemen Geografi, FMIPA, Universitas Indonesia, masyarakat Dharmasraya pada abad 8 hingga abad 13 Masehi sudah maju pada masanya dalam menentukan lokasi permukimannya yaitu memilih tempat yang subur dan luas dengan sungai yang sepanjang tahun berair.
via Antara News, 31 October 2018: Inscribed megaliths found in Papua. Article is in Bahasa.
Source: Antara Papua 20181031
Tim peneliti dari Balai Arkeologi Papua menemukan dua patung arca megalitik dengan langgam polinesia di Situs Gunung/Bukit Srobu, Kelurahan Abepantai, Distrik Abepura, Kota Jayapura, Papua.
“Nah di tahun ini, kami lahirkan suatu penemuan spektakuler bagi kami yakni dua patung arca megalitik dengan langgam polinesia, tapi saya lebih senang katakan itu sebagai arca megalitik Srobu Papua, dan ini sangat luar biasa dan unik karena memiliki perbedaan dengan arca-arca lainnya yang pernah kami temukan ada di wilayah lain Papua,” peneliti dari Balai Arkeologi Papua Erlin Novita Idje Djami di Kota Jayapura, Rabu.
via The Nation, 02 November 2018: Exhibition at the Queen Sirikit Textile Museum showcases royal textiles from the Javanese court.
The batik collection of King Chulalongkorn from the central Javanese principalities of Yogyakarta and Surakarta allures with distinctive shades of blue and brown and even some “forbidden motifs” reserved for the nobility.
via Nature and various news sources, 07 November 2018: Burning up my news feeds today is a newly-published paper in Nature about new dates from rock art in Borneo. A painting of a ‘banteng’ is at least 40,000 years old, making it the oldest figurative painting in the world and adds to other similarly-dated rock art in Sulawesi. Other dates discovered also suggest multiple periods of painting from the last 50,000 years. Congrats to Max Aubert and team!
Figurative cave paintings from the Indonesian island of Sulawesi date to at least 35,000 years ago (ka) and hand-stencil art from the same region has a minimum date of 40 ka1. Here we show that similar rock art was created during essentially the same time period on the adjacent island of Borneo. Uranium-series analysis of calcium carbonate deposits that overlie a large reddish-orange figurative painting of an animal at Lubang Jeriji Saléh—a limestone cave in East Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo—yielded a minimum date of 40 ka, which to our knowledge is currently the oldest date for figurative artwork from anywhere in the world. In addition, two reddish-orange-coloured hand stencils from the same site each yielded a minimum uranium-series date of 37.2 ka, and a third hand stencil of the same hue has a maximum date of 51.8 ka. We also obtained uranium-series determinations for cave art motifs from Lubang Jeriji Saléh and three other East Kalimantan karst caves, which enable us to constrain the chronology of a distinct younger phase of Pleistocene rock art production in this region. Dark-purple hand stencils, some of which are decorated with intricate motifs, date to about 21–20 ka and a rare Pleistocene depiction of a human figure—also coloured dark purple—has a minimum date of 13.6 ka. Our findings show that cave painting appeared in eastern Borneo between 52 and 40 ka and that a new style of parietal art arose during the Last Glacial Maximum. It is now evident that a major Palaeolithic cave art province existed in the eastern extremity of continental Eurasia and in adjacent Wallacea from at least 40 ka until the Last Glacial Maximum, which has implications for understanding how early rock art traditions emerged, developed and spread in Pleistocene Southeast Asia and further afield.
via various sources including ANU Media, the Guardian and the Journal of Human Evolution: A new paper in the Journal of Human Evolution models the “least-cost pathways” humans would have taken through Island Southeast Asia in order to reach Australia, offering a predictive insight into areas of high archaeological potential.
Archaeological records from Australia provide the earliest, indirect evidence for maritime crossings by early modern humans, as the islands to the north-west of the continent (Wallacea) have never been connected to the mainland. Suggested in 1977 by Joseph B. Birdsell, the two main routes from Sunda (mainland Southeast Asia) to Sahul (Australia-New Guinea), still in debate today, are a northern route through Sulawesi with a landing in New Guinea, or a southern route through Bali, Timor and thence landing in northern Australia. Here we construct least-cost pathway models of human dispersal from Sunda to Sahul at 65 ka and 70 ka by extending previous out-of-Africa least-cost models through the digitization of these routes. We recover overwhelming support for a northern route into Sahul, with a landing location on present-day Misool Island. Minimal support is also recovered for the southern route at 70 ka, with a possible crossing to Sahul from eastern Timor. Review of archaeological records on the Wallacean islands crossed by our northern route indicate a dearth of archaeological research in this region. Meanwhile, the comparatively better studied southern islands still lack any archaeological dates comparable to those known for initial occupation in Sunda and Sahul. Based on our model results we suggest Misool Island as the initial landing site for early modern humans on Sahul and recommend a future focus on archaeological fieldwork in the northern Wallacean islands.