Expedition to sail the Philippine seas in ancient watercraft

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A Filipino expedition is preparing to navigate the Philippine seas using an ancient reconstructed boat type called the Balanghay.  This sailing of ancient maritime routes using centuries old technology isn’t new; Thor Heyadhal did it in his Kon-tiki experiment back in 1947 when he sailed from Peru to the Tuamoti Islands in the pacific (although the consensus is that migration to South America came from the west, i.e. Asia, and not the other way around); and more recently the Lapita Voyage by two archaeologists from Durham University will attempt to trace the migration routes of the Austronesians using traditional Polynesian boats.

An ancient journey retraced
Business Mirror, 21 May 2009
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Language analysis shows possible trajectory of Austronesian expansion

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Our understanding of the recent expansion of the Austronesian-speaking language groups out of Taiwan and into Southeast Asia and Polynesia is enhanced by a new paper out in Science, which argues through the analysis of 400 Austronesian languages that the Austronesian expansion occurred in pulses, which were correlated to the development of new technologies and social innovations.

Language Phylogenies Reveal Expansion Pulses and Pauses in Pacific Settlement
Science, 23 January 2009

Austronesian Basic Vocabulary Database

Pacific people spread from Taiwan

Science Daily, 22 Jan 2009
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Migration in Southeast Asia: It's the other way around!

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New genetic-level studies on Southeast Asian populations throw up new ideas about how humans migrated and populated this region – it may well turn out that the Austronesian expansion wasn’t as big a deal as it was made out to be.

New Research Forces U-turn In Population Migration Theory
Science Daily, 26 May 2008
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Palau skeletons and Homo floresiensis on National Public Radio

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The National Public Radio’s Science Friday programme has a 12-minute interview with Lee Berger, the principal investigator of the Palau skeletons. Find out what this find means for the homo floresiensis debate and for our understanding of humankind in general.


photo credit: Rosino

Discovery Casts Doubt on ‘Hobbit’ Theory
NPR, 14 March 2008
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