While we’re on the topic of the Austronesian migration, the same issue of Science also carried another article about the tracing of human migration through the pacific. This time, the tracing of human bacteria indicate two splits of pacific populations from Asian ones, the first occurring around 30,000 years ago, while the second through one of the Austronesian subgroups 5,000 years ago.
An ambitious experiment to trace the migration route of the Polynesians as they colonised the pacific is underway! A team of made up of scientists, cameramen and native sailors are seeking to retrace maritime passage by island-hopping from Philippines eastwards to the Polynesian islands of Tikopia and Anuta (see route here). The Polynesian migration into the pacific was one of the largest in the history of man, and exceptional because it occured over water, and in a relatively short period of time (1,000 years). Linguistic and DNA evidence has shown that the Polynesians, along with much of island Southeast Asia, were part of a population originating from Taiwan around 5,000 to 6,000 BC, which travelled down Philippines before spreading east and west.
Southeast Asia is the crossroads to a number of human migrations, the largest of which must have been the Austronesian migration. Somewhere between 8,000 to 6,000 years ago, the Austronesians migrated from Southeast China or Taiwan, down the Philippine islands before splitting east to Polynesia and West to Southeast Asia. Based on linguistic and archaeological evidence, the Austronesians are though to be the precursors to modern Polynesians and Malays. This travel piece from Malaysia’s Star visits what may be one of the homelands of the Austronesians – Tanshishan, in Southeast China.
The Star, 24 September 2008
Continue reading “Southeast Asia's Common Roots”