Searching for the First Malayo-Polynesians: Research on the Taiwan and Philippine Neolithic

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12 October 2006 (Australian National University) – Public lecture at the ANU on Wednesday, 18 October by Dr. Peter Bellwood.

Searching for the First Malayo-Polynesians: Research on the Taiwan and Philippine Neolithic

Linguistic, archaeological and genetic evidence indicate that Taiwan was a major origin region for the Austronesian-speaking peoples. Their major branch, that of the speakers of Malayo-Polynesian languages, has spread more than half way around the world, and today has over 350 million members. The archaeological roots of this dispersal can be traced in Neolithic cultures in Taiwan and the northern Philippines (Batanes Islands and northern Luzon) dating between 5000 and 3000 years ago.

Archaeological excavations in Taiwan and the Batanes Islands by ANU archaeologists (inter alia) will be discussed, as well as new sourcing research by Taiwan geochemists on Taiwan nephrite, a mineral that travelled about 2,000 years ago over huge areas of SE Asia (to Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia).

Who are indigenous Indonesians?

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11 Aug 2006 (Jakarta Post) – While this forum letter probably has a political undertone to it, it provides a concise overview about the diffusion of homo sapiens throughout southeast asia.

Who are indigenous Indonesians?

Homo sapiens first reached Indonesia about 50,000 years ago, when sea levels were lower than now and western Indonesia was still part of the Southeast Asia mainland. After several millennia, early Indonesians invented what were probably the world’s first sea-going vessels and went on to settle eastern Indonesia, Australia, including Tasmania, and the Solomon Islands.

Their descendants still inhabit Papua today. However, they were eliminated from western Indonesia by relatively recent migrants. The spark for this was the emergence of crop cultivation in the Yangtze River valley in about 7,000 BC. Agriculture spread across what is now China and farming communities began to migrate into Southeast Asia.


Related Books:
Southeast Asia: From Prehistory to History by P. S. Bellwood and I. Glover (Eds)
Bioarchaeology of Southeast Asia (Cambridge Studies in Biological and Evolutionary Anthropology) by M. Oxenham
Man’s conquest of the Pacific: The prehistory of Southeast Asia and Oceania by P. Bellwood
Prehistory of the Indo-Malaysian Archipelago by P. Bellwood
The Archaeology of Mainland Southeast Asia: From 10,000 B.C. to the Fall of Angkor by C. Higham