via World Archaeology, 09 February 2023: This paper by O’Connor et al. explores the spread of human occupation in Wallacea and Near Oceania by looking at artefacts that date back to the terminal Pleistocene/early Holocene on islands such as Alor, Timor, Kisar and other islands in Wallacea.
The crossing of the Wallacean islands and settlement of Sahul by modern humans over 50,000 years ago, represents the earliest successful seafaring of our species anywhere in the world. Archaeological research throughout this vast island archipelago has recovered evidence for varied patterns in island occupation, with accumulating evidence suggesting a significant change in cultural activities and interaction amongst island communities following the LGM. New forms of technology such as shell fish hooks and adzes appear alongside standardised forms of shell beads, indicating that these technological innovations were accompanied by shared styles of personal ornamentation. Simultaniously, obsidian from a single, off-island source is found in the archaeological assemblages on at least four islands. We explore these implied spheres of interaction across Wallacea, with a focus on the terminal-Pleistocene/early-Holocene cultural materials and customs linking the southeastern Wallacean islands of Alor, Timor, and Kisar, and other parts of greater Wallacea and Near Oceania.