via China Daily, 30 November 2023: Recent archaeological discoveries in Fujian province, China, have provided pivotal evidence tracing the origins of Austronesian peoples, known for their extensive maritime migrations. Sites such as Xiying and Keqiutou on Pingtan Island, dating back 3,000 to 7,500 years, reveal sophisticated settlements with distinct functional areas and the oldest-known rice cultivation in southeastern China’s coastal islands. Genetic and cultural links between these sites and Taiwan’s Dapenkeng culture support theories of Austronesian migration from the Chinese mainland. These findings highlight the increasing significance of agriculture alongside fishing in these communities, underscoring frequent cross-strait interactions and a broader geographic origin for Austronesian peoples.
Thanks to a research project starting in 2021, a series of sites ranging from 3,000 to 7,500 years old along the coast of Fujian province indicated the origins of Austronesian peoples, a conference of the National Cultural Heritage Administration in Beijing heard on Wednesday.
On Pingtan Island in the provincial capital of Fuzhou, the Xiying site from 6,500 to 7,300 years ago yielded a crucial finding of human settlement. Analysis of unearthed human bones showed their close genetic connection with other regions in southern China and Southeast Asia.
“It’s direct evidence for our studies to decode early groups of Austronesian peoples,” said Zhou Zhenyu, a researcher with the Institute of Archaeology at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.