via International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 29 Janaury 2024: Exploring the floodplains of Palembang and Jambi in Sumatra, Perttola and Kallio propose a longue durée hypothesis on the region’s historical fishing practices, intertwined with the hydrological cycles of the Musi and Batang Hari rivers. This interdisciplinary study, part of a larger project on Southeast Asian maritime trade networks, delves into the vital role of floodplain fisheries in supporting the ancient cities and their trade networks, challenging the traditional focus on terrestrial aspects and rice cultivation in historical research.
Fishing and wetlands have in many cases been essential facets of life but are often overlooked in archaeological and historical research. In this article, we focus on the floodplains of the Palembang and Jambi region of Sumatra, where both of these aspects are comprehensively entwined. The floodplain fisheries there are highly productive, and function in a rhythm with the hydrological cycle of the rivers. By combining the pre-existing archaeological, historical and ethnographic information with modern environmental data, we propose a longue durée hypothesis for their use in the past. We also examine how floodplains fishing may have contributed to the provisioning of Palembang and Jambi, and how it would have fit in with other aspects of Sumatran culture such as floodplain rice cultivation and overseas trade. This is achieved by linking the production schedules with the sailing seasons simulated with qtVlm navigation software.