via Mongo Bay, 09 June 2018: The archaeology of Makassar and the prehistoric Toalian culture. Article is in Bahasa.
via Mongabay, 26 May 2018: The archaeology of Sentani Lake in Papua, Indonesia. Article is in Bahasa.
via BBC, 1 June 2018: Of anthropological interest.
The tiny Islamic kingdom of Yogyakarta is locked in a bitter battle over whether the sultan’s daughter can inherit the throne.
Submission guidelines here: https://naditirawidya.kemdikbud.go.id/index.php/nw/announcement/view/2
via News.com.au, 17 May 2018: Chinese inscription provides evidence for a new date to the Java Sea Shipwreck.
Revisiting the date of the Java Sea Shipwreck from Indonesia
In this article we draw on suites of new information to reinterpret the date of the Java Sea Shipwreck. The ship was a Southeast Asian trading vessel carrying a large cargo of Chinese ceramics and iron as well as luxury items from outside of China, such as elephant tusks and resin. Initially the wreck, which was recovered in Indonesia, was placed temporally in the mid- to late 13th century based on a single radiocarbon sample and ceramic styles. We employ new data, including multiple radiocarbon dates and inscriptions found on some of the ceramics, to suggest that an earlier chronological placement be considered.
A PhD Scholarship opportunity in archaeology at the Australian National University, under Prof. Sue O’Connor (disclosure: my former supervisor). Deadline is 1 June 2018.
The candidate will have the opportunity to work on one of the key archaeological sites located within Australia, New Guinea, Timor-Leste, and Indonesia as part of a broader goal to investigate the signature of the peopling and subsequent history of Wallacea and Sahul (Australia and New Guinea). Sites in both regions have rich archaeological assemblages beginning as early as 65,000 years ago but few have continuous occupation sequences.
Through CABAH’s Irinjili Research Training Program, the candidate will participate in regular Masterclasses, Short Courses and Thematic Workshops, to improve technical and professional skills. Please contact Professor Sue O’Connor for further information and to discuss specific projects that you may be interested in developing.
Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree with at least upper second-class honours (first class honours is preferred) or equivalent, or a Graduate Diploma or Master’s degree with a significant research thesis component and/or relevant experience.
This scholarship includes paid medical and leave entitlements, travel reimbursement, and thesis reimbursement. A fee waiver may be offered for outstanding international students. The ANU College of Asia and the Pacific provides an additional top-up fund to support fieldwork, travel and conference attendance of $7500 plus $800 for copy editing for the period of the scholarship. Other benefits include funding for fieldwork, specialist analyses, and radiocarbon dates necessary to complete the PhD will be available through CABAH.
via South China Morning Post, 23 April 2018:
A new paper published in Cell finds that the spleens of the Bajau people, the Sea Nomads of Island Southeast Asia, are significantly larger than their land-based neighbours, which has been the result of many generations of natural selection. Larger spleen size helps in diving by providing extra oxygenated blood into the body.
Physiological and Genetic Adaptations to Diving in Sea Nomads
Understanding the physiology and genetics of human hypoxia tolerance has important medical implications, but this phenomenon has thus far only been investigated in high-altitude human populations. Another system, yet to be explored, is humans who engage in breath-hold diving. The indigenous Bajau people (“Sea Nomads”) of Southeast Asia live a subsistence lifestyle based on breath-hold diving and are renowned for their extraordinary breath-holding abilities. However, it is unknown whether this has a genetic basis. Using a comparative genomic study, we show that natural selection on genetic variants in the PDE10A gene have increased spleen size in the Bajau, providing them with a larger reservoir of oxygenated red blood cells. We also find evidence of strong selection specific to the Bajau on BDKRB2, a gene affecting the human diving reflex. Thus, the Bajau, and possibly other diving populations, provide a new opportunity to study human adaptation to hypoxia tolerance.
- Mystery of sea nomads’ amazing ability to freedive is solved (The Guardian | 19 April 2018)
- ‘Sea Nomads’ Are First Known Humans Genetically Adapted to Diving (National Geographic | 19 April 2018)
- Natural selection gave a freediving people in Southeast Asia bigger spleens (Science Daily | 19 April 2018)
A new paper on PLOS One describes stone tools finds from the rock shelter of Leang Burung in Sulawesi, dating to more than 50,000 years – but it is uncertain which species of humans made them.
This paper presents a reassessment of the archaeological record at Leang Burung 2, a key early human occupation site in the Late Pleistocene of Southeast Asia. Excavated originally by Ian Glover in 1975, this limestone rock-shelter in the Maros karsts of Sulawesi, Indonesia, has long held significance in our understanding of early human dispersals into ‘Wallacea’, the vast zone of oceanic islands between continental Asia and Australia. We present new stratigraphic information and dating evidence from Leang Burung 2 collected during the course of our excavations at this site in 2007 and 2011–13. Our findings suggest that the classic Late Pleistocene modern human occupation sequence identified previously at Leang Burung 2, and proposed to span around 31,000 to 19,000 conventional 14C years BP (~35–24 ka cal BP), may actually represent an amalgam of reworked archaeological materials. Sources for cultural materials of mixed ages comprise breccias from the rear wall of the rock-shelter–remnants of older, eroded deposits dated to 35–23 ka cal BP–and cultural remains of early Holocene antiquity. Below the upper levels affected by the mass loss of Late Pleistocene deposits, our deep-trench excavations uncovered evidence for an earlier hominin presence at the site. These findings include fossils of now-extinct proboscideans and other ‘megafauna’ in stratified context, as well as a cobble-based stone artifact technology comparable to that produced by late Middle Pleistocene hominins elsewhere on Sulawesi.
Source: A reassessment of the early archaeological record at Leang Burung 2, a Late Pleistocene rock-shelter site on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi | PLOS One, doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0193025
via Aeon.co, 29 MArch 2018:
Modern humans arose only once, in Africa, about 200,000 years ago. They then spread across Eurasia some time after 60,000 years ago, replacing whatever indigenous populations they met with no interbreeding. This is the ‘Out of Africa’ model, as it’s commonly known. In the 1990s, the hypothesis found widespread acceptance by palaeoanthropologists, especially when the first analyses of Neanderthal DNA seemed to indicate that Neanderthals and modern humans did not interbreed. But this popular idea is in need of revision, particularly given the number of important findings across Asia over the past few decades.
Source: In to Asia | Aeon