The Hobbit’s dental work

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In an interesting twist to the hotly-debated Hobbit saga, a new book claims that the Hobbit remains appear to have had some dental work on them, overturning the supposed antiquity of the bones and thus, the new species theory.

Did the Flores Hobbit Have a Root Canal?
Scientific American, 18 April 2008

Hobbit ‘had been to dentist’
The Australian, 19 April 2008

The tooth, and nothing but
The Australian, 19 April 2008
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Live from ‘Sharing Our Archaeological Heritage’

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I’m writing from Johor Bahru, Malaysia, where sessions at the international archaeology seminar organised by the Association of Malaysian Archaeolgists are underway. Monday’s been pretty packed filled with session after session of presentations from the different parts of Southeast Asia – this seminar’s theme is ‘Sharing Our Archaeological Heritage’.


Keynote speech by Dr Stephen Oppenheimer

Yesterday’s sessions began with the keynote speech by Oxford’s Stephen Oppenheimer about Southeast Asia’s role in the various waves of human migration. Explaining from a genetic perspective, he suggested the strong genetic evidence for a single southern route (by hugging the coast via India) out of Africa into Southeast Asia and Asia some 80,000 years ago. In more recent times, he also suggested indigenous expansions of local populations within Southeast Asia instead of a single ‘out of Taiwan’ theory to explain human migration into Australia, New Zealand and Polynesia.

Other presentations that caught my ear today was Dr Rasmi Shoocongdej’s work in Northwestern Thailand – I had a nice chat with her during lunch about conducting my fieldwork surveys in Thailand next year and also received some advice from her. Of course, homo floresiensis had to pop up – and from Dr. Harry Widianto’s presentation. I heard why he didn’t consider the hobbit to be a new species. It seems to me that the divide on opinion is very much based on nationalistic lines – with the Indonesians very much denying that homo floresiensis is a new species.

Another day of presentations on Tuesday, and then on Wednesday, we go on an archaeological tour of Johor!

Wednesday Rojak #6

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I might be away, but that didn’t stop me from preparing this edition of the Wednesday Rojak beforehand! Up this week:

More hobbit thoughts:

  • Suvrat Kher wonders if the Hobbit was our ancestor.
  • Julien Riel-Salvatore writes about the Hobbit wrists and new directions in the interpretation of the associated stone tools.
  • MumbaiGirl posts about sunrises and elephants at Borobudur.
  • A college history and geography tour visits the temples of My Son.
  • Eon and Chantell’s round-the-world trip also brings them the My Son sanctuary and the ancient town of Hoi An.

In this series of weekly rojaks (published on Wednesdays) I’ll feature other sites in the blogosphere that are of related to archaeology in Southeast Asia. Got a recommendation for the next Wednesday rojak? Email me

Related Books:
A New Human: The Startling Discovery and Strange Story of the “Hobbits” of Flores, Indonesia by M. Morwood and P. van Oosterzee
Little People And a Lost World: An Anthropological Mystery by L. Goldenberg
The Restoration of Borobudur (World Heritage Series)
The Lost Temple of Java (History/Journey’s Into the Past) by P. Grabsky
– My Son Sanctuary by Nguyen Van Binh
The Mysteries of Borobudur: Discover Indonesia Series by J. N. Miksic

Wednesday Rojak #5

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Hobbits! Hobbits! and more Hobbits! is the theme for this week’s Wednesday Rojak, which is not surprising since last week saw the release of a paper supporting the hobbit-is-not-human camp by describing the wrist bones of homo floresiensis as primitive, descending from an earlier hominin offshoot. Read about:

  • Kambiz Kamrani takes a closer look at the bone analyses outlined in the study.
  • The Cabinet of Wonders takes a step back to comment on the dynamics of opinion about the hobbit in Hobbits? It’s all in the wrist.
  • While Kris points out that between a new species of human or deformed, the hobbit might not even be human.
  • And for an overview of early human migrations through the world, TuLu Research posts a small map and timeline for your reference.
  • On an afterthought, 900 ft Jesus thinks that the whole Hobbit affair should really mess with creationists’ heads.

Of course, there’s some other stuff in Southeast Asia too, like:

In this series of weekly rojaks (published on Wednesdays) I’ll feature other sites in the blogosphere that are of related to archaeology in Southeast Asia. Got a recommendation for the next Wednesday rojak? Email me