An ambitious experiment to trace the migration route of the Polynesians as they colonised the pacific is underway! A team of made up of scientists, cameramen and native sailors are seeking to retrace maritime passage by island-hopping from Philippines eastwards to the Polynesian islands of Tikopia and Anuta (see route here). The Polynesian migration into the pacific was one of the largest in the history of man, and exceptional because it occured over water, and in a relatively short period of time (1,000 years). Linguistic and DNA evidence has shown that the Polynesians, along with much of island Southeast Asia, were part of a population originating from Taiwan around 5,000 to 6,000 BC, which travelled down Philippines before spreading east and west.
12 October 2006 (Australian National University) – Public lecture at the ANU on Wednesday, 18 October by Dr. Peter Bellwood.
Linguistic, archaeological and genetic evidence indicate that Taiwan was a major origin region for the Austronesian-speaking peoples. Their major branch, that of the speakers of Malayo-Polynesian languages, has spread more than half way around the world, and today has over 350 million members. The archaeological roots of this dispersal can be traced in Neolithic cultures in Taiwan and the northern Philippines (Batanes Islands and northern Luzon) dating between 5000 and 3000 years ago.
Archaeological excavations in Taiwan and the Batanes Islands by ANU archaeologists (inter alia) will be discussed, as well as new sourcing research by Taiwan geochemists on Taiwan nephrite, a mineral that travelled about 2,000 years ago over huge areas of SE Asia (to Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia).
– Southeast Asia: From Prehistory to History by P. S. Bellwood and I. Glover (Eds)
– Bioarchaeology of Southeast Asia (Cambridge Studies in Biological and Evolutionary Anthropology) by M. Oxenham
– Indo-Pacific Prehistory 1990. Proceedings of the 14th Congress Held at Yogyakarta. Vol 1 & 2. by P. Bellwood (Ed)
– Man’s conquest of the Pacific: The prehistory of Southeast Asia and Oceania by P. Bellwood