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Taiwan's Early Metal Age and Southeast Asian trading systems

  • Hsiao-chun Hung (a1) and Chin-yung Chao (a2)

Taiwan presents a puzzling anomaly in the development and expansion of South and Southeast Asian trade routes. The lack of historical records from the island emphasises the value of archaeology for understanding the establishment of trade and the transmission of people, ideas and knowledge. Recent research focusing on newly excavated sites such as Jiuxianglan shows that the Metal Age in Taiwan began around 400 BC, much earlier than was previously thought. Furthermore, it seems that early trade predominantly prioritised links to the south, and not, curiously, with Mainland China to the immediate west as had traditionally been supposed.

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