Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

Early farming in Island Southeast Asia: an alternative hypothesis

  • Tim Denham (a1)
Extract

Several recent articles in Antiqui (Barker et al. 201 la; Hung et al. 2011; Spriggs 2011), discuss the validity of, and revise, portrayals of an Austronesian farming-language dispersal across Island Southeast Asia (ISEA) during the mid-Holocene (approximately 4000-3000 years ago) . In conventional portrayals of the Austronesian dispersal hypothesis (e.g. Bellwood 1984/85, 1997, 2002, 2005; Diamond 2001; Diamond & Bellwood 2003) , and its Neolithic variant (e.g. Spriggs 2003, 2007), farmer-voyagers migrated out of Taiwan approximately 4500-4000 cal BP to colonise ISEA from 4000 cal BP (Bellwood 2002) and the Mariana Islands and Palau by c. 3500-3400 cal BP (Hung et al. 201 1). The descendants of these voyagers subsequently established the Lapita Cultural Complex in the Bismarck Archipelago by c. 3470-3250 cal BP (Kirch 1997; Spriggs 1997) and became the foundational cultures across most of the Pacific from c. 3250-3100 cal BP (Kirch 2000; Addison & Matisoo-Smith 2010; dates for Lapita in Denham et al. 2012). A major problem with this historical metanarrative is the absence of substantial archaeological evidence for the contemporaneous spread of farming from Taiwan (Bulbeck 2008; Donohue & Denham 2010; Denham 2011 ).

Copyright
References
Hide All
Addison, D. & Matisoo-Smith, E.. 2010. Rethinking Polynesian origins: a West-Polynesia Triple-I model. Archaeology in Oceania 45: 112.
Anshari, G., Kershaw, A. P. & Van Der Kaars, S.. 2001. A late Pleistocene and Holocene pollen and charcoal record from peat swamp forest, Lake Sentarum Wildlife Reserve, West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 171: 213–28.
Barker, G. 2006. The agricultural revolution in prehistory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Barker, G., Lloyd-Smith, L., Barton, H., Cole, F., Hunt, C., Piper, P. J., Rabett, Z. R., Paz, V. & Szabo, K.. 2011a. Foraging-farming transitions at the Niah Caves, Sarawak, Borneo. Antiquity 85: 492509.
Barker, G., Hunt, C. & Carlos, J.. 2011b. Transitions to farming in Island Southeast Asia: archaeological, biomolecular and palaeoecological perspectives, in Barker, G. & Janowski, M. (ed.) Why cultivate? Anthropological and archaeological approaches to foraging-farming transitions in Southeast Asia: 6174. Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.
Barton, H. 2012. The reversed fortunes of sago and rice, Oryza sativa, in the rainforests of Sarawak, Borneo. Quaternary International 249: 96104.
Barton, H. & Denham, T. P.. 2011. Prehistoric vegeculture and social life in Island Southeast Asia and Melanesia, in Barker, G. & Janowski, M. (ed.) Why cultivate? Anthropological and archaeological approaches to foraging-farming transitions in Southeast Asia: 1725. Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.
Barton, H. & Paz, V.. 2007. Subterranean diets in the tropical rainforest of Sarawak, Malaysia, in Denham, T. P., Iriarte, J. & Vrydaghs, L. (ed.) Rethinking agriculture: archaeological and ethnoarchaeological perspectives: 5077. Walnut Creek (CA): Left Coast.
Bellwood, P. 1984/1985. A hypothesis for Austronesian origins. Asian Perspectives 20: 107–17.
Bellwood, P. 1997. Prehistory of the Indo-Malaysian archipelago. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press.
Bellwood, P. 2002. Farmers, foragers, languages, genes: the genesis of agricultural societies, in Bellwood, P. & Renfrew, C. (ed.) Examining the farming-language dispersal hypothesis: 1728. Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.
Bellwood, P. 2005. First farmers: the origins of agricultural societies. Oxford: Blackwell.
Bellwood, P. 2011. Holocene history in the Pacific region as a model for worldwide food producer dispersals. Current Anthropology 52(S4): S363S378.
Bellwood, P. & Dizon, E.. 2005. The Batanes archaeological project and the ‘out of Taiwan’ hypothesis for Austronesian dispersal. Journal of Austronesian Studies 1: 131.
Bourke, R. M. & Harwood, T. (ed.) 2009. Food and agriculture in Papua New Guinea. Canberra: ANUE Press.
Bulbeck, D. 2008. An integrated perspective on the Austronesian diaspora: the switch from cereal agriculture to maritime foraging in the colonisation of Island Southeast Asia. Australian Archaeology 67: 3151.
Denham, T. P. 2005. Envisaging early agriculture in the Highlands of New Guinea: landscapes, plants and practices. World Archaeology 37: 290306.
Denham, T. P. 2010. From domestication histories to regional prehistory: using plants to re-evaluate early and mid-Holocene interaction between New Guinea and Southeast Asia. Food and History 8: 322.
Denham, T. P. 2011. Early agriculture and plant domestication in New Guinea and Island Southeast Asia. Current Anthropology 52(S4): S379S395.
Denham, T. P. & Donohue, M.. 2009. Pre-Austronesian dispersal of banana cultivars west from New Guinea: linguistic relics from eastern Indonesia. Archaeology in Oceania 44: 1828.
Denham, T., Haberle, S. G., Lentfer, C., Fullagar, R., Field, J., Therin, M., Porch, N. & Winsborough, B.. 2003. Origins of agriculture at Kuk Swamp in the Highlands of New Guinea. Science 301: 189–93.
Denham, T. P., Haberle, S. G. & Lentfer, C.. 2004. New evidence and interpretations for early agriculture in Highland New Guinea. Antiquity 78: 839–57.
Denham, T. P., Bronk Ramsey, C. & Specht, J.. 2012. Dating the appearance of Lapita pottery in the Bismarck Archipelago and its dispersal to Remote Oceania. Archaeology in Oceania 47: 3946.
Diamond, J. 2001. Polynesian origins: slow boat to Melanesia? Nature 410: 167.
Diamond, J. & Bellwood, P.. 2003. Farmers and their languages: the first expansions. Science 300: 597603.
Dobney, K., Cucchi, T. & Larson, G.. 2008. The pigs of Island Southeast Asia and the Pacific: new evidence for taxonomic status and human-mediated dispersal. Asian Perspectives 47: 5974.
Donohue, M. & Denham, T. P.. 2010. Island Southeast Asia during the mid-Holocene: reframing Austronesian history. Current Anthropology 51: 223–56.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 2012. FAO Statistical Yearbook 2012 World Food and Agriculture. Rome: FAO.
Fuller, D. Q., Qin, L., Zheng, Y., Zhao, Z., Chen, X., Hosoya, L. A. & Sun, G.-P.. 2009. The domestication process and domestication rate in rice: spikelet bases from the Lower Yangtze. Science 323: 1607–10.
Grivet, L., Daniels, C., Glaszman, J. C. & D'Hont, A.. 2004. A review of recent molecular genetics evidence for sugarcane evolution and domestication. Ethnobotany Research and Applications 2: 917.
Hayden, B. 2011. Rice: the first Asian luxury food?, in Barker, G. & Janowski, M. (ed.) Why cultivate? Anthropological and archaeological approaches to foraging-farming transitions in Southeast Asia: 7594. Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.
Hung, H.-C., Iizuka, Y., Bellwood, P., Nguyen, K. D., Bellina, B., Silapanth, P., Dizon, E., Santiago, R., Datan, I. & Manton, J. H.. 2007. Ancient jades map 3000 years of prehistoric exchange in Southeast Asia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 104: 1974550.
Hung, H.-C., Carson, M. T., Bellwood, P., Campos, F. Z., Piper, P. J., Dizon, E., Bolunia, M., Oxenham, M. & Zhang, C.. 2011. The first settlement of Remote Oceania: the Philippines to the Marianas. Antiquity 85: 909–26.
Hunt, C. O. & Premathilake, R.. 2012. Early Holocene vegetation, human activity and climate from Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. Quaternary International 249: 105–19.
Kennedy, J. & Clarke, W. C.. 2004. Cultivated landscapes of the southwest Pacific (Research Management in the Asia-Pacific Working Paper 50). Canberra: The Australian National University.
Kirch, P. V. 1997. The Lapita peoples: ancestors of the Oceanic world. Oxford: Blackwell.
Kirch, P. V. 2000. On the road of the winds: an archaeological history of the Pacific Islands before European contact. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Kjær, A., Barfod, A. S., Asmussen, C. B. & Seberg, O.. 2004. Investigation of genetic and morphological variation in the sago palm (Metroxylon sagu; Arecaceae) in Papua New Guinea. Annals of Botany 94: 109–17.
Larson, G., Cucchi, T., Fujita, M., Matisoo-Smith, E., Robins, J., Anderson, A., Rolett, B., Spriggs, M., Dolman, G., Kim, T.-H., Thuy, N. T.D., Randi, E., Doherty, M., Due, R. A., Bollt, R., Djubiantono, T., Griffin, B., Intoh, M., Keane, E., Kirch, P., Li, K.-T., Morwood, M., Pedriña, L. M., Piper, P. J., Rabett, R. J., Shooter, P., Van Den Bergh, G., West, E., Wickler, S., Yuan, J., Cooper, A. & Dobney, K.. 2007. Phylogeny and ancient DNA of Sus provides insights into Neolithic expansion in Island Southeast Asia and Oceania. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 104: 4834–39.
Lebot, V. 1999. Biomolecular evidence for plant domestication in Sahul. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 46: 619–28.
Lebot, V. 2009. Tropical root and tuber crops: cassava, sweet potato, yams, aroids. Wallingford: CABI.
Lebot, V., Prana, M. S., Kreike, N., Van Heck, H., Pardales, J., Okpul, T., Gendua, T., Thongjiem, M., Hue, H., Viet, N. & Yap, T. C.. 2004. Characterisation of taro (Colocasia esculenta (L. Schott) genetic resources in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 51: 381–92.
Lewis, H., Paz, V., Lara, M., Barton, H., Piper, P. J., Ochoa, J., Vitales, T., Carlos, A. J., Higham, T., Neri, L., Hernandez, V., Stevenson, J., Robles, E. C., Ragragio, A., Padilla, R., Solheim, W. II & Ronquillo, W.. 2008. Terminal Pleistocene to mid-Holocene occupation and an early cremation at Ille Cave, Palawan, Philippines. Antiquity 82: 318–35.
Liu, L., Lee, G.-A. & Jiang, L.. 2007. Evidence for the early beginning (c. 9000 cal BP) of rice domestication in China: a response. Holocene 17: 1059–68.
Malapa, R., Arnau, G., Noyer, J. L. & Lebot, V.. 2005. Genetic diversity of the greater yam (Dioscorea alata L.) and relatedness to D. nummularia Lam. and D. transversa Br. as revealed with AFLP markers. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 52: 919–29.
Oliveira, N. V. 2012. Recovering, analyzing and identifying Colocasia esculenta and Dioscorea spp. from archaeological contexts in Timor-Leste, in Spriggs, M., Addison, D. & Matthews, P. J. (ed.) Irrigated taro (Colocasia esculenta) in the Indo-Pacific: biological, social and historical perspectives (Senri Ethnological Studies 78): 265–84. Osaka: National Museum of Ethnology.
Pawley, A. 2007. The origins of early Lapita culture: the testimony of historical linguistics, in Bedford, S., Sand, C. & Connaughton, S. P. (ed.) Oceanic explorations: Lapita and western Pacific settlement: 1749. Canberra: ANU E Press.
Paz, V. 2002. Island Southeast Asia: spread or friction zone?, in Bellwood, P. & Renfrew, C. (ed.) Examining the farming-language dispersal hypothesis: 275–85. Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.
Paz, V. 2005. Rock shelters, caves, and archaeobotany in Island Southeast Asia. Asian Perspectives 44: 107–18.
Paz, V. 2010. Comment. Current Anthropology 51: 244.
Perrier, X., De Langhe, E., Donohue, M., Lentfer, C., Vrydaghs, L., Bakry, F., Carreel, F., Hippolyte, I., Horry, J.-P., Jenny, C., Lebot, V., Risterucci, A.-M. Tomekpe, K., Doutrelepont, H., Ball, T., Manwaring, J., De Maret, P. & Denham, T. P.. 2011. Multidisciplinary perspectives on banana (Musa spp.) domestication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 108: 1131118.
Piper, P. J., Hung, H.-C., Campos, F. Z., Bellwood, P. & Santiago, R.. 2009. A 4000-year-old introduction of domestic pigs into the Philippine Archipelago: implications for understanding routes of human migration through Island Southeast Asia and Wallacea. Antiquity 83: 687–95.
Smith, B. D. 1998. The emergence of agriculture. New York: Scientific American Library.
Solheim, W. G. II 2006. Archaeology and culture in Southeast Asia: unraveling the Nusantao; with contributions from Bulbeck, D. & Flavel, A.. Manila: University of the Philippines Press.
Spriggs, M. 1997. The Island Melanesians. Oxford: Blackwell.
Spriggs, M. 2003. Chronology of the Neolithic transition in Island Southeast Asia and the western Pacific: a view from 2003. Review of Archaeology 24: 5780.
Spriggs, M. 2007. The Neolithic and Austronesian expansion within Island Southeast Asia and into the Pacific, in Chiu, S. & Sand, C. (ed.) From Southeast Asia to the Pacific: archaeological perspectives on the Austronesian expansion and the Lapita cultural complex: 104–25. Taipei: Centers for Archaeological Studies Research and for Humanities and Social Sciences, Academica Sinica.
Spriggs, M. 2011. Archaeology and the Austronesian expansion: where are we now? Antiquity 85: 510–28.
Stone, B. C. 1982. New Guinea Pandanaceae: first approach to ecology and biogeography, in Gressitt, J. L. (ed.) Biogeography and ecology of New Guinea: 401–36. The Hague: Junk.
White, J. P. 2004. Where the wild things are: prehistoric animal translocations in the circum New Guinea Archipelago, in Fitzpatrick, S. (ed.) Voyages of discovery: the archaeology of islands: 147–64. Westport (CT): Praeger/Greenwood.
Yen, D. 1996. Melanesian arboriculture: historical perspectives with emphasis on the genus Canarium , in Evans, B. R., Bourke, R. M. & Ferrar, P. (ed.) South Pacific indigenous nuts: 3644. Canberra: ACIAR.
Zerega, N.J.C., Ragone, D. & Motley, T. J.. 2004. Complex origins of breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis, Moraceae): implications for human migrations in the Pacific. American Journal of Botany 91: 760–66.
Zhao, Z. 2011. New archeobotanical data for the study of the origins of agriculture in China. Current Anthropology 52(S4): S295S306.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed