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Palaeolithic seafaring in East Asia: testing the bamboo raft hypothesis

  • Yousuke Kaifu (a1), Chih-hsing Lin (a2), Akira Goto (a3), Nobuyuki Ikeya (a4), Masahisa Yamada (a5), Wei-Chuan Chiang (a6), Masaki Fujita (a1), Koji Hara (a7), Toiora Hawira (a8), Kuo-en Huang (a2), Chih-huei Huang (a9), Yoshimi Kubota (a10), Chiung-hsi Liu (a11), Kumino Miura (a1), Yasumasa Miyazawa (a12), Osamu Monden (a13), Minoru Muramatsu (a14), Yunkai Sung (a15), Katsuaki Suzuki (a16), Nobuyuki Tanaka (a17), Cheng-hwa Tsang (a18), Saki Uchida (a8) and Pi-ling Wen (a2)...

Abstract

The earliest colonisation of oceanic islands by Homo sapiens occurred ~50 000–30 000 years ago in the Western Pacific, yet how this was achieved remains a matter of debate. With a focus on East Asia, the research presented here tests the hypothesis that bamboo rafts were used for these early maritime migrations. The authors review the evidence for Palaeolithic seafaring in East Asia as the context for an experimental archaeology project to build two bamboo watercraft. Sea trials demonstrate the unsuitability of bamboo, at least in East Asia, indicating that more sophisticated and durable vessels would have been required to traverse the Kuroshio Current.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence (Email: kaifu@kahaku.go.jp)

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Keywords

Palaeolithic seafaring in East Asia: testing the bamboo raft hypothesis

  • Yousuke Kaifu (a1), Chih-hsing Lin (a2), Akira Goto (a3), Nobuyuki Ikeya (a4), Masahisa Yamada (a5), Wei-Chuan Chiang (a6), Masaki Fujita (a1), Koji Hara (a7), Toiora Hawira (a8), Kuo-en Huang (a2), Chih-huei Huang (a9), Yoshimi Kubota (a10), Chiung-hsi Liu (a11), Kumino Miura (a1), Yasumasa Miyazawa (a12), Osamu Monden (a13), Minoru Muramatsu (a14), Yunkai Sung (a15), Katsuaki Suzuki (a16), Nobuyuki Tanaka (a17), Cheng-hwa Tsang (a18), Saki Uchida (a8) and Pi-ling Wen (a2)...

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