The Austronesians, the Nusantao and the Lapita

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Sep 29, 2010 - B.C. These people were ancestral to modern Polynesians and ... Neolithic in Southeast Asian and Pacific region much like the Lapita complex presented by Bellwood. ... archipelago, specifically with the settlement of the Philippines at ..... http://arts.anu.edu.au/aanda/people/staff/pdfs/bellwood_hiscock.pdf.

The Austronesians, the Nusantao and the Lapita Cultural Complex A Review of Neolithic migration in SEA and Oceania Mariano Raphael B. Reyes 9/29/2010

Peter Bellwood’s Out-of-Taiwan hypothesis is generally more dominant and accepted model of the Neolithic Austronesian migration. The dispersal and expansion of this population from southern China to Oceania from 6000 BP to 750 BP due to population pressures from an agricultural economy is the general idea for this model. The Nusantao Maritime Trading and Communication Network (NMTCN) concept by Wilhelm Solheim II proposes the general origin area of the Austronesian speakers in the Neolithic in the southern Philippine-eastern Indonesia area where it spread multi-directionally and up to the north to southern China. Both models specifically consult the Lapita Cultural Complex and agree that it was Austronesian speakers who were responsible for it but their associated pottery complex is widely different, and refuted by the other. For Bellwood, this is the Dabenkeng/Tapenkeng culture in Taiwan, for Solheim it is the Sa-hyunh-Kalanay complex of Viet Nam which is tied to the Lapita. In summary, what we have here are two traditions of archaeology producing different perspectives on the Neolithic Austronesian migration, providing insight as well on theory formulation as well as the reflexive implications on archaeology as a whole.

Introduction In his article on Ancient Seafarers, Peter Bellwood mentioned that,

“Southeast Asia and

Australia give archaeologists some of the best evidence for ancient sea crossings, not just by Paleolithic humans but also by Neolithic peoples and even spice traders contemporary with the Roman Empire.” Throughout numerous evidences on the archaeological, linguistic, biogeographical and others, one of the prominent examples of specimens cited would be the Lapita pottery complex which have been described in relation to migration in “…that the Lapita culture represents the Austronesian-speaking Neolithic populations that colonized Oceania (Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia) beginning ca. 1500 B.C. These people were ancestral to modern Polynesians and eastern Micronesians, and also ancestral, to a lesser degree because of the prior existence of human populations in the western Pacific, to many of the populations of island Melanesia.” (Bellwood 1997). Ultimately, he concluded that this represented the material and linguistic transmission of Southeast Asian and Oceanic peoples from South China and Taiwan. In a parallel manner Wilhelm G. Solheim II presented another theory which cited the Nusantao Maritime Trading and Communication Network as another diffusion model which, unlike other theories of migration in the area, was largely multidirectional and on this, the author suggests that a kind of trading network would explain this aspect of the theory in this sense. This largely took place during the Neolithic in Southeast Asian and Pacific region much like the Lapita complex presented by Bellwood. He noted that “... I now define Nusantao as natives of Southeast Asia, and their descendants, with a maritime-oriented culture from their beginnings, these beginnings probably in southeastern Island Southeast Asia around 5000 BC or possibly earlier (Solheim 2007).” These are summaries and pieces of each of their theories on migration in the region but what is primarily evident here is the implications of both on the language family of Austronesian and the migration both the language family and its speakers as well as the discipline of archaeology itself. The Lapita and the Out-of-Taiwan Hypothesis The Out-of-Taiwan hypothesis as it is understood can be taken from Peter Bellwood’s main article, A Hypothesis for Austronesian Origins (Bellwood 1984-1985) where he summarizes his points of argument in relation to the academic debate with Bill Meacham. Here, he basically puts forward his views on the expansion and dispersal of a particular language family called Austronesian between 6000 BP and 1000 BP from South China all the way to the Easter Islands in the Eastern Pacific. Here, he puts primacy of evidence on linguistics due to the attempt to explain a primarily linguistic concept of Austronesian speakers. He mentions, “Physical characteristics have been affected by intermarriage… But 2

languages, despite millennia of borrowing from unrelated tongues, will generally preserve traces of family history and expansion, which… can be assumed to correlate fairly directly with the expansionary history of their human speakers.” The traces from Taiwan to Oceania have were supported by Bellwood in this article primarily through linguistic means, but other evidence comes in with linking Taiwan to Southern China, where no Austronesian languages are presently spoken aside from the late Chamic intrusion into Hainan island (Blust 1984-1985). Bellwood elaborates by saying that during the 7th and 6th millennium BP, early Austronesians with rice and millet economy bases expanded from southern China into Taiwan and northern Luzon and eventually replaced the indigenous hunter-gatherer Australoid populations. During the following 5000 to 3000 BP mark, they expanded into the Indo-Malaysian archipelago, specifically with the settlement of the Philippines at 5000 BP and Indonesia at roughly 4000 BP. In the same article, he concluded that the “ultimate region of Austronesian origin lay in the Neolithic landscape of southern China.” This is understood in relation to “population growth and instability promoted by agriculture.” In terms of the link between southern China and the Philippines, Bellwood presents his model starting at 6000 BP, where southern coastal provinces like Zhejiang, Fujian and Guandong were settled by agricultural communities with a set of technology including domesticated rice along with other plants and animals, pottery, polished stone adzes, spindle whorls, and some expertise in fishing and canoe construction. During this same time period, members of these communities crossed the Formosa Strait to Tawan using canoes, usually at groups of one or a few families. After establishing relations with hunter-gatherer groups, the communities experienced “rapidly occurring variation caused by cultural loss and innovation (Bellwood 1984-1985).” With the appearance of the Tapenkeng culture during the 6th millennium BP, there were no longer any traces of a precise homeland on the Asian homeland. In relation to the Lapita complex, Bellwood refers to it in terms of the Austronesian migration phenomenon, of which it was evidence of (Bellwood 1997). As far as Lapita is concerned, my own view, and that of many other archaeologists including Patrick Kirch of the University of California at Berkeley, is that the Lapita culture represents the Austronesian-speaking Neolithic populations that colonized Oceania (Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia) beginning ca. 1500 B.C. These people were ancestral to modern Polynesians and eastern Micronesians, and also ancestral, to a lesser degree because of the prior existence of human populations in the western Pacific, to many of the populations of island Melanesia. In this view, Lapita represents a transmission of people, and Austronesian languages and cultures, into Oceania from Island Southeast Asia, and ultimately from southern China and Taiwan. It is significant that the New Britain obsidian trade, although occurring locally back into the Pleistocene in the Bismarck Archipelago, reached its long-distance apogee in Lapita times.

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Blust elaborates on the

linguistic

mechanism

through the table to the left (Blust 1984-1985). The dates marked in blue ink were the dates of splitting obtained by using the German “Wörter und Sachen technique” whih uses

reconstructed

vocabulary as a basis for reference.

He

uses

the

linguistic migration theory of Edward Sapir to note that an area of highest linguistic diversity is the most likely center of dispersal of a language family or linguistic subgroup. In relating the Australian region with the Austronesians the Dabenkeng archaeological culture is mentioned along with the Lapita pottery complex wherein the former is characteristic of Taiwanese archaeology and the latter is representative of the Oceanic stage of migration near the end. In the Dabenkeng sites occurring at 5000 to 4000 BP around the coastal areas of Taiwan, incised and cordmarked pottery were homogenous in shape and form, indicating the presence of a relatively unified culture perhaps being immigrants from Fujian or Guandong where similar pottery styles are seen around the same time period (Bellwood and Hiscock 2005). The recent discoveries in Nanguanli through the rescue excavations by Tsang Cheng-Hwa, dated around 5000-4500 BP, showed Dabenkeng pottery with cord-marked, red-painted and red-slipped decoration along with other artifacts (pedestals, knobbed lids, shell tools and ornaments, stone adzes). The later post-Dabenkeng sites were found in younger sites across the Philippines, Indonesia and Melanesia, linking it to these associated cultures under Austronesian speakers and more importantly with the Lapita cultural complex.

These contained

primarily pottery with dentate-stamped and red-slipped pottery without the cord marks, developing after Dabenkeng after around 4000 BP in northern and eastern Taiwan, and include the Yuanshan culture of the Taipei basin, and the Beinan culture of southeastern Taiwan. 4

The

subsequent

Lapita cultural complex was a result of the continuing Austronesian dispersal and their

colonization

of

Oceania, specifically the western Pacific, at around 3500 to 2900 years ago. It was named after its distinctive sand or shell-tempered Lapita pottery found through 6500 km of ocean and islands from the Admiralty Islands north of New Guinea to as far east as Samoa, in western Polynesia (Bellwood and Hiscock 2005). Elaborating on the key features of the assemblages, Bellwood mentions the following: Key features include pottery with sand or crushed-shell tempers (material added to clay to improve its firing qualities); forms included globular cooking pots and open bowls, some with flat bases and others on high pedestals with cut-out decoration. Some vessel profiles are sharply carinated, and pots might have lug or strap handles and knobbed lids. Vessel surfaces are often red-slipped, and the decoration, generally in zones around the upper surfaces of some of the vessels, includes an intricate range of incised and dentate-stamped motifs of rectilinear, curvilinear, and even anthropomorphic forms, the latter perhaps indicating a concern with ancestors that was common to all Austronesian populations.

The economy of the Lapita complex

and

population

is

their mainly

horticultural subsistence,

and with

a

associated a

mix

of

maritime presence

of

domesticated animals like dogs, pigs and chickens. They also practiced hunting of indigenous wild life, which contributes to the large Holocene extinction list based on the colonization of the Pacific isles due to the fact that many of these indigenous species have never encountered humans before and thus weren’t able to adapt to their presence to survive. The settlements were 5

largely coastal villages with stilt houses over shallow lagoons. And although losing some aspects of Austronesian Neolithic features like rice, pottery and woven cloth, they invented double-sailing canoes, honed barkcloth and stone adze production and taro irrigation. They reached Tonga and Samoa in western Polynesia by about 3000 BP and the decorated forms of Lapita pottery lasted for only a few centuries, being continually simplified into thick plain ware before it disappeared in Samoa and southern Micronesia on 1700 BP (Bellwood and Hiscock 2005). The Nusantao Wilhelm Solheim II first proposed the concept of the Nusantau which he acquired from George Grace with the root words nusa for island and tau for people, roughly translating to “island people.” It is in this concept of maritime culture that he bases his theory on Austronesian migration, proposing the term because he felt that the “use of the word Austronesian and/or the compound Malayo-Polynesian for a people and culture is very awkward, and is incorrect as well (Solheim 1975).” He insisted that the term Austronesian should only be applied linguistically and thus the creation of a new term from a source sharing a basic culture and language would not be difficult. This would be only the beginning of the disagreements he would later on have with Peter Bellwood nearly 9 to 10 years later. Nevertheless, the overall concepts that would characterize the Nusantao at this time would be maritime culture, trade monopolies and pottery design/style similarities. In 1975, he proposed two hypotheses on the origins of Austronesian speakers. One would be in the general eastern Indonesia and southern Philippine islands where, due to Holocene sea level rise, populations started integrating to become largely coastal and maritime communities. At around the 5th millennium BC (6000-7000 years ago), the invention of the outrigger and simple sail boats in eastern Island Southeast Asia would have allowed for a more widespread distribution of the Nusantao. Here, first and second stages of movement would have taken place in the southern Philippines-eastern Indonesian area where they would have been making pottery by 6000 BP (leading to Sa-hyunh-KalanayLapita Pottery) and the movement into the south China area around the succeeding millennium. As for the second origin which he places less emphasis on due to lack of data (at the time), the area around the Vietnam and Southern China (he considered it a part of ancient Mainland SEA) would have been the Nusantao homeland. The main evidence he points out here is the similarity of the Sa-hyunh-Kalanay and Lapita pottery as associated with Austronesian migration. He hypothesized that Austronesians would have reached Taiwan and southern Japan 6000 or 5000 years ago, moving into Palawan, western Borneo and the Sulu Archipelago at around 4000 BP with pre-Sa-hyunh-Kalanay pottery. However, the fact that Sa-hyunh Kalanay pottery was not found in southern China made him place a safe bet on the eastern 6

Indonesian-southern Philippines as the Austronesian homeland placing emphasis on the monopoly of Southeast Asian traders in these waters until the entrance of Arab traders (Solheim 1975). When he published at the same time as Peter Bellwood in the journal Asian Perspectives, he first commented on Bellwood’s comment that the question of Austronesian origins was “not basically but totally a linguistic question (Solheim 1984-1985),” building on his prior stand that the term Nusantao would have been a better concept instead of “Austronesian speakers.” He reviewed the papers associated with Austronesian origins as well, both by linguists and archaeologists, until he commented that, “What I do not agree with is that this necessarily makes Taiwan the homeland of the Austronesian,” which many other theorists also do not agree with. Here, he revised his hypothesis to support the south-north dispersal from southern Philippines-eastern Indonesia to Taiwan and South China, adding the development of Proto-Austronesian as a trade language or barter language among the “maritime Nusantao along the coasts of northern Luzon, southern Taiwan, and South China, between 4500 and 5000 BC (Solheim 1984-1985)/ 6500 and 7000 years ago. The main reason for this would have been the general western-northern direction of the surface currents and the easier manner of traveling from Luzon to Taiwan than the other way around. He refutes Bellwood’s evidence of the Ta-p’en-k’eng (Dabenkeng to Bellwood) culture as more associated with Austro-Asiatic speakers than Austronesians. Moreover, the rice agriculture basis was further elaborated that the rice of northern Luzon and Taiwanese mountain tribes was the javanica rice which came from Java and traveled upwards due to the agency of Nusantao maritime cultures and not the japonica rice which was grown in China at the time. Finally on the Sa-hyunh-Kalanay and Lapita pottery which came from coastal Viet Nam around 4000 BP would have had a common origin, he theorized, in the Palawan-Sarawak-Sulu Sea-Sulawesi area. Therefore, he emphasized once more the maritime culture basis of his Nusantao concept. He elaborated on the Nusantao in 1996 by introducing once again the Nusantao Maritime Trading Network as a multi-directional spread, including into Oceania, and extending associations with Mainland SEA, Korea and Japan (Solheim 1996). In his article directly tackling Philippine origins, he discusses Bellwood’s Out-of-Taiwan hypothesis once again by mentioning its popularity along with his in the country. The maritime origins of the population, taking place even 50,000 years before the development of Austronesian by traveling from Southeast Asia to Australia as shown by the archaeology of the former and that of New Guinea. Along this line, he mentions the following (Solheim 2000): With very little archaeological evidence I hypothesize that singleoutriggers for these small boats had been invented sometime between 13,000 and 10,000 years ago as contact between central, coastal Viet Nam and the Bismark Islands, northwest of the northwestern end of New Guinea by around 10,000 years ago is indicated by the spread of arboriculture and some of the plants

7

involved. Several types of shell artifacts have been recovered in the general Bismark area at around this time and earlier and appear to have spread to the west at a somewhat later date.

By this time, he was already using the Nusantao

Maritime

Trading

and

Communication Network (NMTCN). Originating in northern, central and southern Viet Nam in the late Pleistocene, the Nusanato were a maritime-oriented

people

whose

cultural

descendants now inhabit coastal and island SEA, coastal China, Japan, Korea and Oceania. Their beginnings as fishermen searching for new fishing areas eventually led them to contact with new people and establishing trade relations involving “long-distance trade that also involved long-distance communication of ideas, knowledge, genes, and language (in the form of the trade language that people moving through this chain needed to talk to others) could have developed (Solheim 2000).” Finally, on Taiwan, he mentions that “We do not really know whether Taiwan might have been involved in the development of Proto-Austronesian. All we can say is that several different Austronesian languages evolved there presumably out of Proto-Austronesian. There is no indication that Pre- or Proto MalayoPolynesian were present there.” Synthesis From the theories and writings of primarily Peter Bellwood and Bill Solheim along with other scholars, what emerge are generally two different views on the Austronesian migration based on some similarities and some differences in philosophical and methodological biases along with usage of specific lines of evidence from both models. Peter Bellwood’s Out-of-Taiwan hypothesis is generally more dominant and accepted. “Central to this hypothesis is the concept Austronesian. The term derives from the Latin auster for ‘south wind’ and the Greek nêsos for ‘island’, thus giving the approximate meaning ‘south islander’ (Flessen 2006)”. While prior to this the term, Austronesian was applied only to the language super family, Bellwood and 8

others extend the term to refer to its speakers as Austronesians. The dispersal and expansion of this population from southern China to Oceania from 6000 BP to 750 BP due to population pressures from an agricultural economy is the general idea for this model. He also discusses the replacement and relationship of Austronesian farmers with the indigenous hunter-gatherers by referring to data from ethnographic works. The Nusantao Maritime Trading and Communication Network (NMTCN) concept by Solheim, on the other hand, takes its name from the Austronesian language family with nusa for island and tau/tao for people, roughly translating to “island people.” He coined the term specifically due to his refusal to do what Bellwood and many others have done in relation to expanding the meaning of the term Austronesian to refer to speakers of the language. In fact, he mentioned that the Austronesian migration would only make up a part of the Nusantao maritime culture which he hypothesizes to date back to 50,000 years before the said event. The general origin area of the Nusantao in the Neolithic would be in the southern Philippine-eastern Indonesia area where it spread multi-directionally and up to the north to southern China. Both models specifically consult the Lapita Cultural Complex and agree that it was Austronesian speakers who were responsible for it but their associated pottery complex is widely different, and refuted by the other. For Bellwood, this is the Dabenkeng/Tapenkeng culture in Taiwan, for Solheim it is the Sa-hyunh-Kalanay complex of Viet Nam which is tied to the Lapita. The latter elaborates that the Tapenkeng, Lapita and the Sa-hyunh-Kalanay pottery are all rooted in the Nusantao pottery manufacture and influence. Another category of evidence would be the primarily linguistic used by both. Bellwood uses Blust’s model, while Solheim proposes his own (See Appendix). After all is said and done, however, what does this show about Archaeology as a discipline? A term we can borrow here that is used by linguists and anthropologists would be the emic/etic perspective. The emic or “insider’s” perspective can be associated with Solheim’s model of the Nusantao Maritime Trading and Communication Network (NMTCN) where he primarily focuses on the Southeast Asian (southeastern) as a center for development along with the terms he uses for naming the Nusantao and different sites in the area. The etic or “outsider’s” perspective is otherwise shown in Bellwood’s more globally accepted theory on the Out-of-Taiwan hypothesis where he has a larger interest on the global implications of agricultural farmers and language dispersal theories. The use of the more western term, Austronesian is also attributable to this. In summary, what we have here are two traditions of archaeology producing different perspectives on the Neolithic Austronesian migration, providing insight as well on theory formulation as well as the reflexive implications on archaeology as a whole. 9

Appendix Table 1: Linguistic “tree” showing the origins and development of Austronesian and MalayoPolynesian out of Austric as proposed by Solheim.

10

Bibliography Bellwood, Peter. (1984-1985). “A Hypothesis for Austronesian Origins.” Asian Perspectives. 26 (1): 107117. Bellwood, Peter. (1997). Ancient Seafarers. Archaeology, 50(2). Retrieved August 14, 2010, from http://www.archaeology.org/9703/etc/specialreport.html. Bellwood, Peter. (2001). “Early agriculturalist population diasporas? Farming, languages and genes.” Annual Review of Anthropology. 30: 181-207. Retrieved August 14, 2010, from http://arts.anu.edu.au/aanda/people/staff/pdfs/bellwood2001.pdf. Bellwood, Peter and Peter Hiscock. (2005). Australia and the Austronesians. In Chris Scarre ed., The Human Past, pp. 264-305. London: Thames and Hudson. Retrieved August 14, 2010, from http://arts.anu.edu.au/aanda/people/staff/pdfs/bellwood_hiscock.pdf. Bellwood, Peter. (2008). Archaeology and the origins of language families. In A. Bentley, H. Maschner and C. Chippindale eds, Handbook of Archaeological Theories, pp. 225-43. Lanham: Altamira. Retrieved August 14, 2010, from http://arts.anu.edu.au/aanda/people/staff/pdfs/bellwood_bentleyl.pdf. Bellwood, Peter and Eusebio Dizon. (2008) Austronesian cultural origins: out of Taiwan, via the Batanes Islands, and onwards to western Polynesia. In Alicia Sanchez-Mazas, Roger Blench, Malcolm D. Ross, Ilia Peiros and Marie Lin eds, Past Human Migrations in East Asia: Matching Archaeology, Linguistics and Genetics, pp. 23-39. London: Routledge. Retrieved August 14, 2010, from http://arts.anu.edu.au/aanda/people/staff/pdfs/bellwood_geneva_paper2008.pdf. Bellwood, Peter and Marc Oxenham. (2008). The expansions of farming societies and the role of the Neolithic Demographic Transition. In Jean-Pierre Bocquet-Appel and Ofer Bar-Yosef eds, The Neolithic Demographic Transition and its Consequences, pp. 13-34. Dordrecht: Springer. Retrieved August 14, 2010, from http://arts.anu.edu.au/aanda/people/staff/pdfs/bellwood_oxenham.pdf. Blust, Robert. (1984-1985). “The Austronesian Homeland, a Linguistic Perspective.” Asian Perspectives. 26 (1): 45-67. Diamond, Jared and Peter Bellwood. (2003). “Farmers and their languages: the first expansions.” Science. 300: 597-603. Retrieved August 14, 2010, from http://arts.anu.edu.au/aanda/people/staff/pdfs/bellwood_hiscock.pdf. Flessen, Catherine T. (November 14, 2006). Bellwood and Solheim: Models of Neolithic movements of people in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. (Paper). Trondheim, Sør-Trøndelag, Norway: Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). Retrieved August 14, 2010, from https://files.itslearning.com/data/ntnu/44801/bellwood-solheim.pdf.

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Hung, H., Iizuka, Y., Bellwood, P., Nguyen, K. D., Bellina, B., Silapanth, P., et al. (2007). Ancient jades map 3,000 years of prehistoric exchange in Southeast Asia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). 104 (50): 19745-19750. Retrieved July 19, 2010, from http://arts.anu.edu.au/aanda/people/staff/pdfs/bellwood_hungPNAS.pdf. Solheim, Wilhelm G. II. (1975) “Reflections on the new data of Southeast Asian prehistory Austronesian origin and consequence.” Asian Perspectives. 18 (2): 146-160. Solheim, Wilhelm G. II. (1984-1985). "The Nusantao Hypothesis: The origin and spread of the Austronesian speakers." Asian Perspectives. 26 (1): 77-88. Solheim, Wilhelm G. II. (1996). “The Nusantao and north-south dispersals.” Bulletin of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association. 15: 101-109. Retrieved August 14, 2010, from http://ejournal.anu.edu.au/index.php/bippa/article/viewFile/406/395. Solheim, Wilhelm G. II. (2000). Journal of East Asian Archaeology. Taiwan, Coastal South China and Northern Viet Nam and the Nusantao Maritime Trading Network. 2 (1-2): 273-284. Retrieved August 14, 2010, from http://apu.addr.com/pkm/solheim%20on%20nusantao.pdf. Solheim, Wilhelm G. II. (2006, January 25). Origins of the Filipinos and Their Languages. (Paper). 9th Philippine Linguistics Congress. Quezon City: Department of Linguistics, University of the Philippines. Retrieved August 14, 2010, from web.kssp.upd.edu.ph/linguistics/plc2006/papers/.../I-2_Solheim.pdf. Solheim, Wilhelm G. II. (2007). Archaeology and Culture in Southeast Asia: Unraveling the Nusantao. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. NOTE: Peter Bellwood and his online http://arts.anu.edu.au/aanda/people/staff/bellwood.asp

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