The Spice Islands in Prehistory: New Data and Thoughts, 25 years later

The Spice Islands in Prehistory: New Data and Thoughts, 25 years later

Between 1991 and 1996, archaeologists from ANU and the formerly-named Pusat Penelitian Arkeologi Nasional in Indonesia undertook excavations in a number of sites (both caves and open sites) in the northern Moluccas (Maluku Utara), eastern Indonesia. Important results were obtained from the sites of Uattamdi on Kayoa, Siti Nafisah on Halmahera, Tanjung Pinang and Daeo on Morotai, and Golo, Wetef and Buwawansi on Gebe. A series of publications between 1992 and 2007 described many aspects of the data recovered.

A monograph on the whole project is now (2017) nearing completion, with chapters either finished or in preparation on the major excavations (Bellwood and Irwin), shell artifacts (Szabo), human remains (morphology and palaeopathology; Bulbeck, Wyatt), bones of extirpated marsupials (Hull, Piper), and ancient human DNA (Stoneking). The whole sequence from 35 kya to Metal Age will be reviewed, and I will also discuss how current interpretations (e.g., on Austronesian dispersal, Lapita origins, dates for shell adzes etc.) differ from those current in 1990, when the project was planned during my membership of the Comparative Austronesian Project in
the former RSPacS.

Date & time

Fri 06 Oct 2017, 3.30–5pm


Sir Roland Wilson Bldg, room 3.03-3.04 Friday 6 October 3.30-5pm


Emeritus Pr. Peter Bellwood (ANU - CASS)



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