The late stone age in Eastern Indonesia

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  • This article was downloaded by: [New York University]On: 11 October 2014, At: 20:19Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office:Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

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    The late stone age in Eastern IndonesiaIan C. Glover aa Institute of Archaeology , University of LondonPublished online: 15 Jul 2010.

    To cite this article: Ian C. Glover (1977) The late stone age in Eastern Indonesia, World Archaeology, 9:1,42-61, DOI: 10.1080/00438243.1977.9979684

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  • The Late Stone Age in eastern Indonesia

    Ian C. Glover

    By eastern Indonesia I refer to the islands east of Java, Bali and Kalimantan, south of thePhilippines and west of New Guinea (fig. i). This is the biogeographical region ofWallacea, of transition between Asia and Australia. In environment and relief the area iscomplex and varied for it includes some fifty large and many hundreds of small islandsspread across an area of sea roughly 1,700 km. sq., has a land area of about 384,000 sq.km., and a present population of about 12 million. Since within this area we have reason-

    120"

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    130 E

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    Figure I Map of eastern Indonesia locating areas of recent excavations. For detailed maps; asee fig. 2, b see fig. 8, and c see fig. 16

    World Archaeology Volume 9 No. 1 Island archaeology

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  • The Late Stone Age in eastern Indonesia 43

    able archaeological evidence from small scale excavations in only four localities - easternTimor, south-west Sulawesi, north Sulawesi (Minhasa) and the Talaud Islands - it mustbe evident that any generalizations made about its prehistory are provisional and pre-mature.

    We can say that the main islands were settled by man some time in the Upper Pleis-tocene; this argument is based on the finds of large, archaic stone tools in gravel terracedeposits where they seem to occur together with an extinct fauna (stegodonts, giantvaranids, land tortoises and suids) in Sulawesi, Flores and Timor (Glover 1973) and thefact that there are dated sites in New Guinea at 26,000 b.p. (White et al. 1970) and inAustralia earlier than 30,000 b.p. (Mulvaney 1975: chap. 5). However, little is knownfrom eastern Indonesia until the end of the Pleistocene when the archaeological recordproper begins with dated pre-ceramic Late Stone Age sequences from caves in Timorand Sulawesi. At the moment, these extend from about 14,000 b.p. to the early or middlethird millennium b.c. when it seems that agriculture had become established in the moresuitable locations in this region. The use of caves for habitation became less frequent inthe first millennium b.c. and it should be remembered that almost all the evidence atpresent comes from caves and rockshelters. This terminal Pleistocene to mid-Recentsequence parallels the one emerging in the Philippines and shows many points ofresemblance to it.

    The sequence in Timor

    In Timor, excavations by Alfred Bhler in 1935 (Sarasin 1936) and Th. Verhoeven (1959)in the late 1950s revealed the characteristics of the Timorese Late Stone Age, and it wasspecified more exactly and dated in a series of excavations by myself in East, thenPortuguese, Timor between 1966 and 1967 (Glover 1969, 71 and 72). In particular Irefer (fig. 2) to the sites Lie Siri (fig. 3) and Bui Ceri Uato (fig. 4) on the edges of thedry northern coastal plateau near Baucau, and to Uai Bobo 1 and 2 (fig. 5) in the centralmountains. Differences between the components in mountain and coastal sites are small.The sequence starts about 14,000 b.p. with Horizon 1 at Uai Bobo 2 and for the next9,000 years there is relatively little change in artefact types and fauna. The most dis-tinctive tools are varieties of steep-edge, hollow scrapers and unretouched flakes withtraces of edge gloss (fig. 6 c-d). The fauna is dominated by several species of extinctgiant rats, with fruit bats, snakes, reptiles and, at the coast, fish and shell fish. Plantremains include seeds or fragments of Celtis, Job's Tears, betel vine, Polynesian chestnut(Inocarpus), Aleurities or candle nut, and bamboo.

    From about 5000 b.p. there are marked economic changes with the introduction of pig,goat, dog, monkey, phalanger, civet cat and finally cattle and deer in the Christian era.Pottery also appears in the third millennium b.c. and is accompanied by a distinctive typeof tanged point (fig. 6 e-g), which is added to, but does not replace the existing flakestone tool kit. Shell adzes, fishhooks and shell beads also appear in the coastal sites at thistime (fig. 7). New plants found in small numbers in the period after 3000 b.c. include onepossible specimen of Setaria (foxtail millet), Lagenaria (bottle gourd), coconut, variousfruits and trees such as Anona and Garcina and finally Zea and Arachis (peanut) in the

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  • 44 Ian C. Glover

    WETAR STRAITBONDURA

    -POINT

    -e'30's

    I262O'E

    Key

    O Towns

    Roads

    Bridle S Footpaths

    Heights in metres

    Excavated Caves ft Rockshelters

    1 Lie Siri2 Uai Ma le3 Bui Ceri Uato4 Uai Bobo I5 Uai Bobo 2

    Mag.

    /25l'E196?

    Based on Carta de Portugal 1-50,000 Provincia de Timor, A C - I - | | - Sheet 4 , 1968

    Figure 2 East Timor; the Baucau Plateau and the Venilale region locating the author's mainexcavations of 1966-7

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  • Plate 5 Scanning electron microscope photograph of silica skeleton of rice hull, UluLeang I, Sulawesi, from a hearth at J (9) 7-8, estimated age about 4000 b.c. Photograph byR. Keeley. Enlargement x 940

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  • 5mm

    Plate 6 Carbonised cereal grains from Ulu Leang i, Sulawesi, from the same hearth atJ (9) 7-8

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  • W.M.C - i ttotagmit towtr lo ro

    f~~* italogmit flowBton

    f f i bontboodryinanicM

    * hand ancits

    A1

    N5WI2

    N5Wll

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    N5WIO

    N4WIO

    N3WIO

    N2wto

    NIWK)

    SOWK>

    NSW9

    N4W9

    N3WS

    N2W9

    NIW9

    SOW9

    N5WS

    N4WS

    N3WS

    N2WS

    NIWS

    SOwa

    N2W7

    NIW7

    SOW7

    N2WS

    NIWS

    w date, I6658O b.p. (T-9096)AM samples in situ hearth deposits sampled for

    archeomagnetic and C14 dating

    Figure io Section through occupational deposits, Leang Burung z

    pigs being Sus ser of a (Clason 1976: 60) which only exists as a domesticated animal inIndonesia.

    Preliminary identifications on plant materials are available only from Ulu Leang andthese include sedges and wild grasses of the Panicum sp., fig seeds, canarium nut, andmany seeds of Bidens sp., a weedy herb which has medicinal and culinary uses. The verynumerous fresh water molluscs - mainly Brotia perfecta - and tortoise fragments suggestthat the immediate environment of the site during the period of prehistoric occupationwas rather similar to the present one. From a level which should be dated to about 6000b.p. or a little earlier there is a hearth full of plant silica skeletons including hull fragmentsof Oryza sativa or rice (plate 5) (T. T. Chang, pers. comm.) and many carbonized seeds(plate 6). Whether the latter include cultivated species of Oryza I cannot yet be certain,but rice, including both long and round grain varieties, was also found in a late level atUlu Leang in 1973 (see Glover 1976: 22-3).

    The chronology and dynamics of this South Sulawesi Late Stone Age sequenceparallels the one in Timor quite closely, although details of artefact styles differ mark-edly, and there seems little indication of contact between the two areas.

    North Sulawesi

    Off northern Sulawesi (fig. 16) Bellwood (1974 and 1976) has excavated a coastal shelter,Leang Tuwo Mane'e in the Talaud Islands, and a shell midden at Paso on Lake Tonando

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  • The Late Stone Age in eastern Indonesia 53

    5 cm

    H.M.

    Figure 11 Flaked stone tools from Leang Burung 2.a, retouched point, Layer V; b, unretouched point, Layer II; c, blade with silica gloss, LayerIllb ; d-e, levallois points, Layer II ; f, unretouched point, Layer Il lb ; g, bipolar core, Layer II ;h-i, steep-edge scrapers, Layers II and V

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  • 54 Ian C. Glover

    A B C D E F G H 1 J K L M N

    limestone flowstone

    ground

    tree stump j f recent pHs

    contours at intervals of lOcms.

    5m

    ULU LEANG I1969-1975

    M.LA

    Figure 12 Plan of Ulu Leang i Cave, Maros, Sulawesi

    cementeddeposits

    10

    12

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    -L.19

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  • The Late Stone Age in eastern Indonesia 55

    Figure 13 Early flaked stone tool types from Ulu Leang 1, trench K-L.a, double side scraper, alternate faces; b, end scraper; c, double side scraper; d, domed core-scraper; e, nosed side scraper

    (Minhasa). The Paso shell midden dates to a rather short period about 7,500 years agoand contains a preceramic obsidian scraper assemblage (fig. 17) with bone pointssimilar to those of Maros. And Leang Tuwo Mane'e has a preceramic chert blade indus-try (fig. 18) in the earliest of four occupational phases, which the excavator, Bellwood,dates to between 6000 and 4500 b.p. Fifty percent of this assemblage consists of smallblades, but few are retouched and none of the distinctive point types-found in SouthSulawesi or Timor are found here. Many flakes though, were used for cutting and scrap-ing and some have silica gloss on the margins (fig. 18 b), as is also common in Timor,South Sulawesi and the Philippines. Phase 2 at Leang Tuwo Mane'e is marked by the

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  • cm

    9 (20

    (2*)

    F fi

    m 12)

    5 cm.

    i

    mRM.

    Figure 14 Later flaked stone tool types from Ulu Leang 1.a, blunted-edge Maros Point; b, denticulate Maros Point; c-d, f, blunted back bladelets;e, obliquely blunted point; g, geometric microlith; h, tranchet point; i, bipolar micro-core;

    j , blade with silica gloss; k, double side scraper; 1-m, bone bipoints

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  • The Late Stone Age in eastern Indonesia 57

    Figure 15 Babyrotissa babyrussa (Lin.) The babirusa (literally 'pig-deer') is the largestendemic mammal in Sulawesi. Drawing from Lydekker's Royal Natural History, vol. 2, 1894.London

    SANGIHEIs.V

    S I A

    PB>

    y*MAMAD0J3 Kit

    C^ ^nLAKE TONDANO

    Leang Tuwo Mane'e

    TALAUD

    1.

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    j Paso shell mound

    KMS 100

    MM.

    Figure 16 Map of northern Sulawesi, Sangihe and Talaud Islands locating two sites excavatedby Bellwood in 1974

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  • 58 Ian C. Glover

    Figure iy Flaked obsidian tools from Paso shell mound, Lake Tondano, Minhasa.a, unretouched point; b-c, steep-edge scrapers

    appearance of pottery similar to the early wares of Timor and northern Luzon (Dimolit site)and blades diminish in frequency. This change is dated to about 4500 b.p. by Bellwood.

    Surface collections or amateur excavations in Flores, Roti, Sumba and Seram havealso yielded small flake collections which I believe will be shown to be contemporary and

    5cm.

    1.6.

    Figure 18 Blades from Leang Tuwo Mane'e, Talaud Islands.a, unretouched blade, patinated cream chert; b, flake with silica gloss; c, scraper; d-e, un-retouched blades

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  • The Late Stone Age in eastern Indonesia 59

    parallel to the assemblages described, and share a similar technological base, but differingin typological details. In Seram, for instance, the most common retouched pieces areblades (fig. 19), steeply modified at the butt for hafting, less pronounced than the tangedpoints of Timor, and a type not yet recorded elsewhere.

    Between the first dated occurrence of these diverse flake and blade assemblages, justbefore the end of the Pleistocene, up to the early or middle third millennium b.c. there isyet little to suggest that eastern Indonesia was occupied by anything but small, isolatedcommunities of hunter-gatherers; not particularly mobile, at least on the sea, and drawingmost of their food from rivers, lakes and coastal waters and from the nearby forests.

    789790

    5 cm.

    791

    H.M.

    Figure ig Chert points and blades, surface finds from Ruhuwa village, Seram

    I would argue, then, that subsequent to the colonization the major islands of easternIndonesia in the Upper Pleistocene we can see the development of many stylisticallydiverse stone working traditions by isolated communities who seem to have occupiedmost of the available habitats, low swampy as well as steep rocky coasts, high mountainsand inland lake basins. Within the two areas most thoroughly investigated, Timor andSouth Sulawesi, there seems to have been surprisingly little spatial variation in economicadaptation or cultural style at any one time, at least up to the third millennium b.c., butthis seeming uniformity may reflect only the lack of discriminating analyses. With theappearance of pottery and imported wild and domesticated animals, we get the movementinto eastern Indonesia of expanding agricultural populations from the west or north. Ithas been argued (cf. Shuttler and Marks 1975: 93-5) that these are the first Austronesianspeakers who moved on to settle coastal Melanesia and the Pacific. Whatever their lin-guistic affiliations, this settlement impinged on, deflected, and in the long run destroyedthe old hunting and collecting life except in some very isolated islands and mountain areas.

    From the third millennium b.c. onwards inter-island communications improve, theresult clearly of better boat building and sailing techniques, and we see in the largerislands the start of a process of differentiation between coastal and inland societies whichis so typical of Indonesia in historical times.

    Acknowledgements

    The author's fieldwork in Sulawesi was undertaken with the permission of the IndonesianInstitute of Science and in co-operation with the National Archaeological Institute of

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  • 6o Ian C. Glover

    Indonesia. In particular I would like to thank Drs Soejono in Jakarta, Drs Hadimuljono,Bahuru and Rifai of Ujung Pandang, Pak Issudjud of Maros and the people of Tompok-balang, and Dr P. Bellwood for information on his unpublished excavations in NorthSulawesi.

    Figures 1-2, 7-9, 12 and 16 are by Moira Mackenzie, 3-5 by Win Mumford, and 11,14 and 19 by Hazel Martingell, and 10 is by Liza Greenwood.

    13 .ix. 1976 Institute of ArchaeologyUniversity of London

    References

    Bellwood, P. 1974. Report on archaeological research in Sulawesi (Minahasa, Sangihe andTalaud Islands). Roneo report for L.I.P.I. and A.R.G.C.

    Bellwood, P. 1976. Indonesia, the Philippines and Oceanic prehistory. La Prhistoire Ocanienne,pp. 7-26 (ed. J. Garanger). Colloque XXII, IXe Congrs Union Internationale des SciencesPrhistoriques et Protohistoriques, Nice.

    Clason, A. T. 1976. A preliminary note about the animal remains from Ulu Leang 1 Cave,South Sulawesi, Indonesia. In Modern Quaternary Research in Southeast Asia. 2:53-67 (edsG.-J. Bartstra and W. A. Casparie). Rotterdam: A. A. Balkema.

    Glover, I. C. 1969. Radiocarbon dates from Portuguese Timor. Archaeology and PhysicalAnthropology in Oceania. 4:107-12.

    Glover, I. C. 1971. Prehistoric Research in Timor. In Aboriginal Man and Environment inAustralia, pp. 158-61 (eds D. J. Mulvaney and J. Golson). Canberra: A.N.U. Press.

    Glover, I. C. 1972. Excavations in Timor. 2 vols. Ph.D. thesis, Australian National University,Canberra (unpublished).

    Glover, I. C. 1973. Island Southeast Asia and the settlement of Australia. In ArchaeologicalTheory and Practice, pp. 105-29 (eds D. Strong and J. D. Evans). London: Academic Press.

    Glover, I. C. 1976a. Ulu Leang Cave, Maros : a preliminary sequence of post-Pleistocene culturaldevelopment in South Sulawesi. Archipel. 11:113-54.

    Glover, I. C. 1976b. Prehistoric research in the Maros District, South Sulawesi, Indonesia:first preliminary report on the 1975 field season. (Roneo report privately circulated.)

    Heekeren, H. R. van 1972. The Stone Age of Indonesia, 2nd ed. The Hague: M. Nijhoff.

    Mulvaney, D. J. 1975. The Prehistory of Australia, revised edition. Penguin, Australia.

    Mulvaney, D. J. and Soejono, R. P. 1970a. Archaeology in Sulawesi, Indonesia. Antiquity.177:26-33.

    Mulvaney, D. J. and Soejono, R. P. 1970b. The Australian-Indonesian archaeological expedi-tion to Sulawesi. Asian Perspectives. 13:163-77.

    Sarasin, F. 1936. Beitrge zur Prhistorie der Inseln Timor und Rote. Verhandlungen derNaturforschenden Gesellschaft in Basel. 37:1-59.

    Shuttler, R. and Marks, J. C. 1975. On the dispersal of the Austronesian horticulturalists.Archaeology and Physical Anthropology in Oceania. 10:81-113.

    Verhoeven, Th. 1959. Die Klingenkultur der Insel Timor. Anthropos. 54:970-2.

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    White, J. P., Crook, K. A. W. and Ruxton, B. P. 1970. Kosipe: a late Pleistocene site in thePapuan Highlands. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. 36:152-70.

    Abstract

    Ian C. Glover

    The Late Stone Age in eastern Indonesia

    Excavations in caves and shell middens in Timor, south and north Sulawesi have revealed anumber of regionally diverse flake stone tool traditions dating from the end of the Pleistoceneto mid-Recent times. Food remains suggest that the region was occupied by isolated commu-nities of hunters and gatherers until agricultural settlement in the third millennium B.C.However, some early evidence of rice has been found in South Sulawesi.

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