Dispersal of Austronesian People Across the Pacific

Dispersal of Austronesian People Across the Pacific

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Chronological dispersal of Austronesian people across the Pacific (per Bellwood in Chambers, 2008)

It is theorised that Polynesians traveled to South America.

"Phylogenetic analysis supports the hypothesis of at least two separate introductions of sweet potatoes from South America into Polynesia, including one before and one after European contact."

The dotted lines with a question mark next to them denote unproven scientific theories.

Crazy that New Zealand has only been settled for

Espeically since they reached New Caledonia 3200 years ago.

Saw a similar map like this in the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Was very fascinated by the fact that New Zealand is one of the last places on planet Earth to be settled by humans, only less than 800 years ago. As well as the fact that Taiwan is the origin for all these peoples around the world.

What puzzles me is how and why did the Austronesian/Polynesian peoples completely bypass a massive landmass like Australia (and New Guinea for that matter)? And with this being the case, where do the Australian Aborigines originally come from?

Tracking Austronesian expansion into the Pacific via the paper mulberry plant

One of the strategies the ancestors of Pacific peoples used for successful settlement of the islands of the Pacific Ocean was the concept of transported landscapes (1). Pacific peoples carried their culturally and economically important plants and animals in their colonizing canoes and introduced these species to the islands they settled, which were relatively impoverished in terms of terrestrial resources. It has been demonstrated that phylogeographic analyses of these plants and animals can serve as proxies for reconstructing the pathways of colonizing canoes, and thus trace the movement of Pacific peoples and identify their likely origins. This “commensal approach” to tracking the movement of prehistoric Pacific peoples has to date focused primarily on the animals transported by Pacific colonists, including the Pacific rat (2, 3), pigs (4), and chickens (5). In PNAS, Chang et al. (6) now present genetic analyses of one of the important plant species carried into and across the Pacific in colonizing canoes, with their study of the paper mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera).

The settlement of the Remote Pacific has been associated and identified archaeologically with the Lapita Cultural Complex (1). The Lapita culture first appears in the Bismarck Archipelago some 3400 years before present (BP) and rapidly spreads into the previously uninhabited islands of Remote Oceania, reaching Tonga and Samoa, on the edge of the Polynesian Triangle by about 2900 BP (7). It is generally accepted that the Lapita culture is an extension of the Neolithic expansion of Austronesian-speaking peoples through Island Southeast Asia, from the Austronesian homeland in Taiwan (8 ⇓ ⇓ –11). Migration to and settlement of the rest of the Polynesian Triangle did not begin until some 1,700 years after the colonization of Samoa and Tonga, with settlement of Aotearoa/New Zealand around 730 BP, marking the end of Austronesian expansion into the Pacific (Fig. 1). Although Taiwan has been identified as the homeland of the Austronesian languages, all previous commensal animal studies indicate origins and migration pathways that do not include Taiwan, suggesting a complex history for the various components of Austronesian and Lapita cultures. Most of the economically important plant species introduced to Remote Oceanic islands during prehistory, such as banana, taro, breadfruit, and sugarcane, have Near Oceanic origins, whereas the sweet potato and the bottle gourd are of South American origin. Thus, the results presented by Chang et al. (6), indicating that the most common variant of paper mulberry found in the Pacific, and the one most likely introduced by the early colonists, has a clear Taiwanese origin, are significant, providing (to my knowledge) the first direct genetic link between Taiwan and one of the Pacific commensal species.

Map showing the direction of Austronesian expansion from Taiwan and likely timing of expansion into the Pacific. Dates are expressed in years before present (BP) and are based on current archaeological evidence. The dotted line separates Near Oceania and Remote Oceania. Adapted from ref. 20, with permission from Elsevier.

Native to Asia, including Taiwan, paper mulberry is a dioecious plant (plants are either male or female) that gets its common name from the fact that it was used in China and Japan to make paper. In the Pacific, paper mulberry was an extremely important plant used for producing barkcloth or tapa, which was not only used for clothing, but for ceremonial artifacts and as an important indicator of wealth in gift exchange, still seen today in places like Tonga. Tapa production diminished in many Pacific cultures with the introduction of European woven cloth, and as a result, so did the cultivation of paper mulberry. Barkcloth is produced by beating the inner bark of various trees, but most commonly the paper mulberry, into a thin, pliable, felt-like fabric. Evidence of wooden tapa beaters have been found in an early, waterlogged site in East Polynesia, indicating it was clearly important for the first colonists (12). These artifacts link the tradition to early Austronesian cultures in Island Southeast Asia and on the mainland, where the earliest stone barkcloth beater has been found in Guangxi, Southern China, and dates to around 8000 BP (13).

To identify the geographic origins of paper mulberry and reconstruct its spread through Island Southeast Asia and into the Pacific, Chang et al. (6) studied genetic variation in a 1,233-bp region of the chloroplast DNA (cpDNA), which, like mtDNA in humans, is maternally inherited. A total of 604 samples of paper mulberry were collected from south China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Sulawesi, the Solomon Islands, Fiji, and several islands in Polynesia. After sequencing, a total of 48 haplotypes, or distinct lineages, were identified, 31 of which were shared. One haplotype, designated cp-20, was found throughout the native range (southern China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand) and was identified as the likely ancestral type. As might be expected, samples collected in this native range also showed the greatest cpDNA variation, with 27 haplotypes identified from China, 20 of which were exclusively found there. Another five haplotypes were found in Indochina (Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand). Interestingly, the comparatively small island of Taiwan harbored 19 haplotypes, 16 of which were endemic.

The Taiwanese samples showed surprising geographic structuring, with different lineages found in the north, the east, and southern/central parts of the island. The haplotypes found in the north of the island, particularly cp-1, were shared with samples from the east coast region of the mainland of China, and were believed to have been introduced from there during the early phase of Austronesian expansions to the island dating between 8000 and 6000 BP (6). These northern varieties were not introduced further south, where the endemic Taiwanese lineages are found.

The most common variant found in the Pacific, cp-17, has a clear south/central Taiwanese origin. Haplotype cp-17 is the only lineage found in Sulawesi, Fiji, and in all of the Polynesian Islands sampled (Samoa, Tonga, Niue, the Austral Islands, the Marquesas, Pitcairn, and Rapa Nui/Easter Island) except for Hawaii, which also has plants with cpDNA assigned to haplotypes cp-41, likely introduced from Japan, and the ancestral type, cp-20. It is suggested (6) and highly likely that these varieties were introduced historically by the Japanese and Chinese workers brought in to Hawaii to work in the sugarcane fields during the colonial period. Haplotype cp-17 was also identified in one sample from New Guinea, as was haplotype cp-34, which is a common Indochinese lineage, indicating multiple introductions to the island. In total, five different lineages were identified in Near Oceanic paper mulberry. Interestingly, cp-17 was not found in the Philippines or the Solomon Islands otherwise the distribution of this haplotype would be totally consistent with the expansion of Austronesian languages.

The fact that a single haplotype, cp-17, is dominant across the vast region of Polynesia is consistent with suggestions that Polynesian varieties consist of only male plants that are clonally propagated (14, 15) and strongly supports that they did not disperse naturally Chang et al. now present genetic analyses of one of the important plant species carried into and across the Pacific in colonizing canoes, with their study of the paper mulberry. but were transported intentionally by humans. This form of propagation may also explain the possible loss of the species in particular locations when barkcloth manufacture is abandoned.

Chang et al. (6) have contributed significantly to our understanding of Neolithic expansions from the mainland of China to Taiwan and the subsequent Austronesian migrations through Island Southeast Asia and into the Pacific. The clear Taiwanese origins of cp-17, the likely lineage introduced to Polynesia by early Polynesian colonists, is most exciting. A much more complex introduction history is indicated for Near Oceania, and further sampling in both Near Oceania, particularly locations in the Bismarck Archipelago (locations with evidence of Lapita settlement) and investigations into the distribution and genetic origins of paper mulberry plants in Vanuatu and New Caledonia will be most interesting. Such information would help to determine whether paper mulberry was likely introduced by Lapita colonists or if the introduction of cp-17 to Polynesia may have been the result of a post-Lapita introduction possibly directly from cp-17 harboring locations in Island Southeast Asia (either Taiwan or Sulawesi) or via Micronesia (16). Previous studies of commensal species such as the Pacific rat (17) and Pacific dogs (18) have demonstrated the need for specific, targeted sampling and full analysis of archaeological dates and distributions of commensal species that can reveal erroneous assumptions and errors in our interpretations of phylogeographic patterns and reconstructions of prehistoric human dispersals in the Pacific made based on limited sampling. The application of ancient DNA methods to identify the haplotypes in pre-European samples and artifacts made of tapa (19) will also assist in clarifying or confirming these interpretations from modern and historic samples and present exciting opportunities.


The linguistic connections between Madagascar, Polynesia and Southeast Asia were recognized early in the colonial era by European authors, particularly the remarkable similarities between Malagasy, Malay, and Polynesian numerals. [47] The first formal publications on these relationships was in 1708 by the Dutch Orientalist Adriaan Reland, who recognized a "common language" from Madagascar to western Polynesia although the Dutch explorer Cornelis de Houtman also realized the linguistic links between Madagascar and the Malay Archipelago prior to Reland in 1603. [48]

The Spanish philologist Lorenzo Hervás y Panduro later devoted a large part of his Idea dell' Universo (1778–1787) to the establishment of a language family linking the Malaysian Peninsula, the Maldives, Madagascar, the Sunda Islands, Moluccas, the Philippines, and the Pacific Islands eastward to Easter Island. Multiple other authors corroborated this classification (except for the erroneous inclusion of Maldivian), and the language family came to be known as "Malayo-Polynesian," first coined by the German linguist Franz Bopp in 1841 (German: malayisch-polynesisch). [47] [49] The connections between Southeast Asia, Madagascar, and the Pacific Islands were also noted by other European explorers, including the orientalist William Marsden and the naturalist Johann Reinhold Forster. [50]

Johann Friedrich Blumenbach added Austronesians as the fifth category to his "varieties" of humans in the second edition of De Generis Humani Varietate Nativa (1781). He initially grouped them by geography and thus called Austronesians the "people from the southern world." In the third edition published in 1795, he named Austronesians the "Malay race" or the "brown race," after correspondence with Joseph Banks who was part of the first voyage of James Cook. [50] [51] Blumenbach used the term "Malay" due to his belief that most Austronesians spoke the "Malay idiom" (i.e. the Austronesian languages), though he inadvertently caused the later confusion of his racial category with the Melayu people. [52] The other varieties Blumenbach identified were the "Caucasians" (white), "Mongolians" (yellow), "Ethiopians" (black), and "Americans" (red). Blumenbach's definition of the Malay race is largely identical to the modern distribution of the Austronesian peoples, including not only Islander Southeast Asians, but also the people of Madagascar and the Pacific Islands. Although Blumenbach's work was later used in scientific racism, Blumenbach was a monogenist and did not believe the human "varieties" were inherently inferior to each other. [50] [51]

Malay variety. Tawny-coloured hair black, soft, curly, thick and plentiful head moderately narrowed forehead slightly swelling nose full, rather wide, as it were diffuse, end thick mouth large, upper jaw somewhat prominent with parts of the face when seen in profile, sufficiently prominent and distinct from each other. This last variety includes the islanders of the Pacific Ocean, together with the inhabitants of the Mariannas, the Philippine, the Molucca and the Sunda Islands, and of the Malayan peninsula. I wish to call it the Malay, because the majority of the men of this variety, especially those who inhabit the Indian islands close to the Malacca peninsula, as well as the Sandwich, the Society, and the Friendly Islanders, and also the Malambi of Madagascar down to the inhabitants of Easter Island, use the Malay idiom.

By the 19th century, however, scientific racism was favoring a classification of Austronesians as being a subset of the "Mongolian" race, as well as polygenism. The Australo-Melanesian populations of Southeast Asia and Melanesia (whom Blumenbach initially classified as a "subrace" of the "Malay" race) were also now being treated as a separate "Ethiopian" race by authors like Georges Cuvier, Conrad Malte-Brun (who first coined the term "Oceania" as Océanique), Julien-Joseph Virey, and René Lesson. [50] [54]

The British naturalist James Cowles Prichard originally followed Blumenbach by treating Papuans and Native Australians as being descendants of the same stock as Austronesians. But by his third edition of Researches into the Physical History of Man (1836-1847), his work had become more racialized due to the influence of polygenism. He classified the peoples of Austronesia into two groups: the "Malayo-Polynesians" (roughly equivalent to the Austronesian peoples) and the "Kelænonesians" (roughly equivalent to the Australo-Melanesians). He further subdivided the latter into the "Alfourous" (also "Haraforas" or "Alfoërs", the Native Australians), and the "Pelagian or Oceanic Negroes" (the Melanesians and western Polynesians). Despite this, he acknowledges that "Malayo-Polynesians" and "Pelagian Negroes" had "remarkable characters in common", particularly in terms of language and craniometry. [50] [47] [49]

In linguistics, the Malayo-Polynesian language family also initially excluded Melanesia and Micronesia, due to what they perceived were marked physical differences between the inhabitants of these regions from the Malayo-Polynesian speakers. However, there was growing evidence of their linguistic relationship to Malayo-Polynesian languages, notably from studies on the Melanesian languages by Georg von der Gabelentz, Robert Henry Codrington and Sidney Herbert Ray. Codrington coined and used the term "Ocean" language family rather than "Malayo-Polynesian" in 1891, in opposition to the exclusion of Melanesian and Micronesian languages. This was adopted by Ray who defined the "Oceanic" language family as encompassing the languages of Southeast Asia and Madagascar, Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia. [48] [55] [56] [57]

In 1899, the Austrian linguist and ethnologist Wilhelm Schmidt coined the term "Austronesian" (German: austronesisch, from Latin auster, "south wind" and Greek νῆσος, "island") to refer to the language family. [58] Schmidt had the same motivations as Codrington. He proposed the term as a replacement to "Malayo-Polynesian", because he also opposed the implied exclusion of the languages of Melanesia and Micronesia in the latter name. [47] [49] It became the accepted name for the language family, with Oceanic and Malayo-Polynesian languages being retained as names for subgroups. [48]

The term "Austronesian", or more accurately "Austronesian-speaking peoples", came to refer the people who speak the languages of the Austronesian language family. Some authors, however, object to the use of the term to refer to people, as they question whether there really is any biological or cultural shared ancestry between all Austronesian-speaking groups. [43] [60] This is especially true for authors who reject the prevailing "Out of Taiwan" hypothesis and instead offer scenarios where the Austronesian languages spread among preexisting static populations through borrowing or convergence, with little or no population movements. [61] [62]

Despite these objections, the general consensus is that the archeological, cultural, genetic, and especially linguistic evidence all separately indicate varying degrees of shared ancestry among Austronesian-speaking peoples that justifies their treatment as a "phylogenetic unit." This has led to the use of the term "Austronesian" in academic literature to refer not only to the Austronesian languages, but also the Austronesian-speaking peoples, their societies, and the geographic area of Austronesia. [60] [61] [62] [66] [67]

Serious research into the Austronesian languages and its speakers has been ongoing since the 19th century. Modern scholarship on Austronesian dispersion models is generally credited to two influential papers in the late 20th century: The Colonisation of the Pacific: A Genetic Trail (Hill & Serjeantson, eds., 1989), and The Austronesian Dispersal and the Origin of Languages (Bellwood, 1991). [68] [69] The topic is particularly interesting to scientists for the remarkably unique characteristics of the Austronesian speakers: their extent, diversity, and rapid dispersal. [70] [71]

Regardless certain disagreements still exist among researchers with regards to chronology, origin, dispersal, adaptations to the island environments, interactions with preexisting populations in areas they settled, and cultural developments over time. The mainstream accepted hypothesis is the "Out of Taiwan" model first proposed by Peter Bellwood. But there are multiple rival models that create a sort of "pseudo-competition" among their supporters due to narrow focus on data from limited geographic areas or disciplines. [70] [71] [72] The most notable of which is the "Out of Sundaland" (or "Out of Island Southeast Asia") model. As a generalization, authors that are based in Indonesia and Malaysia tend to favor the "Out of Sundaland" model, while authors based in Taiwan and the Pacific Islands tend to favor the "Out of Taiwan" model. [ citation needed ]

Austronesians were the first humans to invent ocean-going sailing technologies, which allowed them to colonize a large part of the Indo-Pacific region. [73] Prior to the 16th century Colonial Era, the Austronesian language family was the most widespread language family in the world, spanning half the planet from Easter Island in the eastern Pacific Ocean to Madagascar in the western Indian Ocean. [61]

It is spoken today by about 386 million people (4.9% of the global population), making it the fifth-largest language family by number of speakers. Major Austronesian languages with the highest number of speakers are Malay (Indonesian and Malaysian), Javanese, and Filipino (Tagalog). The family contains 1,257 languages, which is the second most of any language family. [77]

The geographic region that encompasses native Austronesian-speaking populations is sometimes referred to as Austronesia. [66] Other geographic names for various subregions include Malay Peninsula, Greater Sunda Islands, Lesser Sunda Islands, Island Melanesia, Island Southeast Asia (ISEA), Malay Archipelago, Maritime Southeast Asia (MSEA), Melanesia, Micronesia, Near Oceania, Oceania, Pacific Islands, Remote Oceania, Polynesia, and Wallacea. In Indonesia and Malaysia, the nationalistic term Nusantara is also popularly used for their islands. [66] [78]

Historically, Austronesians uniquely live in an "island world". Austronesian regions are almost exclusively islands in the Pacific and Indian oceans, with predominantly tropical or subtropical climates with considerable seasonal rainfall. They had limited penetration into the interiors of large islands or mainlands. [48] [80]

They include Taiwanese aborigines, the majority of ethnic groups in Brunei, East Timor, Indonesia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Micronesia, the Philippines, and Polynesia. Also included are the Malays of Singapore the Polynesians of New Zealand, Hawaii, and Chile the Torres Strait Islanders of Australia the non-Papuan peoples of Melanesia and coastal New Guinea the Shibushi-speakers of Comoros, and the Malagasy and Shibushi-speakers of Réunion. They are also found in the regions of Southern Thailand, the Cham areas in Vietnam and Cambodia, and parts of Myanmar. [48] [81]

Some authors also propose further settlements and contacts in the past in areas that are not inhabited by Austronesian speakers today. These range from likely hypotheses to very controversial claims with minimal evidence. In 2009, Roger Blench compiled an expanded map of Austronesia that encompass these claims based on various evidence like historical accounts, loanwords, introduced plants and animals, genetics, archeological sites, and material culture. They include areas like the Pacific coast of the Americas, Japan, the Yaeyama Islands, the Australian coast, Sri Lanka and coastal South Asia, the Persian Gulf, some of the Indian Ocean islands, East Africa, South Africa, and West Africa. [79]

List of Austronesian peoples Edit

Austronesian peoples include the following groupings by name and geographic location (incomplete):

  • Formosan:Taiwan (e.g., Amis, Atayal, Bunun, Paiwan).
  • Malayo-Polynesian:
      groups (e.g., Kadazan-Dusun, Murut, Iban, Bidayuh, Dayak, Lun Bawang/Lundayeh) group: Cambodia, Hainan, Cham areas of Vietnam (remnants of the Champa kingdom which covered central and southern Vietnam) as well as Aceh in northern Sumatra (e.g., Acehnese, Chams, Jarai, Utsuls). group: (e.g., Kapampangan, Pangasinan, Sambal.) (Cordillerans): Cordilleras (e.g., Balangao, Ibaloi, Ifugao, Itneg, Kankanaey). : Mindanao (e.g., Kamayo, Manobo, Tasaday, T'boli). : Madagascar (e.g., Betsileo, Merina, Sihanaka, Bezanozano). : Melanesia (e.g., Fijians, Kanak, Ni-Vanuatu, Solomon Islands). : Micronesia (e.g., Carolinian, Chamorro, Palauan). : Burma, Thailand. : Bangsamoro (Mindanao & Sulu Archipelago, e.g., Maguindanao, Maranao, Tausug, Sama-Bajau).
  • Northern Luzon lowlanders (e.g., Ilocano, Ibanag, Itawes). : Polynesia (e.g., Māori, Native Hawaiians, Samoans, Tongans).
  • Southern Luzon lowlanders (e.g., Tagalog, Bicolano) –Sulawesi language and ethnic groups including Malay, Sundanese, Javanese, Balinese, Batak (geographically includes Malaysia, Brunei, Pattani, Singapore, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, parts of Sri Lanka, southern Myanmar, and much of western and central Indonesia). : Visayas and neighbouring islands (e.g., Aklanon, Boholano, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Masbateño, Waray).
  • The broad consensus on Austronesian origins is the "two-layer model" where an original Paleolithic indigenous population in Island Southeast Asia were assimilated to varying degrees by incoming migrations of Neolithic Austronesian-speaking peoples from Taiwan and southern China from around 4,000 BP. [71] [84] Austronesians also mixed with other preexisting populations as well as later migrant populations among the islands they settled, resulting in further genetic input. The most notable are the Austroasiatic-speaking peoples in western Island Southeast Asia (peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, and Java) the Bantu peoples in Madagascar [46] and the Comoros as well as Japanese, Indian, Arab, and Han Chinese traders and migrants in the more recent centuries. [83]

    Paleolithic Edit

    Island Southeast Asia was settled by modern humans in the Paleolithic following coastal migration routes, presumably starting before 70,000 BP, long before the development of Austronesian cultures. [85] [86] These populations are typified by having dark skin, curly hair, and short statures, leading Europeans to believe they were related to African Pygmies in the scientific racism of the 19th century. However, despite these physical differences, genetic studies have shown that they are more closely related to other Eurasian populations than to Africans. [87] [86]

    These early population groups originally lacked watercraft technology, and thus could only cross narrow interisland seas with primitive floats or rafts (likely bamboo or log rafts) or through accidental means. Especially the deeper waters of the Wallace Line, Weber Line, and Lydekker Line with islands disconnected from mainland Asia even in the lower sea levels of the last glacial period. They settled in what are now islands mostly through land migrations into the coastal lowland plains of Sundaland and Sahul, most of which are now underwater. [85] [note 1]

    Humans reached the islands in Wallacea as well as the Sahul landmass (Australia and New Guinea) by around 53,000 BP (some give even older dates up to 65,000 BP). By 45,400 years ago, humans had reached the Bismarck Archipelago in Near Oceania. [85] They were once also present in mainland China and Taiwan, but their populations are now extinct or assimilated. [88] [89] [90] The oldest confirmed human fossils in the Philippines is from the Tabon Caves of Palawan, dated to around 47,000 BP. [91] Previously, it was believed that the earliest putative record of modern humans in Southeast Asia is from the Callao Cave of northern Luzon in the Philippines dated to around 67,000 BP. [85] [92] However, in 2019, the remains were identified as belonging to a new species of archaic humans, Homo luzonensis. [93]

    These people are generally historically referred to as "Australo-Melanesians", though the terminology is problematic as they are genetically diverse and most groups within Austronesia have significant Austronesian admixture and culture. The unmixed descendants of these groups today include the interior Papuans and Indigenous Australians. [83] [86]

    In modern literature, descendants of these groups located in Island Southeast Asia west of Halmahera are usually collectively referred to as "Negritos", while descendants of these groups east of Halmahera (excluding Indigenous Australians) are referred to as "Papuans". [87] They can also be divided into two broad groups based on Denisovan admixture. Philippine Negritos, Papuans, Melanesians, and Indigenous Australians display Denisovan admixture while Malaysian and western Indonesian Negritos (Orang Asli) and Andamanese islanders do not. [86] [94] [95] [note 2]

    Mahdi (2017) also uses the term "Qata" (from Proto-Malayo-Polynesian *qata) to distinguish the indigenous populations of Southeast Asia, versus "Tau" (from Proto-Austronesian *Cau) for the later settlers from Taiwan and mainland China both are based on proto-forms for the word "person" in Malayo-Polynesian languages that referred to darker-skinned and lighter-skinned groups respectively. [87] Jinam et al. (2017) also proposed the term "First Sundaland People" in place of "Negrito", as a more accurate name for the original population of Southeast Asia. [86]

    These populations are genetically distinct from later Austronesians, but through fairly extensive population admixture, most modern Austronesians have varying levels of ancestry from these groups. The same is true for some populations historically considered "non-Austronesians" due to physical differences like Philippine Negritos, Orang Asli, and Austronesian-speaking Melanesians, all of whom have Austronesian admixture. [61] [83] In Polynesians in Remote Oceania, for example, the admixture is around 20 to 30% Papuan, and 70 to 80% Austronesian. The Melanesians in Near Oceania are roughly around 20% Austronesian and 80% Papuan, while in the natives of the Lesser Sunda Islands, the admixture is around 50% Austronesian and 50% Papuan. Similarly, in the Philippines, the groups traditionally considered to be "Negrito" vary between 30 and 50% Austronesian. [61] [83] [86]

    The high degree of assimilation among Austronesian, Negrito, and Papuan groups indicate that the Austronesian expansion was largely peaceful. Rather than violent displacement, the settlers and the indigenous groups absorbed each other. [96] It is believed that in some cases, like in the Toalean culture of Sulawesi (c. 8,000–1,500 BP), it is even more accurate to say that the densely-populated indigenous hunter-gatherer groups absorbed the incoming Austronesian farmers, rather than the other way around. [97] Mahdi (2016) further asserts that Proto-Malayo-Polynesian *tau-mata ("person") [note 3] is derived from a composite protoform *Cau ma-qata, combining "Tau" and "Qata" and indicative of the mixing the two ancestral population types in these regions. [98]

    Neolithic China Edit

    The broad consensus on the Urheimat (homeland) of Austronesian languages as well as the Neolithic early Austronesian peoples is accepted to be Taiwan, as well as the Penghu Islands. [100] [101] [102] They are believed to have descended from ancestral populations in coastal mainland southern China, which are generally referred to as the "pre‑Austronesians". [note 4] Through these pre-Austronesians, Austronesians may also share a common ancestry with neighboring groups in Neolithic southern China. [103]

    These Neolithic pre-Austronesians from the coast of southeastern China are believed to have migrated to Taiwan between approximately 10,000–6000 BCE. [104] [59] Other research has suggested that, according to radiocarbon dates, Austronesians may have migrated from mainland China to Taiwan as late as 4000 BCE (Dapenkeng culture). [105] They continued to maintain regular contact with the mainland until 1500 BCE. [106] [107]

    The identity of the Neolithic pre-Austronesian cultures in China is contentious. Tracing Austronesian prehistory in mainland China and Taiwan has been difficult due to the southward expansion of the Han dynasty (2nd century BCE), and the recent Qing dynasty annexation of Taiwan (1683 CE). [99] [108] [109] [110] Today, the only Austronesian language in southern China is Tsat language in Hainan. The politicization of archaeology is also problematic, particularly erroneous reconstructions among some Chinese archaeologists of non-Sinitic sites as Han. [111] Some authors, favoring the "Out of Sundaland" model like William Meacham, reject the southern Chinese mainland origin of pre-Austronesians entirely. [112]

    Nevertheless, based on linguistic, archaeological, and genetic evidence, Austronesians are most strongly associated with the early farming cultures of the Yangtze River basin that domesticated rice from around 13,500 to 8,200 BP. They display typical Austronesian technological hallmarks, including tooth removal, teeth blackening, jade carving, tattooing, stilt houses, advanced boat-building, aquaculture, wetland agriculture, and the domestication of dogs, pigs, and chickens. These include the Kuahuqiao, Hemudu, Majiabang, Songze, Liangzhu, and Dapenkeng cultures which occupied the coastal regions between the Yangtze River delta to the Min River delta. [113] [114] [115] [116]

    Relations with other groups Edit

    Based on linguistic evidence, there have been proposals linking Austronesians with other linguistic families into linguistic macrofamilies that are relevant to the identity of the pre-Austronesian populations. The most notable are the connections of Austronesians to the neighboring Austroasiatic, Kra-Dai, and Sinitic peoples (as Austric, Austro-Tai, and Sino-Austronesian, respectively). But they are still not widely accepted as evidence of these relationships are still tenuous and the methods used are highly contentious. [117]

    In support of both the Austric and Austro-Tai hypothesis, Robert Blust connects the lower Yangtze Neolithic Austro-Tai entity with the rice-cultivating Austroasiatic cultures assuming the center of East Asian rice domestication, and putative Austric homeland, to be located in the Yunnan/Burma border area, [118] instead of the Yangtze River basin as is currently accepted. [119] [120] [121] [122] Under that view, there was an east–west genetic alignment, resulting from a rice-based population expansion, in the southern part of East Asia: Austroasiatic-Kra-Dai-Austronesian, with unrelated Sino-Tibetan occupying a more northerly tier. [118] Depending on the author, other hypotheses have also included other language families like Hmong-Mien and even Japanese-Ryukyuan into the larger Austric hypothesis. [123]

    While the Austric hypothesis remains contentious, there is genetic evidence that at least in western Island Southeast Asia there had been earlier Neolithic overland migrations (pre-4,000 BP) by Austroasiatic-speaking peoples into what is now the Greater Sunda Islands when the sea levels were lower in the early Holocene. These peoples were assimilated linguistically and culturally by incoming Austronesian peoples in what is now modern-day Indonesia and Malaysia. [124]

    Several authors have also proposed that Kra-Dai speakers may actually be an ancient daughter subgroup of Austronesians that migrated back to the Pearl River delta from Taiwan and/or Luzon shortly after the Austronesian expansion. Later migrating further westwards to Hainan, Mainland Southeast Asia and Northeast India. They propose that the distinctiveness of Kra-Dai (it is tonal and monosyllabic) was the result of linguistic restructuring due to contact with Hmong-Mien and Sinitic cultures. Aside from linguistic evidence, Roger Blench has also noted cultural similarities between the two groups, like facial tattooing, tooth removal or ablation, teeth blackening, snake (or dragon) cults, and the multiple-tongued jaw harps shared by the Indigenous Taiwanese and Kra-Dai-speakers. However archaeological evidence for this is still sparse. [117] [114] [125] [126] This is believed to be similar to what happened to the Cham people, who were originally Austronesian settlers (likely from Borneo) to southern Vietnam at around 2,100 to 1,900 BP, and had languages similar to Malay. Their languages underwent several restructuring events to syntax and phonology due to contact with the nearby tonal languages of Mainland Southeast Asia and Hainan. [126] [127]

    According to Juha Janhunen and Ann Kumar, Austronesians may have also settled parts of southern Japan, especially on the islands of Kyushu and Shikoku, and influenced or created the "Japanese-hierarchical society". It is suggested that Japanese tribes like the Hayato people, the Kumaso and the Azumi people were of Austronesian origin. Until today, local traditions and festivals show similarities to the Malayo-Polynesian culture. [128] [129] [130] [131] [132]

    The Sino-Austronesian hypothesis, on the other hand, is a relatively new hypothesis by Laurent Sagart, first proposed in 1990. It argues for a north–south linguistic genetic relationship between Chinese and Austronesian. This is based on sound correspondences in the basic vocabulary and morphological parallels. [118] Sagart places special significance in shared vocabulary on cereal crops, citing them as evidence of shared linguistic origin. However, this has largely been rejected by other linguists. The sound correspondences between Old Chinese and Proto-Austronesian can also be explained as a result of the Longshan interaction sphere, when pre-Austronesians from the Yangtze region came into regular contact with Proto-Sinitic speakers in the Shandong Peninsula at around the 4th to 3rd millennia BCE. This corresponded with the widespread introduction of rice cultivation to Proto-Sinitic speakers and conversely, millet cultivation to Pre-Austronesians. [133] An Austronesian substratum in formerly Austronesian territories that have been Sinicized after the Iron Age Han expansion is also another explanation for the correspondences that do not require a genetic relationship. [134] [135]

    In relation to Sino-Austronesian models and the Longshan interaction sphere, Roger Blench (2014) suggests that the single migration model for the spread of the Neolithic into Taiwan is problematic, pointing out the genetic and linguistic inconsistencies between different Taiwanese Austronesian groups. [136] The surviving Austronesian populations on Taiwan should rather be considered as the result of various Neolithic migration waves from the mainland and back migration from the Philippines. [136] These incoming migrants almost certainly spoke languages related to Austronesian or pre-Austronesian, although their phonology and grammar would have been quite diverse. [137]

    Blench considers the Austronesians in Taiwan to have been a melting pot of immigrants from various parts of the coast of eastern China that had been migrating to Taiwan by 4,000 BP These immigrants included people from the foxtail millet-cultivating Longshan culture of Shandong (with Longshan-type cultures found in southern Taiwan), the fishing-based Dapenkeng culture of coastal Fujian, and the Yuanshan culture of northernmost Taiwan which Blench suggests may have originated from the coast of Guangdong. Based on geography and cultural vocabulary, Blench believes that the Yuanshan people may have spoken Northeast Formosan languages. Thus, Blench believes that there is in fact no "apical" ancestor of Austronesian in the sense that there was no true single Proto-Austronesian language that gave rise to present-day Austronesian languages. Instead, multiple migrations of various pre-Austronesian peoples and languages from the Chinese mainland that were related but distinct came together to form what we now know as Austronesian in Taiwan. Hence, Blench considers the single-migration model into Taiwan by pre-Austronesians to be inconsistent with both the archaeological and linguistic (lexical) evidence. [137]

    The Austronesian expansion (also called the "Out of Taiwan" model) is a large-scale migration of Austronesians out of Taiwan, occurring around 3000–1500 BCE. Population growth primarily fueled this migration. These first settlers landed in northern Luzon in the archipelago of the Philippines, intermingling with the earlier Australo-Melanesian population who had inhabited the islands since about 23,000 years earlier. Over the next thousand years, Austronesian peoples migrated southeast to the rest of the Philippines, and into the islands of the Celebes Sea, Borneo, and Indonesia. The Austronesians that spread westward through Maritime Southeast Asia also colonized parts of mainland Southeast Asia. [104] [138]

    Soon after reaching the Philippines, Austronesians colonized the Northern Mariana Islands by 1500 BCE and Palau and Yap by 1000 BCE, becoming the first humans to reach Remote Oceania. Another important migration branch was by the Lapita culture, which rapidly spread into the islands off the coast of northern New Guinea and into the Solomon Islands and other parts of Island Melanesia by 1200 BCE. They reached the Polynesian islands of Samoa and Tonga by around 900 to 800 BCE. This remained the furthest extent of the Austronesian expansion into Polynesia until around 700 CE when there was another surge of island colonization. They reached the Cook Islands, Tahiti, and the Marquesas by 700 CE Hawaiʻi by 900 CE Rapa Nui by 1000 CE and New Zealand by 1200 CE. [68] [139] There is also putative evidence, based in the spread of the sweet potato, that Austronesians may have reached South America from Polynesia where they traded with American Indians. [140] [141]

    In the Indian Ocean, they sailed west from Maritime Southeast Asia the Austronesian peoples reached Madagascar by ca. 50–500 CE. [142] [76] [74] As for their route, one possibility is that the Indonesian Austronesian came directly across the Indian Ocean from Java to Madagascar. It is likely that they went through the Maldives where evidence of old Indonesian boat design and fishing technology persists until the present. [143]

    Alternative views Edit

    A competing hypothesis to the "Out of Taiwan" model is the "Out of Sundaland" hypothesis, favored by a minority of authors. Notable proponents include William Meacham, Stephen Oppenheimer, and Wilhelm Solheim. For various reasons, they proposed that the homelands of Austronesians were within Island Southeast Asia (ISEA), particularly in the Sundaland landmass drowned during the end of the last glacial period by rising sea levels. Proponents of these hypotheses point to the ancient origins of mtDNA in Southeast Asian populations, pre-dating the Austronesian expansion, as proof that Austronesians originated from within Island Southeast Asia. [144] [145] [146]

    However, these have been repudiated by studies using whole genome sequencing which has found that all ISEA populations had genes originating from the aboriginal Taiwanese. Contrary to the claim of a south-to-north migration in the "Out of Sundaland" hypothesis, the new whole genome analysis strongly confirms the north-to-south dispersal of the Austronesian peoples in the prevailing "Out of Taiwan" hypothesis. The researchers further pointed out that while humans have been living in Sundaland for at least 40,000 years, the Austronesian people were recent arrivals. The results of the previous studies failed to take into account admixture with the more ancient but unrelated Negrito and Papuan populations. [147] [148]

    By the beginning of the first millennium CE, most of the Austronesian inhabitants in Maritime Southeast Asia began trading with India and China. The adoption of Hindu statecraft model allowed the creation of Indianized kingdoms such as Tarumanagara, Champa, Butuan, Langkasuka, Melayu, Srivijaya, Medang Mataram, Majapahit, and Bali. Between the 5th to 15th century Hinduism and Buddhism were established as the main religion in the region. Muslim traders from the Arabian peninsula were thought to have brought Islam by the 10th century. Islam was established as the dominant religion in the Indonesian archipelago by the 16th century. The Austronesian inhabitants of Near Oceania and Remote Oceania were unaffected by this cultural trade and retained their indigenous culture in the Pacific region. [149]

    Western Europeans in search of spices and gold later colonized most of the Austronesian-speaking countries of the Asia-Pacific region, beginning from the 16th century with the Portuguese and Spanish colonization of the Philippines, Palau, Guam, the Mariana Islands, and some parts of Indonesia (present-day East Timor) the Dutch colonization of the Indonesian archipelago the British colonization of Malaysia and Oceania the French colonization of French Polynesia and later, the American governance of the Pacific.

    Meanwhile, the British, Germans, French, Americans, and Japanese began establishing spheres of influence within the Pacific Islands during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The Japanese later invaded most of Southeast Asia and some parts of the Pacific during World War II. The latter half of the 20th century initiated independence of modern-day Indonesia, Malaysia, East Timor and many of the Pacific Island nations, as well as the re-independence of the Philippines.

    The native culture of Austronesia varies from region to region. The early Austronesian peoples considered the sea as the basic feature of their life. [ citation needed ] Following their diaspora to Southeast Asia and Oceania, they migrated by boat to other islands. Boats of different sizes and shapes have been found in every Austronesian culture, from Madagascar, Maritime Southeast Asia, to Polynesia, and have different names. In Southeast Asia, head-hunting was restricted to the highlands as a result of warfare. Mummification is only found among the highland Austronesian Filipinos, and in some Indonesian groups in Celebes and Borneo.

    Ships and sailing Edit

    Sea-going catamaran and outrigger ship technologies were the most important innovations of the Austronesian peoples. They were the first humans with vessels capable of crossing vast distances of water, which enabled them to colonize the Indo-Pacific in prehistoric times. [73] Austronesian groups continue to be the primary users of the outrigger canoes today.

    Early researchers like Heine-Geldern (1932) and Hornell (1943) once believed that catamarans evolved from outrigger canoes, but modern authors specializing in Austronesian cultures like Doran (1981) and Mahdi (1988) now believe it to be the opposite. [151] [63] [152]

    Two canoes bound together developed directly from minimal raft technologies of two logs tied together. Over time, the double-hulled canoe form developed into the asymmetric double canoe, where one hull is smaller than the other. Eventually the smaller hull became the prototype outrigger, giving way to the single outrigger canoe, then to the reversible single outrigger canoe. Finally, the single outrigger types developed into the double outrigger canoe (or trimarans). [151] [63] [152]

    This would also explain why older Austronesian populations in Island Southeast Asia tend to favor double outrigger canoes, as it keeps the boats stable when tacking. But they still have small regions where catamarans and single-outrigger canoes are still used. In contrast, more distant outlying descendant populations in Micronesia, Polynesia, Madagascar, and the Comoros retained the double-hull and the single outrigger canoe types, but the technology for double outriggers never reached them (although it exists in western Melanesia). To deal with the problem of the instability of the boat when the outrigger faces leeward when tacking, they instead developed the shunting technique in sailing, in conjunction with reversible [note 5] single-outriggers. [151] [63] [152] [153] [154]

    The simplest form of all ancestral Austronesian boats had five parts. The bottom part consists of a single piece of hollowed-out log. At the sides were two planks, and two horseshoe-shaped wood pieces formed the prow and stern. These were fitted tightly together edge-to-edge with dowels inserted into holes in between, and then lashed to each other with ropes (made from rattan or fibre) wrapped around protruding lugs on the planks. This characteristic and ancient Austronesian boat-building practice is known as the "lashed-lug" technique. They were commonly caulked with pastes made from various plants as well as tapa bark and fibres which would expand when wet, further tightening joints and making the hull watertight. They formed the shell of the boat, which was then reinforced by horizontal ribs. Shipwrecks of Austronesian ships can be identified from this construction, as well as the absence of metal nails. Austronesian ships traditionally had no central rudders but were instead steered using an oar on one side. [155] [156] [157]

    • Hōkūleʻa, a Polynesian voyaging catamaran with crab claw sails
    • Balatik, a Filipinodouble-outrigger (trimaran) paraw with a lug sail
    • A Melanesiansingle-outriggertepukei with a forward-mounted crab claw sail from the Solomon Islands
    • A Tobelo double-outrigger kora-kora with a rectangular canted tanja sail , narrow Māoriwar canoes propelled by paddling

    The ancestral rig was the mastless triangular crab claw sail which had two booms that could be tilted to the wind. These were built in the double-canoe configuration or had a single outrigger on the windward side. In Island Southeast Asia, these developed into double outriggers on each side that provided greater stability. The triangular crab claw sails also later developed into square or rectangular tanja sails, which like crab claw sails, had distinctive booms spanning the upper and lower edges. Fixed masts also developed later in both Southeast Asia (usually as bipod or tripod masts) and Oceania. [155] [156] Austronesians traditionally made their sails from woven mats of the resilient and salt-resistant pandanus leaves. These sails allowed Austronesians to embark on long-distance voyaging. In some cases, however, they were one-way voyages. The failure of pandanus to establish populations in Rapa Nui and New Zealand is believed to have isolated their settlements from the rest of Polynesia. [158] [159] [160]

    The ancient Champa of Vietnam also uniquely developed basket-hulled boats whose hulls were composed of woven and resin-caulked bamboo, either entirely or in conjunction with plank strakes. They range from small coracles (the o thúng) to large ocean-going trading ships like the ghe mành. [162] [163]

    The acquisition of the catamaran and outrigger technology by the non-Austronesian peoples in Sri Lanka and southern India is due to the result of very early Austronesian contact with the region, including the Maldives and the Laccadive Islands, estimated to have occurred around 1000 to 600 BCE and onwards. This may have possibly included limited colonization that have since been assimilated. This is still evident in Sri Lankan and South Indian languages. For example, Tamil paṭavu, Telugu paḍava, and Kannada paḍahu, all meaning "ship", are all derived from Proto-Hesperonesian *padaw, "sailboat", with Austronesian cognates like Javanese perahu, Kadazan padau, Maranao padaw, Cebuano paráw, Samoan folau, Hawaiian halau, and Māori wharau. [151]

    Early contact with Arab ships in the Indian Ocean during Austronesian voyages is also believed to have resulted in the development of the triangular Arabic lateen sail. [151] [160] [164] [165] [166]

    Architecture Edit

    Austronesian architecture is highly diverse, often with striking designs but they all share certain characteristics that indicate a common origin. The reconstructed Proto-Austronesian and Proto-Malayo-Polynesian forms of various terms for "house", "building", or "granary" among the different linguistic subgroups of Austronesians include *Rumaq ("house") [note 6] *balay ("public building", "community house", or "guest house") [note 7] *lepaw ("hut", "field hut", or "granary") [note 8] *kamaliR ("bachelor's house" or "men's house") [note 9] and *banua ("inhabited land" or "community territory"). [note 10] [167] [168]

    The most ubiquitous common feature of Austronesian structures is the raised floor. The structures are raised on piles, usually with space underneath also utilized for storage or domestic animals. The raised design had multiple advantages, they mitigate damage during flooding and (in very tall examples) can act as defensive structures during conflicts. The house posts are also distinctively capped with larger-diameter discs at the top, to prevent vermin and pests from entering the structures by climbing them. Austronesian houses and other structures are usually built in wetlands and alongside bodies of water, but can also be built in the highlands or even directly on shallow water. [169] [170] [171]

    Building structures on pilings is believed to be derived from the design of raised granaries and storehouses, which are highly important status symbols among the ancestrally rice-cultivating Austronesians. [169] [171] The rice granary shrine was also the archetypal religious building among Austronesian cultures and was used to store carvings of ancestor spirits and local deities. [171]

    Another common feature are pitched roofs with ornamented gables. The most notable of which are the saddlebacked roofs, a design common for longhouses used for village meetings or ceremonies. The overall effect of which is reminiscent of boats, underlining the strong maritime connections of Austronesian cultures. The boat motif is common throughout, particularly in eastern Indonesia. In some ethnic groups, the houses are built on platforms that resemble catamarans. Among the Nage people, a woven representation of a boat is added to the ridge of the roof among the Manggarai people, the roofs of houses are shaped like an upside-down boat while among the people of Tanimbar and eastern Flores, the ridge itself is carved into a representation of a boat. Furthermore, elements of Austronesian structures (as well as society in general) are often referred to in terminologies used for boats and sailing. These include calling elements of structures as "masts", "sails", or "rudders" or calling the village leaders as "captains" or "steersmen". In the case of the Philippines, the villages themselves are referred to as barangay, from an alternate form of balangay, a type of sailboat used for trading and colonization. [96] [170] [172] [171]

    Austronesian buildings have spiritual significance, often containing what is coined by anthropologist James J. Fox as a "ritual attractor." These are specific posts, beams, platforms, altars, and so on that embody the house as a whole, usually consecrated at the time of building. [167]

    The Austronesian house itself also often symbolizes various aspects of indigenous Austronesian cosmology and animism. In the majority of cases, the loft of the house (usually placed above the hearth), is considered to be the domain of deities and spirits. It is essentially a raised granary built into the structure of the house itself and functioned as a second floor. It is usually used to store sacred objects (like effigies of granary idols or deceased ancestors), heirlooms, and other important objects. These areas are usually not part of the regular living space, and may only be accessible to certain members of the family or after performing a specific ritual. Other parts of the house may also be associated with certain deities, and thus certain activities like receiving guests or conducting marriage ceremonies can only be performed in specific areas. [169]

    While rice cultivation wasn't among the technologies carried into Remote Oceania, raised storehouses still survived. The pataka of the Māori people is an example. The largest pataka are elaborately adorned with carvings and are often the tallest buildings in the Māori . These were used to store implements, weapons, ships, and other valuables while smaller patakas were used to store provisions. A special type of pataka supported by a single tall post also had ritual importance and were used to isolate high-born children during their training for leadership. [169]

    The majority of Austronesian structures are not permanent. They are made from perishable materials like wood, bamboo, plant fibre, and leaves. Similar to traditional Austronesian boats, they do not use nails but are traditionally constructed solely by joints, weaving, ties, and dowels. Elements of the structures are repaired and replaced regularly or as they get damaged. Because of this, archaeological records of prehistoric Austronesian structures are usually limited to traces of house posts, with no way of determining the original building plans. [175]

    Indirect evidence of traditional Austronesian architecture, however, can be gleaned from their contemporary representations in art, like in friezes on the walls of later Hindu-Buddhist stone temples (like in reliefs in Borobudur and Prambanan). But these are limited to the recent centuries. They can also be reconstructed linguistically from shared terms for architectural elements, like ridge-poles, thatch, rafters, house posts, hearth, notched log ladders, storage racks, public buildings, and so on. Linguistic evidence also makes it clear that stilt houses were already present among Austronesian groups since at least the Late Neolithic. [170] [171]

    Arbi et al. (2013) have also noted the striking similarities between Austronesian architecture and Japanese traditional raised architecture (shinmei-zukuri). Particularly the buildings of the Ise Grand Shrine, which contrast with the pit-houses typical of the Neolithic Yayoi period. They propose significant Neolithic contact between the people of southern Japan and Austronesians or pre-Austronesians that occurred prior to the spread of Han Chinese cultural influence to the islands. [170] Rice cultivation is also believed to have been introduced to Japan from a para-Austronesian group from coastal eastern China. [176] Waterson (2009) has also argued that the architectural tradition of stilt houses is originally Austronesian, and that similar building traditions in Japan and mainland Asia (notably among Kra-Dai and Austroasiatic-speaking groups) correspond to contacts with a prehistoric Austronesian network. [171] [96]

    Wharenui meeting house of the Māori people

    Pottery Edit

    Outside of Taiwan, assemblages of red-slipped pottery, plainware, and incised and stamped pottery associated with the Austronesian migrations are first documented from around 2000 to 1800 BCE in the northern Philippines, from sites in the Batanes Islands and the Cagayan Valley of Northern Luzon. From there pottery technology rapidly spread to the east, south, and southwest. [177] [178] [179]

    One branch of the migrations carried pottery to the Marianas Islands at around 1500 BCE, where the earliest archaeological sites have uncovered pottery very similar to those found in the Nagsabaran Site (2000 to 1300 BCE) in Cagayan Valley in the Philippines. This indicates that the northeastern coast of Luzon is the most likely point of origin of the first open-ocean colonizing voyages into the Pacific Islands. Philippine and Marianas red-slipped pottery are both decorated with rows of stamped circles, incised patterns, and tiny delicate punch-marks. While similar red-slipped pottery also exist in the Batanes Islands and Taiwan, they lack the characteristic circle and punctate-stamped decorations. Other migrations, meanwhile, dispersed south and southwest to the rest of Island Southeast Asia. The eastward and the southward branches of the migrations converged in Island Melanesia resulting in what is now known as the Lapita culture centered around the Bismarck Archipelago. [177] [178] [179]

    The Lapita culture made distinctive dentate-stamped pottery. It also retained elements also found in the Nagsabaran pottery in the Philippines, including stamped circles as well as the cross-in-circle motif. [180] [179] They carried pottery technology as far as Tonga in Polynesia. Pottery technology in Tonga, however, became reduced to undecorated plainware within only two centuries before abruptly disappearing completely by around 400 BCE. The reasons for this are still unknown. Pottery was absent in subsequent migrations to the rest of Remote Oceania, being replaced instead with carved wooden or bamboo containers, bottle gourds, and baskets. [181] [178] [182] [180] However, the geometric designs and stylized figures used in the pottery are still present in other surviving artforms like in tattooing, weaving, and barkcloth patterns. [183] [180]

    A common practice among Austronesians in a large area of Island Southeast Asia is the use of burial jars which emerged during the Late Neolithic and flourished in the first millennium CE. They are characteristic of a region bordered by the Philippines to the north, southern Sumatra in the southwest, and Sumba and the Maluku Islands in the southeast. However, these didn't comprise a single tradition, but can be grouped into at least fourteen different traditions scattered across the islands. In most cases, the earliest burial jars used were large indigenous earthenware jars, followed by indigenous or imported stoneware jars (martaban), and finally imported porcelain jars acquired from the burgeoning maritime trade with China and Mainland Southeast Asia at around the 14th century CE. [184]

    Music and dance Edit

    Slit drums are indigenous Austronesian musical instrument that were invented and used by the Southeast Asian-Austronesian, and Oceanic-Austronesian ethnic groups.

    Gong ensembles are also a common musical heritage of Island Southeast Asia. The casting of gong instruments are believed to have originated from the Bronze Age cultures of Mainland Southeast Asia. It spread to Austronesian islands initially through trade as prestige goods. However, Mainland Asian gongs were never used in ensembles. The innovation of using gong sets is uniquely Austronesian. Gong ensembles are found in western Malayo-Polynesian groups, though they never penetrated much further east. There are roughly two gong ensemble traditions among Austronesians, which also produced gongs in ancient times. [126]

    In western Island Southeast Asia, these traditions are collectively known as Gamelan, being centred on the island of Java in Indonesia. It includes the Celempung of the Malay Peninsula, Talempung of northern Sumatra, Caklempung of central Sumatra, Chalempung of southern Sumatra, Bonang of Java, Kromong of western Kalimantan, Engkromong of Sarawak, and Trompong of western Nusa Tenggara. [126]

    In eastern Island Southeast Asia, these traditions are known as Kulintang and are centred in Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago of the southern Philippines. It includes the Kulintangan of Sabah and Palawan, Kolintang of northern Sulawesi, Kulintang of Halmahera and Timor, and the Totobuang of the southern Maluku Islands. [126]

    Kubing jaw harps, flutes, and a kagul slit drum from the Philippines

    Sapeh, traditional lutes of the Orang Ulu people of Malaysia

    Atingting kon, wooden slit drums from Vanuatu

    An Indonesian gamelan ensemble

    Traditional song and dance at a funeral in Tana Toraja, Sulawesi, Indonesia

    Jade carving Edit

    The ancestral pre-Austronesian Liangzhu culture (3400–2250 BCE) of the Yangtze River delta was one of the ancient centres of Neolithic jade carving. Jade was spread to Taiwan by around 3,000 BCE, then further into Vietnam at 2,000 BCE and the Philippines at 1,800–1,500 BCE. All of them began to produce various tools and ornaments in indigenous jade workshops, including adzes, bracelets, beads, and rings. [185] [186]

    The most notable jade products of these regions were the vast amounts of penannular and double-headed earrings and pendants known as lingling-o, primarily produced in the Philippines and the Sa Huỳnh culture of Vietnam, though remarkably mostly with the raw jade material sourced from eastern Taiwan. These typically depict two-headed animals or were ring-shaped with side projections. They were indicative of a very active ancient maritime trading region that imported and exported raw jade and finished jade ornaments known as the Sa Huynh-Kalanay Interaction Sphere. They were produced during a period between 500 BCE to as late as 1000 CE, although later examples were replaced with metal, wood, bone, clay, green mica, black nephrite, or shell materials, rather than green jade. [187] [185] [188] [186]

    Polished and ground stone adzes, gouges, and other implements, some of which are made from jade-like stone, have also been recorded in areas of Island Melanesia and eastern New Guinea associated with the Lapita culture. These were considered valuable currency and were primarily used to trade for goods. [189] [190] In 2012, a Lapita culture jadeite gouge used for wood carving was found in Emirau Island in the Bismarck Archipelago. It was dated to around 3,300 BP, but the origin of the jade material is unknown. [191] [192] Similar prestige stone tools have also been found in New Caledonia. [193]

    Jade was absent in most of Remote Oceania, due to the lack of jade deposits. However, there is putative evidence that Polynesians may have remained familiar with jade and may have acquired them through prehistoric trade contacts with New Caledonia, Island Melanesia, and/or New Zealand. [189] [194]

    Jade carving traditions reappeared among the Māori people of New Zealand. These were produced from locally sourced pounamu (greenstone) and were used to produce taonga (treasure). They include various tools and weapons like adzes, scrapers, fishing hooks, and mere, as well as ornaments like the hei-tiki and hei matau. Certain ornaments like the pekapeka (double-headed animal pendant) and the kākā pōria (bird leg ring) bear remarkably strong resemblances to the double-headed and ring-type lingling‑o. [188] [195] Bellwood et al. (2011) has suggested that the reappearance of these motifs might be evidence of a preserved tradition of Southeast Asian jade motifs (perhaps carved in perishable wood, bone, or shell by Polynesians prior to the reacquisition of a jade source), or they might even be the result of a later Iron Age contact between eastern Polynesia and the Philippines. [188]

    Rock art Edit

    There are around six hundred to seven hundred rock art sites discovered in Southeast Asia and Island Melanesia, as well as over eight hundred megalithic sites. The sites specifically associated with the Austronesian expansion contain examples of indigenous pictograms and petroglyphs. Within Southeast Asia, the sites associated with Austronesians can be divided into three general rock art traditions: the Megalithic Culture of Borneo, Sulawesi, and the Greater Sunda Islands the Austronesian Painting Tradition of the Lesser Sunda Islands, coastal New Guinea, and Island Melanesia and the Austronesian Engraving Style of Papua New Guinea and Island Melanesia. [196] Despite proximity, these traditions can be distinguished readily from the Australo-Melanesian rock art traditions of Australia (except the Torres Strait Islands) as well as the interior highlands of New Guinea, indicating the borders of the extent of the Austronesian expansion. [180]

    Dating rock art is difficult, but some of the sites subjected to direct dating pre-date Austronesian arrival, like the Lene Hara paintings of East Timor which has an age range of 6,300 to 26,000 BP. Conversely, others are more recent and can be dated indirectly by their subjects. The depictions of pottery, ships, and metal objects, for example, put certain rock art sites at a range of 2,000 to 4,000 BP. Some hunter-gatherer groups have also continued to produce rock art well into the present period, as evidenced by their modern subjects. [196] [198] [199]

    The Megalithic Culture is mostly limited to western Island Southeast Asia, with the greatest concentration being western Indonesia. While most sites aren't dated, the age ranges of dating sites are between the 2nd to 16th century CE. They are divided into two phases. The first is an older megalithic tradition associated with the Neolithic Austronesian rectangular axe culture (2,500 to 1,500 BCE) while the second is the 3rd or 4th century BCE megalithic tradition associated with the (non-Austronesian) Dong Son culture of Vietnam. Prasetyo (2006) suggests that the megalithic traditions are not originally Austronesian, but rather innovations acquired through trade with India and China, but this has little to no evidence in the intervening regions in Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines. [196] [200]

    The Austronesian Painting Traditions (APT) are the most common types of rock art in Island Southeast Asia. They consist of scenes and pictograms typically found in rock shelters and caves near coastal areas. They are characteristically rendered in red ochre pigments for the earlier forms, later sometimes superseded by paintings done in black charcoal pigments. Their sites are mostly clustered in Eastern Indonesia and Island Melanesia, although a few examples can be found in the rest of Island Southeast Asia. Their occurrence has a high correlation to Austronesian-speaking areas, further evidenced by the appearance of metal (bronze) artifacts in the paintings. They are mostly found near the coastlines. Their common motifs include hand stencils, "sun-ray" designs, boats, and active human figures with headdresses or weapons and other paraphernalia. They also feature geometric motifs similar to the motifs of the Austronesian Engraving Style. [196] [201] Some paintings are also associated with traces of human burials and funerary rites, including ship burials. The representations of boats themselves are believed to be connected to the widespread "ship of the dead" Austronesian funerary practices. [201] [202]

    The earliest APT sites dated is from Vanuatu, which was found to be around 3,000 BP, corresponding to the initial migration wave of the Austronesians. These early sites are largely characterized by face motifs and hand stencils. Later sites from 1,500 BP onwards, however, begin to show regional divergence in their art styles. APT can be readily distinguished from older Pleistocene-era Australo-Melanesian cave paintings by their motifs, colour, and composition, though they can often be found in the same locality. The most recognizable motifs of APT (like boats) do not occur in cave paintings (or engravings) that definitely pre-date the Austronesian arrival, the sole exception being the stencilled hand motif. Some APT examples are also characteristically found in relatively inaccessible locations like very high up in cliffsides overlooking the sea. No traces of APT has been found in Taiwan or the Philippines, though there is continuity in the motifs of spirals and concentric circles found in ancestral petroglyphs. [196] [201]

    The Austronesian Engraving Style (AES), consisting of petroglyphs carved into rock surfaces, is far less common than APT. The majority of these sites are in coastal New Guinea, and Island Melanesia. AES sites, which can be tentatively traced back to the similar Wanshan petroglyphs of Taiwan, are believed to be largely correlated to the prehistoric extent of the Lapita culture. The common motif of this tradition is curvilinear geometric engravings like spirals, concentric circles, and face-like forms. These resemble the geometric motifs in APT, though they are considered to be two separate artistic traditions. [196] [201] AES is particularly dominant in the Solomon Islands and New Caledonia, where engravings are far more abundant than painted sites. [180]

    O'Connor et al. (2015) proposes that APT developed during the initial rapid southward Austronesian expansion, and not before, possibly as a response to the communication challenges brought about by the new maritime mode of living. Along with AES, these material symbols and associated rituals and technologies may been the manifestations of "powerful ideologies" spread by Austronesian settlers that were central to the "Neolithization" and rapid assimilation of the various non-Austronesian indigenous populations of ISEA and Melanesia. [201]

    The easternmost islands of Island Melanesia (Vanuatu, Fiji, and New Caledonia) are considered part of Remote Oceania as they are beyond the interisland visibility threshold. These island groups begin to show divergence from the APT and AES traditions of Near Oceania. While their art traditions show a clear continuation of the APT and AES traditions, they also feature innovations unique to each island group, like the increasing use of black charcoal, rectilinear motifs, and being found more inside sacred caves rather than in open cliffsides. [180]

    In Micronesia, the rock art traditions can be divided into three general regions: western, central, and eastern Micronesia. The divisions reflect the various major migration waves from the Philippines into the Mariana Islands and Palau at 3,500 BP a Lapita culture back-migration from Island Melanesia into central and eastern Micronesia at around 2,200 BP and finally a back-migration from western Polynesia into eastern Micronesia at around 1,000 BP. [180]

    In western Micronesia (Palau, Yap, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands), rock art primarily consist of paintings on high cave ceilings and sea-facing cliffs. They are very similar to APT in terms of their motifs as well as their relatively inaccessible locations. Common motifs include hand stencils, faces, turtles and fish, concentric circles, and characteristic four-pointed stars. Petroglyphs are rare, but mainly consist of human forms with triangular bodies without heads or arms. This is believed to be connected to the funerary rite of removing the heads from the bodies of deceased relatives. [180] A notable megalithic tradition in western Micronesia are the haligi stone pillars of the Chamorro people. These are capped stone pillars which are believed to have served as supports for raised buildings. They are associated with the Latte period (900 to 1700 CE), when a new wave of migrants from Southeast Asia reintroduced rice cultivation into the islands. Another megalithic tradition is also that of the rai stones, massive doughnut-shaped discs of rock which were used as currency in Yap. [203] [204] [205]

    Rock art in central Micronesia (Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae), in contrast, are dominated by rock engravings with motifs tying it to the rock art traditions of Island Melanesia. They include curvilinear shapes like spirals and concentric circles, tree-like shapes, and the distinctive "enveloped cross" motif. The Pohnpaid petroglyphs are the largest assemblage of rock engravings in the region, with motifs dominated by footprints, enveloped crosses, and outlined "sword-paddles". [180] Central Micronesia also hosts the ruins of the stone cities of Nan Madol (1,180–1,200 CE) and Leluh (1,200–1,800 CE), in the islands of Pohnpei and Kosrae, respectively. [180] [206] [207]

    In the low-lying atolls of eastern Micronesia, rock art is rare to nonexistent, due to the absence of suitable rock surfaces for painting or engraving. [180]

    In Polynesia, rock art is dominated by petroglyphs, rather than paintings, and they show less variation than the rock art of Near Oceania and ISEA. In the western Polynesian islands nearest to Island Melanesia, rock art is rare (like in Tonga and Samoa) or are absent entirely (like in the Cook Islands). However, petroglyphs are abundant in the islands in the further reaches of the Polynesian triangle, particularly in Hawaii, the Marquesas, and Rapa Nui. Rapa Nui has the densest concentration of engravings in Polynesia as a whole while the Pu'uloa petroglyphs site in Hawaiʻi has the largest number of petroglyphs in a single site at over 21,000 engravings. [180] Polynesia also features megalithic sacred ceremonial centres generally known as marae.

    In Tonga and Samoa, the existing rock art sites consist mostly of engravings with motifs including curvilinear shapes, human figures, "jellyfish", turtles, birds, and footprints. These are typically carved in natural rock formations or marae sites. [180]

    In the central-eastern Polynesian islands, which include the Marquesas and the Society Islands, petroglyphs are more numerous. They show the archetypal Polynesian motifs of turtles, faces, cup-like depressions (cupules), stick-like human figures, boats, fish, curvilinear shapes, and concentric circles. Like in western Polynesia, they are typically carved into marae sites or in rocks beside streams. The existing rock paintings also display the same motifs but are rendered in different styles. [180]

    In the Hawaiian islands, the abundant petroglyphs are remarkably all similar in execution. Their common subjects include stick-like human figures, dogs, boats, sails, paddles, footprints, and ceremonial headdresses. Depictions of marine life, however, is rare, unlike the rest of Polynesia. They are typically carved into boulders, lava rock formations, and cliffsides. Red paintings of dogs in cliffsides and caves can also be found in Kauʻai and Maui. [180] The megalithic traditions of Hawaii can be exemplified by the heiau sacred sites, which can range from simple earth terraces to standing stones.

    In Rapa Nui, the engravings are distinctive but still show similarities to the techniques and motifs of the Marquesas. Their motifs commonly include disembodied parts of the human body (vulvae in particular), animals, plants, ceremonial objects, and boats. A prominent motif is also that of the "birdman" figure which is associated with the tangata manu cult of Makemake. The most well-known rock art assemblage of Rapa Nui, however, are the moai megaliths. A few paintings mostly of birds and boats have also been discovered which are associated with the engravings, rather than being separate artforms. [180]

    The rock art in New Zealand can be divided into two regions. North Island features more engravings than paintings, while South Island is unique in that it is the only Polynesian island where there are more paintings than engravings. New Zealand rock paintings are done in red and black pigments and can sometimes be found in inaccessible heights. They typically depict human figures (particularly a front-facing human figure with flexed arms), birds, lizards, dogs, fish, and what has been identified as "birdmen". Engravings in open spaces like cliffsides are generally of spirals and curvilinear shapes, while engravings in enclosed caves and shelters depict faces and boats. The same motifs can also be seen in dendroglyphs on living trees. [180]

    Body art Edit

    Body art among Austronesian peoples is common, especially elaborate tattooing which is one of the most well-known pan-Austronesian traditions. [209]

    Tattooing Edit

    In modern times, tattoos are usually associated with Polynesian culture, due to the highly influential accounts of James Cook in his explorations of the Pacific in the 18th century. Cook introduced the word "tattoo" (archaic: "tattaow", "tattow") into the English vocabulary, from Tahitian and Samoan tātau ("to tap"). However, tattoos exist prominently in various other Austronesian groups prior to contacts with other cultures. [210] [211] [212]

    Tattoos had various functions among Austronesian societies. Among men, they were strongly linked to the widespread practice of head-hunting raids. In head-hunting societies, tattoos were records of how many heads the warriors had taken in battle, and was part of the initiation rites into adulthood. The number and location of tattoos, therefore, were indicative of a warrior's status and prowess. [213]

    Among the Indigenous Taiwanese, tattoos were present for both men and women. Among the Tayal people, facial tattoos are dominant. They indicated maturity and skill in weaving and farming for women, and skill in hunting and battle for men. Like in most of Austronesia, tattooing traditions in Taiwan have largely disappeared due to the Sinicization of native peoples after the Chinese colonization of Taiwan in the 17th century, as well as conversion to Christianity. Most of the remaining tattoos are only found among elders. [ citation needed ]

    One of the earliest descriptions of Austronesian tattoos by Europeans was during the 16th century Spanish expeditions to the Philippines, beginning with the first voyage of circumnavigation by Ferdinand Magellan. The Spanish encountered the heavily tattooed Visayan people in the Visayas Islands, whom they named the "Pintados" (Spanish for "the painted ones"). [214] [215] However, Philippine tattooing traditions have mostly been lost as the natives of the islands converted to Christianity and Islam, though they are still practised in isolated groups in the highlands of Luzon and Mindanao. Philippine tattoos were usually geometric patterns or stylized depictions of animals, plants, and human figures. [216] [217] [218] Some of the few remaining traditional tattoos in the Philippines are from elders of the Igorot peoples. Most of these were records of war exploits against the Japanese during World War II. [219]

    Among the Māori of New Zealand, tattoos (moko) were originally carved into the skin using bone chisels (uhi) rather than through puncturing as in usual practice. [220] In addition to being pigmented, the skin was also left raised into ridges of swirling patterns. [221] [222]

    Dental modification Edit

    Teeth blackening was the custom of dyeing one's teeth black with various tannin-rich plant dyes. It was practiced throughout almost the entire range of Austronesia, including Island Southeast Asia, Madagascar, Micronesia, and Island Melanesia, reaching as far east as Malaita. However, it was absent in Polynesia. It also existed in non-Austronesian populations in Mainland Southeast Asia and Japan. The practice was primarily preventative, as it reduced the chances of developing tooth decay similar to modern dental sealants. It also had cultural significance and was seen as beautiful. A common sentiment was that blackened teeth separated humans from animals. [223] [224] [225] [226]

    Teeth blackening was often done in conjunction with other modifications to the teeth associated with beauty standards, including teeth removal (evulsion) and teeth filing. [227]

    Religion Edit

    The religious traditions of the Austronesian people focus mostly on ancestral spirits, nature spirits and gods. It is basically a complex animistic religion. Mythologies vary by culture and geographical location but share common basic aspects such as ancestor worship, animism, shamanism and the belief in a spirit world and powerful deities. [228] There is also a great amount of shared mythology and a common belief in Mana. [229]

    Currently, many of these beliefs have gradually been replaced. Examples of native religions include: Indigenous Philippine folk religions (including beliefs on the Anito), Sunda Wiwitan, Kejawen, Kaharingan or the Māori religion. Many Austronesian religious beliefs were incorporated into foreign religions introduced unto them, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. [230]

    Adu zatua ancestor carvings of the Nias people of western Indonesia

    Taotao carvings of anito ancestor spirits from the Ifugao people, Philippines

    Māori poupou from the Ruato tomb of Rotorua

    Writing Edit

    With the possible exception of rongorongo on Rapa Nui, Austronesians did not have an indigenous writing system but rather adopted or developed writing systems after contact with various non-Austronesian cultures. [231] There are various forms of symbolic communication by pictograms and petroglyphs, but these did not encode language.

    Rongorongo, said to have originally been called kohau motu mo rongorongo ("lines of inscriptions for chanting out"), is the only pre-contact indigenous Austronesian system of glyphs that appear to be true writing or at least proto-writing. They consist of around 120 glyphs, ranging from representations of plants to animals, celestial objects, and geometric shapes. They were inscribed into wooden tablets about 12 to 20 in (30 to 51 cm) long using shark teeth and obsidian flakes. The wood allegedly came from toromiro and makoʻi trees, which is notable given that Rapa Nui was completely deforested at the time of European contact. Although of the surviving two dozen tablets, a few were made from trees introduced after European contact, as well as wood originating from European ships and driftwood. [232] [231] [233] Rapa Nui also has a very rich assemblage of petroglyphs largely associated with the tangata manu ("birdman") cult of Makemake. Although some rongorongo glyphs may have been derived from these petroglyphs, rongorongo does not appear in any of the abundant rock carvings in Rapa Nui and seems to be restricted to the wooden tablets. [234]

    The tablets were first described by an outsider in 1864 by the Catholic missionary Eugène Eyraud who said they were found "in all the houses." However, he paid them little attention and they remained unnoticed by the outside world. It wasn't until 1869 that one of the tablets came into the possession of Florentin-Étienne Jaussen, the Bishop of Tahiti. He brought the tablets to the world's attention and instructed the Rapa Nui mission to gather more information about them. But by then, most of the tablets were allegedly already destroyed, presumed to have been used as fuel by the natives in the deforested island. [232]

    At the time of discovery of the tablets, Rapa Nui had undergone severe depopulation. This was largely due to the loss of the island's last trees and the Peruvian and Chilean slave raids in the early 1860s. The literate ruling classes of the Rapa Nui people (including the royal family and the religious caste) and the majority of the island's population were kidnapped or killed in the slave raids. Most of those taken died after only one or two years in captivity from the harsh working conditions and European diseases. Succeeding epidemics of smallpox and tuberculosis further decimated the island's population to the point that there were not enough people to bury the dead. The last remnants of the Rapa Nui people were assimilated by the Tahitians who were later brought to the island in an effort to repopulate it, further resulting in the loss of most of the Old Rapa Nui language. [231]

    Oral tradition holds that the ruling classes were the only ones who could read the tablets, and the ability to decipher the tablets was lost along with them. Numerous attempts have been made to read the tablets, starting from a few years after their discovery. But to this day, none have proven successful. Some authors have proposed that rongorongo may have been an attempt to imitate European script after the idea of writing was introduced during the "signing" of the 1770 Spanish Treaty of Annexation or through knowledge of European writing acquired elsewhere. They cite various reasons including the lack of attestation of rongorongo prior to the 1860s, the clearly more recent provenance of some of the tablets, the lack of antecedents, and the lack of additional archaeological evidence since its discovery. Others argue that it was merely a mnemonic list of symbols meant to guide incantations. Whether rongorongo is merely an example of trans-cultural diffusion, or a true indigenous Austronesian writing system (and one of the few independent inventions of writing in human history) remains unknown and may never be known. [232] [231] [235]

    In Southeast Asia, the first true writing systems of pre-modern Austronesian cultures were all derived from the Grantha and Pallava Brahmic scripts, all of which are abugidas from South India. Various forms of abugidas spread throughout Austronesian cultures in Southeast Asia as kingdoms became Indianized through early maritime trading. The oldest use of abugida scripts in Austronesian cultures are 4th century stone inscriptions written in Cham script from Vietnam. There are numerous other Brahmic-derived writing systems among Southeast Asian Austronesians, usually specific to a certain ethnic group. Notable examples include Balinese, Batak, Baybayin, Buhid, Hanunó'o, Javanese, Kulitan, Lontara, Old Kawi, Rejang, Rencong, Sundanese, and Tagbanwa. They vary from having letters with rounded shapes to letters with sharp cuneiform-like angles a result of the difference in writing mediums, with the former being ideal for writing on soft leaves and the latter ideal for writing on bamboo panels. The use of the scripts ranged from mundane records to encoding esoteric knowledge on magico-religious rituals and folk medicine. [236]

    In regions which converted to Islam, abjads derived from the Arabic script started replacing the earlier abugidas at around the 13th century in Southeast Asia. Madagascar, as well, adopted the Arabic script in the 14th century. Abjads, however, have an even greater inherent problem with encoding Austronesian languages than abugidas, because Austronesian languages have more varied and salient vowels which the Arabic script can not usually encode. As a result, the Austronesian adaptations such as the Jawi and the Pegon scripts have been modified with a system of diacritics that encode sounds, both vowels and consonants, native to Austronesian languages but absent in Semitic languages. [236] With the advent of the Colonial Era, almost all of these writing systems have been replaced with alphabets adapted from the Latin alphabet, as in the Hawaiian alphabet, Filipino alphabet, and Malay alphabet however, several Formosan languages had been written in zhuyin, and Cia-Cia off Sulawesi has experimented with hangul.

    Vanuatu has a unique tradition of sand drawing, by which images are created by a single continuous line drawn in the sand. It is believed to have functioned as a means of symbolic communication in pre-contact Island Melanesia, especially between travelers and ethnic groups that do not speak the same language. The sand drawings consist of around 300 different designs, and seem to be shared across language groups. [237] In the 1990s, elements of the drawings were adapted into a modern constructed script called Avoiuli by the Turaga indigenous movement on Pentecost Island. [238]

    Genetic studies have been done on the people and related groups. [239] The Haplogroup O1 (Y-DNA)a-M119 genetic marker is frequently detected in Native Taiwanese, northern Philippines and Polynesians, as well as some people in Indonesia, Malaysia and non-Austronesian populations in southern China. [240] A 2007 analysis of the DNA recovered from human remains in archaeological sites of prehistoric peoples along the Yangtze River in China also shows high frequencies of Haplogroup O1 in the Neolithic Liangzhu culture, linking them to Austronesian and Tai-Kadai peoples. The Liangzhu culture existed in coastal areas around the mouth of the Yangtze. Haplogroup O1 was absent in other archaeological sites inland. The authors of the study suggest that this may be evidence of two different human migration routes during the peopling of Eastern Asia one coastal and the other inland, with little gene flow between them. [116]

    Moodley et al. (2009) identified two distinct populations of the gut bacteria Helicobacter pylori that accompanied human migrations into Island Southeast Asia and Oceania, called hpSahul and hspMāori. The study sampled Native Australians, Native Taiwanese, highlanders in New Guinea, and Melanesians and Polynesians in New Caledonia, which were then compared with other H. pylori haplotypes from Europeans, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and others. They found that hpSahul diverged from mainland Asian H. pylori populations approximately 31,000 to 37,000 years ago and have remained isolated for 23,000 to 32,000 years confirming the Australo-Melanesian substratum in Island Southeast Asia and New Guinea. hspMāori, on the other hand, is a subpopulation of hpEastAsia, previously isolated from Polynesians (Māori, Tongans, and Samoans) in New Zealand, and three individuals from the Philippines and Japan. The study found hspMāori from Native Taiwanese, Melanesians, Polynesians, and two inhabitants from the Torres Strait Islands, all of which are Austronesian sources. As expected, hspMāori showed greatest genetic diversity in Taiwan, while all non-Taiwanese hspMāori populations belonged to a single lineage they called the "Pacific clade." They also calculated the isolation-with-migration model (IMa), which showed that the divergence of the Pacific clade of hspMāori were unidirectional from Taiwan to the Pacific. This is consistent with the Out-of-Taiwan model of the Austronesian expansion. [241]

    On 16 January 2020, the personal genomics company 23andMe added the category "Filipino & Austronesian" after customers with no known Filipino ancestors were getting false positives for 5% or more "Filipino" ancestry in their Ancestry Composition report (the proportion was as high as 75% in Samoa, 71% in Tonga, 68% in Guam, 18% in Hawaii, and 34% in Madagascar). The company's scientists surmised that this was due to the shared Austronesian genetic heritage being incorrectly identified as Filipino ancestry. [242]

    Evidence from agriculture Edit

    Genomic analysis of cultivated coconut (Cocos nucifera) has shed light on the movements of Austronesian peoples. By examining 10 microsatellite loci, researchers found that there are 2 genetically distinct subpopulations of coconut – one originating in the Indian Ocean, the other in the Pacific Ocean. However, there is evidence of admixture, the transfer of genetic material, between the two populations. Given that coconuts are ideally suited for ocean dispersal, it seems possible that individuals from one population could have floated to the other. However, the locations of the admixture events are limited to Madagascar and coastal east Africa and exclude the Seychelles and Mauritius. Sailing west from Maritime Southeast Asia in the Indian Ocean, the Austronesian peoples reached Madagascar by ca. 50–500 CE, and reached other parts thereafter. This forms a pattern that coincides with the known trade routes of Austronesian sailors. Additionally, there is a genetically distinct sub-population of coconuts on the eastern coast of South America which has undergone a genetic bottleneck resulting from a founder effect however, its ancestral population is the pacific coconut, which suggests that Austronesian peoples may have sailed as far east as the Americas. [74] [76] [243]

    Pre-Columbian contact with the Americas Edit

    A genome analysis in 2020 showed Austronesian contact to South America around 1150–1200 CE, the earliest one between Fatu Hiva from the Marquesas Islands, and Colombia. [244]


    The peopling of Remote Oceanic islands by Austronesian speakers is a fascinating and yet contentious part of human prehistory. Linguistic, archaeological, and genetic studies have shown the complex nature of the process in which different components that helped to shape Lapita culture in Near Oceania each have their own unique history. Important evidence points to Taiwan as an Austronesian ancestral homeland with a more distant origin in South China, whereas alternative models favor South China to North Vietnam or a Southeast Asian origin. We test these propositions by studying phylogeography of paper mulberry, a common East Asian tree species introduced and clonally propagated since prehistoric times across the Pacific for making barkcloth, a practical and symbolic component of Austronesian cultures. Using the hypervariable chloroplast ndhF-rpl32 sequences of 604 samples collected from East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Oceanic islands (including 19 historical herbarium specimens from Near and Remote Oceania), 48 haplotypes are detected and haplotype cp-17 is predominant in both Near and Remote Oceania. Because cp-17 has an unambiguous Taiwanese origin and cp-17–carrying Oceanic paper mulberries are clonally propagated, our data concur with expectations of Taiwan as the Austronesian homeland, providing circumstantial support for the “out of Taiwan” hypothesis. Our data also provide insights into the dispersal of paper mulberry from South China “into North Taiwan,” the “out of South China–Indochina” expansion to New Guinea, and the geographic origins of post-European introductions of paper mulberry into Oceania.

    The peopling of Remote Oceania by Austronesian speakers (hereafter Austronesians) concludes the last stage of Neolithic human expansion (1 ⇓ –3). Understanding from where, when, and how ancestral Austronesians bridged the unprecedentedly broad water gaps of the Pacific is a fascinating and yet contentious subject in anthropology (1 ⇓ ⇓ ⇓ ⇓ ⇓ ⇓ –8). Linguistic, archaeological, and genetic studies have demonstrated the complex nature of the process, where different components that helped to shape Lapita culture in Near Oceania each have their own unique history (1 ⇓ –3). Important evidence points to Taiwan as an Austronesian ancestral homeland with a more distant origin in South China (S China) (3, 4, 9 ⇓ ⇓ –12), whereas alternative models suggest S China to North Vietnam (N Vietnam) (7) or a Southeast Asian (SE Asian) origin based mainly on human genetic data (5). The complexity of the subject is further manifested by models theorizing how different spheres of interaction with Near Oceanic indigenous populations during Austronesian migrations have contributed to the origin of Lapita culture (1 ⇓ –3), ranging from the “Express Train” model, assuming fast migrations from S China/Taiwan to Polynesia with limited interaction (4), to the models of “Slow Boat” (5) or “Voyaging Corridor Triple I,” in which “Intrusion” of slower Austronesian migrations plus the “Integration” with indigenous Near Oceanic cultures had resulted in the “Innovation” of the Lapita cultural complex (2, 13).

    Human migration entails complex skills of organization and cultural adaptations of migrants or colonizing groups (1, 3). Successful colonization to resource-poor islands in Remote Oceania involved conscious transport of a number of plant and animal species critical for both the physical survival of the settlers and their cultural transmission (14). In the process of Austronesian expansion into Oceania, a number of animals (e.g., chicken, pigs, rats, and dogs) and plant species (e.g., bananas, breadfruit, taro, yam, paper mulberry, etc.), either domesticated or managed, were introduced over time from different source regions (3, 8, 15). Although each of these species has been shown to have a different history (8), all these “commensal” species were totally dependent upon humans for dispersal across major water gaps (6, 8, 16). The continued presence of these species as living populations far outside their native ranges represents legacies of the highly skilled seafaring and navigational abilities of the Austronesian voyagers.

    Given their close association to and dependence on humans for their dispersal, phylogeographic analyses of these commensal species provide unique insights into the complexities of Austronesian expansion and migrations (6, 8, 17). This “commensal approach,” first used to investigate the transport of the Pacific rat Rattus exulans (6), has also been applied to other intentionally transported animals such as pigs, chickens, and the tree snail Partula hyalina, as well as to organisms transported accidentally, such as the moth skink Lipinia noctua and the bacterial pathogen Helicobacter pylori (see refs. 2, 8 for recent reviews).

    Ancestors of Polynesian settlers transported and introduced a suite of ∼70 useful plant species into the Pacific, but not all of these reached the most isolated islands (15). Most of the commensal plants, however, appear to have geographic origins on the Sahul Plate rather than being introduced from the Sunda Plate or East Asia (16). For example, Polynesian breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) appears to have arisen over generations of vegetative propagation and selection from Artocarpus camansi that is found wild in New Guinea (18). Kava (Piper methysticum), cultivated for its sedative and anesthetic properties, is distributed entirely to Oceania, from New Guinea to Hawaii (16). On the other hand, ti (Cordyline fruticosa), also a multifunctional plant in Oceania, has no apparent “native” distribution of its own, although its high morphological diversity in New Guinea suggests its origin there (19). Other plants have a different history, such as sweet potato, which is of South American origin and was first introduced into Oceania in pre-Columbian times and secondarily transported across the Pacific by Portuguese and Spanish voyagers via historically documented routes from the Caribbean and Mexico (17).

    Of all commensal species introduced to Remote Oceania as part of the “transported landscapes” (1), paper mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera also called Wauke in Hawaii) is the only species that has a temperate to subtropical East Asian origin (15, 20, 21). As a wind-pollinated, dioecious tree species with globose syncarps of orange–red juicy drupes dispersed by birds and small mammals, paper mulberry is common in China, Taiwan, and Indochina, growing and often thriving in disturbed habitats (15, 20, 21). Because of its long fiber and ease of preparation, paper mulberry contributed to the invention of papermaking in China in A.D. 105 and continues as a prime source for high-quality paper (20, 21). In A.D. 610, this hardy tree species was introduced to Japan for papermaking (21). Subsequently it was also introduced to Europe and the United States (21). Paper mulberry was introduced to the Philippines for reforestation and fiber production in A.D. 1935 (22). In these introduced ranges, paper mulberry often becomes naturalized and invasive (20 ⇓ –22). In Oceania, linguistic evidence suggests strongly an ancient introduction of paper mulberry (15, 20) its propagation and importance across Remote Oceanic islands were well documented in Captain James Cook’s first voyage as the main material for making barkcloth (15, 20).

    Barkcloth, generally known as tapa (or kapa in Hawaii), is a nonwoven fabric used by prehistoric Austronesians (15, 21). Since the 19th century, daily uses of barkcloth have declined and were replaced by introduced woven textiles however, tapa remains culturally important for ritual and ceremony in several Pacific islands such as Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, and the SE Asian island of Sulawesi (23). The symbolic status of barkcloth is also seen in recent revivals of traditional tapa making in several Austronesian cultures such as Taiwan (24) and Hawaii (25). To make tapa, the inner bark is peeled off and the bark pieces are expanded by pounding (20, 21, 23). Many pieces of the bark are assembled and felted together via additional poundings to create large textiles (23). The earliest stone beaters, a distinctive tool used for pounding bark fiber, were excavated in S China from a Late Paleolithic site at Guangxi dating back to ∼8,000 y B.P. (26) and from coastal Neolithic sites in the Pearl River Delta dating back to 7,000 y B.P. (27), providing the earliest known archaeological evidence for barkcloth making. Stone beaters dated to slightly later periods have also been excavated in Taiwan (24), Indochina, and SE Asia, suggesting the diffusion of barkcloth culture to these regions (24, 27). These archaeological findings suggest that barkcloth making was invented by Neolithic Austric-speaking peoples in S China long before Han-Chinese influences, which eventually replaced proto-Austronesian language as well as culture (27).

    In some regions (e.g., Philippines and Solomon Islands), tapa is made of other species of the mulberry family (Moraceae) such as breadfruit and/or wild fig (Ficus spp.) however, paper mulberry remains the primary source of raw material to produce the softest and finest cloth (20, 23). Before its eradication and extinction from many Pacific islands due to the decline of tapa culture, paper mulberry was widely grown across Pacific islands inhabited by Austronesians (15, 20). Both the literature (15, 20) and our own observations (28 ⇓ –30) indicate that extant paper mulberry populations in Oceania are only found in cultivation or as feral populations in abandoned gardens as on Rapa Nui (Easter Island), with naturalization only known from the Solomon Islands (20). For tapa making, its stems are cut and harvested before flowering, and as a majority of Polynesian-introduced crops (16), paper mulberry is propagated clonally by cuttings or root shoots (15, 20), reducing the possibility of fruiting and dispersal via seeds. The clonal nature of the Oceanic paper mulberry has been shown by the lack of genetic variability in nuclear internal transcribed spacer (ITS) DNA sequences (31). With a few exceptions (30), some authors suggest that only male trees of paper mulberry were introduced to Remote Oceania in prehistoric time (15, 20). Furthermore, because paper mulberry has no close relative in Near and Remote Oceania (20), the absence of sexual reproduction precludes the possibility of introgression and warrants paper mulberry as an ideal commensal species to track Austronesian migrations (6, 30).

    To increase our understanding of the prehistoric Austronesian expansion and migrations, we tracked geographic origins of Oceanic paper mulberry, the only Polynesian commensal plant likely originating in East Asia, using DNA sequence variation of the maternally inherited (32) and hypervariable (SI Text) chloroplast ndhF-rpl32 intergenic spacer (33). We sampled broadly in East Asia (Taiwan, S China, and Japan) and SE Asia (Indochina, the Philippines, and Sulawesi) as well as Oceanic islands where traditional tapa making is still practiced. Historical herbarium collections (A.D. 1899–1964) of Oceania were also sampled to strengthen inferences regarding geographic origins of Oceanic paper mulberry. The employment of ndhF-rpl32 sequences and expanded sampling greatly increased phylogeographic resolution not attainable in a recent study (31) using nuclear ITS sequences (also see SI Text and Fig. S1) and intersimple sequence repeat (ISSR) markers with much smaller sampling.

    ITS haplotype network (n = 17, A–Q) and haplotype distribution and frequency. The haplotype network was reconstructed using TCS (34), with alignment gaps treated as missing data. The sizes of the circles and pie charts are proportional to the frequency of the haplotype (shown in parentheses). Squares denote unique haplotypes (haplotype found only in one individual).


    The previous section evaluated the evidence from historical linguistics regarding the dispersal of the languages of ISEA. Here, I discuss evidence from linguistic typology and contact linguistics showing that the multifaceted dispersal of the languages of ISEA is reflected in the diversity of lexical and grammatical forms and structures they exhibit.

    In Austronesian comparative studies, the focus has long been on what unites the languages: Finding shared sound changes in cognate sets (reflexes of proto-forms), so that affiliations between languages could be established. This has led to the reconstruction of a proto-MP vocabulary of thousands of words (Blust & Trussell, n.d. ). Some have suggested that MP languages show “remarkable conservatism,” as most of them are argued to have a retention rate of the proto-MP basic vocabulary of 30% or more (Donohue & Denham, 2010 229). This idea is, however, not based on empirical evidence. Since the rejection of classic glottochronology (Bergsland & Vogt, 1962 Lees, 1953 ), there is no known constant rate of change for basic vocabulary in terms of elapsed time across different language families. Moreover, supposedly “constant” retention rates ignore the often observed fact that different cognate sets have different rates of change. Certain (basic) vocabulary words are replaced more quickly than others for example, numerals are typically quite stable, while words expressing certain particular activities (e.g., “to squeeze”) show more variation over time (Dyen, James, & Cole, 1967 ). Also, there is variation in retention of basic vocabulary not only between languages but also between families (Blust, 2000 ). And, finally, any calculations of retention rates within families by definition overestimate retention, as the family relations themselves are already based on retained basic vocabulary (i.e., the words used to reconstruct proto-forms). That is, a modern language that has (almost) no lexical similarity with any other MP language would not be considered as potentially affiliated to the MP group in the first place. This would not only exclude all non-MP languages from the calculations but also those languages that were originally MP but went through a stage where their MP basic vocabulary was (largely) replaced. In other words, the potentially major witnesses to a high rate of replacement in MP languages would not be considered in the calculation of the overall MP retention rate. 5 In sum, as long as objective measurements of lexical conservatism across language families are lacking, we do not know whether MP languages are lexically conservative or not, and neither do we know whether there is anything remarkable about the outcome, given the time depth of the MP group.

    An approach that may be more fruitful in tracing the history of languages in ISEA would be to shift the focus from studying sound changes in reflexes of the reconstructed ancestor language (i.e., in cognate sets) to (also) systematically investigating lexical innovations, residues, (taboo) replacements, and borrowings. The question to address would be what the patterns attested in these non-cognate lexical inventories suggest about the history and mutual relationships between languages and language groups. An interesting example of this type of approach is Edwards ( 2016 ), who describes the MP language Uab Meto 6 on Timor as having two parallel lexicons, each with their own set of regular sound correspondences: one containing reflexes of proto-MP lexemes, the other containing lexemes for which no MP origin has been found. The sheer size of the non-MP vocabulary (including basic vocabulary) of pre-Uab Meto, and the fact that it has restructured the phonological system of the language, points to a prolonged period of intense and intimate language contact between one or more incoming MP language(s) and one or more non-MP languages that were spoken in the region before their arrival. It is quite likely that future research will find similar witnesses of histories of bilingual contact between MP and non-MP languages in ISEA, but we first have to start looking for them. 7

    • word order (verb-initial vs. verb-second or verb-final: “eat he yam” vs. “he eat yam” or “he yam eat” possessors following or preceding the possessed noun (“house my” vs. “my house”) negators preceding or following the predicate (“not go” vs. “go not”)
    • the expression of alienable vs. inalienable possession (so that my house may mark its possessor different than “my foot” in some languages but not others)
    • the morphological expression of voice alternations (the famous many different “passive” voices in the languages of the Philippines are either simplified in various ways or completely absent in languages in Indonesia)
    • the use of numeral classifiers (which are not used in the Philippines but frequently used everywhere else)
    • the use of plural words (which are used in the Philippines and eastern Indonesia but absent in Malaysia and western Indonesia (Wu ( 2016 )) and so on.

    3.1 Diversity through adding grammatical features

    It has been observed for a very long time, by many different scholars (e.g., Grimes, 1991 Himmelmann, 2005 Klamer & Ewing, 2010 Klamer, Reesink, & van Staden, 2008 Reesink, 2002 Reesink & Dunn, 2017 Schapper, 2015 ) that some of the salient features of MP languages spoken in the eastern part of Indonesia and in the vicinity of New Guinea must be due to contact with non-MP (or Papuan) 10 languages. For example, the order “possessor precedes noun” is almost universal in Papuan languages and a major pattern in many MP languages of the Lesser Sundas, Central and South Moluccas, Halmahera and the Cenderawasih Bay, but not in languages of western ISEA. 11 So this suggests that it is not an inherited MP structure. It could have been the result of spontaneous independent developments in the languages of these different regions, but that would not explain why these developments frequently occurred in eastern and not in western languages. Since they are confined to the region where we know that Papuan languages are, or have been spoken it seems plausible that the structure was borrowed into MP languages from Papuan languages spoken in their vicinities. Other features that appear to have leaked from Papuan languages into MP languages include the use of a post-predicate negator instead of, or in addition to, a pre-predicate one (Reesink, 2002 Klamer et al., 2008 , 130–34 Florey, 2010 Fricke, 2017 ) and making a formal distinction between nouns that are alienably or inalienably possessed (Ross, 2001 , 138 Klamer et al., 2008 , 116–122). 12

    When languages have atypical and additive grammatical features such as these and there are other indications that speakers may have been in contact with speakers of languages that possess these features (e.g., the presence of lexical borrowings), then the atypical grammatical features may be hypothesized to be remnants of contact with those other language(s). In order for contact between speakers of language A and B to lead to the addition of features in language B, it must be long-term, intense, and multipurpose. That is, language B should not just be used in circumscribed contexts such as trading, ritual events, or songs, but in a wide array of social domains (Trudgill, 2010 , 304, 315 Ross, 2013 ). Social situations that lead to such additive changes in language B occur when it is spoken in bi/multilingual communities by adults as well as pre-adolescent children (cf., Ross, 2013 ).

    3.2 Diversity through loss or simplification of grammatical features

    Regarding the simplification of the proto-MP verb morphology mentioned above, since Ross ( 2002 ) reconstructed proto-MP with a suit of tense, aspect, and mood morphemes as summarized in Table 2 below, it is possible to see to what extent this original rich system has been maintained in the MP languages in ISEA.

    Argument role
    Voice/Mood/Aspect Actor Patient Location Circumstantial
    Neutral <um > R R-ən R-an i-R
    Perfective <umin > R <in > R <in > R-an i- < in > R
    Imperfective <um > RDP-R RDP-R-ən RDP-R-an i-RDP-R
    Atemporal R R-a R-i R-an
    Projective R-a (R-aw) R-ay -

    The verbal structure of proto-MP has been largely retained in the languages of the Philippines, Sabah, North Sulawesi, and Madagascar. However, in many Austronesian languages spoken in Malaysia and Indonesia, the proto-MP voice system is reduced to a simple opposition between actor and undergoer voice (Adelaar 2005, 6–8), or has been lost completely. A quick glance at the verbal morphologies of individual languages spoken in ISEA, for example, Javanese (Ogloblin, 2005 , 600), Sasak (Wouk, 2002 , 299), Kambera (Klamer, 1996 , 1998 ), Rongga (Arka, 2016 ), and Kéo (Baird, 2002 ), already indicates that their verbal morphology is significantly simpler than that of proto-MP in Table 2.

    Such morphological simplification may be due to independent, language-internal evolutionary processes. For example, one can imagine a scenario where a reflex of the proto-MP patient suffix *-ən develops an allomorph -n for vowel-final roots, which subsequently becomes reanalyzed as a segment that is part of the root, analogous to other root-final consonants. However, morphological simplification can also be caused by language contact. Inflectional morphology in particular is known to be one of the most vulnerable areas of linguistic knowledge in contact situations, because it straddles the interface between syntax, semantics, and pragmatics (see, e.g., Montrul, 2004 126). In known cases where language contact has led to loss of morphological complexity, it typically involves adults as second language learners who simplify non-native morphological structures, as for instance in Afrikaans (den Besten, 1989 ) and in adult second language Dutch (Blom, Polisˇenská, & Weerman, 2006 ). Morphological simplification through adult second language learners also happens in small-scale preindustrial societies in ISEA, though it has not yet been researched much an example is Alorese (Moro, In press Klamer, 2012 ), discussed below.

    In order for the simplified patterns to stabilize, the contact must involve a community of bilinguals with a large number of second language speakers, and the contact must be long-term, intense, and multi-purpose (Moro, In press Kusters, 2003 Trudgill, 2011 ). It may be that the simplifying second language was (originally) used as a trade language or lingua franca, but for any changes to become entrenched in it, it must have been used as a second language (L2) in wider communicative contexts. This second language may be the language of a technologically, politically, or culturally dominant group that the speakers of other languages wish to communicate or associate with. 13 However, it may also be the language of a community that is incorporating many foreign adults (such as spouses or slaves) with different linguistic backgrounds. A language that is spoken as an L2 can become a shifted language when the L2 speakers are a minority in the community and die out, while their offspring grows up speaking the community language as L1. However, if the number of L2 speakers in a community is sufficiently large, e.g., constituting half or more of the population, as in the case of Alorese (Moro, In press ), and if there is a constant influx of new L2 speakers during many generations, then stable bilingual communities can exist for centuries without shifting to either of the languages. In other words, a community where a simplifying second language is spoken does not automatically shift as a whole to that language, losing the other (first) language(s). And even when a bilingual community does (eventually) shift completely to language B, that still does not imply that language A necessarily becomes extinct. Not all speakers of language A are necessarily part of the bilingual community shifting to language B language A may still have its own monolingual community elsewhere and/or language A may be spoken in other bilingual communities together with languages C or D. In short, if language shift occurs, it is commonly preceded by a period of bilingualism which can continue for a very long time given the right social circumstances and language shifts do not necessarily imply the death of the first language(s).

    Most small-scale language groups in ISEA today are bi/multilingual with neighboring groups, e.g., because of marriage exchanges or cultural connections. Small-scale migrations of bands of people moving to different locations on the same or a neighboring island where other languages were already spoken have been taking place in historical times and are still taking place today. If situations that can still be observed today prevailed from the early Neolithic onwards, then there must have been thousands or even millions of different sociocultural and historical micro-contexts of contact between speaker groups in ISEA, all with their own time paths and effects. In fact, even a single language may have had different types and stages of contact, in different locations, as indicated by traces of different strata of contacts.

    Klamer ( 2012 ) is a case study where the language ancestral to modern Lamoholot and Alorese (two closely related MP languages spoken in Lesser Sunda) have acquired a suite of typological features that are seen as typical of the Papuan languages of the region—including post-predicate negation, the marking of possessors, noun-locational order in locative constructions, the presence of a focus particle, and the absence of a passive verb form. This “Papuanisation” of proto-Lamoholot took place in the Flores-Lembata region, under conditions of long-term stable contact involving preadolescents acquiring the complexities of both Papuan and MP languages and melding them into a new system.

    In a second phase, following the migration of pre-Alorese speakers to the island of Pantar and the separation this entailed from their Lamoholot cousins, a series of further changes occurred. Alorese contrasts drastically with Lamoholot in terms of morphological complexity. Where Lamoholot has two sets of subject affixes to the verb, Alorese relies on free pronouns with all but a few frequent verbs which retain fossilized agent prefixes. And where Lamoholot has a number of derivational affixes (some productive, some lexicalised), Alorese has no derivational morphology at all—reduplication is its only productive word formation process. These differences suggest a radical process of morphological simplification in the passage from Lamoholot to Alorese. Historical records indicate that initially there were only a few Alorese-speaking communities on Pantar, and that they were demographically small and geographically scattered. In order to survive, they would have needed marriage as well as trade connections with the speakers of Papuan languages of the inland. The almost complete loss of morphology in Alorese is likely due to contacts with Papuan language speakers who used Alorese as a second language. This hypothesis is confirmed in an experimental study by (Moro, In press ) investigating the use of subject agreement prefixes in six Alorese first language speakers and 12 Alorese second language speakers. The study shows that the second language speakers make significantly more errors than the first language speakers, and that they have only a single default subject agreement marker.

    3.3 Linguistic diversity and the dispersal scenario

    Case studies like the ones discussed above illustrate a type of multiphase contact scenario likely to have been played out between groups of MP and non-MP language speakers in many parts of ISEA at different stages over the last millennia. Contact may lead to the addition of features or the loss of them. Such opposite outcomes of contact reflected in the linguistic and typological diversity in the region are a reminder of the social and linguistic complexity that must have existed between groups who would have been demographically equally stable and interdependent in many ways. The diverse features of modern MP languages suggest that numerous changes, mixes, and shifts have occurred throughout the history of ISEA, involving all imaginable kinds of contact situations and migrations, occurring over hundreds of generations. What they definitely do not suggest is rapid and total replacement of languages by a limited number of ancestor groups.

    Yet the fact remains that the larger part of ISEA today is inhabited by speakers of MP languages, while there are far fewer traces of the preexisting non-MP languages. This has been explained by a scenario where the MP speakers dominated the earlier non-MP speakers technologically, culturally, economically, or otherwise so that the latter gave up their languages and shifted to using MP languages. Dominance of MP speakers is likely to have played a role in the disappearance of any preexisting non-MP languages. However, linguistic dominance does not necessarily involve conquest or replacement. An incoming group can come to be dominant over preexisting local languages without having significantly higher speaker numbers. If the incoming language enables these speakers to extend their network beyond their traditional territorial range and if these speakers want to exploit this possibility, then the incomer's language will gain currency and prestige and become a lingua franca. If subsequently it gets used in a wider range of contexts, it can become the first language of the offspring of the initial second language speakers.

    For example, in the past, non-MP speaking groups of the Negritos in the Philippines have shifted to MP languages, which is clear from the non-MP lexicon that has been retained in these languages (Reid, 1994 ). However, language shift is not always simply from language A to language B and may involve multiple layers, some of which have left few traces. For example, prehistorical language shift has occurred in Borneo, where the MP Land Dayak languages of Borneo have striking lexical and phonological similarities in common with non-MP Aslian languages (Adelaar, 1995 ). This could be interpreted as Land Dayak originating as the result of a language shift from Aslian. However, Adelaar argues that it is more likely that both Land Dayak and Aslian have in common a substrate from an unknown third (non-MP) language. So here, we have a shift from languages A to B plus a shift from languages A to C, where B survives and shares features with C, so that it looks as if C speakers shifted to B, while in fact the shared features between B and C originally come from A.

    Also, the region of ISEA is immense and islands must have been populated quite sparsely when the first migrations of MP speakers occurred after 4,500 bp , as the global population is estimated to have been around 5 million around that time (even today, with a global population of more than 7 billion, many of the islands in ISEA are scarcely populated). In many cases, migrating MP speakers may have settled on previously uninhabited (parts of) islands. Much of the spread of MP languages need not have involved any contact with non-MP speakers, let alone language dominance or shift.

    In addition, throughout the past millennia, frequent volcanic eruptions, earth quakes, and tsunamis must have wiped out numerous groups of speakers, both MP and non-MP, leaving no trace of their languages. 14 Areas that were depopulated as a result of such natural disasters could have been repopulated by incoming MP speakers from neighboring islands, giving rise to the current situation where the languages in some regions, especially in western ISEA, have very few traces of non-MP languages. In other words, the fact that today most of the languages in ISEA are of the MP family does not imply that MP speakers always displaced or conquered preexisting non-MP languages.

    There are many possible scenarios to explain the current distribution of MP languages in much of the region. They include the economic or technical (e.g., sea faring) superiority, or cultural dominance, of MP speakers, leading to the development mentioned above, where a regional lingua franca over time became used in a wider array of contexts and got nativized. However, they may also have involved marriage practices where unions between couples of different linguistic backgrounds lead to the generational transfer of only one of the parent's languages. None of these scenarios necessarily involves major population movements.

    At the same time, it should not be forgotten that there are dozens of MP and non-MP languages that have coexisted in relatively small spaces for many hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. There are numerous cases in eastern Indonesia where MP and non-MP speakers came to share certain islands until today, and have lived in peaceful, long-term coexistence, with both language types surviving. This is not only the case in New Guinea, but also, for example, on Timor where the south-west is MP and the north-east is non-MP Alor and Pantar, where the MP language Alorese is spoken in coastal pockets, surrounded by dozens of non-MP languages on Halmahera where the south is MP and the north is non-MP and on Makian where on the east coast the MP language Taba is spoken and on the west coast non-MP Moi (Holton & Klamer, 2017 ). A simple scenario where MP languages have generally dominated and/or obliterated the earlier non-MP languages in ISEA does not account for these non-MP enclaves. It is important to mention this, as the literature on the Austronesian dispersal tends to take a macro-view on ISEA where the complex linguistic situation of eastern ISEA is glossed over or minimized, 15 thus missing crucial clues in the reconstruction of the linguistic past of the region.

    The hypothesis that MP speakers demographically dominated non-MP groups also does not account for the fact that there are many non-MP languages in eastern ISEA which picked up certain hallmark MP features, such as a pronominal distinction between inclusive and exclusive plural or a head-initial word order (Klamer et al., 2008 ). This suggests situations of linguistic dominance and admixture where the dominant language was non-MP (McWilliam, 2007 ). In conclusion, the fact that today most of the languages in ISEA are MP is likely due to many different reasons, shift from non-MP languages being just one of them. If we focus on investigating the differences between MP languages rather than on what they have in common, much variation in both their vocabulary and grammar will be found. It is this variation that is worth further investigation.

    For the farming/language dispersal scenario, a variationist view implies that (1) it is highly unlikely that the ancestors of the low-level MP language groups in ISEA came with an identifiable number of migrations that can be historically and geographically defined (2) it is more likely that the low-level MP language groups have grown from multiple different migrations, in various directions, of probably small bands of people in various time spans and (3) there is no reason to assume that the processes by which immigrant MP languages became established in ISEA involved swift “replacement” of original inhabitants and their non-MP languages. Rather, it is more likely to have involved millennia-long periods of sequences of disasters and migrations, and often intense and stable multi or bilingual contact.


    Our results bring new information on the Austronesian dispersal westward across the Indian Ocean. We show that the key maternal lineage B4a1a1b, the so-called Malagasy motif, has a coalescence age (1,500–1,800 years BP) either predating or very early during the period of Austronesian arrivals to the East African offshore islands of Madagascar and the Comoros ( table 1 and supplementary table S4 , Supplementary Material online and fig. 1). This age estimate gives some temporal support for the emergence of the Malagasy motif in Island Southeast Asia (also in agreement with the fact that demographic expansion predates the geographic expansion). Although it remains undetected in the Banjar population, leaving its population source in ISEA unknown ( supplementary table S3 , Supplementary Material online), its recent contribution detected in this study (nineteenth century) from a population without African admixture implies that it should probably still exist in some location in ISEA.

    The absence of B4a1a1b in the Banjar is surprising as it represents the most frequent Asian maternal lineage in Madagascar (22%, Razafindrazaka et al. 2010 Cox et al. 2012), and considering the cultural, linguistic and genetic links between the Banjar and Madagascar/Comoros populations ( Adelaar 1989, 2017 Beaujard 2012a, 2012b Brucato et al. 2016, 2018), this lineage was expected to be present in the Asian parental population (the Banjar). Its absence may suggests that the main Austronesian maternal lineage (B4a1a1b) found in the WIO may not have originated from the Banjar population. However, an origin of the Malagasy motif in situ in Madagascar or the Comoros after the arrival of the Polynesian motif carriers is also unlikely ( Razafindrazaka et al. 2010), as it requires that 1) two mutations (1,473 and 3,423) arose in Madagascar in the last 1,300–1,000 years ( Brucato et al. 2018), 2) diffused into population groups across the entire island, and 3) the Malagasy motif precursor (the Polynesian motif), later disappeared from these populations.

    This “missing” lineage in Southeast Borneo 1) may have been lost in Indonesia due to genetic drift in small island populations or 2) may remain undetected due to the lower sampling coverage in Borneo compared with other studied regions. As suggested previously ( Razafindrazaka et al. 2010 Cox et al. 2012 Kusuma et al. 2015), the motif may have emerged in eastern Indonesia—where the Polynesian motif, its immediate precursor, is geographically restricted—and later brought into the Banjar gene pool. This may have occurred during long distance trading activities and admixture among ISEA regional populations favored by the emergence Hindu Malay Kingdoms, such as Śrīvijaya (sixth to thirteenth centuries), which developed the Banjarmasin trading post in Southeast Borneo ( Ras 1968 Beaujard 2012a Brucato et al. 2017). This eastern Indonesian input into the Southeast Borneo Banjar finds some support in the fact that the Banjar are one of the rare populations in western Indonesia, along with the sea nomad Bajo from Borneo, to carry the Polynesian motif ( supplementary table S3 , Supplementary Material online, Tumonggor et al. 2013 Kusuma et al. 2015, 2017), demonstrating their previous connection with eastern Indonesians.

    In the Indian Ocean rim west of Island Southeast Asia (Mainland Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent), we note the absence of the Polynesian motif or any of its subclades ( fig. 1). This suggests that the Austronesian population that brought the Polynesian Motif subclade B4a1a1b to the WIO (e.g., to Madagascar) did not leave detectable genetic traces on the northern Indian Ocean rim, in agreement with an absence of Indonesian gene flow to this region as inferred from recent genome-wide data ( Brucato et al. 2017). It is still unclear whether this is due to Indonesian populations restricting their interactions in these regions to trading and/or cultural activities, or because Indonesian traders used a more direct route across the Indian Ocean to cover the 7,500 km between Indonesia and Madagascar and the Comoros, which is possible based on ocean current and monsoon weather patterns ( Fitzpatrick and Callaghan 2008). Both scenarios merit further study.

    For the first time, we observe the Malagasy motif outside of Madagascar, in one individual from East Africa (Somalia) and two from the South Arabian Peninsula (Yemen). To date, a long-term Austronesian presence in the Western Indian Ocean region has only been supported on the island territories of Madagascar and the Comoros and is very tenuous on the African continent and Arabian Peninsula, from genetic ( Brucato et al. 2017, 2018), historical ( Beaujard 2012a, 2012b), and archaeological ( Crowther et al. 2016) perspectives. Our results suggest clear, but limited impact, of Austronesian genetic input into these East African and South Arabian regions (0.02%, 3 out of 14,461 individuals from mtDNA Austronesian key marker, up to around 1% when considering the entire Asian autosomal signal), but leaves open the question of their origin.

    When considering the Asian component in the autosomal DNA, beyond the fact that no more than 1% of Asian substrate is detected in East Africa/Arabia ( fig. 2 and supplementary fig. S3 , Supplementary Material online), the three new Malagasy motif carriers displayed a more complex pattern. For two individuals (Y115 and S25), an inheritance from Malagasy individuals before the late eighteenth century and potentially much earlier is likely. For the other individual (Y270), more recent gene flow in the late nineteenth century from a different population source (likely with primary Asian ancestry) seems to be the most parsimonious explanation ( figs. 2 and 3 and table 2).

    This complex pattern of Asian genetic input suggests that these three individuals obtained their Asian genetic ancestry from two different processes or events, via both a primary and secondary Asian input to the East African coast and South Arabian Peninsula. This involved at least two different population sources: an African–Asian admixed population (e.g., potentially from Madagascar) for the oldest admixture event and a population without African admixture as the source of the most recent admixture event. These two events likely took place during the last millennium with the intensification of the Indian Ocean trading network among Africa, the Middle East and Asia, leading to the exchange of ideas, goods, and people ( Beaujard 2012a, 2012b Brucato et al. 2017), the arrival of the Austronesians in the Western Indian Ocean region around the eighth to thirteenth centuries AD, and the development of the Swahili corridor (from southern Somalia in the north to the Comoros archipelago, Madagascar, and Central Mozambique in the south Horton 1987 Brucato et al. 2018).

    Although the Asian inheritance for two individuals (Y115 and S25) may reflect the development of trading posts by Arab merchants in the East African region, and deportation of African slaves northward to Arabia and South Asia ( Hellenthal et al. 2014 Blench 2014 Brucato et al. 2017), we cannot reject an older origin from the early Austronesian period. The Asian ancestry of the other individual (Y270) represents a different pattern with a likely origin in Island Southeast Asia, which might be explained by the emergence of several sultanates in the fifteenth to sixteenth centuries AD in East Africa and in ISEA ( Beaujard 2012b). Diaspora communities spread around the Indian Ocean rim may have played an important role to develop trading activities and also to maintain contact with their native land ( Beaujard 2012b). The Hadrami community from Hadramawt in Southeast Yemen—to which the Yemeni individual (Y270) belongs—emerge as one plausible cause to reconcile the different geographic and temporal origins of the Asian inheritance found in the three Yemeni and Somali individuals. The Hadrami diaspora, established in the Comoros at the end of the first millennium ( Beaujard 2012b) in South Asia (Gujarat in India) and in Island Southeast Asia (Malacca in Malaysia) from the beginning of the second millennium, was involved in trading activities between Africa, Middle East, and Asia. Despite strict intra community marriage rules, admixture with local population was frequent, as the men could choose their bride from among the local African and Asian populations ( Boxberger 2002). In the nineteenth century, some economically successful Hadramis (i.e., from Singapore and Hyderabad, and other places of the diaspora) returned to their native land in the Yemen bringing back their admixed family ( Manger 2010).

    The pattern emerging is that trading activities and diaspora communities may have favored small scale genetic admixture through direct contact between distant regions and populations from the Arabian Peninsula, Africa, and Island Southeast Asia, and that these involved Indonesian populations carrying this peculiar maternal lineage, the Malagasy motif B4a1a1b.

    Dispersal of Austronesian People Across the Pacific - History

    This is the first of three interesting papers that appear ahead of print in Current Anthropology. Peter Bellwood reviews the spread of farming across the Pacific from its two sources (China including Taiwan, and the New Guinea highlands).

    Current Anthropology http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/658181

    Holocene Population History in the Pacific Region as a Model for Worldwide Food Producer Dispersals

    Pacific prehistory (excluding Australia) since 3000 BC reflects the impacts of two source regions for food production: China from the Yangzi southward (including Taiwan) and the western Pacific (especially the New Guinea Highlands). The linguistic (Austronesian, Trans–New Guinea), bioanthropological/human genetic, and Neolithic archaeological records each carry signals of expansion from these two source regions. A combined consideration of the multiregional results within all three disciplines (archaeology, linguistics, and biology) offers a historical perspective that will never be obtained from one discipline or one region alone. The fundamental process of human behavior involved in such expansion—population dispersal linked to increases in human population size—is significant for explaining the early spreads of food production and language families in many parts of the world. This article is concerned mainly with the archaeological record for the expansion of early food producers, Austronesian languages, and Neolithic technologies through Taiwan into the northern Philippines as an early stage in what was to become the greatest dispersal of an ethnolinguistic population in world history before AD 1500.

    1 comment:

    "A combined consideration of the multiregional results within all three disciplines (archaeology, linguistics, and biology) offers a historical perspective that will never be obtained from one discipline or one region alone".

    And I believe the perspective that emerges can be applied much more widely when trying to understand other regions where the evidence is more obscure.

    "Pacific prehistory (excluding Australia) since 3000 BC reflects the impacts of two source regions for food production: China from the Yangzi southward (including Taiwan) and the western Pacific (especially the New Guinea Highlands)".

    The Austronesian-speaking people who moved east from SE Asia were a hybrid population. And I have long claimed that Y-hap O spread 'from the Yangzi southward'. Many have disagreed, but not, apparently, the authors of this paper. I would not necessarily claim a 'New Guinea Highlands' origin for all the other Y-haps. C2, for example, is probably from southern Wallacea.

    What is the Austronesian Expansion?

    The mass migration of Austronesian-speaking peoples thousands of years ago still has an impact on modern countries of the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.

    Around 3000 BCE, a mass migration spurred by population growth launched from the coast of modern-day Taiwan. The migrants crossed the oceans of the Indo-Pacific over hundreds of years to settle in Southeast Asia, Oceania, and Madagascar, with some historians estimating they travelled as far as the Americas. Known as the Austronesian Expansion, this event spread the language, culture, and technology of the Austronesian-speaking peoples to new parts of the world and changed the demographics and environments of these areas permanently in ways that can still be witnessed today.

    The dominant theory of the Austronesian Expansion begins in Taiwan, aptly named the ‘Out-of-Taiwan’ theory. According to this model, attributed to archaeologist Peter Bellwood and linguist Robert Blust around 1980, Taiwanese indigenous peoples first sailed from Taiwan to the Northern islands of the Philippines around 3000 BCE, just 1000 years after they migrated from mainland China to Taiwan. To facilitate this large-scale migration, the Austronesians developed new sailing technologies and methods of navigation that are still used today. This allowed them to travel long distances across the Indo-Pacific and beyond, settling on islands and mainlands across all hemispheres.

    A replica of a traditional Austronesian sailing trimaran. Göran Höglund.

    From Luzon, a migrant group moved further South to cover the rest of the Philippines, Borneo, and Indonesia, while others moved west to Southeast Asia and reached as far as Madagascar. Around 1500 BCE, another group moved East to settle on the small islands of the Pacific. 500 years later, Austronesians became the first people to settle in the remote islands of Palau and Yap in Oceania and continued South to the areas surrounding the Solomon Islands.

    Map of Austronesian Expansion.

    Supporting Evidence for the ‘Out-of-Taiwan’ Theory

    Most of the evidence supporting the Austronesian Expansion is linguistic. In the late 1970s, linguist Robert Blust of University of Hawaii defended the theory by breaking down the Proto-Austronesian language groups into subdivisions and linking these divisions back to Taiwan. Each Proto-Austronesian language subgroup was created at different stages of the migration, as new groups moved to new islands and settled there. Blust also linked certain words in the various Austronesian languages back to the environmental conditions in Taiwan, disproving the previous assumption that Austronesian languages originated from Vietnam or Cambodia.

    Map showing the distribution of Austronesian language subgroups

    The ‘Out-of-Taiwan’ theory sparked widespread interest across the sciences. Archaeological studies of the Indo-Pacific region added further evidence to support the path of migration. Scientists attributed the introduction of pigs, chickens, and Pacific rats to the Austronesian Expansion, as well as various plant species – paper mulberry, taro, and coconuts. For evidence that the Austronesians reached the coasts of South America, scientists tracked the journey of the sweet potato from Taiwan (although this evidence not conclusive). Excavations across the islands have also uncovered similar pottery styles and stones that originate from Taiwan, providing further evidence for the theory.

    Initial studies in genetics threatened to dispute the theory, as analysis of modern populations did not support the argument for Taiwanese origin. However, recent studies of fossils have produced genetic evidence of the Taiwanese migration to back up the strong evidence in other fields. According to the study, which compared genome sequences of different groups:

    “Bayesian phylogenetic analysis allows us to reconstruct a history of early Austronesians arriving in Taiwan in the north ∼6,000 years ago, spreading rapidly to the south, and leaving Taiwan ∼4,000 years ago to spread throughout Island Southeast Asia, Madagascar, and Oceania.”

    Early Austronesians: Into and Out Of Taiwan by Albert Min-Shan Ko et al.

    The Impact of the Austronesian Expansion

    The Austronesian Expansion is one of the most significant mass migrations of the era. As the Austronesian-speaking peoples colonized new islands, they spread their language and culture, forming the foundations of the modern languages and cultural traditions of each region. Today, the Austronesian language group is the fifth largest in the world, spoken by nearly 400 million people across many small ocean islands.

    The migrants spread art and technology – particularly sailing technology – as well as domesticated crops and animals that became island staples in the areas they were introduced to. The Austronesians were also the first to settle in and populate remote islands that are dominated by Austronesian-speaking peoples today. Some historians suggest that the impact of this migration is even greater than we have evidence for, as linguistic and archaeological evidence of settlement in Europe, Africa, and the Americas may have been erased over time.

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