Liang Abu Pottery Assemblage. More pots to fill the Kalimantan archaeological void
Sébastien Plutniak (1), Adhi Agus Oktaviana (2), Bambang Sugiyanto (3), Jean-Michel Chazine (4), François-Xavier Ricaut (5)
- EHESS, Lisst, Toulouse, France
- Arkenas (National Center for Archaeology), Jakartia, Indonesia
- Balai Arkeologi, Banjarmasin, Banjar Baru, Indonesia
- CNRS UMR 7308 / CREDO, Université de Provence, Marseille, France
- CNRS UMR 5288 / AMIS, Université de Toulouse, Toulouse, France
Since 2003, a French-Indonesian archaeological research project, coordinated by the National Research Center for Archaeology (Indonesia) and the University of Toulouse (France), has been developed in the karstic region of East Kalimantan (Indonesia) to investigate human occupation processes during prehistory. Within the context of debates about the population history of Island South-East Asia (ISEA) authors dealing with Neolithic or Metal Age periods usually mention this region as part of models of the diffusion of cultural complex from Taiwan and the Philippines and the Malay Peninsula. Actually, these assertions mostly rely on data from sites located in the Malaysian part of Borneo Island. More than half of its territory, the Kalimantan region, remains poorly documented and understood. Maps published in archaeological papers usually show nothing than a void for Kalimantan.
Such discussions lead us to expect that archaeological investigation of Kalimantan will provide new data that may lead to the reappraisal of the role of this region during Holocene prehistory and the associated cultural and population diffusion processes. Archaeological research in the Liang Abu rock shelter led to the discovery and analysis of a pottery assemblage including red-slipped, cord-marked and incised pottery sherds, radiocarbon dated to 1672±21 BP and 1524±22 BP.
The environmental settings in tropical karstic caves raise difficult taphonomical issues: we discuss the Liang Abu stratigraphy from insights given by the pottery materials. We also undertake a reappraisal of available data regarding on Borneo Island in order to integrate our findings in the ISEA Metal Age framework.