”Prehistoric human burials from East Kalimantan” (@15th EurASEAA)

Prehistoric human burials from East Kalimantan (Indonesia)

Jean-Georges Ferrié, Francois-Xavier Ricaut (Université de Toulouse (Paul Sabatier) – CNRS UMR 5288), Bambang Sugiyanto (Balai Arkeologi Banjarmasin), Jean-Michel Chazine (CNRS)

The Mission archéologique franco-indonésienne à Bornéo has conducted several test-pits in caves and rock-shelters located in karst areas of East Kalimantan (Indonesia), a region where prehistoric human occupations are poorly documented. During the survey of the site of Liang Jon (Marang river area), an individual human burial and a secondary deposit of human bones have been discovered. The individual burial is a primary inhumation of a young adult in an extended position, from which some bones have been removed after the decay of the body. The secondary deposit was mainly composed of human skull fragments, some of them showing evidence of anthropic modifications. Due to the absence of collagen, radiocarbon dating was performed on bioapatite, giving a minimum age of c. 2500 BP for the primary inhumation and c. 5500 BP for the secondary deposit. Few prehistoric burials being known in the eastern part of Borneo, these discoveries are an important contribution to the knowledge of ancient mortuary practices in this geographic area.i

“Austronesian westward expansion: the settlement of Madagascar by Indonesian sea nomad group” (@15th EurASEAA)

Austronesian westward expansion: the settlement of Madagascar by Indonesian sea nomad groups

Pradiptajati Kusuma (University of Toulouse – Paul Sabatier), Francois-Xavier Ricaut (Université de Toulouse (Paul Sabatier) – CNRS UMR 5288), Murray Cox, Thierry Letellier

Genetic, cultural, and linguistic characteristics of the Malagasy suggest that people from both Africa and Island Southeast Asia were involved in the colonization of Madagascar. Populations from the Indonesian archipelago played an important role; linguistic evidence suggests that the Malagasy language branches from the Southeast Barito language family of southern Borneo, Indonesia, and is closest to the Ma’anyan language that is spoken in the present-day. There is also evidence of word borrowings from a small number of Austronesian languages spoken on other Indonesian islands, including Proto South Sulawesi, Buginese, Macassarese and Old Javanese.

To test for a genetic link between the Malagasy and these linguistically related Indonesian populations, we studied these populations, well-defined from their historical/linguistic contexts, together with new samples from the Ma’anyan and the sea nomad Bajo from Southeast Sulawesi. The sample size of ~2900 individuals represents the largest known Indonesian dataset investigated to date. Analysis was made using uniparental markers: the mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome.

Phylogeography analysis of maternal and paternal DNA lineages suggested that the Malagasy was derived from multiple regional sources in Indonesia, with a focus on eastern Borneo, southern Sulawesi and the Lesser Sunda islands. Settlement may have been mediated by ancient sea nomad movements because the linguistically closest population, Ma’anyan, has only subtle genetic connections to the Malagasy, whereas genetic links with other sea nomads are more strongly supported. Our data hint at a more complex scenario for the Indonesian settlement of Madagascar than has previously been recognized.

“Liang Abu Pottery Assemblage. More pots to fill the Kalimantan archaeological void” (@15th EurASEAA)

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)

  1. EHESS, Lisst, Toulouse, France
  2. Arkenas (National Center for Archaeology), Jakartia, Indonesia
  3. Balai Arkeologi, Banjarmasin, Banjar Baru, Indonesia
  4. CNRS UMR 7308 / CREDO, Université de Provence, Marseille, France
  5. 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.

“Cultural and Natural Heritage in the Sangkulirang-Mangkalihat Karst Range: Policies and Conservation Efforts” (@15th EurASEAA)

Cultural and Natural Heritage in the Sangkulirang-Mangkalihat Karst Range of East Kalimantan (Indonesia): Policies and Conservation Efforts

Antonio J. Guerreiro (IrAsia, CNRS-Aix-Marseille-University, UMR 7306, Marseille)

The paper considers current issues (environmental, socio-economic and cultural) in connection to the conservation of archaeological sites located in the Sankulirang-Mangkalihat Karstic range. The local administrations of East Kutai and Berau Regencies and that of the Province of East Kalimantan in charge of conservation, have been directly involved in the management of few sites. They are preparing for the listing of the Karst area in Unesco’s World Heritage Tentative List. Until now archaeological and anthropological research in the area has been supervised by the National Center of Archaeological Research (Pusat Arkeologi Nasional) based in Jakarta and its branch office in Banjarmasin (Balai Arkeologi). While the French-Indonesian Collaborative Research Programme has been active since 2011, but only a small percentage of the sites surveyed has been studied. The Lebbo’/Basap indigenous people who have been living for centuries (or more ?) in contact to the archaeological sites and the nearby caves, have not been involved officially in conservation or trained for these activities. However, the practice of ‘indigenous conservation’ which can be developed with benefits, remains to be implemented. Presently the local governements of the Regencies of East Kutai and Berau are increasingly concerned with the protection of the sites and of their touristic potential. On the other hand the infrastructures (roads, accommodations, museums…) are not ready yet to cater for an increase of visitors. The protection of the sites, mostly rock art in caves and rock shelters, should be evaluated accordingly.

“Late Pleistocene-Holocene Lithic Industries from Mangkalihat karstic area” (@15th EurASEAA)

Late Pleistocene-Holocene Lithic Industries from Mangkalihat karstic area, East Kalimantan (Eastern Borneo, Indonesia)

Grenet Michel (1), Fauzi Ruly (2,3), Sarel Josette (4), Oktaviana Adhi Agus (2), Ricaut François-X (5)

  1. CNRS, UMR5608 Laboratoire TRACES, France
  2. National Research Center for Archaeology, Jakarta, Indonesia;
  3. Center for Prehistory and Austronesian Studies, Indonesia;
  4. CNRS, UMR 7041, ArScAn, Université de Paris X, France, INRAP
  5. CNRS UMR 5288, Laboratoire AMIS, Université de Toulouse, France

Lack of data and studies on lithic remains from Kalimantan (Borneo) result in a limited understanding of human prehistory in this region. Current collaborative research by a French-Indonesian team is trying to reduce this lack of data by conducting field research and a multidisciplinary scientific project in the karstic region of Mangkalihat (East Kalimantan, Indonesia). A series of analyses related to typo-technological studies on the lithic materials from this project have brought new data and consecutive developments for a better understanding of the prehistory of Kalimantan in the regional context.

This paper will present and discuss some data from Liang Jon (2007-2008); Liang Abu (2009-2012); and Liang Pemalawan (2013). Our observations on the type of raw materials and knapping technics used, show some distinctive characteristics among these sites. However, homogeneityfrom a typo-technological point of view tend to appear in long chronological periods within this region. Hence, the lithic industry in Kalimantan seems to have some similar features (ie. homogeneity in long chronology) with several Indonesian prehistoric sites from the Late Pleistocene and Holocene periods.


“Comparing differences and convergences in some ISEA’s rock art” (@15th EurASEAA)

Comparing differences and convergences in some ISEA’s rock art

Jean-Michel Chazine

As more and more research programs on Rock Art and its corresponding prehistoric anthropology are conducted throughout I SEA, the author has had the opportunity to observe and thus compare some Rock Art sites from Kalimantan/Borneo and those of Misool’s island (Rajah Ampat District/West Papua) area. Their common rough karstic environment being similar, they are nevertheless totally opposed, the first located far inside the inland rain forest, while the second is embedded in a marine/lacustre space. It is nevertheless interesting to try to compare on a structuralist approach on what their supposed differences would be built and if actually, they would not display the same answer to the same problems or universal questions, from Pleistocene to mid-holocene periods. The common, if not almost universal presence of stencilled hands on cliffs or caves panels besides representations of local fauna being thus possibly one of the linking bind.

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