National Geographic news article on the Sangkulirang-Mangkalihat karst / Article dans le National Geographic sur le karst de Sangkulirang-Mangkalihat

Vue du karst
Vue du karst

In a recent paper entitled “A Race to Save Ancient Human Secrets in Borneo”, the National Geographic highlights the importance of protecting the Sangkulirang-Mangkalihat karst biodiversity and, historical and cultural heritage. It hopes that efforts of archaeologists (MAFBO), biologists and conservation agencies will help this region of eastern Borneo to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Dans un article récemment publié, intitulé « A Race to Save Ancient Human Secrets in Borneo », le National Geographic réaffirme l’importance de protéger la biodiversité et le patrimoine culturel et historique du karst de Sangkulirang-Mangkalihat, où opère notre projet franco-indonésien MAFBO. Il insiste sur les efforts conjoints des archéologues, des biologistes et des organisations pour la conservation, pour permettre de classer au patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO cette région de l’est de Bornéo.

Liang Pemalawan (en)

Research history

L’abri sous roche de Liang Pemalawan / Liang Pemalawan rock shelter
Liang Pemalawan rock shelter

Liang Pemalawan was located during the 2010 archaeological survey conducted by J.M. Chazine and F.X. Ricaut. Many remains, found directly on the ground, were collected during the first visit to Liang Pemalawan (earthenware potsherds, lithic artifacts, funeral gifts, metal, and faunal remains). These first results suggested the regular and ancient frequentation of the site, and its archaeological potential.


Liang Pemalawan rock shelter (N1°32’5.84″ E117°18’15.67″) is a vast shelter facing west-northwest, opening 500 m east of the left bank of the Lesan River (Kelai River catchment) at the foot of a karstic massif belonging to the tertiary Oligocene landforms of the Mangkalihat peninsula. This site is included in the group of the so-called “Merapun caves”, which includes Liang Abu rock shelter (7.5 km southeast).

Liang Pemalawan is an erosive formation of karstic origin which extends on a roughly south-north axis, about 20 m long and 12 m wide (maximum), between the break of the steep slope and the back wall.


Cartographie du site de Liang Pemalawan avec implantation des zones fouillées Relevé MG et FXR./ Cartography of Liang Pemalawan and area excavated MG et FXR.
Cartography of Liang Pemalawan and area excavated MG et FXR

Planimetric excavations in squares D7 and E7 were conducted, and two test pits revealed 3 stratigraphic units (US1, US2, and US3). However, only 50 cm were excavated before a mass of fallen blocks was reached. Datation of a charcoal at the bottom of US3 in contact with the rocks gave a date of 720 +/-30 BP (BETA- 353017).

Archaeological materials

Several archaeological remains have been identified: lithic industries (482 artifacts), earthenware potsherds (504 artifacts), bones (faunal and human), teeth, terrestrial gastropod shell and shellfish (3 kg, around 5000 fragments), charcoal, ocher nodules and two metallic objects found on the surface.

Many traces of recent human occupation were present on the surface (metal boxes containing glass and bone beads, and bracelets in metal. In addition, Chinese porcelain, dated from the 19th and 20th centuries, are probably associated to the remains of sepulture (lungun).

La rivière Lesan, proche du site Liang Pemalawan / Lesan river, near Liang Pemalawan site
Lesan river, near Liang Pemalawan site

Citation: Ricaut F.-X., Grenet M., Plutniak S. and the MAFBO team. « Liang Pemalawan rock shelter presentation ». Online on 12th June 2015.

Liang Jon (en)

Research history

Bengalon river on route to Liang Jon

The Liang Jon site was located in 2001 and archaeological test pits were conducted in 2003, 2005 and 2008. This site has exceptional archaeological potential and is probably unique in this karst region. Consequently, an excavation program was initiated for this site in 2014 (geological and topographical analysis, OSL datation).

Location and description

Liang Jon rock shelter

Liang Jon (N 01°03’52.74”, E 117°16’24.36”) is a rock shelter located 35 m above the Meteng River, a small tributary on the left bank of the Jelai River (Bengalon River basin). The shelter opens at the foot of the western face of the Gunung Marang massif (recently named Gunung Gergaji by the authors). It extends roughly on a south to north axis for 30 meters. The width of the shelter varies from 10 m in the southern part, to 6 m in its middle part, to about 4 m in the northern end. A huge elongated rock, detached from the roof, separates the western part of the shelter from a steep slope. Due to this configuration in the shelter a considerable layer of sediment (> 8 m thick) has been trapped in the middle part of the site. This shelter is oriented to the west and is well-protected from the tropical rains. Today, it remains a dry location except at its northern end which has a modest karstic drip pan.



The stratigraphy of Liang Jon is based on the results of 5 test pits and 3 test pit trenches. The stratigraphy remains unclear due to a lack of reliable datations, and also because of the difficulties in reading the stratigraphy. At the bottom of test pit B we discovered a human occupation dated from the end of the Pleistocene (10 260 +/- 60 BP ; SacA 13859). Since the depth of sediment is estimated at around 8 meters, it is likely that earlier human occupation is present in the deeper layer of the site.

Archaeological materials

Many archaeological remains have been identified: lithic industries (> 4000 artefact), earthenware potsherds (> 1500 pieces), bones and teeth (faunal remains), terrestrial gastropod shells and shellfish, charcoal, ochre nodules, an individual burial (2544 +/- 30 BP, UBA-19 255) and a deposit of skull fragments (5634 +/- 35 BP, UBA-19257).


Topography of Liang Jon rock shelter, and location of test pits S1, S2, SA, SB

Citation : Ricaut F.-X., Grenet M., Plutniak S. and the MAFBO team. « Liang Jon rock shelter presentation ». En ligne le 12 june 2015. 


“Trophy Skulls” panel at the 2015 EuroSEAS Conference

Ling Roth, Henry, 1896, The Natives of Sarawak and British North Borneo, Volume 2, New-York : Truslove & Comba, p. 148.
Ling Roth, Henry, 1896, The Natives of Sarawak and British North Borneo, Volume 2, New-York : Truslove & Comba, p. 148.

Antonio Guerreiro, member of the MAFBO project, is organizing a panel entitled  “Unveilling Head Taking and Decorated Trophy Skulls (with a Special Focus on Borneo)” at the next conference, which will be held in Vienna, 11-14th August 2015  (

Panel abstract

In looking at ‘headhunting’ or ’head taking’ practices and ideas found in the continental and insular areas of Southeast Asia, – and especially in the great island of Borneo at the center of the Malay-Indonesian archipelago -, one is struck by the persistance of this multi-layered complex. It can be remarked that it links the social, religious and esthetic dimensions among the peoples following this custom until colonial times. Conversely, the approach advocated here stresses that it should be studied as a ‘total social phenomenon’. Then, head taking can be best approached from several points of view. In order to define the practice of head taking more clearly, we suggest that it can be considered as part of a ritual complex in which the killed individual’s head (or one of its parts, e.g. skull, jaw, hair, skin, tooth) was conserved as a ‘trophy’ or a ‘relic’ and used in various ways by the community (Coiffier & Guerreiro 1999 ; Hoskins 1996 ; Schefold 2007). During the 19th century, in the Western part of the archipelago, the rich forms of ornamentation of skulls in Western Borneo (Sarawak and the neighbouring Province of West Kalimantan) should be noted. They include engraving and the application of metal sheets to the crania, besides the insertion of wooden pieces in the cavities of the nose and cowries or nassa shells in the eyes sockets. In short, the objectivated human trophy becomes thus a ‘spirit’, either a servant or a protector, belonging to the longhouse or village of his murderers. As a pusaka, an inherited prestige good, the skull housing the spirit was also supposed to be a source of luck and fertility for the whole community, and not only for the head takers themselves. It is noticeable that some groups, e.g. the Kayan, disposed of old skulls as they lost their positive features and became malevolant (Hose and Mac Dougall, 1912 ; Mac Kinley 1976 ; Guerreiro 2012). From another angle, the panel will look at the questions relating to the display of such objects as human and animal trophy skulls deposited in Western Museums. The distinction of human trophy skulls and ancestor skulls is also relevant in the museographical context. What are the criteria used in the displays according to the type of Museum concerned (Natural History, Art, Anthropology, Culture…) ?

More information on the conference Website


Présentation du projet (fr)

La mission archéologique française à Bornéo (MAFBO) intitulée « Étude diachronique de l’utilisation des grottes et abris sous roche de Bornéo, et de l’histoire du peuplement » se déroule en collaboration avec le Centre national de recherche archéologique de Jakarta, Indonésie (Pusat Penelitian dan Pengembangan, Arkeologi Nasional).

La mission se déroule dans la province indonésienne de Kalimantan Est, dans les districts d’est Kutai et de Berau. Nos recherches s’attachent spécifiquement à deux bassins versants, ceux de la Lesan et de la Marang, où se situent les massifs karstiques les plus proches de la côte (mer des Célèbes). Zone d’interface, cette région offre la possibilité d’appréhender les dynamiques de peuplement et d’échanges entre le littoral et les espaces forestiers plus intérieurs.

Fieldwork location in Indonesia
Localisation en Indonésie

Nous développons une approche pluridisciplinaire (conjuguant les aspects biologiques, culturels et environnementaux) afin d’étudier l’évolution du peuplement humain dans cette région sur le temps long, de la fin du Pléistocène à l’époque actuelle. Nous cherchons à cerner ces populations à partir d’ensembles de restes archéologiques, d’identités culturelles contemporaines et anciennes (par l’ethno-histoire), et de marqueurs biologiques. Quels peuvent être les rapports entre ces différents aspects sur l’histoire des groupes humains dans cette région ? Peut-on identifier des changements et les associer à des effets de pressions, environnementales, démographiques, ou culturelles ?

Localisation à Kalimantan Est

Cette approche pluridisciplinaire a conduit à un renforcement du partenariat scientifique, tant sur le terrain que lors des analyses post-fouille. La collaboration s’est élargie et implique désormais quatre partenaires scientifiques indonésiens et cinq partenaires internationaux. La mission joue aussi un rôle pédagogique (vulgarisation scientifique, soutien aux étudiants indonésiens et formation continue). Elle contribue également à la conversation et à la valorisation des patrimoines locaux (archéologiques et ethnographiques, notamment à la galerie d’art et de conservation culturelle de Sangata). L’équipe de recherche, internationale, est composée de neuf archéologues, d’un géoarchéologue, d’un ethno-linguiste et de deux anthropo-biologistes (dont un doctorant). Lors des campagnes de terrain, qui se déroulent chaque année au printemps, trois à dix ouvriers locaux complètent, selon les années, cette équipe.


Fin de journée, retour au camp…
Fin de journée, retour au camp…

Project Presentation (en)

Fieldwork location in Indonesia
Fieldwork location in Indonesia

Since 2011, thanks to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (France) and Research Center for Archaeology (Puslit Arkenas, Indonesia), we have developed a collaborative and interdisciplinary French-Indonesian archaeological research project in the karstic rainforest region of East Kalimantan (Mangkalihat Peninsula, Indonesia). This project entitled “Human occupation of karstic area, Rock art, and settlement history of East Kalimantan (Indonesia)”, follows our 2005–2010 works that led to the discovery of the first and most ancient prehistoric rock art of Borneo. Since 2011 we aim to determine the chronology of human occupation and its technological development in this part of Kalimantan since Late Pleistocene/early Holocene.

Fieldwork location in East Kalimantan
Fieldwork location in East Kalimantan

Our diachronic project combines archaeological surveys and excavations, ethno-linguistic investigations and anthropobiological analyses. Located in the valley of Lesan and Marang river (Berau and East Kutai district), a region containing the nearest karstic mountains to the coast of the Celebes Sea, we investigate the population dynamics between the coast and the inland karstic forest. Further researches and collaborations are planned for the 2015–2017 period.


Liang Abu (fr)

Liang Abu : vue du site

Historique des travaux

Ce site a fait l’objet de deux campagnes de fouilles. Tout d’abord quatre sondages effectués en 2009 (J.-M. Chazine) correspondant à 4m2. La richesse du matériel obtenu et l’absence d’une chronostratigraphie de référence nous a décidé à fouiller plus finement une partie du site de Liang Abu en 2012 afin (1) d’estimer la puissance de la stratigraphie et (2) fouiller en plan le niveau riche en céramique identifié en 2009 (organisation spatiale des vestiges, présence d’éventuelles structures). La description du site et le protocole de fouille sont détaillés dans le rapport scientifique de 2013.


Liang Abu : sondages et tranchés 2009 et plan de fouille 2012 / Liang Abu Liang Abu rock shelter with 2009 test-pits trenches and 2012 planimetric excavation
Liang Abu : sondages et tranchés 2009 et plan de fouille 2012 / Liang Abu Liang Abu rock shelter with 2009 test-pits trenches and 2012 planimetric excavation

L’abri Liang Abu est situé dans la péninsule de Mangkalihat, à 130 kilomètres au nord-ouest des côtes du détroit de Makassar, dans un karst montagneux couvert d’une forêt tropicale. Ce site est localisé précisément le long de la rivière Lesan dans le karst du district de Berau, Est Kalimantan, Indonésie. Il a été repéré du fait de sa proximité de la grotte Gua Beloyot, grotte riche en peintures rupestres. Liang Abu est un abri (15m de long sur 5m de profondeur) orienté ouest, qui s’ouvre en rive gauche de la rivière Lesan, et fait face a une petite zone marécageuse.

Ce site est situé à 6 kilomètres du village Lebbo’ de Merabu. Les Lebbo’ représentent le principal groupe ethnique dans cette région intérieure depuis au moins un ou deux siècles. L’étude ethno-linguistique de leur tradition orale et de leurs pratiques culturelles est en cours afin de documenter les utilisations des grottes au cours du temps. Certains productions graphiques Lebbo’ présentent des similarités avec les peintures rupestres conservées dans les grottes avoisinantes.


Stratigraphie de Liang Abu 2012, section nord / Stratigraphic scheme of Liang Abu 2012 section north
Stratigraphie de Liang Abu 2012, section nord / Stratigraphic scheme of Liang Abu 2012 section north

Dix-neuf unites stratigraphiques (US) ont été enregistrées (Figure 1). Il s’agit d’unités sédimentaires distinguées sur base des caractéristiques différentielles du sédiment (nature, texture, couleur). Le substrat calcaire a été atteint à une profondeur d’environ 150 à 160 cm par rapport à la surface actuelle de circulation. Une série de 12 datations a permis d’avoir une bonne chronostratigraphie, avec une occupation en fond de sondage datée de la fin du Pléistocène (34 206 +/- 720 BP ; UBA-20838). Deux hiatus chronologique ont été identifiés dans la sédimentation (entre US3 et US4 et entre US12 et US13), dont la cause a encore a être éclaircie (anthropiques ou climatiques ?)

Matériel archéologique

Les vestiges découverts comprennent : des ossements de faune (13 729 fragments), des éléments lithiques (3 470 pièces), des coquilles de gastéropodes (1 456) et des fragments de céramique (1104). De nombreuses cauries ainsi que quelques perles ont également été découvertes. L’US2 est la couche qui présente la plus forte densité de matériels, suivie par l’US 10 et 12. Alors que certains matériaux sont concentrés dans certaines couches (céramiques en US1 et US2 ; coquillages en US10), le matériel lithique est distribué de manière homogène tout au long de la stratigraphie.


L’analyse techno-typologique de l’assemblage lithique a permis d’observer une large variété de d’éclats retouchés et de petites pointes sur éclat, n’ayant jamais été décris auparavant dans cette région. L’étude morphologique suggère que ces pointes ont pu être utilisées sur des matériaux tendres, comme du rotin, du bois ou des os. L’analyse des traces d’utilisation devrait préciser leurs usages.


Concernant les fragments osseux animaux, la plupart d’entre eux (~70%) sont indéterminables. Ces restes fauniques sont extrêmement fragmentés, et près de 40% de l’assemblage présente des traces de combustion. Les mammifères et les reptiles constituent les groupes taxinomiques majoritaires, alors que les oiseaux et les poissons restent rares. Parmi les mammifères, les Suidés (Sus cf. barbatus) sont le taxon le mieux représenté. Une industrie sur os a également été attestée et documentée à partir de 18 fragments présentant des modifications anthropiques.

Enfin, des dépôts funéraires récent (XX-XIXe siècle ; sépultures, natte en rotin et ustensiles de pèche notamment) étaient présents dans les cavités du karst surplombant l’abri.

Pour citer cet article : Ricaut F.-X., Grenet M., Plutniak S. et l’équipe MAFBO. « Liang Abu rock shelter presentation ». Mise en ligne le 12 juin 2015.

L’abri de Liang Abu vu des cavités karstiques / Liang Abu rockshelter, view from inside karstic cavities
L’abri de Liang Abu vu des cavités karstiques / Liang Abu rockshelter, view from inside karstic cavities

Indonesian archeologists survey the Meratus Mountains (South Kalimantan)

EurASEAA poster on Meratus surveys
EurASEAA poster on Meratus surveys (click to enlarge)

For some years, our colleagues from Balai Arkeologi of Banjar Baru (Regional Office for the Archaeology of all Kalimantan provinces) conducted surveys and testpits in the region of the Meratus mountains, in South Kalimantan. Their work contributed to a better knowledge of the distribution of archeological sites in Kalimantan, which unfortunately are under documented.

Depuis quelques années, nos collègues du Balai Arkeologi de Banjar Baru (le service régional d’archéologie pour l’ensemble des provinces de Kalimantan) effectuent des prospections et des sondages archéologiques dans la région des monts Meratus, à Kalimantan sud. Leur travail contribue utilement à préciser notre connaissance de la répartition des sites archéologiques à Kalimantan, qui comporte encore malheureusement de nombreuses zones non documentées.

Bambang Sugiyanto [see his ResearchGate page]and Restu Budi Sulistiyo two researchers from Balai Arkeologi, Banjar Baru, have recently presented some of their results at the 15th EurASEAA conference, that took place at the University of Nanterre (France, 6-10 of July 2015, see our report). They kindly accepted that we publish a copy of their poster and of its abstract on the MAFBO blog.

Bambang Sugiyanto [page ResearchGate] et Restu Budi Sulistiyo, deux chercheurs du Balai Arkeologi de Banjar Baru, ont récemment pu présenter quelques résultats de ces travaux à la 15e conférence de l’Association européenne des archéologues du sud-est asiatique (EurASEAA), qui s’est tenu à l’université de Nanterre, en France du 6 au 10 juillet 2015 (voir notre compte-rendu). Ils ont aimablement accepté que nous publions une copie de leur poster et du résumé sur le blog du projet MAFBO.

Archaeological surveys and Human occupation in the Meratus mountains (South Kalimantan, Indonesia)

Since 1995 and the excavations at Gua Babi and Gua Tangkorak (1995-1999), the Archaeological Institute of Banjarmasin (Indonesia) have undertook extensive archaeological survey in the Meratus mountains range of South Borneo (south Kalimantan province, Indonesia). Human prehistory in this region is poorly documented and understood, mainly due to exploration difficulties in this karstic region. Twenty years of survey have led to the discoveries of dozens of caves and shelters, some with rock art paintings and burials dating back to at least the early Holocene. Archaeological data are sufficient to start a preliminary comparison of the archaeological findings between the different region of the Meratus mountains. This poster aims to display the preliminary results of the Archaeological surveys of the karstic region of the Meratus mountains of South Borneo.

Prospections archéologique et occupations humaines dans les monts Meratus (Kalimantan sud, Indonésie)

Depuis les fouilles de Gua Babi et de Gua Tangkorak, de 1995 à 1999, le service archéologie de Banjarmasin a entrepris des prospections extensive dans les monts Meratus a sud de Bornéo (Province de Kalimantan sud, Indonésie). La préhistoire humaine est faiblement documentée et comprise dans cette région, principalement du fait des difficultés de l’exploration dans cette zone karstique. Vingt années de prospection ont conduit à la découverte de dizaines de grottes et d’abris, certaines renfermant des peintures rupestres ou des sépultures datables du début de l’Holocène. Les données archéologiques sont suffisantes pour entamée une comparaison préliminaire entre les résultats obtenus dans les différents secteurs des monts Meratus. Ce poster rend compte des premiers résultats de ces prospections.

(French translation by S. Plutniak)

”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.

“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.


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