Abstract

The previous excavation by Tanudirjo and our recent excavation at Leang Sarru in the Talaud Islands, located between northern Sulawesi and southern Mindanao, reveal intermittent human colonization and marine exploitation in these remote islands as early as 35,000 to 32,000 B.P. The evidence indicates that humans migrated and colonized the northern part of Wallacea by ocean crossings of over 100 km, equivalent to the human migrations from southern Wallacea to Sahul, and Sahul to the Bismarck Archipelago during the late Pleistocene. The 14C dates obtained from the marine shell samples collected during our excavation and the earlier excavation by Tanudirjo, along with other archaeological evidence enable us to conclude that the site was occupied during at least four main periods: (1) the earliest phase during 35,000 to 30,000 B.P. ; (2) the intensive occupation phase during 21,000 to 17,000 B.P. , partly corresponding with Last Glacial Maximum (LGM); (3) the early Holocene during 10,000 to 8000 B.P. ; and (4) during the "Metal Age" with some ceramic evidence not identified by 14C dates. Such intermittent use of the site tentatively shows that humans in Wallacea might not have had the strategies and skills to sustain continuous colonization or habitation of remote islands like Talaud, having limited terrestrial resources during the late Pleistocene and even in the Holocene before the maturity of an agricultural system and knowledge as part of their subsistence strategies. We also discuss the past maritime exploitation and adaptation from the late Pleistocene to the early Holocene in the Talaud Islands.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-8283
Print ISSN
0066-8435
Pages
pp. 318-341
Launched on MUSE
2010-10-30
Open Access
No
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