Asian Perspectives, 1995 - Volume 34, Number 1 (Spring)
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Asian Perspectives is the leading peer-reviewed archaeological journal devoted to the prehistory of Asia and the Pacific region. In addition to archaeology, it features articles and book reviews on ethnoarchaeology, palaeoanthropology, physical anthropology, and ethnography of interest and use to the prehistorian. International specialists contribute regional reports summarizing current research and fieldwork, and present topical reports of significant sites. Occasional special issues focus on single topics.
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ItemReview of Asia's Cultural Mosaic: An Anthropological Introduction, by Grant Evans (ed.); Explorations on the Makran Coast, Pakistan: A Search for Paradise, by George F. Dales and Carl P. Lipo; Biological Adaptations in Human Dentition: An Odontometric Study on Living and Archaeological Populations in India, by Subash R. Walimbe and Shaunak S. Kulkarni; South Asian Archaeology 1989, by Catherine Jarrige (ed.); Palaeoethnobotany: Plants and Ancient Man in Kashmir, by Farooq A. Lone, Masooda Khan and G. M. Buth; Inventory of Monuments at Pagan, Volume I: Monuments 1 to 255, by Pierre Pichard; Money, Markets, and Trade in Early Southeast Asia: The Development of Indigenous Monetary Systems to A.D. 1400, by Robert S. Wicks; Khok Phanom Di: Prehistoric Adaptation to the World's Richest Habitat, by Charles Higham and Rachanie Thosarat; Art and Political Expression in Early China, by Martin J. Powers; The Archaeology of Korea, by Sarah Milledge Nelson; A Community of Culture: The People and Prehistory of the Pacific, by Matthew Spriggs, Douglas E. Yen, Wal Ambrose, Rhys Jones, Alan Thorne, and Ann Andrews (eds.); Inside Austronesian Houses: Perspectives on Domestic Designs for LIving, by James J. Fox (ed.); Australian Rock Art: A New Synthesis, by Robert Layton; Sahul in Review: Pleistocene Archaeology in Australia, New Guinea, and Island Melanesia, by M. A. Smith, M. Spriggs and B. Fankhauser (eds.); Indo-Pacific Prehistory 1990, Volumes 1 and 2, by Peter Bellwood (ed.); Report of the Lapita Homeland Project, by Jim Allen and Chris Gosden (eds.); The To'aga Site: Three Millenia of Polynesian Occupation in the Manu'a Islands, American Samoa, by Patrick V. Kirch (ed.)(University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu), 1995)
ItemThe Archaeological Excavation of an Outrigger Canoe at the Nasilai Site, Rewa Delta, Viti Levu, Fiji(University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu), 1995)This paper presents the results of archaeological excavations of portions of a late prehistoric/early historic Fijian camakau, or outrigger canoe. The excavations, conducted under the auspices of the Fiji Museum, were undertaken in 1987 at the site of Nasilai, in the Rewa Delta, Viti Levu, Fiji. The Nasilai canoe remains provide direct evidence of a medium-size outrigger canoe that had a cabin with upper deck situated on the canoe platform. This "early" feature has been known to scholars previously only on the basis of oral histories and historical references (Neyret 1976). Further, the Nasilai canoe remains provide the earliest direct archaeological evidence for the incorporation of a specifically Micronesian maritime technological feature into the Fijian canoe design. This is witnessed in a technique of mast fitting seen on the Nasilai canoe. The notched base of the mast, set onto a step placed on the platform of the canoe, permitted the entire sail to pivot in accordance with changing wind directions. This amphidromous canoe design is dated at Nasilai, on the basis of two He readings in combination with stratigraphic evidence indicating an absence of historic objects in the canoe-bearing stratum, to A.D. 1440-1830. The amphidromous canoe design had implications for regional seafaring-the newly incorporated technique permitted vessels to beat against prevailing winds, facilitating inter- and intraisland interactions and hence potentially larger sociopolitical trends. KEYWORDS: Pacific archaeology, Fiji, outrigger canoe, amphidromous, decked platform cabin, maritime technology.
ItemRice As a Prehistoric Valuable in the Mariana Islands, Micronesia(University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu), 1995)Although historic and linguistic sources indicate that the indigenous Mariana Islanders of Micronesia cultivated rice before initial Western contact in the early 1500s, it is not known when or why rice cultivation was adopted in these islandsthe only case in Remote Oceania. Recent excavations in Guam have confirmed the late prehistoric presence of Oryza sativa L. in rare pottery sherds, and the nature and timing of all the available evidence-from archaeology, palaeoethnobotany, linguistics, and history-suggest a solution to this puzzle. The adaptive significance of rice, a labor-intensive cultigen in comparison with the common Old World tropical staples of Micronesia (yams, taro, bananas, and breadfruit), may have been as a "valuable" in ceremonial exchanges and events that marked the late prehistoric period. The accumulating evidence for late prehistoric rice cultivation in the Marianas is summarized, and an explanation-sketch is offered for the adoption and use of rice as a high-prestige item. KEYWORDS: rice cultivation, Mariana Islands, high prestige.
ItemModeling the Development of Early Rice Agriculture: Ethnoecological Perspectives from Northeast Thailand(University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu), 1995)Ethnoecological research in northeast Thailand suggests that both wedand and upland rice cultivation emerged from a common beginning in manipulation of wild rice in seasonal swamps. The field research revealed extensive variants of wedand rice cultivation that show how it can be viewed as mimicking wild rice ecology and hence as an extension of rice's natural environment. This picture contrasts with the traditional portrayal of wedand rice cultivation as necessarily labor intensive, technologically advanced, and environmentally transformative. Upland cultivation of rice would have emerged as rice was grown in increasingly dry locales, necessitating genetic and physiological adaptations in nutrient absorption and timing of maturity. It is hypothesized that upland rice was then integrated into a preexisting swidden cultivation strategy. Furthermore, it is suggested that the early subsistence strategies of northeast Thailand included cultivation of wedand rice in permanent fields using extensive strategies, cultivation of uplands (of species yet to be determined) probably using shifting field strategies, as well as collection of diverse wild resources. KEYWORDS: rice, agriculture, swiddening, Ban Chiang cultural tradition, ethnoecology, Thailand.
ItemHuman Genes and Biocultural History in Southeast Asia(University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu), 1995)Southeast Asians share some unifYing traits within their biocultural diversity. In this report I discuss the hypothesis that temporal and spatial aspects of this unity reflect human settlement in Southeast Asia from the Thai-Indochina area out through Indonesia, and on to Australia-New Guinea, starting perhaps 40,000 or more years ago. Several rare or regional genetic variants are distributed from the mainland eastward to Indonesia, or on to New Guinea. Several cultural traits also show an easterly trend, suggesting that Island and Mainland Southeast Asia are culturally related in terms of a preagricultural past. Faunal distributions suggest that most of Indonesia's extant land vertebrates arrived prehistorically from continental Southeast Asia across a landmass now under water on the Sunda Shelf. This range expansion of animals, and also of humans, through Island Southeast Asia may have been the result of the periodic expansion and contraction of exposed land on the Sunda Shelf, caused by Pleistocene glaciations at higher latitudes. Together, these genetic traits, cultural motifs, and biogeographical considerations support the scenario of a pre-Holocene human expansion from the Thai-Indochina area through Indonesia. In contrast, today's language affiliations in Southeast Asia do not conform well to an eastward trend; they may be the products of recent, Holocene events. KEYWORDS: Sundaland, rare genetic traits, cultural traits, faunal distributions.
ItemFertility and Analogy in Pacific Palaeodemography(University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu), 1995)Understanding the palaeodemography of Pacific populations is fundamental to interpreting biological and cultural transformations in pre-Contact Pacific island societies, but skeletally based reconstructions of past demography are of questionable utility. This paper argues that the use of historic and contemporary population studies, which describe the dynamic of population change in ecological context, offers a particularly rich, but often ignored, source of material for palaeodemographic inference. Reasons for this underutilization include the notion that prehistoric and historic populations on islands were essentially dissimilar in structure and mode of change, most particularly that pre-Contact populations grew and had high fertility whereas post-Contact populations collapsed and were uniquely infected with fertility-inhibiting diseases. An examination of the available case studies shows that, on the contrary, there is no such clear dynamic that describes these ethnographically situated cases, except for a tendency to recover-often effectivelyfrom population collapse. Rather, structural similarities between pre-European and historic demographies allow analogies to be drawn backwards, providing an underused means for examining the ecological and behavioral correlates and tempo of population expansion, the nature of responses to population collapse, and repertoires of internal population regulation in Pacific prehistory. KEYWORDS: palaeo demography, fertility, Pacific islands.
Item34:1 Table of Contents - Asian Perspectives(University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu), 1995)