October 9, 2010

Neolithic findings in Sumatra and West Papua

A brief note from the Jakarta Globe (via Stone Pages' Arhaeo News), detailing some Neolithic findings in Aceh, Norther Sumatra:

Takengon, Aceh. Two archeologists from Medan have found evidence that a village in Central Aceh district had been inhabited by prehistoric humans.

Ketut Wiradnyana and Lucas Partanda Koestoro announced on Sunday that they had found artifacts such as a a square stone axe, a niche, pottery pieces and a human skeleton inside a cave near Danau Laut Tawar, a lake in Kampung Mendale.

“One of our latest discoveries is a human skeleton which we found in the Ujung Karang Kebayakan area, another excavation site near Kampung Mendale,” Ketut said.

The skeleton’s exact age has yet to be confirmed, since the excavation is still ongoing.

Ketut said the artifacts would have to undergo a carbon dating test at the National Atomic Energy Agency (Batan).

Last May, residents of Jayapura district in Papua Province found prehistoric relics at two different locations.

Hari Suroto, head of a research team from the Archeological Institute, said locals who were digging at Kalkote, a small village in East Sentani district, came across pottery pieces now believed to date back to 1500 BC, or during the Neolithic Age.

The team also established that the same type of pottery was found in Vanimo, Papua New Guinea, in 1996.

Hari said Lapita pottery was previously discovered in many places in the Pacific region and the Bismarck Islands.

Residents of Kwadare village in Waibu district also found a bronze axe, which the archeological team said was made in 300 BC and originally came from Dong Son, North Vietnam.

The axe was kept by the village chieftain instead of being entrusted to the Archaeological Institute.

Hari said axe-making was introduced to Papua’s northern coastal regions by the Austronesian people.

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