Advertisement

A Maritime Route Brought First Farmers to Mainland Southeast Asia

  • Charles F. W. HighamEmail author
Chapter
Part of the The Archaeology of Asia-Pacific Navigation book series (AAPN, volume 1)

Abstract

The domestication of rice first took place in the Yangtze River Valley. It is argued that the expansion of farming communities to the south reached mainland Southeast Asia starting in the late third millennium BC. The conjunction of new archaeological and bioanthropogical information, and the re-examination of older reports, is beginning to shed light on the southward expansion of Neolithic rice farmers. The existing evidence suggests that a maritime expansion took place, originating in the lower Yangtze and spreading south along the coast of Fujian to Lingnan and then into Southeast Asia. This shift brought farmers into a wide range of new habitats long densely inhabited by indigenous hunter-gatherers. Three key sites document this maritime expansion in Southeast Asia. Man Bac is located in Bac Bo, the Red River area of Northern Vietnam; An Son is one of several sites in the Dong Nai Valley of Southern Vietnam; and Khok Phanom Di is located on the former estuary of the Bang Pakong River in Central Thailand, where a new analysis of cranial and dental variables has linked the inhabitants to the migrating farmers. Yet the population’s adaptation to a marine estuarine habitat made rice cultivation marginal at best, and the new settlers turned instead to hunting and gathering, even as they continued to maintain a fully Neolithic material culture.

References

  1. Bellwood, P. (2007). Overview. Cambridge Archaeological Journal, 17, 88–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bellwood, P., Oxenham, M., Hoang, B. C., Dung, N. T. K., Willis, A., Sarjeant, C., & Piper, et al. (2013). An Son and the Neolithic of southern Vietnam. Asian Perspectives, 50, 144–175.Google Scholar
  3. Bentley, A., Tayles, N., Higham, C. F. W., Macpherson, C., & Atkinson, T. C. (2007). Shifting gender relations at Khok Phanom Di, Thailand: Isotopic evidence from the skeletons. Current Anthropology, 48(2), 301–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Castillo, C. C., Tanaka, K., Sato, Y.-I., Ishikawa, R., Bellina, B., Higham, C. F. W., & Chang, N., et al. (2016). Archaeogenetic study of prehistoric rice remains from Thailand and India: Evidence of early japonica in south and southeast Asia. Archaeological and Anthropological Science, 8(3), 523–543 (2016).  https://doi.org/10.1007/s12520-015-0236-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chang, K. C. & Goodenough, W. (1985). Archaeology of southern China and its bearing on the Austronesian homeland. In W. H. Goodenough (Ed.), Prehistoric Settlement Of The Pacific, Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 86, 36–56).Google Scholar
  6. Deng, Z., Qin, L., Gao, Y., Weisskopf, A. R., Zhang, C., & Fuller, D. Q. (2015). From early domesticated rice of the Middle Yangtze Basin to millet, rice and wheat agriculture: Archaeobotanical macro-remains from Baligang, Nanyang Basin, Central China (6700-500 BC). PLoS ONE, 10(10), e0139885.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0139885.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dodo, Y. (2010). Qualitative cranio-morphology at Man Bac. In M. Oxenham, H. Matsumura, & D. K. Nguyen (Eds.), Man Bac: The excavation of a Neolithic Site in Northern Vietnam. Canberra: Australian National University. Terra Australis 33:33–42.Google Scholar
  8. Fuller, D. Q., Qin, L., Zheng, Y., Zhao, Z., Chen, X., Hosoya, L. A., et al. (2009). The domestication process and domestication rate in rice: Spikelet bases from the Lower Yangtze. Science, 323, 1607–1610.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fuller, D. Q., Sato, I., Castillo, C. C., Qin, L., Weisskopf, A. R., Kingwell-Banham, E. J., et al. (2010). Consilience of genetics and archaeobotany in the entangled history of rice. Archaeological and Anthropological Science, 2, 115–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gamble, C. (2007). No Neolithic revolution. Cambridge Archaeological Journal, 17, 91–93.Google Scholar
  11. Higham, C. F. W., & Thosarat, R. (Eds.). (1998). The excavation of Nong Nor, a prehistoric site in Central Thailand. Oxford: Oxbow Books and University of Otago Studies in Prehistoric Anthropology No. 18.Google Scholar
  12. Higham, C. F. W., & Thosarat, R. (2004). The excavation of Khok Phanom Di, a prehistoric site in Central Thailand, volume VII: summary and conclusions, Research Report No. XLVIII. London: The Society of Antiquaries of London.Google Scholar
  13. Huffer, D. G., & Hiep, T. H. (2010). Man Bac burial descriptions. In M. Oxenham, H. Matsumura, & D. K. Nguyen (Eds.), Man Bac: The excavation of a Neolithic Site in Northern Vietnam. Canberra: Australian National University. Terra Australis 33:135–168.Google Scholar
  14. Mason, G. M. (1991). The molluscan remains. In C. F. W. Higham & R. Bannanurag (Eds.), The excavation of Khok Phanom Di, a prehistoric site in Central Thailand, volume II: the biological remains (Part I), Research Report No. XLVIII (pp. 259–319). London: The Society of Antiquaries of London.Google Scholar
  15. Mason, G. M. (1998). The shellfish, crab and fish remains. In C. F. W. Higham & R. Thosarat (Eds.), The excavation of Nong Nor, a prehistoric site in Central Thailand (pp. 173–211). Oxford: Oxbow Books and University of Otago Studies in Prehistoric Anthropology No. 18.Google Scholar
  16. Matsumura, H. (2010a). Quantitative cranio-morphology at Man Bac. In M. Oxenham, H. Matsumura, & D. K. Nguyen (Eds.), Man Bac: The excavation of a Neolithic Site in Northern Vietnam, Terra Australis 33 (pp. 21–32).Google Scholar
  17. Ma, T., Zheng, Z., Wang, Q. C., Rolett, V. B., & Lin, G. W. (2013). Study on the phytolith and sporopollen of Zhuangbianshan site-New evidence to the rice farming activities of Tanshishan Culture, Fujian. Lingnan Journal of Archaeological Research, 13, 32–41. (in Chinese with English abstract).Google Scholar
  18. Matsumura, H. (2010b). Quantitative and qualitative dental morphology at Man Bac. In M. Oxenham, H. Matsumura, & D. K. Nguyen (Eds.), Man Bac: The excavation of a Neolithic Site in Northern Vietnam, Terra Australis 33 (pp. 43–63).Google Scholar
  19. Matsumura, H., & Oxenham, M. (2014). Demographic transitions and migration in prehistoric East/Southeast Asia through the lens of nonmetric dental traits. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 155, 45–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. McKenzie, K. G. (1991). The Ostracodes and Forams. In C. F. W. Higham & R. Bannanurag (Eds.), The excavation of Khok Phanom Di, a prehistoric site in Central Thailand, volume II: The biological remains (Part I), Research Report No. XLVIII (pp. 139–46). London: The Society of Antiquaries of London.Google Scholar
  21. O’Reilly, D. J. W. (1998). Nong Nor phase one in a regional context. In C. F. W. Higham & R. Thosarat (Eds.), The excavation of Nong Nor, a prehistoric site in Central Thailand (pp. 509–522). Oxford: Oxbow Books, Oxford and University of Otago Studies in Prehistoric Anthropology No. 18.Google Scholar
  22. Oxenham, M., & Matsumura, H. (2010). Man Bac: Regional, cultural and temporal context. In M. Oxenham, H. Matsumura, & D. K. Nguyen (Eds.), Man Bac: The excavation of a Neolithic Site in Northern Vietnam, Terra Australis 33 (pp. 127–33).Google Scholar
  23. Pietrusewsky, M. (2010). A multivariate analysis of measurements recorded in early and more modern crania from East Asia and Southeast Asia. Quaternary International, 211, 42–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Rolett, B. V., Zheng, Z., & Yue, Y. F. (2011). Holocene sea-level change and the emergence of Neolithic seafaring in the Fuzhou Basin (Fujian, China). Quaternary Science Reviews, 30, 788–797.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Sarjeant, C. (2012). The role of potters at Neolithic An Sơn, southern Vietnam. Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, Australian National University, Canberra.Google Scholar
  26. Sawada, J., Thuy, N. K., Tuan, & N. K. (2010). Faunal remains at Man Bac. In M. Oxenham, H. Matsumura, & D. K. Nguyen (Eds.), Man Bac: The excavation of a Neolithic Site in Northern Vietnam, Terra Australis 33 (pp. 105–116).Google Scholar
  27. Shinoda, K. (2010). Mitochondrial DNA of human remains at Man Bac. In M. Oxenham, H. Matsumura, & D. K. Nguyen (Eds.), Man Bac: The excavation of a Neolithic Site in Northern Vietnam, Terra Australis 33 (pp. 95–116).Google Scholar
  28. Thompson, G. B. (1996). The excavation of Khok Phanom Di, a prehistoric site in Central Thailand, volume IV: Subsistence and Environment, the Botanical Evidence (The Biological Remains, Part II), Research Report No. LIII. London: The Society of Antiquaries of London.Google Scholar
  29. Turner, C. G. (1990). Major features of Sundadonty and Sinodonty, including suggestions about East Asian microevolution, population history, and Late Pleistocene relationships with Australian Aboriginals. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 82, 245–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Vincent, B. A. (2004). Khok Phanom Di: The pottery, Research Report No. LXX. London: Research Report of the Society of Antiquaries of London.Google Scholar
  31. Whittle, A., & Bickle, P. (2014). Introduction: Integrated and multi-scalar approaches to early famers in Europe. In A. Whittle & P. Bickle (Eds.), Early farmers: The view from archaeology and science (pp. 1–19). London: The British Academy.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Yue, Y. F., Zheng, Z., Rolett, B. V., Ma, T., Chen, C., Huang, K. Y., et al. (2015). Holocene vegetation, environment and anthropogenic influence in the Fuzhou Basin, southeast China. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 99, 85–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Zheng Y., Crawford, G. W., Jiang, L., & Chen, X. (2016). Rice domestication revealed by reduced shattering of archaeological rice from the lower Yangtze Valley. Scientific Reports 6.  https://doi.org/10.1038/srep28136.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anthropology and ArchaeologyUniversity of OtagoOtagoNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations