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12,000-year-old sequins trace at a shared tradition in Indonesian islands

12,000-year-old sequins trace at a shared tradition in Indonesian islands

2023-08-20 15:38:52

Inhabitants of three totally different Indonesian islands, 12,000 years in the past, had an analogous style for sequins.

A staff of Australian and Indonesian researchers have discovered that reflective shell beads, sewn onto clothes and different objects, was a typical development throughout the islands of Alor, Timor, and Kisar.

This implies there have been shared decoration traditions throughout the area, 12,000 years in the past.

The researchers examined beads that had been excavated from Makpan Cave, on the island of Alor, by archaeologists from the Australian Nationwide College and the Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia.

Makpan Cave.

Alor is roughly 100 km north of Timor, whereas neighbouring Kisar is roughly 50 km north.

“The time and ability required to create the tiny shiny beads within the numbers discovered archaeologically should have been intensive, suggesting that the beads had been an vital a part of the Makpan neighborhood’s repertoire of decoration,” says Affiliate Professor Michelle Langley, a researcher at Grifith College and lead creator on a paper in regards to the analysis, published in Antiquity.

Langley and colleagues used microscopy to match the beads, which got here from Nautilus shells, to bead beforehand discovered on Timor and Kisar.

“If you put artefacts below a microscope, a mess of tiny marks turn into seen you could’t see with the bare eye,” says Langley.

“All these tiny marks will let you work out how the artefact was made, the way it was used […] and what occurred to it after it was misplaced or discarded.”

“What’s attention-grabbing,” says co-author Dr Shimona Kealy, a researcher on the Australian Nationwide College, “is that Nautilus shells, which had been used to make the beads, are nearly totally absent from this discard pile of historical shellfish feasts, indicating that Nautilus was not collected for meals however particularly for crafting.”

People in archaeological pit
The dig in Makpan.

In addition to being genetically associated, Langley says it’s probably that the individuals who inhabited these islands within the Pleistocene period, 12,000 years in the past, had “a picture of an inter-island ‘neighborhood of observe’ with shared values and worldviews”.

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“The archaeological proof is indicating that there was a variety of interplay between the peoples of those islands — not solely seen within the shell bead ornamentation, however they’re additionally all utilizing obsidian (volcanic glass) from the identical supply (although we’ve not but discovered the supply),” she says.

Senior creator Professor Susan O’Connor, from the Australian Nationwide College, is heading off to search for the supply of this obsidian.

“There is no such thing as a doubt that the peoples of those islands had been actively shifting between the islands — utilizing boats — to work together with one another over 1000’s of years,” says Langley.

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