Cultural Continuity of Nut Cracking Tools in the Processing of Canarium Fruit in the Maluku Islands, Eastern Indonesia

Hermien Lola Soselisa1 & Priyanca Minerva Ch. Soselisa2

1Pattimura University, Indonesia

2Independent Scholar, Indonesia

Arboriculture played a significant role in the early prehistory of the Moluccan (Maluku) archipelago, Eastern Indonesia. Even today, arboricultural practices continue to contribute to the subsistence economy on many Moluccan islands. One of the tree resources that is still an important food resource in community diets is kanari (canarium). In this presentation, we focus on the tools and techniques used in processing canarium fruit, especially the nutcrackers. Archaeological, historical, and contemporary data show a continuity in the use of particular nut-cracking techniques through time. For example, anvil stones are recorded as early as 8860-3390 BP at a north Maluku site, and at Ambon site in central Maluku they are still in use at AD 1200. This technique continues until the present. Based on our ethnographic findings on several islands in Central Maluku, the hammer and anvil technique continues to be used to extract the meat from the hard shell of Canarium, even though chopping knives and metal hammers have been shown to simplify nut-cracking work. The development of new techniques in nut-cracking appears to be related to the pressures of the market, as well as cultural life and subsistence. However, the continued use of stone tools indicates that the ancient pattern of harvesting among nut collectors still continues.