Pleistocene Maritime Interaction Networks in Island Southeast Asia

Sue O’Connor1,2, Christian Reepmeyer3, Shimona Kealy1,2, Sofia Samper Carro1,2

1Archaeology and Natural History, School of Culture, History and Language, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University, Australia

2ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage, Australian National University, Australia

3Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Kommission für Archäologie Außereuropäischer Kulturen, Germany

Modern humans settled the Wallacean archipelago at least 47,000 years ago. They applied different strategies for island occupation in the northern Wallacean Islands than the southern islands. For the first 30,000 years following settlement these is no evidence for interaction between island communities across the archipelago. In the terminal Pleistocene ca. 17,000 years ago, things changed dramatically. New shell technologies and tools made on exotic obsidian appear, indicating the onset of exchange or interaction networks. Currently, evidence for this seems to be focused on the southern islands of Wallacea but some new items of technology, such as shell adzes, are found in widely dispersed islands, from Luzon in the Philippines to Manus in near Oceania. Here we present the evidence for these maritime networks and discuss what it may mean in terms of island connectivity.