‘Plants Other Than Rice’ from Liang Jon, East Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo

India Ella Dilkes-Hall1, Tim Ryan Maloney2, Pindi Setiawan3, Maxime Aubert2

1University of Western Australia, Australia

2Griffith University, Australia

3Institute of Technology Bandung, Indonesia

Folded into the agricultural ‘package’ put forth by Bellwood’s Austronesian expansion hypothesis, rice has been the subject of everlasting fascination by researchers working in South, Southeast and East Asia. Consequently, the timing of the introduction of rice to Borneo has been a primary research focus for macrobotanical enquiry, especially across the northern parts of the island where the majority of palaeobotanical research has been undertaken. In Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo), no previous systematic macrobotanical research, has meant no contributions have been made to the broader narratives on plant use in the past on Borneo. Archaeological excavations conducted at Liang Jon, East Kalimantan, revealed a rich archaeobotanical sequence covering the period from around 16,700 cal BP, until the late Holocene. This presentation focuses on ‘plants other than rice’ for the simple reason that no rice was recovered from Liang Jon. Instead, an excellent record of rainforest fruit exploitation is preserved. Information on diet, subsistence, toxic plant processing, seasonality, and changes in plant use over time create an understanding of localised food culture and palaeoethnobotanical practices at Liang Jon that help redress narratives formed from distant datasets often taken up as being representative regionally. Discussion takes us back to the core issue at hand—monomania around agriculture—and evaluates how we can overcome the discipline’s collective obsession, and work towards a more balanced (and, by virtue, nuanced) future for archaeobotanical research.