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Ref ID: 37013
Ref Type: Book Section
Authors: Sémah, François
Sémah, Anne-Marie
Simanjuntak, Truman
Widianto, Harry
Title: Humans in Island Southeast Asia prior to Homo Sapiens settlement, with special reference to Java Island
Date: 2022
Source: The Oxford Handbook of Early Southeast Asia
Place of Publication: New York
Publisher: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199355358.013.1
Abstract: Human fossil discoveries in Java are anchored in the history of science and in Javanese culture. Looking back at the early steps of research is informative regarding the emergence of human paleontology and sheds light on the progressive understanding of natural factors and events involved in human evolution, a major chapter of it having been written in Southeast Asia. Java is part of the “Malay archipelago,” and its colonization by continental fauna and humans is closely related to the paleogeographic history of the Sunda shelf and to the geotectonic activity. Dispersals, exchanges with mainland, and insular endemism followed complex patterns which are only partly understood today. Stratigraphic sedimentary series are quite diversified throughout Java Island, and are present together with records offered by karstic fillings and river terraces. Combined stratigraphical, paleontological, and archaeological registers leads to the draft of a “storyline” that helps to identify research priorities in order to reach a better matching level between prehistory and the paleobiogeographical history of the archipelagos. One of the major issues that must be sorted out is an apparent linear evolution of Javanese Homo erectus, at odds with the record of repetitive exchanges with Asian mainland documented by the fauna. Such an entry point leads to numerous related questions, as for example human dispersals beyond the Wallace Line, the emergence of endemic forms, the possible coexistence of different forms of humankind, and the dissemination or isolation of cultural traditions.
Editors: Higham, C. F. W.
Kim, Nam C.
Page Start: 16
Page End: 37