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1. Quaternary Geology of Sulawesi (Fadhlan S. Intan)
2. Human Arrival and its Dispersal during the Holocene in Sulawesi (Harry Widianto)
3. Austronesian Diaspora and Its Impact in Island Southeast Asia and Oceania (Daud
Aris Tanudirjo)

4. Minanga Sipakko and the Neolithic of the Karama River (Truman Simanjuntak)
5. Pottery from the Neolithic Sites at the Bank of the Karama River (Bagyo Prasetyo)
6. New Insight on the Palaovegetation of the Minanga Sipakko Site (Vita)
7. Neolithic and Ethnogenesis of Enrekang (Irfan Mahmud)
8. Neolithic of Malawa (Irfan Mahmud)
9. Neolithic of North Sulawesi (Truman Simanjuntak & Siswanto)

10. Austronesian Cultural Traditions among the Kajang Tribe (Retno Handini and Irfan
11. Austronesian Cultural Traditions among the Toraja Tribe (Irfan Mahmud and
Retno Handini)
12. Langguage as a cultural marker? South Sulawesi Case (Daud Aris Tanudirjo)

13. Austronesian in Sulawesi: It’s Origin, Diaspora, and Living Tradition (Truman

A book that talks about the Austronesian-speaking people (henceforth called the
Austronesians) in Sulawesi, Indonesia, now exists among us. Written by researchers
from various disciplines of science, its materialization becomes significant because it
gives new insights regarding a phenomenal issue: the origin and diaspora of the
Austronesians. The publishing of this book is made possible due to an opportunity
given to the editor to conduct researches about the Austronesians in Sulawesi. The
researches were funded by the SEASREP Collaboration Research for the period of two
years (2004-2006). It is the results of those researches that are poured forth in this book,
supported by a compilation of articles written by researchers who are no strangers to
Austronesian studies.
It is undeniable that Sulawesi is a very important island in the understanding of the
development and dispersion of the Austronesians. Its geographical location at the center
of the Indonesian archipelago has made it a melting pot of various cultures throughout
the history. Its geographical condition, with deep oceans surrounding it, particularly the
Makassar Strait that is a deep trough separating Sulawesi from the Sunda land since the
Pleistocene period, never keeps the streams of animals and humans from coming to the
island. In some occasions, the island even functioned as a “stop over” before the
animals and humans extended their journey to the neighboring places. That is also the
case with the dispersion of the Austronesian-speaking people. Thus far data show that
the appearance of the Austronesian-speaking people in Sulawesi is related to their
diaspora in regional context within Southeast Asia and the Pacific. The rivers with the
upstream in the interior part and the available natural sources in the environment have
exposed the colonization of this area and ensure the sustainability of the settlement
since the initial appearance until now. The patterns of adaptation to the natural diversity
and its abundant sources as well as the geographical barriers that influences the
intensity of interactions with other areas have created cultural and ethnic diversities like
what we see among its population today.
The publishing of this book have brought the Austronesian studies in Sulawesi to a
new level. As the result of investigations carried out in a limited amount of time, the
articles presented here are initial explanations that still require more thorough analyses.
However, by performing sustainable researches with solid concepts, it is hoped that the
Austronesian studies will give better understanding regarding the history and culture of
the population, which live in Sulawesi and its surroundings nowadays.
This book is materialized due to the help of the SEASREP. This institution also
gives the opportunity to the editor to carry out a two-year research on the Austronesians
in Sulawesi. For your great help, we thank the institution. At last, we hope that this
book will inspire more researchers to study the Austronesians, a research area that has
not been widely investigated.

Fadhlan S. Intan
National Research and Development Center for Archaeology


Sulawesi forms the fourth biggest island in the archipelago. With an acreage of
189,216 km², it has strategic position in the midst of the island, in the east it borders the
Maluku islands, in the South Nusa Tenggara islands, in the east there is Kalimantan and in
the north it borders the Philipines. The shape of islands is very unique, at a glance it
resembles the letter "K" with its four arms of land stretching towards four directions,
bordered by deep gulfs. This geographical condition has made the islands to have long
coastline, reaching 5.630 km. (Encarta, 2005), with rich nature resources and easily to be
accessed from various direction.
The geology of the islands of Sulawesi belongs to the complex one due to the
combination of movements of uplifts, foldings, tectonics and volcanics. The islands has
been affected by the activities of the worlds three main plates vis the Indian oceans-
Australian plate located. In the south and relatively moving north wards, the pasific ocean
plate located in the east and moving west wards, and the Eurasian plate in the western and
northern part which is relatively stable. This complicaty is among others show by the
indistinct subduction belt in the North Sulawesi arm, the genesis of the ocean's crust rock,
mixed or side by side with the continental crust rock, the forming of the Makassar strait and
the time when collision occured of the West Sulawesi zone with the micro continents that
were assumed to be originating from the fragments of the Australian continent. Most
scholars assumed that the islands of Sulawesi was`formed because of the collision of two
arcs, that is the West Sulawesi Tertiary magmatic are with the micro continents that
detached them selves from the Australian continent during the Mesozoicum.
From the different dalings of molase sediments, for example in central Sulawesi in the
street of Poso, dated from the Pliocene (Simanjuntak & Supanjono, 1991) and in southeast
Sulawesi in the sheet of Kolaka, dated from early Pliocene (Simanjuntak et al. 1994) it was
assumed that the collision of the micro ontinents with the West Sulawesi zone has not
occurred at the same time. The collision of the Southeast Sulawesi micro continents with
the West Sulawesi volcanics are occurred before the early miocue (Sartono et al. 1995),
where as the collision of the Banggai-Sula micro continent occurred in middle-late Miocene
(Soekamto, 1975). This difference in time of the collision was caused by the difference of
shifting speed of the respective micro continents in differences. In frajectory despite its
complexity, the geological condition of this area can be explained by the tectonic plate
concept much followed by geologits at present (Soekamto, 1975). Simanjuntak (1993)
explained that the Sulawesi area presented several tectonic periods, viz the Cretaceous
Cordilleran Subduction, the Mesozoikum-Tertiary Spreading Tectonics, the Neogene
Tethyan Collision and the Quarternary Double Collision.
According to I Made Sandy, 1985 (in Eriawati 1996), Sulawesi is located at the
transition of the West Indonesian and East Indonesian rain regime regional. The transitional
line lies at approximately 120° E.L. This inter-tropical convergence area removes to the
North and South of the equator, in accordance with the sun's movement (Tjasyono 1987 in
Eriawati 1996). In this inter-tropical convergence area in general rains falls heavily, due to
the trade winds from the northern and southern hemisphere that meet here.
South Sulawesi has a tropical climate with a temperature of 31°-37°C along the coast
line. On every elevation of 200 m.a.s.l., the temperature drops about 1°C. In the south of
the peninsula the climate is also influenced by the change of direction of the wind blowing
on every change of the season. On late November till March, the wind blow from the West
bringing heavy rains to the West coast, the highest rainfall is in December till January.
Sometimes this West wind also brings a little rain to the central area up to the slopes on the
mountain rauge in the East, from April to October the wind blowing from the east bringing
has too heavy rains to the coastal area and lows lands in the eastern and central points of the
peninsula. The east wind brings heavy rains in May and June (Pelras, 1996).
Techtonostatigraphically the Sulawesi and surroundings area can be divided into 5
geological zones (Simanjutak e.a.1993), are the Banda Palaeozoicum micro continent zone
the East Sulawesi Cretaceous ophiolith belt, the Central Sulawesi late Palaeogene
Cretaceous metamorphs belt, the West Sulawesi Tertiary magmatic belt/arc and the
Minahasa-Sangihe Quaternary volcanic arc.
The islands of Sulawesi is in the western part bordered by the Makassar strait which is
assumed to be result of traching and spreading in Middle Tertiary (Katalili 1978). In the
Eastern part there are the East Sangihe upthrust, the Tolo upthrust, the Batui Duplex up
thrust, and in the Northern part there is the North Sulawesi subduction, when the North
Sulawesi ocean plate subducted below the Northern part of the West Sulawesi Mandala
(circle) (Hamilton 1979). The Sulawesi continent proper was cut by some main faults vis
the Kolaka and Lawanopo faults on the South Eastern arm, both were horizontal faults
turning to the left, which are still active till present (Surono et al. 1975), the Matano fault
was a horizontal fault which turned to the left and is still active (Ahmad, 1975), the Palu-
Koro fault oriented to the North-Northwest-Southeast was also a horizontal fault turning to
the left and is still active (Tjia, 1973), the Poso fault oriented North-South was an uptrusht
(Simanjuntak et al. 1991) which formed the contact area of the West Sulawesi zone with
the Central Sulawesi metamorph zone.

Quaternary Geology

Quaternary Geology also often referred to a young geology, covers the process and
geological occurrences on this planet since about 2 million years ago till the present, and
comprise the Pleistocene and Holocene periods since then much have occurred, being biotic
and abiotic proccess as well. Man appeared and developed in those periods so, all
occurrences and geological product turn the Quaternary era become most vital and
infuenced life when life on earth of million of years is to be shortened to only 30 minutes,
the Quarternary geology's age only covers a very short glimps, lasting only of the last 3
second. Nevertheless in this short geologycal contest, interest toward Quartenary geology
has been very great, because it was during the time main appeared for the first time,
evolved and countinued its existance untill the present.
The main source that produced deposits or material components for the formation of
the Quartenary geologycal area are rock originating from the volcanic arcs (Quartenary,
Tertiary, Mesozoic), the non volcanic arc and part of the continental shelf`s run. The
quartenary volcanic are covers the groups of islands of Sumatra, Jawa, the Lesser Sunda
islands (West and East Nusa Tenggara), Southeast Maluku Halmahera and North Sulawesi
Sangir Talaud. The denudation material resulfing from the tertiary-mesozoic volcanies have
generally experienced uplifts and deposited in basins dating from the Quaternary and
Tertiary as well this Quartenary sediment layer overlay the older sediment layers (Tertiary,
Mesozoic). This Quaternary layers were also often result of weathering processes of the the
rocks beneath which have changed into early soil (paleosoil).
The landscape covered by quaternary units are varied starting with flat land (beach,
flood plain,etc) hilly area and mountain range. The physical characteristic of the
Quarternary rock units are very much influence by factor of deposit sourcer, transportation
and sedimental environment. The Quaternary volcanic belt covers the Sunda arc (Sumatra
and Java), the Banda arc (West and East Nusa Tenggara, Southeast Maluku and North
Maluku) and Sulawesi-Sangir Talaud are the products consist of pyroclastic sediment,
lahar, tuff and lava out flow and beach terraces and reefs on volcanic islands.
The continental shelf area in geographical terms, covers the area refered to on the
Sunda shelf (parts of Sumatra, Riau islands, Kalimantan, Java, south China sea) and, the
Sahul shelf (Timor, Papua, Misool, Seram, Tanimbar, Aru and Kai), and part of the micro
continent (Sula-Bangga, Sumba, Buru, Buton). In geological terms, the Sunda Shelf forms
parts of the Asian continental rim (Sumatra, Kalimantan, Western part of Sulawesi, and
Java), and non volcano islands (Simelue, Nias, Sipora, Pagai and Enggano), wheres the
Sahul Shelf forms part of the Australian continental (Papua, Aru) non volcano islands
(Sumba, Timor, Tanimbar, Kai, Seram, Buru, Sula-Bangga). Quartenary deposits found in
this region are product of erosional activities of primeval rock that were later transported
and deposited in various sedimental environment beach terrace sediment and reef are
characteristics of Quartenary deposits on non-volcanic island.

The Lost (Vanished) Sea

According to a myth that calculated among the local population, the South area of
Sulawesi was formerly separated from the island of Sulawesi according to this myth, in the
past ships that sailed from Makassar strait going to the gulf of Bone has no need to turn to
the South at the Southern and of South Sulawesi in stead it just sailed through the lake
Tempe area and going straight to the east enterny the gulf of Bone. Another myth is found
in the La Galigo text and supplemented with oral tradition that made mention of the
existence of strait between the gulf of Bone and the Makassar strait. It was said that several
low lauds at present were in undated in the past. Apperantly in the month of the Cenrana
river, which at present forms a delta, in the past formed a large river mouth which narrowed
to become a one way route to the Solo area, then widened again to become a vast lake in
which water flowed from the lake at present known as lake Tempe with regard to the myth,
Buginese informants or Masenrenpulu are also convinced that the Southern part of the
South Sulawesi peninsula, South of the present lake Tempe, in the past formed are island so
that people can sail from the gulf of Bone straight to the Makassar strait.
The myth and assumption mentioned above was supported by scientific studies.
According to Sartono (1982), in the Tempe plain area during the Pleistocene period gravel
unit has been deposited is part of the Walanea terraces which is rich in artifacts and land
animal fossil. Subsidences of the general denudation floor in the Pleistocene caused the
intensity of erosion and denudacin, so that river sediment containing those artifact were
eroded and cut by the various patterns of the river flowing at that period. The eroding river
then deposited gravel units. The stages of uplifts caused the formation of river terraces
along the Walanea river at present where are 3 river terraces so that it can be concluded that
during the Pleistocene period at least three time of upplifts have occurred.
In the post-glacial period (Holocene) the surface of the sea rase again and inundated
lower areas, causing the Tempe area to be imundated. Evindences of this holocen
imundating can be observed for example by the coral linestone deposits found in the
Western part of the Tempe plain (North West of Pinrang). The extend of the imundated
area cannot be ascertained yet, and similarly the depth of imundating water. It was assumed
that at that time the area has been un habited by people. There is a possibility that it was at
that time that the oral taradition started to be calculated for hundred of years Holocene
people were already familiar with the thecniques of seafaring altouhgt still at the initial
slages because at the time the Makasaar strait and Java sea were generally already covered
Interesting note is that a that time, not all the Tempe plain area is covered by sea. The
finding of sealiments containing fluvio-estuarin facies in the Eastern part and marine
sediments in the Western part show that the Tempe plain formed a very vast lake, referred
to as the primeval Tempe lake this lake bordered with open sea towards the West, indicated
by the presence of marine sediments in the Western part. An other evidence at the presence
of the sea in the west era part was also found in the caves of the limestone hills around
Maros, where heaps of limestone cliffs with the same attitude. These shelters were formed
by sea waves that at that time inundated the plains around the limestone hills. It was
assumed that Holocene people inhabited the caves in these limestone hills which at that
time bordered the sea, wheres the vast plain around Maros at present was still sea.
Towards the sub Holocene period (early and old Holocene) the vast primeval Tempe
lake area experienced on uplift (orogenese), making this area shallow. This caused the
shiffting of the coastline in the South Western part move to the West, so that western part
move to the primeval lake Tempe area, and also the sea around Maros and along the West
cxoast of South Sulawesi changed into a flat plain vast and swampy. The uplift of South
Sulawesi was compensanted with the subsidence that occurred in the Makassar strait
effecting in faults shaped in terraces. On the spermonde shelf as shown by the rows of
islands with North-South orientation, with a gradual depth towards the middle of Makassar
strait (Sartono, 1982). This shallowing proccess made primeval lake Tempe broken into
several lakes as known at present, viz, lake Tempe, lake Sindenreng, lake Taparang
Lapombaka, lake Labulang. Which all are surrounded by swamps, that changes into a lake
in the rainy season. The shallowing of lake Tempe also caused the erosion of the primeval
lake sediments by the present patterns of the rivers flows, vis that of the rivers Walanae,
Salo Cenrana, and Salo Saddang. Even up to the present these big rivers forms the arteries
for envicomunication on the lake Tempe plain for the local population especially for the
areas that are still hard to be reached on in accessible by the land vehicles, for example the
local population can use speed boats or ordinary boats to travel to the villages along
Walanae rivers up to Sengkang area and from here by way of Salo Cenrana to the gulf of
Bone (Sartono, 1982).

The Makassar Strait, Sulawesi and Kalimantan

Based on the plate tectonic theory, the Makassar strait was formed by the separation
of Sulawesi from Kalimantan in the Quartenary period. Previously by this area formed vast
sea covering the North Sulawesi sea in the North, and in the South Sulawesi sea in the
South plate tectonic activities controlled collisions and separatims of Sulawesi with
Kalimantan. The main tectonic process that controlled the formation of Makassar strait,
according to the theory, formed a transform fault process and sea floor spreading at present
the strait has depth of ± 3.000 m with a width of about 380 km (the distance from Sulawesi
to Kalimantan). In the Makassar strait area there is a link between the eastern part of
Kalimantan with the Southwestern part of Sulawesi these two area originated craton dating
from cretacous that was connected to the Sunda shelf (Burrolet 1981). The Makassar strait
formed a marginal basin flanked by Sulawesi and Kalimantan. In this area there is the
Makassar trough, streching North-South (Katalili, 1978).
The sedimentation basin that developed in South Makassar strait, generally show a
relatively similiarly rock profile and has a wickness that worried between 3000 m in the
Southern part and 8000 m in the North. These basins are the Kutai, Pamukan, and south
Makassar basin, that generally was controlled by the fault structure based on the correlation
between the land distrubution model and the track location (Duval e.a. 1992 and Cahyo,
1997), the direction of the main sedimentation came from the Kalimantan rim, expect in the
Southern part (the South Makassar basin) where the sedimentation came from the height
and the southwest viz the Paternoster height and in the western part of Sulawesi island.
There were two structural patterns that deveploped in the Makassar strait; viz
1. The structural pattern in the North West-southeast direction. This pattern formed an
upthrust which was the result of an indicated compression of the Pre-Neogene
subduction process (up to early Miocene) and belongs to the subduction belt formation
of this structural pattern was assumed to take place at the same time with the formation
of basin at the distal part or at the deeper part of the sea.
2. The structural pattern in the North East-South West direction. This pattern present a
growth fault. Which lands to go parallel with the Kalimantan rim. The formation of
this growth fault was an indirect result of a process that took place at the time when the
surface of the sea reached its lowest point or was assoceated with the shale diapirism at
the basin part dating from the late Miocene.
According to katalili (1978) the formation process of Makassar strait started in the
Pliocene (epoch). At that time the Makassar strait was closed by movements towards the
west of Sulawesi that reached Kalimantan. The first opening movement of Makassar strait.
Started with the inistial rotation fault reached the eastern part of Kalimantan towards the
northwest and the Southern part of Sulawesi during the Quartenary period, two spreading
centers were formed, that is in the North and South of Makassar strait, both were connected
by the Paternoster shift fault which at present changes dexrally and gradually moved the
Northern part of the West Sulawesi are towards the east. Spreading on the South of the
Paternoster shift fault cannot continue towards the West because of the presence of the
thick continental crust (Kalimantan) the result was an anti clockwise movement,
accomodated by the subduction towards the east, this forming the volcanic in the South
Sulawesi at present known as Lompobattang mountain and Baruga mountain.
The anti-clock wise movement and spreading effect in Sulawesi last movement and
caused the termination or disconnecting of mount Lompobattang and mount Baruga from
the magma source at present the Palu-Koro fault still show symptoms of active movement.
This fault has made the South Sulawesi at the Northern part of Mandar gulf to be separated
from East Kalimantan and finally the strait of Makassar was formated as it is at present that
Sulawesi and Kalimantan had once been united was evidenced by the presence of mixed
rock dating from cretaceous on the South Sulawesi arm and Meratus mountain rauge in
Kalimantan. An other evidence was the same rock concentration in Southeast Kalimantan
that is, the Alino formation in Paniungan layer, peridotite and schist (Bemmelen, 1949).
The formation time of ophiolites in southest Kalimantan fell within the Jura to Cretaceous.
Pre-Tertiary similiarities with the rock concentration occurred lake in Barru and Bantimala
in South sulawesi.
Whitten (1987) assumed that West Sulawesi collided with East Kalimantan in late
Pliocene (3 mega years ago) which temporarily closed the Makassar strait and to be in
opened in the Quartenary period, altough no significant data supported this view thick Pre-
Miocene deposits in the Makassar strait provided indications that Kalimantan and Sulawesi
were once separated for at least 25 mega years during the period in which the sea level was
low, it was most probable that at that time island were present, particularly in the area west
of Majene and around the Doangdoang beach in the latter area the drop of sea level reached
100 meters, will cause the appeareance of land that almost connected Southeast of
Kalimantan with Southwest Sulawesi Northless an interesting observation was that the
countur of 1.000 meters below sea level on the east of Kalimantan was exactly similar with
the contour in West Sulawesi, so that its possibble that the Makassar strait at the time was
much narrower.

The Quarternary Period and the Migration Route.

During the Pleistocene particularly during the glacial periods many part of the world
were covered by which layers of ice therefore it was called the ice age Dilivium. This the
ice age was divided into 4 periods, Guns, Mindel, Riss, Wurm. These 4 periods of the ice
age were referred to as the glacial periods, alternated by three periods called the interglacial
(Sartono, 1979).
During the glacial periods the ice caps on the top of the volcanoes and high mountain
rauges spread and extended to the slopes and valleys around. The effect was various
creatures alive fled to areas free of ice layers, this causing the great scale in migration the
expantion of the ice layers caused the sea level to drop and in turn caused the drops of
ground water level and the denudating floor of the continents. Futher effects were that
many shallow parts of the sea became dry changed into land this connecting land that have
existed before, through these land bridges migration turn one continent the Pleistocene
(sartono 1979). The rise of sea level after the end of the Pleistocene has changed the
archipelago`s paleogeography, expecially with the tectonic process that occurred
continuously at the time, causing uplifts and subduction creating the present state of the
archipelago (Sartono, 1979 in Simanjuntak 1997). This basic change has at least its impact
on various aspects, among the others;
a. The change of land acreage and the change of the coastline, so creating groups of island
which effected in the change of envirotment, faunal and floral resource,
b. The submergence of the beach area and lowlands, effecting in the submergence of
occupational land with its available resources. The phenomena facilitated the mobility
(migration of people, and fauna to the hunterland),
c. This change of environment has its impact on human life, among others the
enhancement of adaptation towards the new environment which in changed the pattern
of subsistence and technology ,
d. The emergence of island groups effected in the disconnection of inter-insular direct
acces, except by sea.
Life in the Holocen on one land, showed a countiunity with that of late Pleistocene,
wheres on the other hand showed this arrival of migration of people and new cultures. The
termination of the ice age that has its background the climate change and brought about the
change in the archipelago`s palaeogeography, were no constaint to the spreading of
occupational and cultural development here,we observes the internal (autochton) and
external (allochton) developments. The internal factors were the development of local
cultures that have existed before as shown by the continuous chrono-cultural occupation of
caves since. The late Pleistocene up to early Holocene external factors came apparently
trough foreign influences by of migration. The palaeogeographical change after the
termination of the ice age, with the rise of sea level, apprently was no constrains to
migration or cultural contacts in this region the presence of the Hoabinhian on the East
coast of North Sumatra within the continental Southeast Asia context from the early
Holocen, and the cave painting in the eastern Indonesia within the Australian-Pacific
context, form evidences of these migrations.
Sulawesi with its strategic position in the middle of archipelago, has played an
important role in the dispersal of fauna (including human). During the Quarternary
evidences have shown that the island has always been part of the west-east migration route
or the other way around. The (deep sea) part of Walacea line that shetches from (East
Mindanao) has never dried, making Sulawesi always separatedfrom the western part of
Indonesia a region that during the ice age was united to form an extensive area of land - the
Sunda shelf, but the geographical constaints did not faunal migration (including man) from
the Asian continent Sunda shelf to this island similiarly, the strategic position of Sulawesi
as part of the Wallace islands area, bordered by deep seas from the Sahul shelf in the East
also did not deter the migration stream from and this region. The facts that besides fauna
from Asia, this island is also enriched by fauna from sahul shelf, this condition made
Sulawesi the meeting area of fauna from two regions, from Asia and Australia on the other
hand, its condition as an island has also affected the faunal development. The seas that
surround the island have at least limited the flow of gene exchange between the Sulawesi
fauna with those from the surrounding area. In the long run, its creates with specific fauna,
resulting an local evolution from the geographical isolation endernism of fauna on this
island among others presents; Celebochoerus heekereni, Elephas celebensis, dan Stegodon
sompoensis. from the other periods and Babyrousa babyrousa, Bubalus depressicornis
(anoa), ect from the recent periods.
The involvement Sulawesi in the migration route was not limited to the primeval
period, but it was repeated in later periods (see Simanjuntak in this volume). It has to be
said that Sulawesi is an island that is related or forms parts of events that have oocurred
within the Southeast Asian and Oceanic regional scope. Its strategic geographical positions
and condition as an island with a long coastline, facilitated access to the island, wheres the
rich nature resources have supported the continuely of life trough history. Geographical
constaints, particularly deep seas have not deferred the process of the human and faunal
dispersal to this island to some extent it even opened acces for further dispersal to the
surrounding areas. Within this context, Sulawesi with its complex geogical background and
specieficity of georaphy forms a crossroad for the dispersal of living creatures particularly
man and its culture since prehistore tunes up to the present.

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in Southeast Asia: The artifacts from the Wallanae depression, Sulawesi,
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Sulawesi. Gajah Mada University Press.

Harry Widianto
Yogyakarta Archaeological Research Sub-center


The several glacial periods that happened at the high and middle latitude areas during
the Pleistocene, have caused varied changes of sea levels in all over the world, including in
the Indonesian archipelago which is located in the equator. During those periods, when
most of the ocean water froze due to a drastic drop of temperature, regressions occurred,
sometimes the sea level dropped up to 100 meters. According to Molengraaff and Weber
(1921), regression of ocean water during the Würm glacial period reached 72 meters.
Meanwhile, de Terra’s calculation showed a sea level drop of about 120 meters during the
Mindel glacial period, which was the most intensive ocean regression during the
Pleistocene (de Terra, 1943)
Thus during the so-called glacial periods, the sea-level was dropped in varied depth.
Such variations had formed land bridges, which made possible the migrations of mammals,
including human, on the Sunda Shelf (from Southeast Asia to Sumatra, Java, and
Kalimantan) and the Sahul Shelf (Papua and Australia). On the other hand, the existence of
deep oceans between Kalimantan and Sulawesi, and between Sulawesi and Maluku placed
Sulawesi in a unique position : it was part of a specific migration route from North China,
Taiwan, and the Philippines through Sangihe land bridge. The Wallace line in the west of
Sulawesi and the Weber line in the east, both extend south - north up to the Philippines,
mark the very specific status of Sulawesi regarded from the point of view of its faunal
dispersal. It seems that for Sulawesi, the migration processes during the glacial periods are
more determined and influenced by north – south movements rather than the west-east
Therefore, the end of the last glacial period at around 11,800 years ago was a special
phenomenon in the Indonesian archipelago. The layout of the islands was permanently
configured as its actual condition. Since the beginning of the Holocene, Sulawesi has
become an independent island, and the human occupation processes in this island, both the
north–south and west-east routes, can only occur through the sea. The very specific
position of Sulawesi during the glacial and interglacial periods gives special nuance to its
human occupation process. Sulawesi was part of a particular migration route since the
Holocene, with very distinct characteristics than those occurred in the Sunda Shelf in the
west and the Sahul Shelf in the east.
Human Remains in Sulawesi during the Holocene

Although there are plenty of caves that are identified as habitation places from early
Holocene, data on human remains in Sulawesi are negligible. The hard work of the
naturalists from Swiss, the Sarasin brothers –Paul and Fritz– at the caves of Sulawesi in
1902–1903 did not yield remains of the bearers of the Toalan culture. P.V van Stein
Callenfels, who investigated since 1933, accompanied by H.D. Noone and A.A. Cense,
also experienced similar situation (Stein Callenfels, 1938). Even though Callenfels
discovered various important cultural remains at Leang Tomatua Kucicang (Cave of the
Lonesome Old Man), not a single report was published. Likewise is the excavation at
Leang Sebang in the same area (Heekeren, 1972). It was not until H.R. Van Heekeren
conducted research in South Sulawesi that some human remains were found. From Uleleba
Cave at the central part of South Sulawesi were found artifacts and fragmented human
remains from two individuals. The remains consist of 12 cranial fragments, a fragment of
an upper right maxilla with two premolars, 5 isolated molars, 4 milk teeth belonged to a
child, and 1 incisor of old and young individuals. There was also an almost intact humerus,
indicating a race of small stature (Heekeren, 1972).
A robust mandible –but the teeth were missing– was also found at Karassa Cave
(Ghost Cave), in the karst of east of Maros, near the village of Patanuang AsuE. This site is
presumed to be one of the oldest sites of the Toala culture from the post-glacial period
(Heekeren, 1941). From Leang Cadang - near the course of the Wallanae River - in the
north of South Sulawesi near Soppeng, W.J.A. Willems and F.D. McCarthy found human
remains, consisted of mandible, maxilla, more than 2,700 isolated teeth, and some long
bones. They related to the upper Toala culture, characterized by arrowheads, mollusk
scrapers, and potteries, dated back to 4,000 years ago (Heekeren, 1941). Most of the teeth,
especially the incisors and canines (>85% in upper incisors and >32% in lower canines)
show clear shovel shapes, a strong characteristic of the Mongolid race (Jacob, 1967).
Based on the dimensions, those teeth are comparable to the teeth from Bola Batu at the
southeast of Leang Cadang.
The Bola Batu site, which is located in the karst hills of Bone, yielded a short but
heavy mandible with some molars and some cranial fragments. In this case, Leang Cadang
and Bola Batu are two sites in Sulawesi that were inhabited by the Mongolid race around
4,000 years ago. Based on their teeth, which are smaller than similar finds at Liang Toge
(Flores) and bigger than those from Gilimanuk (Bali) – two sites from the palaeometalic
period - it is assumed that the inhabitants of Leang Cadang lived after the Liang Toge
period and before the Gilimanuk period. Other human remain from occupational cave was
found at Lampoa Cave to the east of Maros, excavated by C.H.J. Franssen in 1948. The
find - associated with the Toala Culture - is a human skull. From Ara Cave, which is
located at the farthest southeastern tip of Sulawesi, facing the Selayar Island, Cense found
a small but strong mandible and a number of molars in 1933. The finds were associated
with stone arrowheads, bone spatula, and pottery concentration near the surface. Heekeren
(1937) assumed that the finds from Ara Cave were from the latest phase of the Toala
culture. The only neolithic site in Sulawesi that yields human remains is the site of
Kalumpang, which is located at the bank of the Karama River. The finds consist of an
incisor, 4 fragments of ulna bones, a fibula, and some metatarsals.
Those human remains found at a number of caves in Sulawesi which bear the
characteristics of the Toala culture - consist of fragments of skulls, mandibles, some other
long bones, and even human skeletons - never show traces of burial activities (Heekeren,
1972). This probably indicates that the inhabitants of those caves - with the context of
Toala culture - never bury their dead in the caves. Perhaps they buried the dead outside the
caves or exposed them in trees, after which the bones were distributed among their
families and relatives, a ritual that can still be found among the Negritos of the Andaman
Islands and among some Melanesian and Australian tribes.
Aside from the very few human remains compared to the many explored caves,
information obtained from them is also very limited. None of them was identified, both the
characteristics and the race. This situation is far different from those of human remains of
the kitchen midden sites in North Sumatra, or some caves in the northern and southern
parts of East Java at that time, or even the recent finds from the caves of Southern
Mountains in Yogyakarta and East Java (Widianto, 2002), which were generally
dominated by the Australomelanesid race. It is because van Stein Callenfels –or even van
Heekeren - were probably not accompanied by physical anthropologist like Mijsberg,
during their prehistoric researches in Sulawesi in the first half of 20th century. Due to this
situation, it seems that more researches on the human remains from South Sulawesi are
really needed, which at least will reveal identification up to their sub-species, like what
have been reported from other parts of Indonesia.
On the other hand, elements of jar burials were also found in Central Sulawesi and
Selayar. The artifacts that were commonly functioned as burial gifts in jar burials –such as
neolithic goods, pottery, and metal objects– show that the jar burials were from the
neolithic up to the palaeometalic periods. Similar burials were also found near the
megalithic complex of Bada, Central Sulawesi, but whether or not those burials were part
of the megalithic culture is still unknown. At Sa’bang, about 50 km north of Paloppo, 10
jar burials were discovered associated with pottery, bark cloth beater, grinding stones, and
iron arrowheads. It is assumed that those were secondary burials. There is no further
explanation about the human remains in those sites, so that the bearer of the culture has not
been able to be clearly identified.

The Human Arrival and Its Dispersal

Although there are many prehistoric habitation caves in Sulawesi, especially in South
Sulawesi within the context of the Toala culture, there are hardly human remains from this
island, particularly since a complete human skeleton has never been found. The condition
of the finds, which are mostly fragmented, made it difficult to determine clearly their racial
characteristics. The skull components, which are the main components in race
determination, were only found in fragments. Therefore, the identity is only vaguely
mentioned, like an individual with “small stature” or with “small teeth”. More apparent
condition is seen in the more than 2,700 teeth found at the Leang Cadang Cave, based on
investigation by T. Jacob (1967), are known to be the remains of Mongolid race. Similarly,
the mandible from the site of Bola Batu was also grouped into the same race, as also the
two individuals from the Uleleba Cave.
More complex racial issue is shown by two other mandibles from Karassa and Ara
caves. Both are short and small, but with strong postures. The cultural association and
stratigraphical position of those two mandibles are very different. The mandible from
Karassa Cave is from the oldest Toala horizon, while the one from Ara Cave is related to
the youngest Toala culture. In this context, Stein Callenfels assumed that the absolute date
of the youngest Toala culture –based on the glass bracelet from Leang Tomatua Kucicang
that was found among scrapers, arrowheads, bone spatula, and bark cloth beater– is 300 to
100 BC (Stein Callenfels, 1938). If this assumption is correct, then the mandible from Ara
Cave can be correlated with the neolithic culture from about 2,300 years ago, which was
commonly developed by the Mongolid race. On the other hand, the connotation of “the
oldest Toala culture” for the short and heavy mandible from Karassa Cave does not give
any implication, which can clearly distinguish it from the Mongolid characteristics.
With regard to the human remains from open sites in Sulawesi, although also very
fragmented, their racial status is more easily positioned than the cave-dwellers because
they were related to younger culture. Artifacts and burial customs from the jar burials in
Central Sulawesi and Selayar Island –which show the characteristic of the palaeometallic
culture from early AD about 2,000 years ago, and similar to those from Gilimanuk and
Plawangan sites– almost positively belonged to the burial culture of the Mongolid race.
According to Jacob (1967), the human remains of Kalumpang show Melanesian
characteristics. But this statement is debatable since the Kalumpang site is a real neolithic
site (Simanjuntak, 1995), while the human remains from this site is in a very poor
condition and fragmented. Therefore, as also the case with the cave-dwellers in context
with the Toala culture, the Mongolid race was the main bearer of cultures in Sulawesi.
This race inhabited the caves and developed the Toala culture - which was very dominant
in South Sulawesi - when they first arrived in the island at least at 4,000 BP. Their burials
were later found in Central Sulawesi and Selayar.
Even though human remains in this island can be traced back since the Pleistocene
based on the paleolithic tools like those found on the Wallanae Valley, their physical
evidences point to a very recent period. No human remains were found until now in
Pleistocene or palaeolithic contexts. The bearer of the chopper–chopping tool culture on
the Wallanae valley is still very problematic, both because of the uncertain dates and the
fact that no human remains have been found. So far the only human remains reported is
still limited from the prehistoric cave habitation sites dated back to the end of the first half
of the Holocene period, up to the jar burial sites from 2,000 BP.
Based on what could be identified from the very limited and fragmented human
remains, it is difficult to make sure the population race in the early Holocene in Sulawesi.
The Australomelanesoid race, which were generally occupied the habitation caves in early
Holocene, such as those dominantly found at Gunung Sewu (Widianto, 2002), did not
show their clear traces in Sulawesi. However, the flake and bone tools which commonly
developed since early Holocene in the other parts of Indonesia were also identified in
Sulawesi. Moreover in Sulawesi – and eastern Indonesia in general, including Kalimantan
- they developed cave paintings. The most common motif is the left hand prints with red
background. It was C.H.M. Heeren-Palm who discovered for the first time in the interior of
Leang PattaE Cave, followed later by C.H.J. Franssen who found the similar paintings at
Leang DjariE Cave near Saripan Cave. Other painting motif, like the ones found at Leang
Burung Cave, is a local pig, Sus celebensis, which can still be found nowadays (Eriawati,
Some data on human remains in Sulawesi prove that the people with Mongolid
characteristics did not immediately occupy open areas when they first arrived in the island.
They were identified as the cave-dwellers, before they finally came out into the open
places. This Mongolid people are assumed to come in Sulawesi since at least 4,000 years
ago. They originated from and being part of the migration of the Austronesian-speaking
people from the north, Taiwan, and dispersed rapidly southward to the Philippines and
Sulawesi, before they finally reached the Pacific around 2,000 years ago (Bellwood, 1997).
This migration route of the Austronesian-speaking people is called the “Out of Taiwan”
theory. They left their homeland somewhere in South China, around Fujian or Zhejiang,
before they arrived in Taiwan in 6,000 BP. Because of the rapidity of those migrants in
reaching the Polynesia, only about 4,000 years, the “Out of Taiwan” theory is also known
as the “Express Train to Polynesia” (Diamond 1988). The human remains from Leang
Cadang, Bola Batu, and Uleleba caves are included in this migration route, which then
moved eastward through the northern islands of East Indonesia to Micronesia, and further
In biological perspective, the existence of the Austronesian-speaking people, known
as the Mongolid race, in their dispersal in islands of Southeast Asia –including Indonesia-
is named the Southern Mongolids. They have the physical, blood, and other characteristics,
which form a unique characteristic complex (Jacob, 1967). Human skeletal data from
different sites show that the genetic flow of the Mongolids never reached Papua and other
nearby islands in the eastern part of Indonesia. In the east, human remains are dominated
by the characteristics of Australoids–Melanesians–and the extinct Tasmanid that belong to
the Arafurid sub-race (Jacob, 2002). During investigations on human remains in Southeast
Asia and the Pacific, Howells identified similarities of the specimens from Polynesia and
Micronesia with the phenotype characteristics of the Southern Mongolids, and he assumed
that the inhabitants of those two areas in the Pacific are the descendants of the Southern
Mongolids (Howells, 1973). They were not the descendants of the Australoid,
Melanesians, or Papua New Guinea people that also lived in that area. If this assumption is
correct, then there is a great possibility that the Southern Mongolid migrants had indeed
evicted the Australomelanesid people that were once inhabited the area. In term of the
successive life-spans of both races in Indonesia, the population change may occurred at
around 4,000 BP. It is assumed that “replacement theory” model in general had happened
to the Australomelanesid by the Mongolid race in Indonesia, but it is still in question in
Sulawesi as no clear Australomelanesid traces found so far in this island.


By studying the human occupation mechanism since the second half of the Holocene
until the end of the prehistoric period in Indonesia, it seems that the Mongolid race - or
more specifically known as the Southern Mongolid - has occupied the Indonesian
archipelago, except Papua and the islands in the eastern part of Indonesia which are more
dominated by the Papua-Melanesians people. Various data on human remains with
Mongolid characteristics at different types of prehistoric habitations –prehistoric caves and
jar burials– have given very important description about the mobility of the Mongolid race
since their first arrival in the archipelago. Generally speaking, the Mongolid replaced the
Australonelanesids at around 4,000 BP, but the last mentioned race was not totally extinct,
for their features still can be found within the human remains of Anjer, West Java, some
2,000 years ago. For Sulawesi in particular, it seems that the Australomelanesid
characteristics, which were very dominant in the Sunda Shelf during the first half of the
Holocene, so far left no traces in this island. The specific geographic landscape of
Sulawesi –which was bordered by the Wallace and Weber lines, and its close-related to the
Philippines and Taiwan during the Glacial Period– has separated the island from the
migration processes occurred in the Sunda and Sahul Shelf at the end of the Pleistocene
and along the Holocene. The human remains in Sulawesi that were dominated by the
Mongolid race, are the evidence of their role in the migration process of the Austronesian-
speaking people within the context of the “Out of Taiwan” theory. In this case, Sulawesi
was part of the main route of the migration theory, and was more influenced by the
migration mechanism from north to south rather than the east–west movement.

Bellwood, Peter. 1997. Prehistory of the Indo-Malaysian Archipelago. Revision edition;

Honolulu : University of Hawai Press.
De Terra, H. 1943. “Pleistocene geology on early man in Java”, Transaction of the
American Philosophical Society., Vol. XXXII, pp. 437-466.
Diamond, J. 1988. Express train to Polynesia. Nature, 336, pp. 307-308.
Eriawati, Yusmaini. 1997. “Gua Sumpang Bita : model kajian pemukiman skala mikro”,
Naditira Widya no. 02. Banjarmasin : Balai Arkeologi Banjarmasin, pp. 63-69.
Heekeren, H.R van. 1937. “Ontdekking van het Hoabinhien op Java. De Goea Mardjan
nabij Poeger (Besoeki),” Tijdschrift Batavian Genootschaaft., 77 (2), pp. 269-276.
Heekeren, H.R van. 1941. “Over Toala’s en de Toala-cultuur (Zuid-Celebes)”,
Natuurwetenschappelijk. Tijdschrift Voor Nederlandsch Indië, 101 (8), pp. 229-
Heekeren, H.R, van. 1972. “ The Stone Age of Indonesia”, Verhandelingen van het
koninklijk, instituut voor Tall-, Land-en Volkenkunde 61, The Hague: Martinus
Howells, W.W. 1973. The Pacific Islanders. New York : Scribner’s.
Jacob, T. 1967. Some problems pertaining to the racial history of Indonesian region : A
study of human skeletal and dental remains from several prehistoric sites in
Indonesia and Malaysia. Utrecht : Drukkerij Neerlandia.
Jacob, T. 2002. “Ras, etni, dan bangsa”, paper presented at the Pertemuan Ilmiah
Arkeologi IX (Kediri). Jakarta : Ikatan Ahli Arkeologi Indonesia.
Molengraaf, G.A and M. Weber. 1921. “The relation between Pleistocene glacial period
and the origin of the Sunda Sea, and its influence on the distribution of coral reefs
and on the land and fresh water fauna”, Proccedings of the Koninklijke Nederlands
Akademie van Wetenschappen, 23, pp.395-439.
Simanjuntak, Truman. 1995. “Kalumpang hunian sungai bercorak Neolitik-Paleometalik di
pedalaman Sulawesi Selatan”, Aspek-aspek Arkeologi Indonesia 17.
Stein Callenfels, P.V. van. 1938. “Archaeologisch onderzoek in Celebes”, Tijdschrift van
het Koninklijk Nederlandsch Aardrijkskundig Genootschap, 55, pp. 138-144.
Widianto, Harry. 2002. "Prehistoric inhabitants of East Java", dalam Truman Simanjuntak
(ed). Gunung Sewu in Prehistoric Times. Gadjah Mada University Press, pp. 227-

Daud Aris Tanudirjo

Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Culture Gadjah Mada University,

The dispersal of Austronesian-speaking people has been a phenomenal event in the

prehistory of Island Southeast Asia and Oceania. It was through this dispersal that
Austronesian language family is now spoken by more than 350 millions people in almost
half the globe, from Taiwan and Micronesia to the north to New Zealand to the south, and
from Madagaskar to the west to Easter Island to the east (Figure 3.1). Consisting of about
1200 languages, Austronesian has been considered as the most widespread language
family in the world before the Western colonialism began in the sixteenth CE.
The term ‘Austronesia’ was coined by Father W. Schmidt in 1899 to replace a
previous term Malayo-Polynesia suggested by linguist H. Kern to refer to a group of
similar languages spoken throughout western Indonesian archipelago to Polynesia. The
similarity of the language, however, had been noted by western travellers since the late
sixteenth CE. Cornelis de Houtman, a captain of Dutch-East Indian fleet which was sailing
to Banten (or Bantam) noticed the similarity between Malagasy in Madagascar and Malay
in western Indonesia. In 1708, H. Reland reported the resemblance between Oceanic and
Malay languages (Blust, 1984-1985). Based on similarities in language, body posture, and
cultural traits, Captain James Cook who sailed in the western Pacific between 1776-1780
has speculated that the Polynesian of Tahiti, Easter Island and New Zealand had been the
descendants of Malaysian, if not Micronesian (Gibbon, 2001). In early nineteenth CE, W.
Marsden convinced that the western Pacific population had originally come from Asia
(Anceaux, 1965). At this stage, those accounts were indeed speculation based merely on
superficial data.
It was only since the late nineteenth CE that more thorough researches were carried
out to validate the speculations. After an extensive linguistic study, in 1889 H. Kern came
to a conclusion that the languages spoken in Island Southeast Asia and Western-Pacific
could be classified in one language family Malayo-Polynesia and it had a common
ancestor which originated in Asian Mainland, probably Annam or Yunnan (Anceaux,
1965). W. Schmidt confirmed Kern’s conclusions though he preferred to use
“Austronesian” rather than Malayo-Polynesian. He went further to suggest an “Austric
Hypothesis” in which he proposed that prior to the formation of Austronesian language
family, the Asian Mainland population spoke a common language which he called Austric.
This language then splitted into two branches to become Austroasiatic and Austronesian
languages. Austroasiatic was spoken mainly in Asian Mainland, e.g. Mon-Khmer in
Indochina and Munda in South India, while Austronesian languages were spoken by
population who migrated into island Southeast Asia and Oceania (see Heine-Geldern,
Since then, more linguistic researches had been conducted and new hypotheses were
proposed. MacDonald suggested that Austronesian was Semitic in origin, while Polivanov
and Hinloppen-Labberton considered Japan as the origin of Austronesian (Anceaux, 1965).
Using his lexicostatistic calculation, I. Dyen (1965) believed that this language family
originated in Melanesia and then spreaded widely to Polynesia as well as Island Southeast
Asia. More intensive linguistic study carried out by R. Blust since 1970’s suggests that the
origin of Austronesian was Formosa (now Taiwan). Based on his study, Blust (1984-1985;
1995) is also able to reconstruct many proto-Austronesian vocabulary related to fauna-
flora, climate, and other natural conditions. These cognates demonstrate that the
Austronesian Homeland should be in a tectonically unstable area to the west of the
Wallace’s line with a distinct cold season and periodic typhoons. For him, Formosa meets
all these criteria.
In addition, Blust offers a new grouping and family tree for Austronesian language
family and possible dates for the split of the sub-groups. This has been very useful in the
effort to track the Austronesian diaspora. According to Blust’s scenario (see Figure 3.2),
by 5,000 BC the proto-Austronesian language had been established in Taiwan. The first
split within the developing foundation subgroup separated Formosan (Atayalic, Tsouic,
and Paiwanic) and Proto Malayo-Polynesian (PMP). This perhaps occurred around 4,500
BC following the initial migration of Austronesian-speakers from Taiwan to the
Philippines. Following this, PMP separated into various Western-Malayo-Polynesian and
Central-Eastern Malayo-Polynesian subgroups when the speakers left the southern
Philippines to move southwards into Kalimantan-Sulawesi and southeastwards into the
northern Moluccas at about 3,500 BC.
Central and Eastern Malayo-Polynesian then split about 2,500 BC when Proto-
Central Malayo Polynesian speakers moved southward to the Lesser Sundas and Proto-
Eastern Malayo Polynesian speakers moved eastward into north Papua. This eastward
branch gave rise to Proto South Halmahera-West New Guinea, and ultimately Proto
Oceanic. SHWNG is believed to have emerged about 1,200 years ago following a
replacement of earlier Austronesian languages in the region by back-migrations from West
Papua. Proto Oceanic flourished mainly in the Bismarck islands. By 2,000 BC, Proto-
Oceanic speakers had moved rapidly to colonize Island Melanesia, and by the beginning of
the Christian Era the Oceanic speakers has apparently settled throughout many of the
Polynesian islands.
Archaeology began to address the problems related to Austronesian dispersal in the
1920’s. For some archaeologists at that time, the distributions of stone adze types were
clear vestiges of this dispersal. Both P.V. van Stein Callenfels (1926) and R. von Heine-
Geldern (1932, 1945) was convinced that the quadrangular stone adzes found widely in
Island Southeast Asia and Oceania (Figure 3.3) were the material remains of Austronesian
migration waves from Southeast Asian Mainland as suggested by linguists H. Kern and W.
Schmidt. They proposed that this dispersal began around 4.000 years ago. H.O. Beyer
(1948) and R. Duff (1972) who studied the distributions of stone adzes in Southeast Asia
and Oceania came to indifferent conclusion.
In 1950’s, the cultural relation between Island Southeast Asia and western Pacific
was highlighted by the works of E.W. Gifford, an ethnologist who conducted
archaeological excavations in Fiji, Yap, and New Caledonia. At Lapita site, New
Caledonia, he uncovered a large collection of dentate-stamped pottery (Figure 3.4). On
examining the decoration, he recognised the resemblance between Lapita pottery and
pottery excavated by van Stein Callenfels along Karama River, Sulawesi (Kirch, 1997),
especially those from Kalumpang (Heekeren, 1972; Bellwood, 1997; Figure 3.5).
Meanwhile, in 1960’s archaeologist K.C. Chang who carried out researches in South
China and Taiwan becomes the first scholars to suggest that the homeland of Austronesian
speaking-people was in Formosa. He agreed that the ultimate origin of the population was
in South China. However, the initial Austronesian language and culture were emerged in
Formosa after the speakers settled this island for centuries (Chang, 1964). This was
manifested in the existence of Dapenkeng (formerly Ta’penkeng) archaeological
assemblage (Figure 3.6) which had some degree of similarity with early neolithic
assemblages in South China and Island Southeast Asia.
The discovery of Dapenkeng assemblages has attracted archaeologists working in
Lapita sites, Melanesia. J. Golson who continued Gifford’s works in Tonga, Samoa, and
New Caledonia (Kirch, 1997) contended that in term of its technique and decoration the
Lapita pottery may have developed from or at least been inspired by Dapenkeng pottery of
Taiwan and redslipped and impressed circle pottery from North Annam sites (Golson,
1972). Another archaeologist R. Green (1979) shared a similar opinion, but cautioned that
the immediate origins of the Lapita culture might have been in the New Britain-New
Ireland area. Later on, to incorporate similar archaeological assemblages discovered
widespread from Southern China to Melanesia, R. Shutler and J.C. Marck (1975) proposed
a hyphothesis suggesting prehistoric migration of an agricultural population from Southern
China through Taiwan and the Philippines into Melanesia. The migration splitted into two
direction in southern Philippines, one moving southwest towards western Indonesia and
the other moving east towards eastern Indonesia and island Melanesia.
Another prominent archaeologist who devotes his time and energy to seek for
explanation on the Austronesian diaspora is W.G. Solheim II, especially through his
extensive study on earthenware ceramic in Southeast Asia. His works have evidently
contributed valuable data and interesting insight to the history and mechanism of the
Austronesian dispersal. It was him who also coined the term Nusantao (‘Island people’) to
replace ‘Austronesian’ since the latter is considered to be properly used only for a
language family rather than for a people or a culture (Solheim, 1975; 1981). The term is
indeed a reflection of Solheim’s belief that the Austronesian-speaking people was
originally maritime-based population occupying the island-world of Southern Philippines
and Northern Indonesian archipelago (Figure 3.7). He disagrees with Chang in placing the
homeland of Austronesian speaking-people in Formosa. For him, it was too difficult to
cross the Taiwan Strait from Southern China to Formosa since the current was impassable.
He believes that the Austronesian homeland was located generally in the southern
Philippines (Mindanao) and northeastern Indonesia. He suggests that blade and blade-like
lithic technologies, shell tools and edge-ground stone tools were brought from eastern
Indonesia to the Philippines (Solheim, 1981; 1984-85). It is believed that Pre-Austronesian
people moved from their homeland northward through Luzon and the Visayas to reach
Taiwan and Southern China by 5,000 BC. Another branch of the Nusantao migration
traversed eastward to Melanesia. Solheim suggests that Sa Huynh-Kalanay pottery
tradition which was widespread in Island Southeast Asia might have been ancestral to
Lapita pottery. More recently, he defines Nusantao as natives of Southeast Asia, including
Southern China, who adopt a maritime oriented culture and speak Malayo-Polynesian,
probably from about 5000 BC. Genetically, they are varied from place to place as results
of admixture among Southern Mongoloid and Melanesoid with the former being the more
dominant one (Solheim, 1984-1985; 1996).
W. Meacham (1984-85) has made a similar point. He argued that the Austronesian
homeland was not Taiwan alone, but the whole island world of Southeast Asia within
Greater Sundaland, a triangular area formed with Taiwan, Sumatera and Timor at its apices
(Figure 3.7). Meacham believes that this area has been separated culturally from Mainland
Southeast Asia since the early Holocene as a result of the break-up of Sundaland into
islands following the postglacial rise of sea level. After a considerable time span, inter-
island cultural interaction was been established and this allowed to the emergence of
‘Austronesian culture’ from about 6,000 BC onwards. Hence, in Meacham’s view,
Austronesian culture is seen as a result of local evolution and cultural convergence within
the island world rather than colonization by an agricultural population from Taiwan, and
ultimately the Asian Mainland.
Some scholars working on Oceanic prehistory (e.g. Clark and Terrell, 1978; Terrell,
1981; White and Allen, 1980; Allen, 1984; Terrell et al., 1997; Terrell and Welsch, 1997)
have also been reluctant to accept a migration model for Austronesian origins. They
consider the proponents of this model as oversimplifying the problem and underestimating
a role for indigenous culture in the rise of the Lapita Culture. They prefer to explain the
emergence of Lapita as a result of local evolution within island Melanesia, especially in
the Bismarck islands. Proponents of this view of indigenous development seem to go along
with Dyen’s linguistic theory which suggests that Austronesian languages originated in
western Melanesia. Although multidisciplinary research was programmed to search for an
archaeological culture in the Bismarck Archipelago ancestral to the Lapita, no convincing
data have been obtained to indicate any major indigenous antecedents for Lapita culture
(Kirch, 1988a)
However, a leading scholar in Austronesia archaeology Peter Bellwood supports
Formosa as the Austronesian homeland. His comprehesive works in Island Southeast Asia
and the Pacific has brought him to substantiate Blust’s scenario, though he has slightly
different opinion as to the timing of the split of the language family and the migration of
the speakers. Concerning the Lapita, Bellwood (1978) emphasized the resemblances
between Kalumpang and Lapita. He also related the latter to the Yuan-shan pottery of
Taiwan and the Batungan pottery of Masbate (Philippines). For him, it is more likely that
the Lapita culture was brought by Austronesian-speaking people who migrated from
eastern Indonesia or the Philippines, through Melanesia into Polynesia. The distinctive
Lapita decoration might have been developed locally by these migrants within Melanesia,
but surely its stylistic roots were derived from island Southeast Asian.
A number of genetic studies were conducted to address this problem. At this stage,
the results appeared to support the view that the Lapita homeland was in Southeast Asia.
R. Kirk (1989) showed that Samoans are genetically closer to southeast Asians than to
Australian Aborigines and New Guinea Highlanders as evident from the distribution of
genetic markers and allele combinations in blood. This has been confirmed by A.S.M.
Sofro (1982), whose genetic study places Fijians close to the Austronesian speakers of
Indonesia and quite separate from the Papuan-speakers of New Guinea. More recent
Mitochondrial DNA studies by Stoneking and Wilson (1989) indicate that coastal New
Guinea populations differ from highlanders. The former tend to have low frequencies of
the East Asian-specific 9 base-pair deletion found also in Polynesians. Possibly, This has
been a result of population mixing in the lowland and coastal areas of western Melanesia
(see Sykes et al.,1995; Redd, 1995). This situation occurs in Island Melanesia as well.
Here, all Austronesian and many non-Austronesian speaking groups have 9 base-pair
deletion, except for some non-Austronesian speakers who live in the remote parts of
Bougainville and New Britain (Merriwether et al., 1999).
As the data from archaeological, linguistic, and biological studies increased quite
abundantly in recent years, Bellwood (1996a, 1997a, 1998) has recently been able to
elaborate his model for Austronesian dispersal. This model is renown as “Out of Taiwan”
model which is based mainly on a composite of historical linguistic and archaeological
data. According to this model, by 5.000 BP the small island of Formosa was colonized by
an agricultural population from Southern China, possibly Fujian or Zhejiang. This
migration was apparently triggered by the adoption of agricultural subsistence in China,
which led to population growth in that area. They brought to Taiwan domesticated pigs
and dogs; they probably cultivated rice, millet, sugarcane, yams; they made pottery and
barkcloth, used stone and bone tools (projectile points, stone knives, adzes); and they must
have had some kind of maritime technology (canoes, but with sails being linguistically
uncertain). Archaeologically, the existence of these early Austronesians in Taiwan is
evidenced by the Dapenkeng assemblage.
Driving by demographic pressure, about 4.000 BP, part of this population moved to
the Philippines and gave rise to Proto-Malayo-Polynesian language. In the warmer climate
here, the crop inventory was able to include breadfruit, coconut, banana, and sago. The
following millennium witnessed a rapid dispersal of Austronesian-speaking people
eastward and southward from the Philippines. The eastward movement went to
Micronesia, while the southward movement led to the settlement of the southern
Philippines. From here, the dispersal moved southward via Kalimantan and Sulawesi to
Java, Sumatera, the Malay Peninsula, South Vietnam, and later on to Madagascar in
Eastern Africa (all these areas being linguistically Western Malayo-Polynesian). Another
movement went eastward through the Moluccas to reach the Lesser Sundas (linguistically
Central Malayo-Polynesian), and also through Halmahera (linguistically Eastern Malayo-
Polynesian) to reach island Melanesia and Polynesia (linguistically Oceanic). To the west,
this dispersal culminated in the settlement of Madagascar about 500 AD and to the east
was completed by the colonization of Easter Island and New Zealand around 1250 AD
(Bellwood, 2005)
In Bellwood’s view, cereal cultivation was replaced by vegeculture as people moved
southwards and eastwards, as the equatorial island environment was less suitable for cereal
cultivation due to lack of seasonality, low sunshine incidence and high night-time
temperatures. Furthermore, there are indications that in most places the Austronesian
speakers who were Southern Mongoloid stock has become predominant over the former
Australomelanesoid inhabitants. In western and coastal Island Southeast Asia, it is
apparent that Austronesian-speaking people almost completely replaced or absorbed the
pre-existing populations to leave, in the present, just one enclave of non-Austronesian-
speaking population in the form of the Aslian-speakers (Austroasiatic family) of the Malay
Peninsula. In Western Melanesia, however, the situation seems to have been quite
different. There, Austronesian speaking people moved mainly along the coasts and never
penetrated deeply into the interiors of the large islands. This could be partly due to the
existence of agriculture or arboriculture prior to the arrival of the Austronesian-speaking
people, which allowed the indigenous people to maintain their population numbers. In
coastal areas, it is evident that Austronesian colonists have to some extent influenced the
indigenous population culturally, linguistically, and even biologically by intermarriage.
Convincing it may be, the Out of Taiwan model is currently confronted with the
results of some recent genetic studies (e.g Oppenheimer, 1998; Capelli, 2001) which
is seemingly in favour of “indigenous’ theory for Austronesian. This model perceives that
Austronesian-speaking people originally developed out locally from within the entire
Island Southeast Asia, especially the Sundaland or Wallacea (Oppenheimer, 1998).
population. The proponents of this model see the rise of sea-level in terminal Pleistocene
had forced population who lived in the coastal areas of the region to adopt a maritime
oriented culture. As they eventually mastered inter-island seafaring they spreaded to the
north, east, and west (Oppenheimer, 1998). More recent genetic study on mtDNA (see
Oppenheimer and Richards, 2001) demonstrate that the genetic marker “Polynesian motif”
might have been formed in east of Wallacea at least 5,000 years ago or even considerable
earlier. Thus, prior to the supposed migration of Austronesian from Formosa into this
region which took place around 2000 BC. In addition, none of the Polynesian mtDNA
lineages show any evidence of being derived from Taiwan. Another genetic study by
Capelli et al (2001) that certain haplogroups found among East Asian population are
evidently derived from Southeast Asia or even Melanesia where the haplogroup has been
existed since about 12.000 years ago. This means that the population moved northward
from Island Southeast Asia to East Asian Mainland rather than opposing direction.
However, it should be admitted that these recent genetic studies are not conclusive and
provide a rather complicated picture of genetic diversity among the Pacific islanders which
may be interpreted as supportive to both Southeast Asian (Mongoloid) as well as
indigeneous Eastern Indonesian and Melanesian ancestry (Gibbons, 2001).
On the other hand, most recent archaeological researches undertaken by Peter
Bellwood in Island Southeast Asia, especially Northern Philippines have resulted in a
strong support for the “Out of Taiwan” model. In 2004 redslipped pottery and a waisted
stone hoe (Figure 3.8) similar to those of Formosa have been excavated in Turongan cave
site on the eastern coast of Itbayat Island of Batanes group which lies in between Taiwan
and Northern Luzon. The oldest occupation layer in this site have been dated to about
4.500 BP. So far, there is no evidence that the initial settlement of this island group came
from the south via Luzon (Bellwood and Dizon, 2005). Earlier researches in Northern
Moluccas have also revealed that redslipped pottery and other material culture
characteristic to early ‘Austronesian cultural baggage’ emerged only about 3,300 BP or
slightly earlier (Bellwood, 2005). Such a clinal chronological order from Taiwan through
the Philippines to Moluccas apparently confirms the Out of Taiwan model. For the time
being, it appears that this model is still the most convincing to explain the dispersal of
Although the homeland and dispersal of Austronesian speakers are still hotly
debatable, its remarkable impact on the cultural history of Island Southeast Asia and
Oceania is undeniable. The Austronesian dispersal has triggered a process akin of
globalization around 3.500 – 2500 years ago which considerably changed this part of the
world. The following section attempts to explain how the Austronesian dispersal has
impacted the region.
With current understanding on the available data, it is possible to elaborate the “Out
of Taiwan” model for Austronesian dispersal and break up the entire time span of the
dispersal into five stages (see Tanudirjo, 2001; 2004).

The first stage (7.000 – 5.000 BP) covers the initial formation of Austronesian-speaking
population in Taiwan, as indicated by the existence of Tapenkeng (TPK)
material culture and Proto-Austronesian language around 5.500 BP, up to the
split of the TPK culture into several regional cultures as well as the break-up of
Proto-Austronesian into several Formosan languages, possibly around 5.000

The second stage (5.000 – 4.500 BP) witnessed the early dispersal of Austronesian-
speaking people from Taiwan to western Borneo. Predictably, a group of
people might have moved southward from Taiwan at this time, down the
western coast of Luzon and Palawan to reach Borneo, especially Sarawak,
about 4,500 BP or maybe earlier. This early movement accounts for the
relatively early appearance of rice cultivation in Sarawak and the occurrence of
cord-marked, carved-paddle impressed, and basket-impressed pottery, some
with rice inclusions, in this area (Datan and Bellwood, 1991; Doherty, et al.,
2000). This second stage seems to be discounted in the Out of Taiwan model as
Bellwood admits that there is no enough data to explain this early movement of
people (Bellwood, 2005)

The third stage (4.500 – 3.500 BP) is marked by the movement of Austronesian-speaking
people from Taiwan to settle the northern Philippines and the formation of
Proto-Malayo-Polynesia (PMP) language in that area slightly before 4.000 BP.
This stage probably correlates with the appearance of widespread,
predominantly red-slipped or otherwise plain, pottery in the northern
Philippines, beginning about 4,500 BP (Aoyagi et al., 1993; Bellwood, 1997a).
This movement might have been facilitated by the development of sea-going
canoes. As suggested by Rollet (2002), such a watercraft had presumably been
used around Peng-hu or Pescadores islands at least 6.000 BP (see Rollet, 2002).
This is also evident in PMP vocabularies which reflects some aspects of the
speakers’ material culture, including sailed and outriggered canoes, timber
houses, looms for weaving, and betel chewing. Rice and millet cultivation
seemingly became less important and were replaced, as settlers moved south,
by tuber and fruit crops (Bellwood, 1995; 1997). Soon after its formation, PMP
dispersed very rapidly eastward, especially to the Marianas Islands in
Micronesia, and southward through the southern Philippines to central and
eastern Indonesia and then western Melanesia. The existence of the Chamorro
language, considered to be an early offshot of Malayo-Polynesian (Reid,
1998), implies that this area was settled earlier than the currently available
archaeological dates, possibly at around 4,500 – 4,000 BP (Spriggs, 1999). The
southward movement of PMP speakers may be indicated by the spread of
relatively homogenous red slipped pottery from the southern Philippines to
Island Melanesia.

The fourth stage (3.500 – 2.500 BP) is the establishment of an extensive interregional
interaction sphere in the voyaging corridor. This had been the results of the
Austronesian migration pattern in which the migrated daughter communities
would have always maintained their relationship with the parent communities
in the homeland. This migration pattern are usually conducted by societies
practicing a focal subsistence strategy, in the PMP case a combination of
agriculture and maritime exploitation. According to Anthony (1990), such long-
distance migration can be undertaken by a leap-frogging process, in which ‘a
great distance may be jumped and large areas bypassed through the agency of
advance ‘scouts’ who collect information on social conditions and resource
potentials and relay it back to the potential migrants.” This kind of movement
would have allowed the PMP speakers to reach western Melanesia in a
relatively short period of time, possibly no more than a century, or even less.
The existence of a voyaging corridor of protected seas and low typhoon
incidence stretching from northeastern Indonesia to western Melanesia (Irwin,
1992) would have made this migration pattern possible. At that time
Halmahera, the Bird’s Head region and the Biscmarcks might have served as
the stepping stones in the leap-frogging movements. These three areas are now
regarded as the dispersal centres for Proto Central Malayo-Polynesian, Proto
Eastern Malayo Polynesian, and Proto Oceanic respectively. This stage also
witnessed the development of long-distance exchanges connected the Island
Southeast Asia – Melanesia – Western Polynesia as evident by occurrence of
Melanesian obsidian in Bukit Tengkorak site, Sabah and in early Naigani site,
Fiji (Kirch, 1997).

The fifth stage (2.500 – 1.000 BP) saw the regionalization process. In this stage, the long-
distance exchange declined and turned into more regional networks. This might
have been followed by social reorganization proceeded probably by social
unrest and warfare. Such a phenomenon could be happened when the
hegemonic status of the predominant culture and economy during the
globalization failed to compete with the increasing decentralisation and
competition between local subcultures (Friedman, 1994). To the east,
regionalization became obvious soon after the decline of the Lapita cultural
complex, as indicated by the disappearance of the ‘classic’ dentate-stamped
pottery after about 2,700 BP. In some areas, this was replaced by plain or local
decorated wares, and in other areas pottery ceased to exist. Social conflict and
even warfare escalated, as suggested by tendencies to built settlements in more
protective positions, and the emergence of obsidian spear-points in the
Admiralty and Bismarcks (Spriggs, 1997). In Oceania, exchanges took place
within more restricted areas and involved only a small number of communities
(Green and Kirch, 1997; Summerhayes, 2000), testifying that regionalization
truly occurred.
Regionalization seems to have occurred in the voyaging corridor after about 2,500
BP, as the western (Island Southeast Asian) and eastern (Island Melanesian) parts of this
region gradually became separated. The western area became more incorporated into the
expanding trading networks of the Mediterranean, India and China. Apparently, it was
through this network that eastern Indonesian commodities, such as cloves, nutmegs,
plumage, aromatic barks and woods, became known to the western world.
Of the five stages described above, the third and fourth stages have evidently had
tremendous impacts on the cultural history of this region. Following the rapid dispersal of
initial Malayo-Polynesian speakers from southern Philippines through Borneo and
Sulawesi to western Indonesia and Melanesia, predictably there would have been
counterstream movements in which some migrants returned to their homeland. As
Anthony (1990) points out, in many cases, long-distance ‘trade’ might in fact represent
goods carried by such return migrations. This return migration is important in that it allows
attenuation of contacts between parent and daughter communities, leading to wide
dissemination of knowledge about new regions. Settlement of some regions away from the
main migration route would have commenced during this stage, especially from the
previously settled areas. In turn, this would have propagated an even more extensive
interaction network.
It is likely that such an extensive interaction sphere would have been established in
the voyaging corridor not long after the initial Malayo-Polynesian migration into western
Melanesia, which might began as early as 4,000 years ago. These interactions not only
involved Austronesian-speakers, but also indigenous people who presumably spoke
different languages (possibly belonging to Papuan phyla). Some degree of cultural transfer
might have also occurred at this early stage, and skills and knowledge obtained in the
‘foreign’ lands would have been applied back in the homeland (Anthony, 1990).
The need to maintain relation with the homeland might have induced the
development of more advance sailing technology. Recent investigation shows that double-
canoe might have been the earliest Austronesian ocean-going boat form (Waruno, 1999)
which was likely to have developed within the Philippines – Northern Indonesian
archipelago. As extensive network was established PMP soon became the predominant
speech medium or lingua-franca over a very large area. This is not surprising, since the
pioneers who knitted together the extensive interaction network were Austronesian (early
MP) speakers. Such a rapid widespread distribution over a very vast area has been
supported by recent reconstruction of the relationship between languages wihtin Malayo-
Polynesian subfamily. More scholars now accept that the breakup of PMP was ‘rake-like’
(Blust, 1993; Pawley and Ross, 1993), indicating that this subgroup underwent lectal
differentiation rather than language fission. Hence, in the early years of its break-up, PMP
is best seen as an innovation-linked rather than an innovation-defined subgroup (for the
differences see Ross, 1997). Given that all the proto-languages reconstructible between
PMP and Proto-Oceanic share remarkably high percentages of cognates (higher than 84 %,
based on a 200 Swadesh’s word-list: Blust, 1993), it can be said that ‘these proto-
languages, stretched in space from the Philippines to the Bismarck Archipelago, were still
essentially one language (presumably a PMP to Proto-Oceanic continuum) with only
minor dialect variations during the whole dispersal period’ of about 800 years (Bellwood,
2000). This confirms that a considerable degree of social interaction, at least among the
Austronesian-speaking communities and probably also with other language speakers, was
maintained within ‘the voyaging corridor’, a region which served as the geographical
setting for those proto-languages between about 4,000 and 3,200 BP.
Equipped with ocean-going boat and PMP as lingua-franca, the Austronesian-
speaking people have accelerated communication and transportation. This become one of
the key elements to instigate globalization process. In such global circumstance, the
lifestyle of the MP-speakers would have been adopted widely in the region, including in
the islands of western Melanesia where the Lapita cultural complex developed. This
lifestyle was characterised by large open village settlements with rectangular (usually
stilted) timber houses, arboriculture and horticulture, animal husbandry (pig, dog,
chicken), betel chewing, the use of fully ground stone adzes, shell ornaments (as
‘sociofacts’), and pottery manufacture and use of pottery. Archaeological remains, dated
between 4.000 to 2.700 BP, discovered in the Island Southeast Asia (Bellwood, 1997) and
Near Oceania (e.g. Kirch, 1997 for Lapita cultural complex) demonstrate that such a
predominant culture was adopted widely in this area.
However, the dispersal of Austronesian-speakers did not create a homogenous
culture in the region. Rather, it initiated the so-called a ‘glocal culture’ ( = globalized-
localized; Robertson, 1992). This means that, while globalization has formed a repertoire
of cultural practices, its articulation in a certain (local) subculture will be determined by
the subculture itself. Consequently, on the global scale there will still be a variety of
cultures, but the boundaries between them will be fuzzy. Distinctive local characteristic
may be seen as a means for local subcultures to maintain their identities (Waters, 1995;
Friedman, 1994; Holton, 1998). Such a glocal culture is generally formed through ‘take
and give’ mechanism. In this PMP case, the indigenous culture might have also
contributed cultural elements in the areas of arboriculture and horticulture, exchange of
goods (obsidian, shell artifacts, animals, plants), and possibly some local aspects of sailing
technology and navigational knowledge. Many of the tropical and equatorial plant foods
with cognates from the PMP or lower subgroup levels, absent in the Proto-Austronesian
vocabulary (Blust, 1995), could have entered the economic repertoire through such
mechanism. Such plants include taro (Colocasia esculenta), yams and breadfruit
(Artocarpus altilis), all known to have been exploited earlier in western Melanesia. This
has been confirmed by biomolecular studies which indicate that various species of
bananas, breadfruit, sugarcane, aroid and yam were domesticated in the New Guinea and
Melanesian area (Lebot, 1999).
In term of archaeological remains, glocal phenomenon would give rise to highly
polythetic assemblages (see Clarke, 1968), such as many dated between 4,000 and 2,500
BP in Island Southeast Asia as well as in western Pacific. The resemblances in pottery
form and decoration between, for example, Lapita, Bukit Tengkorak and Kalumpang, can
be seen as consequences of such a glocal situation. Glocal processes fits well with the
‘rake-like’ subgrouping of the MP languages as a result of rapid spread followed by lectal
differentiation, rather than language fission (see above). In such a context, the ‘glocal’
process can also explain the continuing existence of non-Austronesian language enclaves
in the voyaging corridor, such as the Papuan languages of northern Halmahera, Morotai,
Timor, Alor, northeastern New Britain, central New Ireland and Bouganville.
The glocal process may also account for the result of recent genetic studies (see
above) which suggests that in Melanesia the distribution of Austronesian languages was
mainly a cultural process with little or no genetic input from Taiwan. Alternatively, the
likelihood that Lapita people and their Polynesian descendants were a biological admixture
between Austronesian immigrants and indigenous Melanesians is similarly great, since the
global process tends to induce intermarriage between people of different cultures and
origins. The complicated genetic data from this region (Gibbons, 2001) may reflect the
above situation.
It is clear from the above discussion, the Austronesian diaspora has had deep impacts
on the cultural history of Island Southeast Asia and Oceania. It was not merely a simple
migration which caused replacement of previously existed people and cultures in this
region. On the contrary, it was a complex process of interactions between different
populations and cultures. Such a process may be comparable to glocalization phenomenon
which usually simultaneously occurs in globalization process. It was through such a
process that the populations and cultures of this region had been homogenized as well as
heterogenized to form a great mozaic of diverse cultures and peoples. Moreover, for the
majority of ethnic group in this region, the Austronesian diaspora has been a cradle for
their ethnogenesis.

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Truman Simanjuntak*, M.J.Morwood**, Fadhlan S. Intan*, Irfan Machmud***, Kerrie

Grant**, Nani Somba***, Bernadetta Akw***, Danang Wahyu Utomo***.

* National Research and development Centre for Archaeology, Indonesia

** University of New England
*** Makassar Archaeological Research Sub-Centre.

One of the most important areas in the development of neolithic in Sulawesi is the
Mamuju area, where the Karama River flows from the interior areas of Toraja and Luwu.
The discovery of neolithic sites along the bank of this river set back to the finding of the
Buddha statue, Amarawati type, from bronze at Sikendeng, a village in the downstream
bank of Karama River. The finding attracts J. Caron’s attention, the Governor General at
Sulawesi and in 1933 requested A. A. Cense to perform excavation. Cense did not discover
artefacts from the Hindu-Buddha period, in spite of discovering prehistoric plain and
decorated potsherds and stone adze (Simanjuntak 1994-1995). In the time of the
excavation, the inhabitants notified the existence of those sorts of potsherds at Kalumpang,
which located in the upstream of Karama River. Again, the Governor General in Sulawesi
invited van Stein Callenfels to investigate the site. The excavation, which was held in 1937
at Kamassi Hill, in the side of Kalumpang village, found plain and decorated potsherds,
stone adzes, arrowhead, and other stone tools (Callenfels 1952: 82-93).
Attracted to artifacts from the Callenfels excavation, Van Heekeren, who was
performing researches in prehistoric sites in Sulawesi at that time, in 1949 continued
excavation at Kamassi hill (Heekeren 1950; 1972). The excavation findings were not
tremendously different to Callenfels, which consist of potsherds, stone adzes, arrowheads,
stone bark cloth beater, phallic symbol made from terrakota, and obsidians flakes. From
the excavation, van Heekeren received several information that those kinds of artefacts
also exist at Minanga Sipakko, a 4 km westside from Kalumpang, in the river bank of
Karama River. In the journey back to Makassar, van Heekeren undertook a surface
collection of materials eroded out by the river (Bulbeck and Nasruddin 2002).
Since the visit of van Heekeren, Minanga Sipakko site has to be one of prehistoric sites
attracted by researchers. Since 1990’s some observations or test pits have been performed
in this site. Collections were made in 1993 by Hasanuddin University, then in 1994, 1995
and 2002 by the National Research Centre of Archaeology (Simanjuntak 1994-1995;
Bulbeck and Nasruddin 2002). The explorations carried out during the 2004–2005 have
identified new sites – besides re-investigating existing sites – along the Karama River.
Those sites are Aboa, Tapian, Salukuweh, Pantaraan, Tarailu, Kaloa, Lattibung, and
Tambing-Tambing. The sites that have been known before include Kamassi, Minanga
Sipakko, and Sikendeng. Based on their assemblages of finds, those sites can be grouped
into pure neolithic sites with pottery and rectangular adzes, and neolithic tradition sites
where pottery and adzes were found together with metal objects and porcelain wares. The
pure neolithic sites are Sikendeng at the estuary of the Karama River, also Minanga
Sipakko and Kamassi at the upstream of the Karama River. The existence of those sites
indicates the importance of the neolithic occupation in this area, which continues up to the
historic times.
Among all those sites, Minanga Sipakko is the most important and can be viewed as
an eponym site for the neolithic site in Sulawesi. The very dense and various archaeological
remains conserved make the site as the most important one, giving the general view of
neolithic development and its characteristic in Sulawesi. This site and its surroundings are
parts of the Quarles Mountains range with the altitude reached approximately between 700
and 2,000 meters. Geomorphologicaly this region can be divided into units of plateu (5%),
weak undulation (20%), and strong undulation (75%). Located in the upper stream of
Karama River, this site is around 4 km in the west of Kamassi Site, Kalumpang District, on
the west (downstream) side of the junction between the Kamara River and its tributary
Minanga Sipakko. It is a river terrace, the top of which is 3 metres above the high water
mark of the river, extends back from the river for about 150 metres. The terrace is covered
by primary forest and canopied by the thick colluvium layer, only the southern part of the
site had already been heavily eroded. The upper soil layer of this part, which preserved
archaeological remains, had drifted away by the river water. This part is now much lower
than the actual site and is covered by boulders, pebbles, cobbles, and sands. The site
coordinates: 19027’35” E and 2027’30” S (map of Kalumpang 1:50,000 Ed 1 (1995).
Test-excavations were carried out at the site by the Indonesian National Centre for
Archaeology in 1994 (one 1 x 1 metre square), 1995 (two 1 x 1 metre squares) and 2002
(two 1.5 x 1.5 metre squares). The 1995 Test Pit 2, excavated to a depth of 197 cm,
showed that the uppermost 142 cm of the terrace was culturally sterile colluvium. A
radiocarbon date of 2570 + 110 BP (Bandung Laboratory) on charcoal from 155-160 cm
depth indicates the approximate age of the uppermost pottery. There is also a poorly
provenance date on carbonised deer bone from the 1994 Test pit of 2810 + 50 BP. The
excavations in 2002 over 10 days, carried out by the Balai Arkeologi Makassar and The
National Research Centre for Archaeology, reached a maximum depth of 2.4 metres and
confirmed that the uppermost 140 cm of the terrace was culturally sterile colluvium,
Pottery fragments, obsidian flakes, grindstones, adze fragments and bone were found from
140 cm depth right to the base of these excavations, which did not reach sterile deposits.
Excavation in two periods in the year 2004 and 2005 at this site was performed in a
trench, which run perpendicular to the eroding bank. A north-south line of nine 1.5 x 1.5
metre squares of grids were made from the edge of the river, up to the slope and onto the
terrace. This grids were located 10 metres west of the Karama-Sipakko junction. Seven
squares (M1-M5 and M8-M9) have been excavated.

The stratigraphy of the trench excavated shows 3 layers:

a) Layer 1 (brown layer) consists of layer 1a, a 70 cm of clay colluvium and layer 1b, a
70 cm of clay, gravel and boulder colluvium. The presence of this sterile layer is very
important to protect the underlaying occupation layer.
b) Layer 2 (Gray layer): 150 cm of clayey sand with occasional boulders. This is the
occupation layer containing high concentrations of pottery sherds, stone artifacts and
c) Layer 3 (Yellow layer): at least 140 cm of boulder, gravel and sand alluvium.
Culturally sterile.
The radiometric datings available from this site give the chronological occupation of
this site (tabel 2). Worth to be written is that several datings show unconnectivity, as seen
from the younger datings for the sample of a deeper level or older datings from the upper
level. This date disorder might be due to mistakes in sample technicque labeling or other
technical factors. Otherwise, those datings series show that this site had been occupied for
around 1000 years, from 3446 ± 51 BP (cal. 3834-3572 BP) to 2570 ± 110 BP (cal. 2350-
2850 BP).
New data from M5 excavation pit at the depth of 260–270 cm. Its date is 4950 ± 180
BP (un-calibrated). If this date is correct, it means that the initial arrival of the
Austronesian-speaking people in Sulawesi is earlier than 3500 years ago. Those datings
show that Austronesian has developed in the hinterland of Sulawesi for more than 1000
years. They used to live here, at least, since 3500 BP with the main subsistence of
exploiting various natural resources as an adaptation process to the Karama River

Tabel 2: Radiometric datings from Minanga Sipakko Site, West Sulawesi

Lab. no. Date Square: Z Material Methode

P3G-97 2570 ± 110 BP TPII: 155-160 cm Charcoal C-14

(cal. 2350-2850 BP)
OZE 132B 3800 BP Charred AMS
Bulbeck & TPI antler
Nasruddin 2002)
Wk-14651 3500 BP M1: 160-170 cm Charcoal C-14
Wk-17981 3343 ± 46 BP M1: 170-180 cm Charcoal AMS
(cal. 3690-3460 BP)
M1: 170-180 cm Charcoal C-14
M1: 230-240 cm Charcoal C-14
Wk-14652 3082 ± 50 BP M1: 240-250 cm Charcoal C-14
Wk-14651 3446 ± 51 BP M3: 155-170 cm Charcoal AMS
(cal. 3834-3572 BP)
Wk-14652 3082 ± 50 BP M3: 220-240 cm Charcoal AMS
(cal. 3388-3083 BP)
Wk-14653 2881 ± 46 BP M4: 200-210 cm Charcoal C-14
Wk-14654 2996 ± 41 BP M4: 250-260 cm Charcoal C-14
P3G-05 3690 ± 160 BP M5: 170-180 cm Charcoal C-14
P3G-05 4950 ± 180 BP M5: 260-270 cm Charcoal C-14
Archaeological Evidences
The excavation finds consist of potsherds, stone tools, bone tools, stone ornaments, faunal
remains, wood remains, and charcoals. Most of them were found in all layers, while the
rest are limited at the upper layers or lower layer.


Pottery is the most conspicuous finds and discovered along the layers. Generally
spread from spit 14/15 (depends on the excavation square) and continues until spit 27/28.
It is interesting to note that during this time, there were also major changes in pottery
decoration and technology. For instance, there is a high proportion of thin, red slipped
sherds in the lowermost deposits, while pottery in higher levels tends to be thicker, lacks
red slip, and has incised and stamped decoration. The potsherds assemblage showed a wide
variation in both decoration and form. Decorated sherds were predominately in Spits 18,
19, 20 and 21, across all squares of the trench. Incised and stamped motifs were the main
decorative technique found. Cutaway designs were also seen in some sherds, possibly from
pedestal type bases. Notably, red slipware, which is of higher proportions in the earliest
phases, has no decoration. Rims form the majority of diagnostic sherds found at the site.
Throughout the sequence, rims have a large amount of variation both within corresponding
spits and over time. Pedestal bases, spouts, pot covers, cover handles and carinations are
found throughout the sequence. Possible portable ovens and/or boxes were also excavated
but thorough analysis is needed on these and in fact on all sherds at this stage.
It seems there is a distinctive fabric changes through time within these trenches.
Across all trenches, the highest level of artifacts begins at Spit 14 (130 to 140 cm in
depth). Here there is a predominance of very low-fired dark brown coarse ware, which
begins to disappear by Spit 18/19. This brown coarse ware was extremely difficult to
excavate and transport for analysis. It is estimated that 50% of this material was lost in
processing. There is rough incised decoration on some of this material. A white plain ware
and an orange coarse ware are also dominant in these later phases. There is a slight decline
in numbers with all finds around Spit 18 and 19 but increased numbers and weights of
sherds are apparent in Spit 21, leveling out until the end of the pottery layers. Sherds
showing signs of being placed in a fire or with possible internal residue are throughout the
sequence. Again, there is rise around Spit 18, the similar decline in Spit 19 then a sharp
rise again around Spit 22.
All ware types clearly decline after Spit 24. These changes over time are consistent
with all the other trenches. Red slipped ware appears for the first time around Spit 18/19
and continues from Spit 20 as the main ware type found until the pottery levels finish at
Spit 27/28 (depends on the squares excavated). It does appear possible that pottery sherds
in the upper levels may have had a surface finish of red slip but that the slip has now
eroded away. At present, these preliminary counts indicate a sudden arrival of a number of
people either bringing with them the manufacturing technology of the red slipped ware or
continuous importation as the red slipped ware in the earliest phase of the occupation of
this site. Further analysis will continue at a later date.
The presence of the coarse and low-fired pottery in the late occupation period to
replace the red slipped pottery indicates a technological change. It seems that this pottery
is locally made, unlike the imported red slipped pottery. The chemical analysis on there
two kind of pottery and compared to the local clay chemical composition confirmed this
assumption. The chemical composition of the coarse pottery has the close similarity with
the local clay, rather than the red slipped pottery. The possibility is that the local
community tried to imitate the pottery technology. They manufactured pottery, but with
local characteristics as the adaptation for their local needs. This way, the result is the
typical pottery characterized by low-firing, coarse and tend to be big size, and with rich
decoration motifs (see Prasetyo in this volume).
It is interesting to note that some other kinds of pottery are present at this site. One
is classified as the fine, thin, and small pottery. They are normally of medium and big size
with rich decorations. This kind of potteries, thought still rare, were already present in the
early occupation, to be most denses in the middle occupation, and diminished in the late
occupations. In general this pottery assemblage are of globular, cylindrical, or carinated
forms and consists of bowls, dishes, flask, jars. The finger traces and the irregular
striations that are observable on the surface indicate the technique of fabrication, which is
hand made mixed with the slow wheel. Worth to mention the presence of the figurines in
pottery assemblage. One of them resembles a bird or a lizard. The local population call it
as “bulillik”, a kind of lizard which still lives around the site. The other figurine, is made of
sandstone. It is long and oval in form, with one end rubbed into the smaller size. This part
was carved around, forming a kind of phallus or human head. It is 8,5 cm in length, “body”
diameter 5 cm and “neck” diameter 3 cm.

Stone Tools

Stone tools are along the occupation layers, consist of adzes, pestels and mortars,
anvils, flakes, percutors and cores. The raw materials used are varied, but however, schiste
and slate are used for adzes; sandstone for grinding stones; andesite for pestels, mortars,
and anvils; obsidian and chert for flakes. Other raw materials used, very rare, are jasper,
and klasedon. Those stones, except obsidian, are available along the site in the form of
pebble, cobble and boulder. Adzes consist of various stages of manufacture, starts from the
earliest stage (forming stage) until the finishing one. Worth to mention the presence of a
high percentage of the broken unfinished adzes as the failure in the manufacturing process.
The reason that schiste or slate is a kind of stone difficult to flake to the form needed, due
to its softness and its longitudinal fracture structure. Pestels and mortars are relatively in
large amounts, mostly were from andesite with the size of pebble and coble. Most pestels
were made of long and oval natural river stone, and the mortars —with the function as
anvils— were made of flat round or oval stone. The marks of being used of these tools are
shown on the worn-out surface. Instensive using are marked on several mortars that
showed hollowed worn-out surface.
Most flakes that are found are of the waste flakes, the by-product of making process.
This kind of flakes was made of schiste and slate, the common material used for making
adzes. The variation of size might accertained them as product of knapping: bigger flakes
as the first and the smaller as the last. Other flakes, although rare, might have been made in
purpose from cores. This kind of flakes was made of silicified stones (chert, jasper,
calsedony), some of them showed use-mark without retouch on its edge. The typical flakes
is the obsidian flakes that were dispersed densely within the middle part of the occupated
layer (between 160 cm and 200 cm depth). Mostly are small in size (0.5 - 1 cm length).
Some of them had striking platform, bulb and ripples. Several larges pieces have been
made in the form of point tools, which remind us to the function as perforating tools.
Others have edges damaged confirming that the tools have been used. Regarding their
small sizes, it is difficult to picture the function of these tools. The absence of raw material
in this area and its surrounding bring us to the assumption that obsidian might had been
such an exotic one that been imported.
Other tools consist of grinding stone, anvil stones, pounding stones and mortars.
Those tools can function in relation to the adzes or other tools manufacturing or for other
needs. There are also core tools, flakes, and knives, and arrowheads, tools that seemingly
were used in relation with hunting activities. The latter, together with spearheads, were
found not only at the Minanga Sipakko site, but also at the Kamassi site. Similar projectile
points are elsewhere well known, from Luzon, Hong Kong, and farther north, from
neolithic Taiwan (Bellwood 1997).
An enigmatig tools were found in long prismatic form, from M2 (spit 23) and M3
(spit 20) excavation boxes. It is still unclear whether it was an unfinished chisel or another
kind of tool. Mostly were made of schist stone that were longitudinally cut in triangular or
quardrangular prismatic, or other form. Other lithic tools were hammer and core stone. The
hammer was a pebble stone that seemed to be used in the process of adze and flake tools
making. The core stones were debitages that were knapped for adzes or other tools. Ocher
was also found, and was assumed to be use as colouring material by pounding. A pounding
stone with ocher remains on its surface was found. It is quite interesting about the presence
of cobbles and pebbles, in their natural forms, in the occupation layer; they might have
certain functions.

Bone tools
Bone tools were uniquely found in the lower occupation layer. Those are small
pointed tools in 2,5 cm average long and 0,25 cm average diameter. Such type of tools has
not yet been found so far in the other neolithic sites. Generally, they were made of
vertebrae of fish and the long bones of macaca.

Animal remains

Animal remains were found within the occupation layer associated with potteries,
lithic tools and fire remains. Most of these remains were in the form of bones, skulls and
teeth. Pigs (Sus celebensis) was the most important quantity, followed by fishes, bats, rats,
bovids, and monkeys (Macaca niger). Others, scarcer, were fresh water fishes, shark ray,
aves, hystricidae, canidae, viveridae, cervids, and hominids. The presence of fish remains
in the faunal assemblage showed how the river biota has been exploited intensively during
the occupation, while the existence of the shark ray indicates the relation of the Minanga
Sipakko communities with the coastal area.

Seeds remains

Seeds were rare. The excavation in the spit 21 of the excavation box M2 had found
the shell of Aleurites moluccana. The others belong to the Fabaceae and the unidentified
seeds, found in the M1 (spit 20), M3 (spit 21 and 22) and M4 (spit 21 and 24) excavation

Wood remains

Wood remains were found in the M2 (spit 30), M3 (spit 25 and 26) and M5 (spit 17
and 27) excavation squares. Finding from M2 (spit 24) was a long artifact (a tool or an
ornament?), which one end had been perforated and the other end was broken. It was 2.7
cm length; the wide of the perforated end was 1.3 cm, and 1.3 cm thick. Mostly were
fragile, but the presence of wood in Minanga Sipakko was important considering its role in
settlement activity.

Firing remains

Charcoal, as firing remains, were found evenly within the layer of occupation which
confirmed the function of this site as a dwelling site. Even the blank and steriled coluvial
layer on top of the occupational layer was also consisted of charcoal. It was assumed that
the charcoal in this layer were the remains of forest firing, either intentionally by men or


Regarding its material, adornments are made of stone, wood, bone, and teeth. The
stone adorments consist of bracelet, polished and perforated are earrings, and oblate beads.
There is also an unfinished adornment in the form of small flat stone that was not yet
perforated. The other was in the form of a flat disk with a hole in the center. The form is
similar to the stone beads. There is also an adornment made of a long bone perforated in
one point. Another interesting form (adornment ?) was made of wood in oval form with
the end part bigger and perforated, while the other end was broken. A figurine, made of
sandstone, was found in the M2 (spit 24) excavation box. It was long and oval in form,
with one end decreasing caused by the making process. Its decreased end was carved
around, forming a kind of phallus or human head. It is 8.5 cm in length, “body” diameter is
5 cm and “neck” diameter is 3 cm. Bone adornments were from M4 (spit 17, 19 and 20).
The adornment from spit 19 was in the form of flat disk with a hole in the center. The form
is similar to the stone beads from M3 excavation box mentioned above.

The presence of a number neolithic or neolithic tradition sites along the Karama
River proved the importance of this river in the peopling of the Mamuju area since the first
occupation until present. This navigable river had become the very strategic as the best
access from the coastal to the hinterland and vice versa. The mountainous surroundings
may have been the geographical obstacle on exploring and entering the area at that time.
Regarding this condition, this river is also assumed to have an important role as inter-
communities trading infrastructure, even with the outside world. The discovery of spine
stringray in the lower occupation layer at Minanga Sipakko site demonstrates possible
contact between the upland and coastal communities in the early occupation.We think that
there had been goods exchange with the coastal community at that time. The upland
communities exchanged their agriculture commodities and technological products with
exotic and imported goods of the coastal ones. Such economic activities might have
continued for the long of occupation. Up to present, the role of this river as an access way
to the upland region still can be seen. Although the road between Mamuju and Kalumpang
can accommodate land vehicles, the Karama River is still used as water transportation by
using traditional or machinal boats.
This biggest river in the Mamuju area also provided the necessary water and aquatic
biota (fish, shrimps, etc). The presence of fish remains in the faunal assemblage showed
how the river biota has been exploited intensively during the occupation. The discovery of
small point tools in the lower occupation layer, made one assumed them as fishery tools.
Animals hunting was the other important subsistence of the Minanga Sipakko occupation
viewed from the presence of different kinds of animal remains. The other subsistence was
the food gathering or horticulture as shown by the findings of Aleurites moluccana seeds.
Those ecofact remains imply the use of edible seeds during the site occupation.
The making of stone adzes was the most prominent atelier activity at Minanga
Sipakko. This is shown from its prominent density and scatter throughout the occupation
layers. Slate and schist that were abundantly available around the settlement area had
enhanced the development of lithic technology in producing lithic implements. Due to the
richness of the adzes, it is probably not only used to exploit the surrounding area, but also
treated as one of the excellent products to be traded outside. The presence of the obsidian
artifacts at Minanga Sipakko is on question as the source so far has not yet been found in
the vicinity area. It seems that obsidian was imported material. The discovery of obsidian
flakes reminds us to the same materials from Sabbang Loang site in the Luwu region, in
the east of Kalumpang with the same chemical composition, dated to c. 2,000 BP (Bulbeck
and Prasetyo 2000). The other obsidian finds are reported from Paso site in North
Sulawesi, Gua Babi in South Kalimantan, and the Gua Tengkorak in the Sabah area,
Malaysia (Widianto et al. 1997; Chia 2003). The existence of the obsidian flakes in the
other neolithic sites inside and outside Sulawesi showed that they might be an exotic object
widely traded at that time.
The Austronesian prehistoric culture in Minanga Sipakko showed a gradual
development from the early until the end of occupation as seen notably from the
development of pottery. In the early stage, from the first occupation until 3,000 BP, the
occupation was characterized by the dominance of red slipped pottery, a typical pottery
found in the early Austronesian occupation in Taiwan, the Philippines and Indonesia
(Spriggs 1989). The red slipped pottery are generally plain, only some have decoration.
They consist of bowls, dishes, bottles, flasks, and jars. Their presence in the lower
occupation layer arouses a question: was it imported or local? It could be possible that
pottery was brought by the dwellers when they entered this area by the Karama River and
continued to import from outside Sulawesi. Besides red slipped pottery, another
characteristic of the early occupation is the presence of the small pointed bone tools
mentioned above.
From around 3,000 until 2,500 BP considered as a late stage of occupation, the red
slipped pottery and small pointed bone tools are no longer present. Here the thicker,
coarser and bigger (low fired) potsherds emerged. Those groups of pottery are much
coarser compared to the red slipped pottery. Those potteries were made of clay tempered
with sand, with a tendency that coarser inclusions occur in bigger vessels such as large
jars. The low firing in products made the very fragile. The most general shapes are big jars,
pedestals, boxes, and figurines. The appearance of this new type of pottery, which was
manufactured using simpler technology, can be seen as an effort of the local community to
produce its own pottery, and the products and technology used in the manufacture process
were adjusted to local necessities. Analysis result shows that this type of pottery was
locally made. There are also jewelries from bones and stones in the form of objects, which
are softly rubbed, or being holed for the place of hanger.
Entering the proto-historic period the Minanga Sipakko site, and the Karama river
basin in general, were still inhabited as evidenced by the discovery of a bronze bracelet in
the seventies. According to its owner (a local priest) the bracelet was found on the site’s
surface while he was hunting. The continuity inhabitation to the proto-historic and historic
periods is also shown in the existence of Neolithic tradition sites along the Karama River,
which are still inhabited until now.

Bellwood, P. 1997. Prehistory of the Indo-Malaysian Archipelago. University of Hawaii

Bulbeck, F.D dan B. Prasetyo, 2000. “Two Millennia of Socio-cultural Development in
Luwu, South Sulawesi, Indonesia”, World Archaeology 32 (1), pp. 121-135
Bulbeck, F.D. and Nasruddin 2002. Recent insights on the chronology and ceramics of the
Kalumpang Site Complex, South Sulawesi. IPPA Bulletin 22: 83-99.
Chia, Stephen. 2003. Obsidian sourcing at Bukit Tengkorak, Sabah, Malaysia. Sabah
Society Journal. Vol.20: 35-43.
Heekeren, Robert van. 1950. Rapport over de ontgraving te Kamassi, Kalumpang (West
Centraal Celebes). Oudheidkundige Dienst in Indonesië. A.C. Nix and Co.1949.
p.26 – 46.
Heekeren, Robert van. 1972. The Stone Age of Indonesia. The Hague. Martinus Nijhoff.
Simanjuntak, Truman. 1994-1995. Kalumpang: Hunian Sungai Bercorak Neolitik-
Paleometalik di Pedalaman Sulawesi Selatan. Aspek-Aspek Arkeologi Indonesia.
No.17. Jakarta: Pusat Penelitian Arkeologi Nasional.
Spriggs, Matthew, 1989. “The dating of the island Southeast Asian Neolithic”, Antiquity
63, pp. 587-613.
Stein Callenfels, P.V.van. 1952. Prehistoris sites on the Karama River. In University of
Journal of East Asiatic Studies. Vol. I, no.1.
Widianto, Harry, Truman Simanjuntak, Budianto Toha. 1997. Ekskavasi Situs Gua Babi,
Kabupaten Tagalog, Provinsi Kalimantan Selatan. BPA no.1. Balai Arkeologi

Bagyo Prasetyo

Sites Distribution along the Banks of the Karama River

The Karama River is a fairly big river with a strong current, has it upperstream area
around Kalumpang Village, located in the mountaineous area in the western part of Tana
Toraja. The river flows to the west and debouches in the strait of Makassar near Sempaga
village, it is estimated to be 93 km long. At present, as well as in the past, this river has a
quite high accessibility as an infrastructure that supports the communities mobility. Even
at present, it is clearly shown the great role this river has played in the communities in their
selection for land to settle which has formed a linear pattern along the riverbanks. Some
hundreds, even thousands of years ago the role of the Karama river as one of the
environmental factor for the determination of settlements’location, which has affected the
communities life. This fact is shown by the sites distribution along the Karama river,
starting from downstream, like the Sikendeng site with contains remains of prehistoric
nature (quadrangular adzes and pottery) and Sempaga site with remains of Hindu
characteristics (a buddha statue), up to the sites in the upstream area with remains of
prehistoric nature like Minanga Sipakko, Kamasi and Palemba (Stein Callenfels 1951).
Due to the discovery of these archaeological sites, the area of Mamuju became wellknown
as an important settlement area in Indonesia in the past.
Being located close to the Karama river, the sites like Kamassi, Minanga Sipakko,
Lattibung and Sikendeng, form part of the Kalumpang complex assemblage that are
linearly positioned along the river besides the other sites mentioned afore. Here, one can
see that the river as a communication infrastructure has very much helped in the
establishment of contact among the sites to communicate with each other. Therefore, it can
be said that the sites along the banks of the karama river can be regarded as to belong to a
Kalumpang culture complex, characterized by the dominance of plain and decorated
pottery industry besides other implements like quadrangular adzes.
Some hypothese on the Kalumpang culture complex assemblage are very interesting
to be studied. Callenfels, for example, classified it into 3 cultural phases, which are: first
phase of protoneolithic nature, characterized by oblique beveled axes, prototype of
shouldered axe, Hoabinhian tools, and simple pottery; second phase of neolithic nature,
characterized by finaly polished adzes, and plain pottery; and third phase characterized by
arrowheads, small chisels and incised decorated pottery (Simanjuntak 1994/5:5). On the
other hand, van Heekeren only distinguished two phases of the Kalumpang culture
complex assemblage, which are the Early Neolithic and Late Neolithic phases. The Early
Neolithic phase was characterized by round (oval) axes, bark-cloth beater, plain and
decorated pottery with motifs of straight lines and circlets. The Late Neolithic was
characterized by polished quadrangular adzes, small chisels, polished stone spearheads,
stone arrowheads, burins (perforators), saws, besides decorated pottery with motifs of
circles, spirals, triangles, meanders, double spiral, circlets and arca stamped which formed
Dongson influence (Heekeren 1972: 185-190; Simanjuntak 1994/5:6). Soejono
emphasized that the majority of Kalumpang pottery (95%) plain or simply incised
decorated belong to the neolithic pottery, the remaining part characterized by decoration of
geometric motifs are categorized as of palaeometallic nature (Soejono 1984:175).
This paper is specially discussing potteries found in neolithic sites along the Karama
River, viz. Kamassi and Minanga Sipakko in upperstream and Sikendeng and Lattibung in
downstream of Karama River. The Kamassi site is located on a small hill some 500 metres
west of Kalumpang village, streching in the east-west direction, the surface gets more
elevated to blend with the mountain range in the south. The Beto'ong river is a small
rivulet that acts as the boundary of the site in the east, which debouches in the Karama
river, whereas to the north the site still stretches beyond the Kalumpang village road.
Excavation at the Kamassi site carried out by Callenfels in 1933 succeeded in presenting a
picture on the finding of a large amount of decorated and plain pottery, highly polished
rectangular adzes, small chisels of slate, axes with knob-like handles, fragments of stone
rings, unfinished axes, knives with oblique cutting-edge, polished stone arrowheads, a
crude shouldered axe and some pebble-tools (Callenfels 1952). The following excavation
by van Heekeren in 1940 yielded highly polished four cornered rectangular adzes, ground
oval axes, polished flat spearheads, tanged-knobbed or winged polished arrow-heads and
knive, unfinished stone adzes and axes or planks, stone bark cloth beater, plain badly
baked brown and ornamented potsherds, mostly red. Surveys on the surface carried out by
the Makassar subcenter of Archaeology, has also collected a number potsherds samples
from this site.
The site of Minanga Sippako is located at the bank of the Karama river, about 3
kilometres towards downstream from Kalumpang village. It forms a slightly sloping
stretch of land following the direction of the river course. The site is bordered by the
Karama river in the south, and the range of hills in the north. The greater part of the site no
longer, exists due to the erosional process of the river. What is left is confined to a narrow
strip of land around the bank slope, stretching from the mouth of the Sipakko river for
about 40 meters towards the west. The site was for the first time discovered by van
Heekeren, based on finds of ground oval axe, unfinished axes, many large pieces of
decorated and undecorated potsherds (Hekeren 1972:189). Researches done in those sites
so far (see Simanjuntak in this volume) found the typical neolithic objects, such as
decorated and undecorated potsherds, simple rectangular adzes, unfinished adzes, stone
axes, stone chisels, stone knife, grinding stones, pounding stones and obsidian.
Lattibung site is situated on the northern bank of the Karama river, in the hamlet of
Lattibung, some 2 kilometers towards the northwest from Pangale. Survey and excavation
in 2004 on this hill have yielded a number of plain and decorated potsherds being part of
covers, body rims of pots, neck and spout of kendi’s and fragments of jars’ body (Prasetyo
in press). A number of sherds show a fairly rich decorative designs. Another site is
Sikendeng which is located about 2 kilometers west of the Lattibung site, and lies on the
northern bank of the Karama river. Result of excavations in 2004 show evidence that most
of the finds consist of plain pottery of a variety of pots, covers and jars. Some fragments of
pottery are decorated.

Form of Pottery

Pottery form a fairly outstanding find in these sites. Their presence are very much
varied, viewed from its techno-morphology. The majority of these pottery are more
fragmentary, being parts of the body, rims, necks, bases, foot, spout, handles.
Neverthelles, viewed morphologically, the forms of pottery found on the sites along the
bank of Karama river, represent vessels (containers) and non-vessels (non-containers). The
vessels represent jars, pots, dishes, flasks (kendi), and covers (there is a possibility that
boxes and vases are present, according to Bulbeck and Nasruddin 1999:356; Prasetyo
The kendi is characterized by the shape of spout and long, upright neck, and a flat
rim. Although not so many, fragments of kendi’s have been found in excavations of 1994
and 1995 in Minanga Sipakko, and the 2004 excavation in Lattibung.
Observations towards a number of rims found in excavations and surveys, show
that dishes are very few. The dish is characterized by a shallow round (globular) form with
an inward folded rim. The form of dishes are found in Lattibung.
Pots form the kind of pottery most frequently found. Observations towards
attributes found on rims, show that the form of pots found in these have the following
characteristics: (1) pots with outward folded rim and long necked; (2) pots with outward
folded rim and short necked. There are some pots that have a kind of handle, and some
have knobs. Besides pots, there are jars of larger size, thick and coarse. Both pots and
small jars are usually used for cooking, whereas the large jars are used for storage. Other
forms are tail jar (often called vase). A number of vases, jars and pots are carinated. Forms
of boxes and stoves also found in these sites, coarsely made and thick. Non-containers
found comprise figurines like those found in the excavation at Minanga Sipakko in 1995
and lamps on stands with triangles cut out of foot (Heekeren 1972:187).

Pottery found at the sites along the Karama river are generally coarse, made of clay
mixed with sand. Which tend to be coarser for larger vessels, like large jars. The specific
kind of inclusion comprised black minerals and sandstone grains, possibly limestone.
Sometimes there are big and reddish rounded lateritic grains. Besides, a rarely found
inclusion are pyrites and obsidian specks (Bulbeck and Nasruddin 1999:355). Some
sherds show the presence of very small and rare inclusion usually found in yellowish white
or yellow sherds. Some sherds In Kamassi, Minanga Sipakko, Lattibung and Sikendeng,
especially of large vessels, the inclusion is seen as angular sandy. Some sherds contain
lumps of grit to be compared to sandy temper, and appearing like friable, low-baked clay.
The basic technique of pottery manufacture is by making slabs, particularly for the
forms of stoves and boxes. Besides, the way of forming by hand and fingers have also been
employed for all kinds of pottery. There are no evidence to show that the coiling method
was applied marks of the use of an anvile quite intensively used are found on the inside
(internal dimpling) of a number of large jars. Marks of beating and polishing on the outside
wall, in the attempt of making it thin and smooth. Besides the technique of slab-building,
the technique of hand modelled and the paddle and anvil (anvil finished), there are also
signs that indicate the use of the slow rotating wheel, based on observations on a number
of rims, necks and shoulder which show horizontal parallel lines, which in turn are proof
that part near the mouth of pottery are worked with the slow wheel.
Except stoves and boxes that employed the slab-built and hand-modelled technique,-
in general, the pottery found in Kamassi, Minanga Sipakko, Sikendeng and Lattibung are
hand-modelled, then finishing at the inside part used the anvil (except for the kendi);
whereas the rim and shoulder are done using the slow wheel.
Slip is also used to finish the pottery manufacture. This is clearly seen on vessels,
like on the inner and outer side of rims and neck, also on the outer side of shoulder. Slip is
commonly used on dishes, pots, kendi, and very much used on round bodied vessels, of
small and medium size. The use of slip is rarely found on large jars, stoves and knobs.
Observations with regard to the use of slip on pottery found at surveys at the Kamassi site
and excavations at the sites of Minanga Sipakko, Lattibung and Sikendeng gave the
following: the use of slip are found in 10% of Kamassi survey yields, 20% of Minanga
Sipakko survey and excavation yield in 1994/1995 (Bulbeck and Nasruddin 1999:357), 2%
of Lattibung excavation yield, but nothing found at Sikendeng excavations yields (Prasetyo
inpress). The true red colour is the most favourite one, besides that of weak red and reddish
brown. Variation of slip colour even show dark and dusky red, reddish yellow and shades
of grey.

Decorative Patterns

Elements of decoration on pottery from the sites along the Karama river are usually
applied by way of incision, piercing, impression, applique, moddeling, gouged, stamping
dan punctation. Observations towards decorated pottery show a rich variety of motifs
shown by couples horizontal bands or vertical panels (Soegondho 1995). According to
Flavel, there are about 40 decorative elements of motifs found in the Kalumpang area
(1997:77-79). An attempt to spell out the elements of decorative motifs found in these 4
sites is made based on the collection of the NRCA photographs and pictures of van
Heekeren (1972:188, plate 101-102).
There are 20 main elements of decorative motifs, with 70 sub-element of motif in the
sites along the Karama river (see table 2). These main elements comprise diagonals,
circles, zigzag, triangle, scalloped, vertical, horizontal, box, slanting, bone motif, lunate,
shell pattern, square, rectangular, “v” and “s” design, punctate, human figure, flora,
comma-shaped, dan groove pattern. Based on results of survey and excavation in 2004 at
Sikendeng site proved not much variety of decorative elements are presented, as part of the
pottery are undecorated. Decorative motifs commonly found in this site present the
elements of circle applied on the body part of the vessels and elements of vertical and
horizontal cross-hatching applied on the handles of covers.
According to results of van Heekeren’s studies and the NRCA’s collection from
surveys in 1994, the element of decorative motifs in Kamassi present: diagonals, circle,
zigzag, triangle, horizontal, box, slanting, lunate, shell, square, punctate, human figure, and
flora. Excavation from the Lattibung site in 2004 presented quite a number of decorative
elements showing motifs of diagonal, circle, zigzag, vertical, horizontal, box, slanting, bone
pattern, lunate, rectangular dan flora (Prasetyo inpress). Unlike the three sites mentioned
afire, Minanga Sipakko presents a fairly rich variation of design. The kinds of motifs found
on Minanga Sipakko’s pottery resulting from NRCA’s researches in 1994 and 2003, show
that there are various elements of decorative motifs comprising: diagonal, circle, zigzag,
triangle, scalloped, vertical, horisontal, slanting, bone pattern, lunate, shell pattern, square,
rectangular, “V” and “S” design, punctate, flora and comma-shaped.

Table 1 The number of sub-elements of decorative patterns from sites along the Karama River

No Decorative Kamassi M. Sikendeng Lattibung

elements Sipakko

1 Diagonal 3 6 - 5
2 Circle 4 4 1 1
3 Zigzag 1 5 - 1
4 Triangle 1 7 - -
5 Scalloped - 2 - -
6 Vertical - 4 - 1
7 Horizontal - 2 - 2
8 Box 1 - 1 1
9 Slanting 2 2 - 2
10 Bone - 2 - 1
11 Lunate 1 1 - 2
12 Shell 1 1 - -
13 Square 2 1 - -
14 Rectangular 1 3 - 1
15 V design - 1 - -
16 S design - 1 - -
17 Punctate 1 3 - -
18 Human figure 1 - - -
19 Flora 2 1 - 1
20 Comma-shaped - 1 - -
Total 23 47 2 18

Above mentioned table shows that Minanga Sipakko is a site that is the richest,
having 18 elements of decoration with 48 sub-elements, out of 71 sub-elements found
along the Karama river (68%). Than follows Kamassi site with 13 elements and 21 sub-
elements (30%). Next are Lattibung site with 11 elements with 18 sub-elements (25%) and
Sikendeng site with the smallest frequency of 2 elements with 2 sub-elements (3%). Thus
it is shown that sites located in the interior (Kamassi and Minanga Sipakko) tend to have
richer kinds of decorative designs, compared to the sites located more to the downstream
area (Sikendeng and Lattibung).
The sub-elements of triangle seemed to be used frequently on pottery in Minanga
Sipakko besides the elements of diagonal, zigzag and circle. Unlike Minanga Sipakko, it is
just in Lattibung that the sub-element of diagonal design is the most frequently found. As
for pottery found in Kamassi, the circle sub-elements is found more frequently.
Except on the decorated pottery from Sikendeng, the sub-elements of designs from
the three other sites along the Karama river are often pictured as not being individual, but
form a combination between two or more sub-elements that existed. At the Minanga
Sipakko site there are combinations between:
ƒ diagonal incision line and interlocked semi-circle pattern
ƒ zigzag motif filled with diagonal incised line and interlocked semi-circle pattern
ƒ forward slanting incised lines and open circle motif
ƒ zigzag motif filled with diagonal incised lines and open circle motif
ƒ diagonal incision line combinated with open circle motif, zigzag motif filled with
diagonal incised line, and parallel horizontal line as a band
ƒ zigzag motif filled with diagonal incised lines, parallel zigzag filled with
punctation, triangle filled punctation, parallel vertical incised lines as a band, and
single horizontal incised line
ƒ small impressed horizontal rectangles and small impressed vertical rectangles
ƒ large diagonal cross hatching filled with vertical incised lines and open cirle motif.
ƒ Triangle filled punctation and open circle motif.
Besides Minanga Sippako site, Lattibung finds of decorative patterns also show a
richness in the combination of the sub-elements, which are:
ƒ large diagonal cross hatching filled with punctation, parallel vertical incised lines,
and parallel horizontal incised lines.
ƒ Zigzag motif and single horizontal line.
ƒ Backward slanting incised and parallel horizontal incised lines as a band
ƒ diagonal incision line, parallel horizontal incised line and parallel vertical incised
ƒ Carved paddle herringbone motif between vertical lines and parallel horizontal
incised lines as a band
ƒ forward slanting incised lines filled with punctations combined, vertically parallel
incised lines filled with punctation, and parallel horizontal incised lines.
ƒ Large diagonal cross hatching filled with punctations combined and single
horizontal line.
Although having more decorative sub-elements than Lattibung, Kamassi site
presents lesser combinations, which are:
ƒ backward slanting incised, diagonal incision line, square maze motif, and parallel
horizontal incised lines
ƒ single line of punctated points, forward slanting incised lines, diagonal incision line
filled with punctate, and parallel horizontal incised lines
ƒ square maze motif filled with punctate, arca shell impression in horizontal
translations, parallel zigzag filled puctation, single line of punctate point, and
parallel horizontal incised lines
ƒ semi circle wave pattern and triangle filled punctation
ƒ “kawung” design filled with punctate and interlocked semi-circle pattern

Table 2. Distribution of decorative elements on pottery from the sites along Karama river

Decorative elements A B C D

1. Diagonal
a. large diagonal cross hatching
b. large diagonal cross hatching filled with punctate
c. large diagonal cross hatching tilled with vertical lines
d. small diagonal cross hatching
e. diagonal lines creating triangular motif
f. diagonal parallel dashes
g. diagonal and vertical dashes
h. diagonal incision line
i. diagonal incision
j. curved paddle diagonal cross hatching design
2. Circle
a. open circle motif
b. filled circle motif
c. double stamped circle
d. interlocked semi-circle pattern
e. semi-circle wave pattern
3. Zigzag
a. zigzag motif
b. zigzag motif filled with diagonal incised lines
c. multiple parallel zigzags
d. zigzag lines of punctated points
e. parallel zigzag filled with punctation
f. parallel zigzag filled with vertical incised line
g. soft cornered zigzag
4. Triangle
a. stamped triangles
b. open bottomed triangle
c. right angled triangles
d. small regular triangular punctations
e. triangle filled with vertical lines
f. triangle filled with punctations
g. triangular motif with incised infill
5. Scalloped
a. modeled small scalloped rim
b. modeled large scalloped rim
6. Vertical
a. vertically parallel dashes
b. vertically parallel incised lines filled with punctation
c. thick vertical, oblong, gouged grooves
d. fine vertical gouged grooves
e. parallel vertical incised lines
7. Horizontal
a. parallel horizontal incised lines
b. single horizontal incised line
8. Slanting
a. forward slanting incised lines
b. forward slanting incised lines filled with punctations
c. backward slanting incision
9. Bone motif
a. bone shaped stamp
b. carved paddle herringbone motif
c. carved paddle herringbone motif between vertical lines
10. Lunate
a. symmetrical lunate design
b. lunate forms filled with punctation
c. parallel lunate pattern
d. parallel lunate pattern filled with punctation
11. Shell pattern
a. arca shell impression in vertical bands
b. arca shell impression in horizontal translations
12. Square
a. square maze motif filled with punctation
b. square filled with incised line
c. square maze motif
a. rectangular maze design filled with incised lines
b. rectangle incision line filled with triangle incision
c. small impressed horizontal rectangles
d. small impressed vertical rectangles
14. “V” design
Stamped V design
15. “S” design
“s” motif filled with punctations
16. Punctate point
a. single line of punctated points
b. piercing vertical lines with multi-pronged tool in
horizontal translation
c. hole pierced through pre-fired clay
17. Human figure
Incised stylized human figure
18. Flora
a. “Sulur” (wave) motif filled with punctation
b. “kawung” (leafs) design filled with punctation
19. Comma-shaped
Comma-shaped impression
20. Box
a. vertical and horizontal cross hatching
b. carved paddle box (net-sinker) motif
c. stamped parallel vertical and horizontal lines

A. Kamassi site C. Sikendeng site

B. Minanga Sipakko site D. Lattibung site



Hypothese on the arrival of the Austronesian speaking people in Indonesia through

the northern route seemed to have brought also the traditions of pottery manufacture
from the north, by way the islands of which one was the Sa-Huynh-Kalanay pottery
tradition. Since the 1950-es, W.G. Solheim II has proposed that the decorated pottery
from the Philippines has apparently spread to Malaysia, Vietnam, Serawak, Sulawesi and
Sumatra. Solheim refers to this pottery as the Sa-Huynh-Kalanay Pottery Complex after
the discovery of the Sa-Huynh site and the Kalanay Cave site (Solheim 1964:376,
Solheim suggested a South China origin for this pottery tradition dating to 1000 BC
and reaching the Phillipines by 750 BC at which time cord marking, a feature of the earlier
stage, disappeared from the complex, and a Dongson influence was incorporated aroung
500 BC. The popularity of this later Sa-Huynh-Kalanay pottery is so great that it is found
in Indonesia, Malaysia and even India by 200 BC when the trade link to Indonesia was
established. Solheim envisioned this scenario to explain the spread of the tradition and
the continued use of the Sa-Huynh-Kalanay for another half-century or so (Solheim
1964:383; see also Flavel 1997:6). Sa-huynh-Kalanay is a quite different pottery tradition
(Solheim 1959a:159) and according to Solheim, one of the main character of this tradition
is the richness in its variation of decoration. Although there are more plain (undecorated)
pottery than the decorated ones, but decoration patterns has become the center of
interest for the experts.
Sa-Huynh is a site located on the central coast of Vietnam where hundreds of jar-
burials were found (Solheim 1959a:100-101). Solheim noted that Sa-Huynh has similarities
both to the Dongson bronzes (but not Dongson pottery), and the earthenware
assemblages in Southeast Asia in areas such as Central Vietnam, Gua Cha, Tran-Ninh
(Laos) and Kalanay (Philippines).
Bellwood (1992:131) also recognises that Sa-Huynh site which had no apparent
involvement with the Dongson culture of north Vietnam, has funerary pottery exhibiting a
decorative repertoire that includes the intricate running scroll and geometric patterns
present on the bronze Dongson drums (Bellwood 1992:122; Kempers 1986/7:493-4).
Pottery found here included black bodied vessels, sometimes red vessels and large
undecorated jars (impressed cord and paddle motif are very rare). The technique of
decorating comprise polishing incising, painting, impressing and carving (Solheim 1967:17).
Decorative patterns consist of cord marking, rectangular, curvilinear scroll, rectilinear
scroll, meander, zigzags, triangles, cevrons, circles, arca shell impression, rim notching,
and scalloping, often in the form of impressed dots or painting.
The Kalanay Cave is located on Masbate Island (The Philippines), was excavated
by Solheim in 1951 and 1953, which determined as an Iron Age assemblage. The pottery
found here is very variated in form and is decorated with incised curvilinear scrolls,
rectangular meanders and triangles, often emphasized with punctations or dashes
(Solheim 1959:159). Tetrapods may be unique to Kalanay (Solheim 1964:13).
Confirm to Flavel’s description on the elements of decoration of the Sa-Huynh-
Kalanay pottery tradition, there are at least 52 elements of decoration that characterized
the influence of this tradition (Flavel 1997:11-14; also see figure 1).
Then how about the realtionship between the Sa-Huynh-Kalanay tradition and
pottery decorative pattern found in South Sulawesi? Decorative earthenware from South
Sulawesi emphasises that any two assemblage assigned to the type sites of Sa-Huynh and
Kalanay or to the idealized Sa-Huynh-Kalanay decorative repetoire. Data on the co-
occurrence of decorative elements clearly show a relationship.
In South Sulawesi, some elements consistently appear together while other
repairs of elements which never appear on the same vessel. This implies some formality
in the use of the decorative elements of the repertoire and if the trait to universal in the
Sa-Huynh-kalanay, some structure can be assigned to the tradition. A decorative
repertoire which include several forms and degrees of geometric designs, punctate
curvilinear scroll, rim notching, square or rectangular maze, arca shell impressions, cord
marking and paddle impressions. Designs are often incised, impressed or stamped;
additional alterations to the earthenware includes applique of nubbins, crenellations, and
very occasional figurines. Haris tried to find analogies with the Sa-Huynh-Kalanay
assemblage of island Southeast Asia; he looked at Kalumpang and found that there are
some technological and decorative similarities but with a different emphasis (Harris
1979:85). Study of decorative pattern in Batu Ejaya 1, Ulu Leang 2, Leang Paja, Leang
Mangana, and Leang Patakkere by Flavel gave some silimarity design with Sa-Huynh-
Kalanay tradition.
Based on results of survey and excavation in 1994 and 2003 in Minanga Sippako
and Kamassi, and in 2004 at Sikendeng and Lattibung proved that some of decorative
pattern has similarities between Sa-Huynh-Kalanay decorative pottery. According to
Flavel’s decorative elements of Sa-Huynh-Kalanay pottery tradition, 35 of 52 decorative
elements commonly use in Sulawesi. We found 31 Sa-Huynh-Kalanay decorative elements
in Minanga Sipakko (part of diagonals, circles, zigzags, triangles, scallops, verticals, bones,
shells, squares, reqtangulars, V pattern, horizontals, and punctates patterns), 6 decorative
elements in Kamassi (part of circles, triangles, punctates, shells, and boxes patterns), 1
decorative element in Sikendeng (circle pattern), and 4 decorative elements in Lattibung
(part of diagonals, circles, and horizontal patterns). Bagyo Prasetyo
In South Sulawesi, some elements consistently appear together while other repairs
of elements which never appear on the same vessel. This implies some formality in the
use of the decorative elements of the repertoire and if the trait to universal in the Sa-
Huynh-kalanay, some structure can be assigned to the tradition. A decorative repertoire
which include several forms and degrees of geometric designs, punctate curvilinear scroll,
rim notching, square or rectangular maze, arca shell impressions, cord marking and
paddle impressions. Designs are often incised, impressed or stamped; additional
alterations to the earthenware includes applique of nubbins, crenellations, and very
occasional figurines. Harris tried to find analogies with the Sa-Huynh-Kalanay assemblage
of island Southeast Asia; he looked at Kalumpang and found that there are some
technological and decorative similarities but with a different emphasis (Harris 1979:85).
Study of decorative pattern in Batu Ejaya 1, Ulu Leang 2, Leang Paja, Leang Mangana, and
Leang Patakkere by Flavel gave some silimarity design with Sa-Huynh-Kalanay tradition.
Based on results of survey and excavation in 1994 and 2003 in Minanga Sippako and
Kamassi, and in 2004 at Sikendeng and Lattibung proved that some of decorative pattern
has similarities between Sa-Huynh-Kalanay decorative pottery. According to Flavel’s
decorative elements of Sa-Huynh-Kalanay pottery tradition, 35 of 52 decorative elements
commonly use in Sulawesi. We found 31 Sa-Huynh-Kalanay decorative elements in
Minanga Sipakko (part of diagonals, circles, zigzags, triangles, scallops, verticals, bones,
shells, squares, reqtangulars, V pattern, horizontals, and punctates patterns), 6 decorative
elements in Kamassi (part of circles, triangles, punctates, shells, and boxes patterns), 1
decorative element in Sikendeng (circle pattern), and 4 decorative elements in Lattibung
(part of diagonals, circles, and horizontal patterns).

Bellwood, Peter. 1992. Southeast Asia before history, in N. Tarling (ed) The Cambridge
History of Southeast Asia. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 55-136.
Bulbeck, F. David dan Nasruddin, 1999. Description and preliminary analysis of the
Minanga Sipakko pottery, Mamuju, South Sulawesi, Indonesia, Pertemuan Ilmiah
Arkeologi VIII, Yogyakarta: IAAI, pp. 354-364.
Flavel, Ambika, 1997. Sa-Huynh-Kalanay? Analysis of the prehistoric decorated
earthenware of South Sulawesi in an Island Southeast Asian context, Unpublished.
Bachelor of Science (Honours). University of Western Australia.
Harris, Timothy A, 1979. Prehistoric pottery from Batu Edjaya, Southwest Sulawesi- a
descriptive analysis, Unpublished Hons. Thesis, Australian National University.
Heekeren, H.R. van, 1972. The Stone Age of Indonesia, Second edition. The Hague:
Martinus Nijhoff.
Kempers, A.J. Bernet 1986/7. The Kettledrums of Southeast Asia, Modern Quaternary
Research in Southeast Asia 10.
Oey-Blom, Jessy, 1985. "Arca Buddha Perunggu dari Sulawesi", Amerta, no. 1, Jakarta:
National Research Center of Archaeology.
Prasetyo, Bagyo 2005. Tembikar Lattibung, Tipikal neolitik di Sulawesi Selatan ?,
Pertemuan Ilmiah Arkeologi X. Yogyakarta.
Simanjuntak, Truman, 1994-1995. “Kalumpang: hunian tepi sungai bercorak neolitik-
paleometalik di pedalaman Sulawesi Selatan”, Aspek-aspek Arkeologi
Indonesia (Aspects of Indonesian Arcaheology), no. 17, 1994-1995.
Simanjuntak, belum terbit, unpublished. Laporan Penelitian Kalumpang 1994. Balai
Arkeologi Ujung Pandang, Puslit Arkenas.
Soegondho, Santoso, 1985. “The Ceramic from Gilimanuk, Bali”. Bulletin IPPA 6, pp. 46-
Soegondho, Santoso, 1994. Wadah tanah liat dari Gilimanuk dan Plawangan. Sebuah
kajian melalui teknologi dan fungsi gerabah, Disertation, University of
Soegondho, Santoso, 1995. Tradisi gerabah di Indonesia dari masa prasejarah hingga
masa kini, Jakarta: Himpunan Keramik Indonesia.
Soejono, R.P (ed.). 1984. Sejarah Nasional Indonesia Jilid I. Jakarta: Balai Pustaka.
Stein Callenfels, P.V. van, 1951. "Prehistoric sites on the Karama River", University of
Journal of East Asiatic Studies, vol 1. I, no. 1, Oktober.

National Research and Development Center for Archaeology


In the 19th century, Palynology or Pollen Analysis was already known by a Swedish
Botanist, Lennard von Post, a researcher that has discovered this science in 1920. Since
then, pollen analysis developed rapidly in Europe, America ang other countries
(Palhoupessy, 1999)
Palynology is a study on pollen grains and spores. Pollen is the male cell in the
reproduction system of high-level plants (Spermatophyte). It is called high-level plants
because Spermatophyte form plants that can be distinguished with regard to the roots,
trunk, and leaves, and produced seeds for its reproduction, which make them to be called
seed plants. Seeds are formed through fertilization of the male cells (pollen) with the
carpel in the manner as follows, the pollen fall on the carpel with its stigma, which ignite
the process of fertilization. And because the plant underwent the process of fertilization,
there are categories as plants of high level, unlike the plants called Pteridophyte, also
called fern that do not produce seeds, but spores that was formed on the leaves or attacked
to the stem for its reproduction. Because there is no fertilization process, these plants are
categorized as low-level plants.
Pollen and spores have much in common, in shape and size, and have different
ways of dispersion. Part of the non local pollen of the collection, belong to the type of
anemophylous (wind-pollinated), which have the efficient dispersion by being blown high
in the air.
Sometimes the group of Gymnosperm are found in very great quantities with large
grains, compared to the pollen of Angiosperm, some times little pollen with small grains
are found. Large grained pollen are found 3 x more than the small grained pollen. Some
experts state that a wet condition will yield more pollen than a dry condition. Pollen
analysis depends on the structure and pollen grain formation and spores for its dispersal
and its preservation in a particular environment.
The presence of a taxon in the pollen group depends on the wind direction. Pollen
grains of plants belonging to the wood plants, have little chance in their dispersal. This
taxon tends to be present in a very small ratio of the total wood canopy which very much
confused the interpretation of said environment. Sometimes there are also pollen of a tree
that are blown by the wind to distant areas, so that they are absent in the local
environment, and this can also be assumed that felling trees in great scale has occurred.
Analysis of paleovegetation was first known from remains of pollen sediments in
organic sediments found in swamps or lakes. The oldest pollen known from Sulawesi ere
from the genus Sonneratia, found in tertiary rocks in Central Sulawesi.
According to Whitten (1987) the history of vegetation during the quaternary era
was closely related to the climatic changes. During the drier period of the Pleistocene, the
area of monsoon forests increased whereas the area of rain forests decreases, Thus the
population of wet (rain) forest will decrease but the population of isolated kinds might
maintain its relation with a particular flow of genes along the river courses or in more
fertile soil. In the most arid part of Sulawesi it could possibly be covered by monsoon
forests or savannas. Changes of vegetation occurred possibly also because of human
activities in the past that had changed the original vegetation by planting crops/plants to be
cultivated. As human being endowed with the ability and skill to exploit the nature
resources and environment, to settle and form a community, although their choice of
location was not always without wisdom, they selected the spot that has the most bearing
capacity to meet their needs for life. In other words the location has to meet the
requirements, that is the biotic as well as the a- biotic elements that can be exploited and
ensure his survival. In this case, man very much depended on the nature resources, which
he exploited, and at the same time provide a place to settle and live in a community as a
social structure. One of the biotic elements that had supported early man was the
vegetation environment.
The Neolithic site of Minanga Sipakko is expected to present a picture as described
above, as this site is most important for prehistoric research in Indonesia. The study on this
site is still at the initial stage. So far, there has been no information on the environmental
bearing capacity, especially the condition of the vegetation of the environment in the past.
It by executing pollen analysis in sediments, that is an analysis on pollen that have been
deposited in the soil. And one aspect in Palynology, is the study on fossil or sub-fossil
pollen and spores in recent as well as ancient sediments.
Pollens are found in acid sediments, like peat, lake sediments, acid sand, humus on
the soil surface.
Next to learn on the environmental condition in the past, pollen analysis can also be
applied for:
ƒ Looking for traces of the history of vegetation which will provide information on
the species that have since dispersed widely, and extensively, then because of
environmental changes those species became extinct. Besides it can also give
information on the plants ecology. Another use of pollen analysis is for the
reconstruction of vegetation community and its environment/a general picture of a
habitat like wood forest, whether it was open terrain, and whether it was savanna;
it can also provide information on global climatic changes.
ƒ Human influences on the environment, for instance the exploitation of land for
agriculture by looking at the great changes in the pollen grains deposit in
In Indonesia, pollen analysis started to be used for archaeology, starting on
Pleistocene sites on Java especially Sangiran and surrounding areas, being collaboration
research works of the National Research Center for Archaeology and the Museum National
d’Histoire Naturelle (France). The results revealed the destructive effects of volcanic
eruptions on mangrove environment and the appearance of forests (Semah & Rahardjo,
1984), and some researches by the National Research Center for Archaeology, among
others by Vita on Holocene vegetation environment at Sampung site (Gua Lawa) and

Samples and Methodology

Samples used for the execution of pollen sediment analysis were taken from soil
samples of excavation at Minanga Sipakko, Kecamatan Kalumpang, Mamuju Regency
Province of South Sulawesi. Eight bags of 100 grams each, taken by Systematic sampling
consist of 2 layers:
ƒ Layer 1a at a depth of 30 cm and 60 cm.
ƒ Layer 1b at a depth of 90 cm and 120 cm.
ƒ Layer 2 at a depth of 150 cm, 180 cm, 210 cm and >210 cm.
The samples are processed at the laboratory of the National Research Center for
Archaeology in several stages:
1. Desalination of solute salts.
2. Desilication
3. Isolation of heavy minerals
4. Acetolysis
5. Elimination of humic acid
6. Coloring
7. Attaching of residue on slide glass
8. Observation by microscope.
Chemicals used for pollen analysis comprise HCl (37%), HF (42% - 45%), ZnCl2 BJ
2.2, Aceton, CH3COOH, (CH3CO)2O, H2SO4, KOH, Safranine, Glycerine, and Entelan
whereas the equipment comprise an oven, centrifuge, heater, beaker glass, reagent tube,
micro slide glass, cover glass and microscope.

Results of Laboratory Analysis and Discussion

Laboratory analysis

The result of laboratory analysis towards the samples from the Minanga Sipakko site
can be seen on the following table:

Table: Kinds of spores and pollens in sediments based on Palynological laboratory analysis.
No. Layer/ Family Total amount % Class and genus
sample Depth
in cm
1 Ia/30 Annonaceae 3 5,6 Dicotyledoneae *)

Asteraceae 1 1,9 Dicotyledoneae *)

Cyperaceae 8 14,8 Monocotyledoneae *)
Ephedraceae 8 14,8 **)
Fagaceae 9 16,7 (Dicotyl.) *) Quercus
Graminae 3 5,6 Monocotyledoneae *)
Malvaceae 2 3,7 Dicotyledoneae *)
Papilionaceae 2 3,7 Dicotyledoneae*)
Pinaceae 6 11,1 Tsuga, Larix. **)
Polypodiaceae 1 1,9 Polypodium/spora ***)
Rosaceae 2 3,7 (Dicotyl.) *) Sanguisorba
Schizaeaceae 3 5,6 spora***)
Sphagnum 2 3,7 **)
Thymelaceae 3 5,6 (Dicotyl.) *) Daphne
Umbeliferae 1 1,9 Dicotyledoneae *)

2 Ia/60 Aquifoliaceae 1 8,3 Dicotyledoneae*)

Cyperaceae 3 25 Monocotyledoneae*)
Fagaceae 1 8,3 Dicotyledoneae*)
Graminae 2 16,7 Monocotyledoneae*)
Myrtaceae 1 8,3 Dicotyledoneae*)
Pinaceae 4 33,3 **)

3 1b/90 Fagaceae 10 58,8 Dicotyledoneae*)

Graminae 3 17,7 Monocotyledoneae*)
Ranunculaceae 4 23,5 Dicotyledoneae*)

4 1b/120 Ephedraceae 1 7,7 **)

Fagaceae 3 23,1 Dicotyledoneae*)
Graminae 2 15,4 Monocotyledoneae*)
Pinaceae 6 46,2 **)
Ranunculaceae 1 7,7 Dicotyledoneae*)

5 2/150 Caprifoliaceae 1 4,2 Dicotyledoneae*)

Cyperaceae 3 12,5 Monocotyledoneae*)
Equisetaceae 2 8,3 Spora***)
Geraniaceae 2 8,3 Dicotyledoneae*)
Graminae 7 29,2 Monocotyledoneae*)
Pinaceae 8 33,3 **)
Ranunculaceae 1 4,2 Dicotyledoneae*)

6 2/180 Asteraceae 1 2,7 Dicotyledoneae*)

Cyperaceae 7 18,9 Monocotyledoneae*)
Graminae 11 29,7 Monocotyledoneae*)
Malvaceae 1 2,7 Dicotyledoneae*)
Onagraceae 3 8,1 Dicotyledoneae*)
Pinaceae 9 24,3 Tsuga, Pseudotsuga**)
Plantaginaceae 4 10,8 Plantago (Monocotyl.*)
Polypodiaceae 1 2,7 Spora ***)

7 2/210 Graminae 2 10 Monocotyledoneae *)

Malvaceae 1 5 Dicotyledoneae*)
Pinaceae 16 80 Tsuga, Larix**)
Polypodiaceae 1 5

8 2/>210 Araceae 1 2,5 Monocotyledoneae*)

Asteraceae 3 7,5 Dicotyledoneae*)
Cyperaceae 11 27,5 Monocotyledoneae*)
Graminae 1 2,5 Monocotyledoneae*)
Papaveraceae 4 10 Dicotyledoneae*)
Pinaceae 11 27,5 **)
Polypodiaceae 4 10 Spora***)
Ranunculaceae 4 10 Dicotyledoneae*)
Scheuchzeriaceae 1 2,5 Spora***)

Notes: * Angiosperm (High level Plants/Spermatophyte)

** Gymnosperm (High level Plants/Spermatophyte}
*** Pteridophyte (Low Level Plants)


The table explained that from the samples analyzed on the whole presented 26 kinds
of pollens which mean that 26 kinds of plants were able to be identified, distributed in all
layers with a depth of 30 cm, 60 cm, 120 cm, 150 cm, 180 cm, 210 cm and >210 cm. The
result of analysis can also be seen in the diagram of percentage amount of pollens
(Attached diagram).
The table shows that the pollen obtained can be classified into plant divisions of
Spermatophyte (High level plants), and Pteridophyte (Low level plants). The
Spermatophyte division consists of 2 sub-divisions, the Gymnosperm and Angiosperm.
The Gymnosperm sub-division is also called naked seeded plants, because this group of
plants have ovules with only one open integument (seed coat), unlike the Angiosperm, of
which the ovules are always enclosed by a body made up of the cotyledons. There fore the
Angiosperm are also called plants with closed (coated) seeds. The Angiosperm subdivision
consists of the classes Monocotyledoneae and Dicotyledoneae. The difference
Monocotyledoneae between these two classes is very apparent with respect to the
morphological form as well as root system
In layer 1, the kinds of pollen are dominated by the class Dicotyledoneae of the
Angiosperm sub division, where as layer 2 is dominated by Gymnosperm sub division.
The table as well as the diagram on pollen percentage can explain that in layer 2 at a depth
of 150 cm up to over 210 cm, pollens of Gramineae (grasses), Pinaceae (conifers),
Cyperaceae (grass-tubers) and Polypodiaceae (fern) are dominant in this layer pollen of
Fagaceae are totally absent, but pollen of Ranunculaceae are quite plenty. Looking at the
presence of the dominance of pollen in layer 2, then according to Kartawinata (1976) the
ecosystem units as found in layer 2 was most likely to be that of Pine forest with a
continuosly wet climate rainforest biome up to a dry climate with dry rainforest bioma.
With the presence of pollen Graminae, Cyperaceae and Polypodiaceae and Araceae
(caladium), it is possible that the surrounding habitat formed a moist area, because these
kinds of plants prefer this localities of moist (wettish) nature, where as Graminae are
easily adaptable in wet to dry habitats. From these pollen sediments one can assume that at
a depth of 150 cm to over 210 cm, it could indicate a continuous wet to dry climate for a
half year.
The condition of the ecosystem type found in layer 2, is still present in layer 1, at a
depth of 120 cm. In this layer pollen of Fagaceae are found. With these finds, this layer
could be a transitional layer for the change in ecosystem. This can be seen in the table and
diagram as well, which shows that diversity of pollen found in layer 1. At a depth of 120
cm it began to be varied. Layer 1 shows that at a depth of 120 cm, it is still dominated by
pollen of Pinaceae in quite large quantities and Fagaceae pollen started to appear. At a
depth of 90 cm Pinaceae is totally absent. At this depth Fagaceae and Ranunculaceae are
dominant. With the characteristics of the kind of pollen found, it can be assumed that the
type of ecosystem can be categorized as the Fagaceae forest ecosystem. At a depth of 60
cm the pollen found present Myrtaceae and Aquifoliaceae, which were not present at the
previous depth (90 cm). The variation of pollen increases with the addition of pollen of
Rosaceae, Ephedraceae, Annonaceae, Papilionaceae, Umbeliferae, Spahgnum,
Thymelaceae, and Schizaeaceae.
Based on the variety of pollen formed in layer 1, it can be assumed that the
ecosystem type of this layer, and particularly at a depth of 30 cm and 60 cm can be
categorized as that of shrub forest with rain forest biome and sub-biome of dry rain forest
of continuous wet to dry climate during a half year. Said changes of ecosystem were
caused by the change of vegetation or kinds of plants found in the respective layers, which
in turn were caused by the unsuitability of the habitat besides that of the growth of said
plant have been disturbed by the appearance of new kinds of plants.


Results of pollen sediment analysis gave the following conclusion:

1 The kinds of pollens found in layer 1 are dominated by the Angiosperm sub-division
of the Dicotyledoneae class, whereas in layer 2 are dominated by the Gymnosperm.
2 It is possible that in this area a change of ecosystem has occurred that were caused by
changes of vegetation kinds, an ecosystem of Pinus forest at a depth of 120 cm - >
210 cm, to that of Fagaceae forest at a depth of 90 cm, and finally became a shrub
forest ecosystem at a depth of 30 cm – 60 cm.
3 The climate in this area could be continuous wet to dry for a half year.

Backer, C.A. & R.C. Bakhuizen van Den Brink Jr. 1968. Flora of Java vol. I – III.
Groningen Wolters Noordhoff The Netherlands.
Faegri, Knut. 1975. Text Book of Pollen Analysis. New York. Hafner Press, A Division of
Macmillan Publishing Co. Inc.
Kapp, Ronald. O. 1968. Pollen and Sopers, W.M. C. Brown Company Publisher.
Kartawinata K. 1976. Study on the basic for composing guidance for the determination of
type, number, acreage/extent, location and priority order of the management of
terresrial Nature Reserve areas. Proceedings of the Workshop on Protection
and Preservation of Nature, held by the Committee for the Program “Man and
the Biosphere, Indonesia, Indonesian Institute for Science (LIPI), Tugu –
Bogor, February 4 – 6, 1976
Polhaupessy, A.A. 1999. Palynology as a method in Archaeological Research. A paper
presented at Evaluation of results on Archaeological research, Lembang, 1 –
4 July, 1999. The National Research Centre for Archaeologiy, Jakarta.
Webb, J.A. B.Sc. & Moore P.D. 1975. An Illustrated Guide to Pollen Analysis. London –
Sydney. Auckland – Toronto: Hodder and Stoughton
Whitten, Anthony J., Muslimin Mustafa, and Gregory Henderson. 1987. Ecology of
Sulawesi. Gajah Mada University Press.

Irfan Mahmud
Makassar Archaeological Research Sub-Center

Until now the people of Enrekang in South Sulawesi are still looking for their
identity. They often ask whether Enrekang is the subculture of the Bugis culture or do they
have their own unique culture as an individual ethnic group that was originated from the
prehistoric period. Thus far there are many unclear things in the history of Enrekang,
particularly about the period not yet recorded in Bugis lontara’, called “Sukku’na Wajo”.
The lontara’ mentions the arrival of envoys from Enrekang to Wajo during the reign of La
Tadamparek Puang ri Maggaltung Arung Matoa IV in 1491–1511 AD. The Bugis (Bone)
expansion led by Arung Palakka in 17th century AD that seized three parts of Enrekang –
which are Lettak, Batulappa, and Kassa (now part of Pinrang Regency) – has accelerated
Until recently historians, anthropologists, and archaeologists, which are interested in
South Sulawesi, tend to see Enrekang merely as a transition territory of Bugis–Toraja
culture. Most of them even place Enrekang as one of Bugis sub-ethnic groups, with no
regard to the very long cultural process since the prehistoric period. The implication being
an uncertainty on the perceptual position of Enrekang and the dynamic cultural facts such
as: (1) Enrekang is considered a Bugis sub-ethnic, but its cultural process and language are
closer to those of the Toraja people; (2) Enrekang is often positioned as a sub-culture, but
its position in rambu solok ceremony, which is the most sacred ritual of Toraja, is very
substantial. In order to place Enrekang in the perceptual position as a cultural unit, it is
important to take into account one of Barth’s approaches (1988), which is to see the
historical process of Enrekang as an autonomous entity.
In the effort to trace the ethnogenesis of Enrekang, discovering prehistoric sites in
2004–2005 was an important initial step for a team led by Truman Simanjuntak. Enrekang
is one of the regencies in South Sulawesi that has not been much explored by
archaeologists despite the fact that the characteristics of its environment and history (in
texts and folk tales) show high potency of both local and world historical-cultural studies.
The environment of the Enrekang regency is generally karst hills, indicating a long period
of cultural processes as evidenced in the availability of caves and rock shelters to use.
Outcrops of silicified limestone and sedimentary rocks along the river around the site
indicate a possibility of the flourish of prehistoric lithic tool industry. The discovery of
Neolithic artifacts at Buttu Banua site (Agnes, 1995), for instance, supports the existence of
Austronesian culture that exploited surrounding natural sources to ensure its community’s
survival. They among others use the rocks from the surrounding area to make adzes and
other tools to exploit the natural sources or for other purposes. Unfortunately information
regarding the locations of the sites is scarce, let alone published.
Enrekang’s historical potency, as seen in old manuscripts and oral sources (folk
tales), is not monolithic but developed in line with other areas. It is unfortunate that the
culture area of Enrekang in South Sulawesi in a geo-culture that has not been thoroughly
investigated within the frame of macro space study. Bibliographical studies that have been
carried out thus far show that the archaeological studies were usually oriented in the scale
of site or only at the phase of identification. Therefore it is difficult to find the continuity of
Enrekang’s cultural history from its earliest period of settlement by small bands. Studies in
the scale of site were carried out at Enrekang by a number of students, among others at
Buttu Banua site (Agnes, 1995) and at Duni in Kaluppini (Hasyim, 1991). Furthermore, the
Suaka Peninggalan Sejarah Purbakala (Historical and Archaeological Reserve) – now
called Balai Pelestarian Sejarah Purbakala (Historical and Archaeological Conservation
Office – has conducted indentification for the purpose of conservation.
Lack of archaeological studies has caused the ethno-genesis of the Enrekang people
to still be an “obscure” part of the South Sulawesi history until now, although Torajan
legends and oral sources often mention the importance of Enrekang in the initial
settlements of bands. The legend and folk tales particularly mention the region around
Bambapuang Mountain at the north side of Saddang river-flow area. In term of
archaeology, empirical and simple explanation is needed regarding the ethnogenesis of
Enrekang. For instance, study of the legend of Bambapuang (bamba = ladder, puang =
noblemen/god) on the justification of the initial appearance of community bands around the
Saddang River, including Toraja. In that context, two main problems will be presented
here. First, who were the bearers of the Enrekang culture? Second, how was its cultural
pattern? Those two problems are put forward to find the ethnogenesis of the Enrekang
people and their relation to the bearers of the Austronesian culture. It was done by taking
into account the physical environment condition of the area that geographically influences
the migration and geological processes, and other natural factors that supported the
development of human way of life, even in the simplest cultural level.

Physical Environment
Geographically the Regency of Enrekang is situated between the coordinates of
3o14’36” – 3o50’0” Southern Latitude and 119o40’53” – 120o6’33” Eastern Hemisphere.
This area is 236 km north of the capital city of South Sulawesi Province, Makassar.
Enrekang is bordered by Tana Toraja regency to its north, Luwu regency to its east,
Sidenreng-Rappang (Sidrap) regency to its south, and Pinrang to its west. It is 1,786.01 km2
wide and has a population of 182,989 people who identified themselves as the
“Massenrengpulu Community”. They are distributed in 9 districts and 111 villages.
From the nine districts, nine types of soil are identified, with Ph that ranges between
3.6 – 4.5 and 6.6 – 7.5. They are: (1) brown forest soil at the district of Enrekang; (2)
grayish brown Mediterranean soil at the districts of Alla’, Anggreraja, and Enrekang; (3)
brown Mediterranean soil at the districts of Anggeraja and Alla’; (4) brown pedsolic
originated from volcanic tuff prime source at the districts of Enrekang and Maiwa; (5)
brown pedsolic soil originated from cervic sandstone and tuff prime source at the districts
of Anggeraja, Baraka, and Enrekang; (6) yellowish pedsolic originated from sekis prime
source at the districts of Maiwa, Baraka, and Alla’; (7) yellowish red pedsolic originated
from sandstone prime source only at the district of Maiwa; (8) violet pedsolic soil
originated from flake and sandstone prime source at the districts of Maiwa, Baraka, and
Alla’; and (9) grayish brown pedsolic and regosol only at the district of Maiwa. Among the
nine types of soil, the yellowish red pedsolic soil, which occupies 75.34% of the entire
Enrekang Regency area, is the most dominantly found. On the other hand, the grayish
brown alluvial soil originated from clay sediment prime source is only 0.35% of the entire
area. The very limited distribution of grayish brown alluvial soil shows the low potency of
local pottery industry development. The pottery industry is assumed to be developed only
around the flat area south of Enrekang Regency and on toward the area of Sidenreng-
The topographic condition of Enrekang is generally wavy, which varies from flat to
steep. The area is situated at the elevation of 47 – 3,239 m above sea level, with an average
of 500 m above sea level. Most of the Enrekang area is mountainous, only small parts of it
are delicately wavy hills and lowland. The lowland area is very limited and can only be
found at the south, which is adjacent to the Sidenreng-Rappang regency and the estuary of
the Tempe and Malino Rivers. The mountainous area is the vastest and covers the northern
and central parts of Enrekang. Wavy hills can be found at the northern and central areas
around the mountains of Latimojong and Buttu Sawa. The highest peaks are ± 4,500 m
above sea level, such as the mountains of Latimojong and Bambapuang.
At certain directions there are no mountain ranges, so that the flows of the rivers do
not follow any particular orientation. They are meandering according to the condition of the
soil beneath them, which was formed by volcanic rocks and granite penetrations. That is
why there are some rivers with dendritic pattern at Enrekang. The rivers that can be
categorized into the Medium/average Rivers are Mata Allo, Mamassa, Tabang, Lewja,
Leon, and Basaran. The big river is Saddang, which flows from the Latimojong Mountain
into the Makassar Strait. From the olden period until now the Saddang River is an
important waterway that connects the coastal area to the interior part and Toraja during the
initial phases of the dispersion of early communities.

Early Communities at Bambapuang

Data on the early communities that inhabited Enrekang is an obscure one, and
obtained solely from folk tales. The place often mentioned in folk tales as the habitation of
the “descendants of the people from the sky” is Bambapuang. However, people nowadays
regard it as a myth, although Torajan legends and tradition clearly show respect to the
pioneers at Bambapuang in the rambu solok ceremonies by offering the first meat from
sacrificed animals to them.
The discovery of several archaeological indications at the site of Collo-Kotu reveals
the mystery of the existence of a group of people who inhabited Bambapuang, which might
have been one of the pioneers of the tribes dispersed in the central mountain range area in
Central Sulawesi. Archaeological finds at Bambapuang include flake tools, red-slipped
pottery, pig’s canine tooth, human bone and tooth in rock shelters (Tim Penelitian Balai
Arkeologi Makassar, 2006). Based on the red-slipped pottery, it is assumed that
Austronesian-speaking people supported the early communities at Bambapuang.
The discovery of Collo site at Bambapuang, supported by red-slipped pottery and
lithic flake tools, had implication on Kruyt’s theory (1938) about the origin of the second
surge of migration from the south that included pottery tradition. The Bambapuang area
was probably the initial habitation place of the “pioneers” as mentioned in the folk tales of
Toraja and Enrekang. Based on the typological difference of pottery at Minanga Sipakko, it
seems like the settlement at Bambapuang developed at the same phase with the central part
of the Kalumpang Culture, which is characterized by thick red-slipped pottery in
association with rough-thick pottery with incised decoration in the form of triangles, as well
as wavy-shaped decoration impressed at the lips. For the time being, based on the existence
of those two types of pottery, it is most probable that the habitation site of Bambapuang
was in co-existence with Minanga Sipakko site (Kalumpang).
During the initial habitation phase, there seemed to be a natural system of economy,
which was still dependent on the potency of the surrounding environment. The location and
condition of Enrekang environment, which is fertile, well supported the life of the
communities that lived there. Various faunal remains found at Enrekang show that since the
olden days the communities there were largely depended on the forest, while evidence of
animal domestication is still unclear. More intensive archaeological explorations are needed
to find more faunal remains. In order to fulfill their social–economical needs, the people
that lived at the Bambapuang Mountain Range area exploited raw material from the
surrounding environment. The raw material of stone blades, for example, was silicified
limestone, which is hard but not difficult to shape by flaking. The raw material, which is
called “fire stone” by the local inhabitants, can be found merely about 200 m to the east of
the center of Collo’ site.
It seems as though before making stone blades (flakes), raw material was taken from
a quarry in form of stone chunks. To verify this initial assumption, we need to explore
wider area up to the banks of the Saddang River to the south of Collo’ site. Some fragments
of raw material were indeed found during survey, but there was no indication that they were
worked. Discovery of lithic atelier sites in the future will help explaining the real fact more
definitely. No hammer stones have found yet during survey, so how the rocks were taken
from the quarry remains unknown. It is worth mentioning that at many sites in Indonesia
hammer stones were manufactured from rocks with sharp edges, which were struck over
and over again (Simanjuntak, 1985: 25). And flake tools played an important role at many
sites in Indonesia until Late Neolithic period, associated with stone mortars, but at
Enrekang this phenomenon has never been seen at some habitation sites being investigated.

Campsites, Daily Implements, and Houses

Settling down is an effort by human beings to place themselves in nature and exploit
the natural sources (Binford, 1983: 144-145). Facilities available in natural sources include
slopes, water sources, elevation, soil structure and texture, exploitable landscapes, dry and
flat surfaces, protection against climate and unfriendly environment, raw material, and is
the dominant source of food (Mundardjito, 1993: 21). Based on the discovery of Collo’ site
and observation at Buttu Banua site, we see that the communities at Enrekang built their
settlements on sloping hills (not too steep) not far from water sources. Burials in rock
shelters are always found at certain parts of the settlements. It seems as though each village
consists of big entities of relatives that own a rock shelter burial nearby the habitation area.
The earliest settlements at Enrekang had occurred before the arrival of the neolithic
culture. The discovery of hand stencil rock paintings at the rock cliff of Panyura’ in the
village of Lunjen, district of Baraka indicates the existence of preneolithic settlements like
those at Maros–Pangkep area. The existence of the neolithic culture is evidenced by the
discovery of Maliling and Buttu Banua cave sites. It is interesting to note that both the pre-
neolithic (cave paintings) and neolithic (stone adzes, pottery, etc.) remains in this area are
scarce. Human activities in this mountainous area must have been not as intensive as in the
lowland area, which is understandable due to the difficulties in terms of contacts/
communication with the outside world because of geographical obstacles.
One of the sites that bears neolithic remains is Gua Maliling (Maliling Cave) site in
the village of Pana, Alla’. The test pits (TP.1 and TP.2) excavated in 2005 yielded few
archaeological finds, only recent garbage in the upper layers and candlenut shell in the
lower layer up to the depth of 120 cm. In spit 2 of TP.2, at the depth of 50 cm, which is a
layer of yellowish brown loose textured soil, were found artifacts resembling “bone tools”
in association with some teeth and fragments of karst rock, but not supported by other finds
such as pottery. Other finds include a small number of land mollusks’ shells and fragments
of land animals’ bones. The scarceness of finds in both test pits indicates that this cave was
not intensively inhabited.
The Buttu Banua cave, which is located at a slightly sloped hillside, gives us more
complete portrayal about the existence of neolithic Culture at Enrekang. The discovery of
round axes, bark-cloth beater (batu ike), polishing stone, and paddle-anvil (Agnes, 1996)
suggests that this site is a neolithic habitation site. Fragments of pottery, which were found
together with the above-mentioned lithic tools, are highly important evidences of the arrival
of Austronesian-speaking people in this area. Pottery fragments from this site were usually
made employing quite advanced technology, which is slow potter’s wheel. At the Buttu
Banua rock shelter there are nine types of pottery in association with human bones and
a. Urns/pots with rims slanting outward and ends at curved lips; the outer and inner
sides are wavy and rough. The necks are only slightly sloping. There are uneven
striations that indicate the use of slow potter’s wheel technique. The rims are 10
mm thick. The size of this type of pottery varies (2 samples).
b. Rather thin pots with rims slanting outward and end at the middle part. The necks
form almost 90o angle. The outside surfaces are rough and the striations are
c. Pots with open rims and flat lips. There are slight protuberances on the outside
surfaces. The rims are 7 mm thick, and the striations clearly show the use of slow
potter’s wheel.
d. Pots with open rims that curved outward, with flat lips. The necks are rather
slanting and the rims are 8 mm thick
e. Pots with open rims that curved outward forming protuberances on the outside
surface. The rims are 5 mm thick, and the necks can no longer identify. The
striations are irregular, showing that the pots were made using slow potter’s wheel.
f. Pots with open rims that curved outward forming protuberances on the outside
surface. The meeting points are on the rims, which are 6 mm thick. The lips are
decorated with incised straight and diagonal lines.
g. Pots with short, open rims that end at the short, curved lips. The meeting points are
the middle parts. The rims are 23 mm thick.
h. Pots with long, open rims that end at the flat lips. The decorations are geometric
incisions under the rims, in the form of straight lines with parallel diagonal lines in
i. Pots with long, open rims that end at the slightly curved lips. This type of pottery
is decorated with panel motifs, which are formed by vertical straight lines and
horizontal lines above and below them. Inside every other panel are diagonal lines.

Besides rims, the body and base parts of the pottery also show unique profiles, which

a. Thin bodies decorated with impressed fish net pattern.

b. Carinated bodies, probably with open rims indicating carinations at the middle
parts of the bodies.
c. Bodies decorated with impressed parallel lines.
d. Fragments of flat bases made of sand with coarse temper.

It seems that aside from being used as daily implements, pottery was also functioned
as funeral gifts. The similarities between the types of pottery at burial rock shelters and in
habitation sites show that the early settlers of Enrekang believed in life after death like the
tradition developed among the bearers of the megalithic tradition.
Another important element in the cultural pattern of Enrekang is the existence of
stone mortars, which indicates that the people had known cereals/ grains, although they
tend to practice non-irrigated agriculture rather than wet (irrigated) agriculture. According
to the local inhabitants, the type of rice they used to consume was mountain rice known as
padi kibuli (padi = rice). The stone mortars (= issong in Enrekang language) found at the
sites of Tapong and Benteng Alla’ (benteng = fort) are stone blocks with a whole each. In
the practical world, mortars are used to pound rice and other grains 1 . As agricultural
Research conducted by Truman Simanjuntak and his team at the Baseh Site (1992) revealed that besides it
has practical functions, stone mortar has religious function as an expectation symbols on the fertility of
communities they consider mortars as important daily implements found in limited amount
at every village (site). During the historic period at Enrekang mortars were found near
where the noble-people lived as a symbol of control on production and distribution of food
sources. At the site of Tapong, mortars were found in an area determined as the palace
zone, while at Benteng Alla’ they were found behind the house of To Buntu Mentaun,
which is an astronomical officer whose duty is to observe the stars (= bintuing) to
determine planting and harvesting seasons.
Mortars at Tapong site are far simpler than those found at Benteng Alla’ site,
although they were all made of andesite blocks by employing centrifugal process to form
the intended shapes through flaking. As the place to process raw material (usually food), a
hole is carved out of each mortar’s top. The ones at Tapong were made without paying too
much attention to aesthetic aspect; probably in conform to the relatively few needs of the
community. Only the holes of the Tapong mortars were worked, while the outer sides are
kept to the original condition. The important thing is that the existence of mortars reveals
the possibility of human development to process raw material they need in their daily life,
such as pounding rice to eliminate the husks or making other things including traditional
The early communities lived in open sites, and built houses to protect them from
nature. Traces of a quite old traditional house of Enrekang was found at Benteng Alla’ site.
From traces of poles found there, it can be assumed that the house at Enrekang was a stilt
house like houses of other bearers of Austronesian culture. However, the shape of the house
at Enrekang is very different from the stilt houses of Bugis/Makassar (Bola/Balla’), Toraja
(Tongkonan), and Kalumpang (Banua Batang). The traditional house of Enrekang is
rectangular in shape, small, and simple, supported by some stone poles called lentong.
Nowadays Enrekang’s traditional houses with poles (lentong) are perished due to very
intensive Bugis influence.

Rock Shelter Burials

During the prehistoric period, in general there were two types of burial processes.
First, primary burial in which the corpse is directly buried; second, secondary burial in
which the corpse was interred under the ground or put in a wooden coffin before the bones
were collected and reburied (Soejono, 1984: 291). This prehistoric burial pattern can be
found at many sites in Enrekang, such as Kalumpang (Mamuju) around the Banua Batang
site, Ara (Bulukumba), Walenrang and Belopa (Luwu), as well as Toraja where it is still
practiced until now. Rock shelter burial using mandu 2 , which is shaped like a boat, seems
to be the earliest known burial pattern in this area. It is a megalithic tradition widely
developed in the archipelago as a reflection of ancestor worship. Mandu usually does not
have certain orientation, but only put at the fringe of a rock shelter wall in adjustment to the

Boat shaped wooden coffins at other areas have various names. At Sumba they are called kabang; at
Timor they are known as kopa tuwo; the Kalimantan communities named them sandong, kariring, or
raung; and at Toraja the term is erong.
morphology of the location. At the sites of Puang Leorang and Surakan, for instance,
mandus were placed with no certain orientation. It seems like Tontonan site is an exception,
where mandus are placed in east– west orientation following the edge of the valley that was
sculpted right over the river flow. According to R.P. Soejono (1977: 132), boat shaped
coffins or coffins that were compared to the characteristics of boats represent a belief that
spirits of the dead must travel by sea to reach the island of the spirits.
At Enrekang, based on investigations at the sites of Tontonan and Puang Leoran,
mandus were made using certain technique. A Mandu, like sarcophagi, consist of a
container and a cover. It was made of a big log, which looks like a boat, and the center was
carved out to make a hole the size of the deceased. The corpse of the dead person was then
put in the hole and the cover was then placed on top of the container.

Karopi and Menhir

In the burial tradition at Enrekang, before the corpse is put inside the mandu,
secondary burial was carried out in a place called karopi. At Benteng Alla’ village, besides
rock shelter burial there are also karopis. Karopi is the local term for rectangular
arrangement of stones that is higher than the earth’s surface to put human corpse so that
water, flood, and so forth will not destroy the remains. Its function is to retain the corpse’s
body fluid, and a symbol of separating the delicate (fluid) and solid (bones) parts of the
It seems that karopi is part of the first process before the main burial in rock shelter
using coffin (mandu at Enrekang or erong at Toraja). Essentially karopi can be considered
as secondary burial to preserve the corpse. It reflects the series of festive and sacred burial
ceremonies, as shown by the existence of menhirs in its west. Among the prehistoric
communities in general, menhirs were erected as a symbol of the dead and as the place to
put offerings. The megalithic elements found at Enrekang are usually related to burial
ceremonies as a reflection of ancestral cult. Ethno archaeological approach shows that
menhirs (simbuang) at Enrekang probably had similar function as the ones still used at
Toraja nowadays, which is to tie up buffaloes that are going to be slaughtered and then
sacrificed to the dead. So to the family of the deceased a karopi is a reflection of
responsibility and honor. To them a special treatment is a way to relief the family from sins.

Two seasons of researches at Enrekang have yielded archaeological finds that give us
initial indication of how important this area is in the dispersion of the bearers of the
Austronesian culture. Besides red-slipped pottery, which was found in almost every site,
bark cloth-beater and stone axes were also found at Buttu Banua site by Agnes (1995).
More emphasis on the two season researches was given by the archaeological survey
carried out by the Archaeological Branch Office of Makassar (Balai Arkeologi Makassar)
in 2006, which found the Neolithic settlement site of Collo-Kotu as evidenced by stone
flake tools, red-slipped pottery, faunal remains, and material source of the stone (lithic)
It is assumed that before they came to Toraja, the bearers of the Austronesian culture
have built their settlements at Bambapuang, among others at Collo site. It suggests a direct
relationship between Enrekang and Toraja in terms of the dispersion of Austronesian
culture. By comparing them with Kalumpang we will se that there are similarities between
the Karama and the Saddang rivers, which are the first stop over area of the Austronesian
migrants, namely the increasingly stronger current and the plenty of rocks that make
traveling by boat becomes more and more difficult. If archaeological explorations fail to
find strong indications about the existence of the bearers of Austronesian culture at the
estuary of the Saddang river, like the case at Sempaga (Mamuju), it will be more obvious
that they dispersed directly into the interior area as far as the boat could pass.
Archaeological evidences reveal that the folk tales about “Bambapuang” were not
merely myth, but a way to bequeath the “history” of the arrival of a pioneer community that
brought pottery making tradition to Enrekang. The community was then flourished and
dispersed from the initial point at Bambapuang to the interior areas in the north, Toraja, and
other mountainous areas in Central Sulawesi. By studying the archaeological finds, it is
assumed that during the Neolithic up to the Bugis expansion period in XVI century AD
Enrekang played an important role in the dispersion of Austronesian culture through the
Saddang River. Even when the last century shows many changes in lifestyle, it was due to
the intensive expansion of the Bugis people. However, the historical process of pre-Bugis
communities justified the existence of Enrekang as one of the cultural areas of the
“Masserempulu” ethnic group, which is very different from the Bugis ethnic group,
particularly in the aspect of language.

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Irfan Mahmud
Makassar Archaeological Research Sub-Center

The Mallawa site was initially reported by students of the Hasanuddin University
in 1994. In 1995 the Archaeological Branch Office of Makassar followed up the report
by conducting survey led by Karaeng Demmanari. Later Puslit Arkenas (The National
Research Centre of Archaeology) also carried out a joint research with the University of
Hasanuddin at Mallawa (1999). Previous research showed that rectangular and round
axes, as well as beads, were found at the Mallawa site (Puslit Arkenas, 1995). The
previous finds have caused many problems, especially in relation to the dispersal of the
bearers of Austronesian culture.
The geographical position of the Mallawa site, which is in the interior part of
Maros, at least has implications on a number of issues. First, are the cultural aspects at
the Mallawa site show some indications, which can reveal the dispersal of the
Austronesians? Second, how were the relationships between the physical environment
of Mallawa and the technology, and between the interaction pattern of its community
and those found at other zones? Those are the issues to be discussed in this brief article
as the result of the 2004 research.

Physical Environment
The Mallawa site is situated 92-km northeast of Makassar, or 62 km east of Maros.
Administratively it is part of Kampung Lappa’ at the village of Sabila, Mallawa district,
Maros regency, South Sulawesi. Concentration of finds was found at Bukit Bakung
(Bakung Hill) at an altitude of 440 m above sea level, between 04o15’18.3” southern
latitude and 119o55’21.6” eastern hemisphere. The distance between Bukit Bakung and
the Maros– Bone road is about 300 m, passing by irrigated rice fields and seasonal
agricultural fields. Bulu’ Bakung (Bulu’ = bukit or hill) is a peanut field owned by A.
Besides Bulu’ Bakung, there are three other bulu’s (hills) nearby, namely: Bulu’
Massokkorang to the east of Bulu’ Bakung, Bulu’ Tamallawa in the northeast, and
Bulu’ Pattiroang in the east. The four hills are strategic locations for settlements
because they are situated at the center of the slopes surrounded by high mountains as
barriers. To its west, the Bakung hill is protected by Reamalempong Mountain, to its
north Batulappae Mountain, to its east by Massuangang and Possi mountains, and to its
south by Tompoladae mountain range. This site is close to water source, which is
Lappbinare that flows from Posso Mountain through the east, south, and west periphery
of Bakung hill (the center of the site) to the marshland at the northwest of the site.
The morphology of the Mallawa site is rather wavy at the hilly area. At this site
area there are many outcrops of silicified limestone and sedimentary rocks are found at
the rivers surrounding the site. Several types of natural rocks in this environment are
similar to those used as the material of lithic artifacts found at this site. Geologically the
Mallawa site is influenced by the Mallawa geological formation. The Mallawa
geological formation is situated on top of the Balangbaru formation from the Miocene
period, and is composed of sedimentary rocks, which consist of clay coal and sandstone
from the Lower Eocene period. At the lowest is black coal with layered structure and
non-clastic texture. Between faded brown and fresh brown clay rocks the texture is fine
clastic. The soil is a result of the weathering of brown and black pyroclastic rocks.
The surface of the soil is covered by regelis, which is a deposit of fragments and
mineral as a result of weathering process. With such soil condition, the inhabitants use
the hills to plant peanuts, cacao, and vegetables, while the vast slope is exploited as rice
fields and habitation area. At the south, north, and west there are rice fields and a small
lake. In the rice fields is thick clay that is good for pottery making. The clay content is
most probably originated from the lake southwest of Bakung hill.

2. Excavation Process
Test excavation at the Mallawa site was carried out on a slope with medium
declivity, which is 22% eastward. The test pit is on a place, which was thought to be the
least disturbed in hope that it will reveal more adequate chronological data and
description of cultural layers.
At the Mallawa site a 1.5 x 1.5 m2 pit was excavated with an orientation that is not
precisely in north – south direction (220o), taking into account the topographical
condition of the site. The highest point of the test pit at Mallawa is in the northeast
corner, which is 10 cm below the string level. The northwest corner is 46 cm below the
string level, the southwest is 29 cm and the southeast is 24 cm below the string level.
The pit’s surface is covered by grass, hiding the artifacts from sight. Spit 1 is 20 cm
below the string level, consisting of black humus with sandy texture, which is wet and
loose. The artifacts are very dense, mostly thin and black pottery; many of which with
red slip and some are decorated. At the end of spit 1 the surface is level.
Due to the very dense finds, the next spits are only 10 cm thick. Spit 2 is 30 cm
below the string level. The color and texture of the soil are similar to that in spit 1. The
difference is that the shapes of the anvil stones and pottery are more apparent.
The color of the soil in spit 3 is still the same, but the texture is becoming wetter
and more pliable (clayey), especially at the southeast and southwest quadrants, so that
wooden/bamboo spatula or sticks and sharper tools are needed to avoid damage of
finds. That is not the case with the northwest and northeast quadrants, which are still
sandy, wet, and loose. The different soil textures also show a contrast of finds: the sizes
of the fragments of artifacts taken from the southeast and southwest quadrants are
bigger than those taken from the northeast and northwest quadrants. A whole spout was
found at the southeast quadrant.
In spit 4 the color of the soil becomes more solid black with yellow spots, which
indicate rock weathering. The texture is wetter and more pliable. The density of finds/
anvils (?) is constant although more were taken from the southwest quadrant, which
shows connection with the layer of spit 5. At spit 5 there was a 50-cm2 feature.
At spit 6 and on to spit 7 plenty of charcoal was found. The finds are still the same
then drastically decline at spit 8, which is 90 cm below the string level. Only 1 fragment
of plain pottery was found at spit 8. To ensure that the pit is sterile, the team continued
to excavate until spit 9, where not a single artifact was found.
The excavation reveals that the Mallawa site has quite simple stratigraphy, with
only two layers: a layer of black sandy and loose soil, and a layer of black and pliable
clay. The site contains artifacts that are quite complex, varied, and show more advanced
technological level than the ones from the Minanga Sipakko site. Adequate analyses are
needed to identify their similarities and differences so we can see whether there is a
local type at the Mallawa site or, on the other hand, determining an Austronesian
culture area at a certain period of time.

3. Archaeological Finds
The finds yielded from the archaeological researches at two Neolithic sites at
Mallawa (Bulu’ Bakung and Bulu’ Posso) are among others: quadrangular adzes of
various shapes, flake tools, hammer stones, mortars and pestles, and fragments of plain
and decorated pottery. Based on the artifacts found during the research at the Mallawa
site, particularly the lithic tools, it becomes more evident that people in the past
exploited the natural sources in the surrounding environment to ensure their survival.
Among others they used rocks in their habitat to make lithic tools so they could use
them to process the available sources of for other needs.
Besides lithic tools made by exploiting local habitat, there are also fragments of
pottery. In general the decoration motifs of the Mallawa pottery were made using
incised, impressed, and piercing techniques, especially on the rims. Based on their
shapes, the Mallawa pottery can be categorized into several types:

a. Plates with uninterrupted rather slanting rims, which end at the center. The
fragments are quite thin (7 mm thick), with rough surfaces and irregular
striations. The exterior is decorated with diagonal lines and triangles. Between
the decorations are empty spaces formed by horizontal line surrounding the
bottom parts of the bodies. The motifs are made using incised technique.
b. Vases with rims slanted outward and flat lips. The rims are quite thick (14 mm).
At the outer surfaces the lips are rather protruded, while the inner parts are rather
straight, uninterrupted. The protruded parts are about 18 mm thick. The fragments
are rough. They were decorated at the rims with holes at irregular intervals.
c. Vases with rims slanted outward and flat lips that end at the rims. The rims are 15
mm thick, and the outside parts are decorated with rather close together vertical
serrated incisions at irregular intervals. The decorated parts are protruded 3-cm
d. Pots with rims slanted outward and flat lips that end at the rims. The lips are 13
mm thick. The outer parts of the rims are decorated with vertical serrated
incisions at wider intervals than the (iii) type. The decorated parts look protruded
3-cm outward.
e. Bowls with rims slanted outward and rather curved lips that end at the inner parts
of the rims. The outer parts are decorated using impressed technique. The empty
spaces between the diagonal lines and in the triangles are filled with impressed
f. Pots with rims slanted outward and curved lips that end at the rims. The rims are
6 mm thick. The necks are curved inward.
g. Vases with rims slanted outward and flat lips that end at the inner parts of the
rims. The lips are 20 mm thick. The outer parts of the rims are protruded 25 – 28
mm outward. This type is rather rough with irregular striations. There are only a
few decorations at the rims, which are two diagonal lines forming triangular
h. Pot handles, which are triangular in shape, with a hole. They are fragments of big
and small pots. The three samples show that the biggest one is 25 mm thick.
Some big handles are decorated with net impressed motif with three vertical lines
as the outer border.
i. Pot handles, which are trapezoid in shape, decorated with two vertical lines as the
outer borders and diagonal lines forming triangular motifs.
j. Pot handles (?), which are round and elongated in shape. At the tip of the handles
are three small circles made using incised technique.

Fragments of pottery consist of containers and non-containers. The containers are

pots, flasks, cups, and plates, while non-containers are incense burners, stoves, and
pestles. Among the pottery fragments are those with red slip. Another prominent
characteristic of the Mallawa pottery is the existence of various decoration motifs,
which are triangles, diamond shapes, lines (diagonal, vertical, and horizontal), herring
bone, serrated, holes, and points made using incised technique.
Analysis on soil samples (clay and sand found at the site) by the National Research
and Development Centre of Archaeology reveals inconsistency with the material of the
Mallawa pottery fragments, which led to the assumption that the Mallawa pottery was
not locally manufactured. It is possible that there were trade contacts with other areas
outside Mallawa. The trade contacts were probably carried out in the form of barter of
pottery from outside Mallawa for products of lithic atelier like Neolithic axes, which
were abundant at Mallawa that is rich in lithic sources.

4. Discussion
In the context of this study, it is interesting to compare the potencies of finds at the
sites of Minanga Sipakko and Mallawa. Based on the thickness of the cultural layers, it
seems that Minanga Sipakko site was inhabited for longer period of time than Mallawa site.
Two C-14 datings on charcoal at Mallawa reveals a habitation between 3580+/-130 BP and
2710+/-170 BP (Simanjuntak: this volume), which is slightly younger than Minanga
Sipakko. The Mallawa site might have been inhabited by the later migration surge of by
later generation that dispersed from a particular zone and supported by artifacts made using
more advanced technology such as slow potter’s wheel. The Kalumpang pottery consists of
plain and decorated ones, and incised decorations are the most commonly employed (see
Chapter 4). Likewise is the Mallawa pottery, in which incised decorations also dominant,
suggesting phenomena of pottery found at sites identified as related to the Austronesian
The Mallawa site has uncomplicated stratigraphy. There are only two layers seen in
the pit, a black layer containing loose sand and a layer of black pliable clay. The site also
contains quite complex and varied artifacts, which were manufactured using more advanced
technology than the artifacts from the Minanga Sipakko site. However, the varied motifs of
the Mallawa pottery are not unique enough to be recognized as local type. The variation
may have been resulted from different flows of goods that came from various places
outside Mallawa, which relied on the lithic tools that were the highlight in barter trade.
It is highly probable that barter processes occurred intensively at Mallawa. Results of
excavation reveal pottery, adzes, anvils, and beads that indicate a phenomenon of economic
transactions, maybe in particular standard of goods. The highest medium of exchange was
probably the beads, because not only they were found in limited amount but also have high
aesthetic value. It is consistent with Bellwood’s opinion (975: 286) that in the past glass
beads were functioned both as money and ornament/jewelry. So it seems as though its lithic
industry and its self-sufficiency in rice production supported the economic power of
Mallawa. Three stone mortars found at Bulu’ Bakung hill is evidences of the processing of
grains, including rice. The bargaining power of those two products had increased the
interest of other areas to do barter with Mallawa, which explains why there are very rich
and varied finds at the site.

Bellwood, Peter. 1975. Man,s conquest of The Pasifik. Aucland, London: Collins.
Nitihaminoto, Gunadi. 1993. “Cara-cara Menentukan Kekunaan Gerabah Penelitian
Arkeologi, Analisis Eksternal”. Berkala Arkeologi, No. 1 Tahun XIII. Yogyakarta:
Balai Arkeologi Yogyakarta.
Nitihaminoto, Gunadi. 1995. “Transformasi Fungsi Alat Batu Semu Situs Gunungwingko”,
Berkala Arkeologi, No. 2, Th. XV: 1-9.
Simanjuntak, Truman. 1994/1995. “Kalumpang: Hunian Sungai Bercorak Neolitik-
Paleometalik di Pedalaman Sulawesi Selatan”, Aspek-aspek arkeologi Indonesia
No. 17. Jakarta: Pusat Penelitian Arkeologi Nasional
Soejono, R.P. (ed.).1984. Sejarah Nasional Indonesia I. Jakarta: Balai Pustaka.

Truman Simanjuntak* & Joko Siswanto**

* National Research and Development Center for Archaeology
** Makassar Archaeological Reseach Sub-Center


In archaeological perspective, the northern part of Sulawesi is a place rich in

prehistoric sites, especially Neolithic and Megalithic sites. It is the “upper arm” of Sulawesi
that, administratively, is divided into the province of Gorontalo in the west and the province
of North Sulawesi in the east. The latter now also includes the Sangir–Talaud Islands,
which is adjacent to the Philippines. Some of the most prominent Neolithic sites in this area
are Oluhuta site at Gorontalo, Guaan site in the regency of Bolaang Mongondow, the cave
sites at Sangir–Talaud Islands, and the sites around Tondano Lake.
Megalithic sites tend to be distributed in the northern part of Sulawesi, the most dense
of which being at the regency of Minahasa. Megalithic remains spread into Central
Sulawesi, particularly at Bada Valley and Besoa, which are characterized by stone vats
(Sugondho 2006). Previously, researchers paid more attention to Megalithic sites rather
than Neolithic sites in this area because of the eye-catching appearance of the objects,
which are made of big rocks. We note that since 1930s there have been articles about the
Megaliths of Minahasa. Warugas, a type of stone burial, are the most dominant
archaeological remains in this area besides menhirs, ancestor statues, mortars, and dakon
stones (big stones with a number of holes on their tops). These types of archaeological
remains are often associated with plain and decorated pottery. Decorated pottery is usually
in anvil and net motifs made using impressed technique. Others are in geometric, wavy,
herringbone, parallel line, spot, and circle motifs made using incised technique (Fahriani
Researches on Neolithic sites in the northern part of Sulawesi were not began until
1970s. The Neolithic of this area becomes very important because of its strategic
geographical location, which is surrounded by islands such as the Philippines to its north,
Kalimantan to its west, and the Molluccas to its east. The understanding about the Neolithic
will provide illustration on the arrival, adaptation process, and cultural development of the
Austronesian-speaking people in this area and its surroundings. In reality researches on the
Neolithic sites in this area are only recently done. In 1971 Peter Bellwood from the
Australian National University and I Made Sutayasa carried out a research at Sangir–
Talaud Islands, where habitation cave sites were found, characterized by potsherds and
scrapers. Another research – also by Peter Bellwood – was carried out in 1980s at the site
of Paso by the banks of Tondano Lake, and found traces of settlement by the lake, which
show the use of mollusks from the lake. Daud Tanudirjo (2001) carried through the
research at the islands of Sangir-Talaud for his dissertation in ANU. With the existence of
Balai Arkeologi Manado (the Archaeological Sub-Center of Manado – the representative
institution of the National Research Centre of Archaeology in this region – since 1990s,
researches in this region becomes more intensive, both at previously investigated sites and
newly found sites.

Highlights of Results
Among the above-mentioned sites, Paso is one of the special sites due to its location
by the lake and its rich finds. The Paso site is located about 400 meters from the
southwestern shore of Tondano Lake, at 04o32’019” northern latitude and 126o48’45”
eastern hemisphere. Administratively it belongs to the district of Kakas, regency of
Minahasa, North Sulawesi province. During its occupational period in the past this site is
assumed to be located by the shore of the lake, but the gradual land expansion has moved
this site farther away from the lake. Nowadays the surrounding environment of the site is a
quite densely populated habitation area. It is no surprising, then, that there are many houses,
church, yards/gardens, and village roads.
The excavation conducted by Bellwood at this site in 1974 yielded two cultural
layers. In the lower layer there was the pre-Neolithic culture (Bellwood calls it pre-ceramic
culture) in shell mound, which is 30 m in diameter and 1 m in thickness. Obsidian flakes,
bone tools, shells, hematite, and remains of land fauna. Among the land fauna, boars/pigs
(Sus celebensis) are the most dominant, aside from anoa, babirusa, macaques, rodents, and
marsupials (Bellwood 2000). This discovery is the evidence of the existence of settlement
by the lake, the inhabitants of which lived by utilizing lake-biota (gastropoda and
pelecypoda) and by hunting the land animals that lived in the surrounding environment.
They develop the technology of making flake tools made of obsidian, and bone tools. Two
C-14 dates are obtained from this cultural layer, which are 7530 ± 50 BP (ANU 1517) and
7360 ± 310 BP (ANU 1518) (Bellwood 1985).
The upper layer is the Neolithic layer characterized by plain, decorated, and red-
slipped fragments of earthenware pots, bowls, and pedestals, all of which have similarities
with pottery from the Philippines (Tanudirjo 2001). Other finds include obsidian and stone
axes. It is worth noticing that pre-Neolithic remains like mollusks, remains of land fauna,
and obsidian are still found in this layer. Excavations carried out recently by Balai
Arkeologi Manado (the Archaeological Sub-Center of Manado) yielded two burial urns in
this layer. The first urn was found from the excavation pit at the Gereja Masehi Injili di
Minahasa (GMIM), a church complex, at the center area of the site. The other was found
not far from it. The burial urns are medium in size, and their shapes are cylindrical with
flared base. One of the urns has cover but it was broken and found separately from the urn.
The other urn is bigger and was decorated with net impressed design on its body, and inside
it was found human remains and an earthenware bowl.
Our exploration at this site recently has confirmed the importance of this site for
Austronesian studies in the northern part of Sulawesi. Numerous potsherds of plain and
decorated vessels are scattered at the surface of the site. The most conspicuous decorations
are in net and checkered motifs applying impressed technique.
The existence of the Austronesian-speaking people is not limited to the Paso area but
also spread to its surroundings. Other Neolithic sites at Tondano and North Sulawesi in
general is the evidence that the dispersal of the bearers of this culture covered a vast area.
Teling site is another Neolithic site at the bank of Tondano Lake, around 500 meters south
of Paso site. During the excavation proceeded by the Archaeological Sub-Center of Manado
was found jar burial and open burial (without container) associated with plain and
decorated pottery (Fahriani 2003). The explorations at those sites confirmed the
archaeological remains we just mentioned. On the site surface can still be seen numerous
artifacts, such as plain and decorated and red-slipped potsherds, obsidians, mollusks’ shells,
and a few fragments of ceramic. Those finds indicated the long occupation of the sites since
the pre-Neolithic up to the present.
The Neolithic of the western area is represented by the Oluhuta site at the village of
Oluhuta in the district of Kabila Bone, regency of Bone Bolango, province of Gorontalo.
This site is located at the area of Oluhuta Lake, which is surrounded by hills. Not far from
the site there is a river that flows from the hills into the Oluhuta Bay. Excavation conducted
by the Archaeological Sub-Center of Manado yielded the occupational layers that contain
human burials, stone adzes, potsherds of different types of parcel (small and large jars,
bowls, dishes/plates, flasks/kendi), and net-sinker (the pendulum of a fishnet). Cord mark,
herring bones/fish bones, and net motifs are the most conspicuous decorations applying
impressed and incised techniques. It seems that the technique of fabrication is hand made
mixed with slow wheel as shown by the finger marks and irregular striations on the
pottery’s surface. Other finds are stone adzes and marine mollusks’ shells. The outstanding
finds are human skeletons in rows with west – east orientation (the heads are in the west).
Some of them are incomplete, but generally still show parts of skulls and extremities.
Another important site is the site of Guaan at the village of Guaan, district of
Modayag, regency of Bolaang Mongondow. This site is by the lake of Mooat in the
Kotamobago highland with an elevation of 1,100 m above sea level, at between 0o46’15”
Northern latitude and 124o26’32” Eastern hemisphere. Research carried out by the
Archaeological Sub-Center of Manado at this site shows that Guaan is a megalithic site,
characterized by stone mortars, dolmens, and dakon stones (big stones with holes on top),
as well as fragments of pottery around the dolmens and dakon stones. The fragments are
usually parts of pots, plates, cups, basins, and footed vessels. The decoration motifs are
varied from the impressed nail motif at the vessel’s rim to incised vertical lines and
geometric motifs at the vessel’s body. It is interesting to note that stone adzes and flakes
made of dark brown and reddish brown chert rocks are also found at this site. Other finds
are fragments of bronze axes (Siswanto 2002; 2003).
Those various finds show that Guaan site is a multi-component site, where Neolithic
culture that was characterized by stone adzes and pottery mixed with Megalithic and Metal
cultures. It is assumed that this site was originally a Neolithic habitation site. The arrival of
Megalithic and Metal cultures in later period had caused cultural change by means of
adaptation process and interactions between the newcomers and the native inhabitants. The
priority of further investigations at this site should be on the dating of its cultural layers in
order to know the chronology of habitation and the cultural processes occurred since the
Neolithic up to the Proto-historical periods.
The Sangir–Talaud Islands, which is located to the north of Sulawesi island and to the
south of the Philippines, is an area rich in Neolithic sites. New discoveries even indicate
that this area has been inhabited by men long before the development of the Neolithic
culture. The most recent discovery at Leang Sarru reveals that human beings have inhabited
this area since about 30,000 years ago (Tanudirjo 2001; 2005). In terms of Neolithic sites,
among the most important ones are Leang Tuwo Mane’e, Leang Tahuna, Leang Balangingi,
Leang Budane, Leang Arandangana, and Leang Sarru. The finds from those sites are in
general flake tools, fragments of red-slipped pottery, mollusks’ shells, and tools made of
mollusks’ shells. One of the sites, which was intensively investigated, is Leang Tuwo
Mane’e. Like in Paso site, there are also two cultural layers at this site. First, the pre-
ceramic layer characterized by flake-blade industry using both gray and brown cherts, dated
by shell to 4,860 ± 130 BP (ANU 1717). Second, Neolithic layer characterized by red-
slipped pottery, obsidian, and flake industry, with the initial appearance of pottery. It is
assumed that the date of this layer is around 3,600 BP (Tanudirjo 2001). Above the
Neolithic layer, there are paleometalic and historic layers characterized by the existence of

Some Remarks

The existence of Neolithic sites and prehistoric sites in general in the northern part of
Sulawesi, with their archaeological values, is very important not only to local history but
also to regional history. Their strategic geographical position – surrounded by islands –
made life in this area in-separated with the surrounding places since the olden days. Due to
this condition, our understanding of the archaeology of this area will give us an
understanding about the archaeology of the surrounding places.
Thus far the available archaeological data show that this area has been inhabited by
human beings long before the Neolithic period – since Late Pleistocene about 30,000 years
ago – as proven by the results of research at Leang Sarru in Sangir–Talaud Islands
(Tanudirjo 2001; 2005). Dating results show that since Late Pleistocene the northern part of
Sulawesi is part of the global habitation area of Homo sapiens, which includes Continental
and Islands Southeast Asia, West Melanesia, and Australia (Simanjuntak in press). In this
context it is interesting to note that the Austronesian-speaking people that came in this area
about 3,500 years ago were not the original inhabitants, and other population had inhabited
this area long before it.
Dating from Paso reveals a much younger habitation data in the mainland of the
northern part of Sulawesi compared to those in the islands of the northern part of Sulawesi
– about 7,000 years ago. Based on the dating of Leang Sarru in the Sangir–Talaud Islands,
it is most probable that the dating of Paso does not represent the oldest habitation in land
area. Older dating of habitation in South Sulawesi, like at Leang Burung 2 and Leang
Sakapao 1, which is about 30,000 years ago (Glover 1981; Bulbeck et al. 2004), support
this assumption. It is presumed that this area had been inhabited by human beings long
before, but there has not been any evidence to support it.
The existence of pre-Neolithic culture, which continued to the Neolithic layer at the
site of Paso indicates that there are adaptation process and interactions between the
indigenous population and the Austronesian-speaking people. The phenomenon of
adaptation process and interactions between the indigenous population and newcomers can
be found at other areas in Indonesia, for instance at Maros (Bulbeck et al. 2001), Baturaja
(Dominique et al. 2006; Simanjuntak & Forestier 2004), and Gunung Sewu (Simanjuntak
2002). The exact date of the appearance of the Austronesian-speaking people to this area
has not been known yet. But based on the dating results of Leang Tuwo Mane’e in the north
(c. 3,600 BP) and Minanga Sipakko in the south (c. 3,500 BP), it is highly probable that the
Austronesian-speaking people with its Neolithic culture came to this area within those
dates. More intensive researches at this area are needed in the future to identify the border
of pre-Neolithic and Neolithic layers, and to know the exact date. It is consequential to
compare the dating of Leang Tuwo Mane’e that is slightly older than Minanga Sipakko and
Maros. If the dates are correct, there is a possibility that the Neolithic distribution in
Sulawesi was initiated at Sangir–Talaud Islands and moved southward into mainland
Sulawesi. The increasingly older date of Neolithic sites to the north of Sulawesi up to the
Philippines and even Taiwan support this assumption.
Relationship between the Neolithic of the northern part of Sulawesi and its
surrounding areas can be seen in the similarities of cultural elements. One of them is the
red-slipped pottery, which is a techno-stylistic character widely flourished in Taiwan and
Island Southeast Asia during the initial period of Austronesia (Spriggs 1989). Other
element includes stone adzes, particularly simple rectangular adzes, which are the most
common type of adzes in Southeast Asia.
The appearance of the Austronesian-speaking people and their Neolithic culture in
this area – like in island Southeast Asia – was the origin of the modern life and culture. The
prominent existence of Megalithic sites in this area, together with continued Neolithic
tradition (pottery, agriculture, etc.), are evidences of the sustenance of habitation from the
Neolithic up to the Megalithic or Palaeometalic, or even up to the present. It is interesting
to note that the result of C-14 dating at the megalithic site of Tatelu, which is between 850
± 80 BP and 2070 ± 140 BP, and at the megalithic site of Woloan, which is between 1540 ±
140 BP and 1180 ± 80 BP at Minahasa (Yuniawati 2004), reveal the existence of megalithic
tradition (and its Neolithic elements) that occurred since early AD up to the historical
period. Linguistic evidences further affirms the continuity of those inhabitants. The local
languages in the northern part of Sulawesi nowadays belong to the Austronesian language
group, which is the first language brought by the speakers when they came to this area
around 3,500 years ago.

Bellwood, Peter, Prasejarah Kepulauan Indo-Malaysia, Edisi Revisi, Jakarta: PT Gramedia

Pustaka Utama, 2000.
Bellwood, Peter.1985. Holocene flake and blade imdustries of Wallacea and their
predecessors. In Misra, V.N. and Peter Bellwood (eds). Recent advances in
Indo-Pacific prehistory. Oxford & IBH Publishing Co. p. 197-205.
Bulbeck, David, Monique Pasqua, and Adrian de Lello, Culture History of the Toalean of
South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Asian Perspectives, vol. 9, no.1-2. 2001, hal.71-108.
Bulbeck, David, Iwan Sumantri dan Peter Hiscock, 2004, “Leang Sakapao I, a second dated
Pleistocene site from South Sulawesi, Indonesia”, Modern Quaternary Research
in Souheast Asia 18, hal.111-128.
Dominique, Gillo (ed.). 2006. Menyelusuri sungai merunut waktu. Penelitian Arkeologi di
Sumatra Selatan. Jakarta : PT. Enrique Indonesia.
Fahriani, Ifak. 2003. Kajian permukiman di situs Paso, Kec. Kakas, Kab. Minahasa,
Sulawesi Utara. Laporan Penelitian Arkeologi. Balai Arkeologi Manado.
Glover, I.C., 1981. Leang Burung 2: an upper Palaeolithic rock shelter in South Sulawesi,
Indonesia, Modern Quaternary Research in Southeast Asia, 6, hal. 1- 38.
Simanjuntak, Truman & Hubert Forestier. 2004. Research progress on the Neolithique in
Indonesia. Special reference to the Pondok Silabe cave, South Sumatra.
Southeast Asian Archaeology. Quezon city: University of the Philippines.
Simanjuntak, Truman (ed.). 2002. Gunung Sewu in Prehistoric Times. Yogyakarta : Gadjah
Mada University Press.
Siswanto, Djoko. 2001; Laporan Penelitian Arkeologi di Situs Oluhuta, Kecamatan
Bonepantai, Kabupaten Gorontalo. Balai Arkeologi Manado (unpublished)
Siswanto, Djoko. 2002; 2003; 2004;2005: Laporan Penelitian Arkeologi Kajian
Permukiman di Situs Guaan, Kecamatan Modayag, Sulawesi Utara. Balai
Arkeologi Manado (unpublished)
Spriggs, Matthew. 1989. “The dating of the island Southeast Asian Neolithic”, Antiquity
63: hl. 593
Sugondho, Santoso. 2006. Prehistoric Research in the Northern Part of Sulawesi with
Special Reference to Liang Sarru. Festschrift 80 tahun Prof. R.P. Soejono (in
Tanudirjo, D.A. 2001. Islands in Between, Prehistory of the Northeastern Indonesian
Archipelago. PhD thesis, Canberra : The Australian National University
Tanudirjo, Daud. 2005. Long and continuous or short term and occasional occupation? The
human use of Leang Sarru rock shelter in the Talaud islands, northeastern
Indonesia. Bulletin of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association (Taipei papers).
vol. 25: 15-20.
Yuniawati Umar. (in press). Kubur Batu Waruga di Sub Etnis Tou`mbulu, Sulawesi Utara:
Tipologi Bentuk dan Ragam Hias. Jakarta: National Research Center for

Retno Handini 3 & Irfan Mahmud 4


In the history of the Archipelago, the appearance of Austronesian-speaking people

(further mentioned as the Austronesians) around 4,000 BP is a very important event to the
existence of our nation because it marks the earliest occupancy of the Indonesian people.
According to Bellwood (1996:287-302), during their migration from Taiwan, they brought
with them their culture, characterized by animal and plant domestication, pottery and bark-
cloth making, the use of various lithic and bone tools, and sailing with canoes. Bellwood
points out that the red-slipped pottery, widely discovered in Taiwan, the Philippines,
Indonesia, and West Melanesia, is the typical characteristic of the Austronesians. They
were sea-nomads, which mainly depended on sea to sustain their life, and therefore they
had already a high and sophisticated skill of long distance seafaring by using outrigger
canoes. From the physical anthropology point of view, the emergence and growth of the
Austronesians in Indonesia was initiated by people with Southern Mongolid features,
brought by them the neolithic culture.
Agriculture is one of the Austronesian subsistence in prehistoric time and to become
the main subsistence of the Indonesian people nowadays. Before the arrival of the
Austronesians, the earlier population living at caves still practised shifted agriculture with
slashed and burned technique. A part of developing their main subsistence as the hunter
and gatherer, the Australomelanesids were supposed to explore their environment by
practicing this early agriculture technique (Heekeren 1972). It is possible that when the
first Austronesians came to the archipelago, in certain condition they still practiced slash
and burn agriculture as a local adaptation, but in general they started to perform a more
advanced technique one, a settled agriculture. Therefore, even though there were some
cultural diversifications there is a continuation between the early agricultural system and
the agricultural activities that still practiced today. Although they belong to the different
periods, both extremities of the Indonesian agriculture mentioned above have a principal
connection, and they are assumed to be able to reveal the agricultural sequences in
Furthermore, the making of pottery with red slip, like those found among others at
Kalumpang (Simanjuntak, 1994:22) and the Lapita pottery is also a strong character of the
Austronesians culture. That is why the discovery of red-slipped pottery in a number of
archaeological sites can be regarded as the evidence of the existence of the Austronesians
community. So, researches regarding this matter can still be carried out among

National Research and Development Center for Archaeology
Balai Arkeologi Makassar
communities all over Indonesia where modern influences are minimum. Another cultural
characteristic of Austronesians culture is outrigger canoes, which is believed to be the
major transportation for the Austronesians to migrate in quite a short period of time from
Taiwan and Indonesia, before they arrived finally to the Pacific. Even though
archaeological evidences on outrigger canoes are very difficult to be found, this type of
maritime technology is believed to be the leading technology created and used by the
Austronesians during their speedy migration.
It was in relation to the indigenous tradition of the Austronesians that this research
was conducted. Identification of early agricultural techniques, including various
cultivations of plants, pottery making, and the technology of traditional boat manufacture,
can be done among the Kajang community in the regency of Bulukumba, South Sulawesi.
This ethnic group still lives to day within the frame of their predecessors lifestyle, by
rejecting the modernization. Moreover, they live at the south-most end of Sulawesi, an
island in Indonesia where the influence of Austronesians culture is assumed to be the
strongest, because it lies on the main migration route of the Austronesians. Both are the
main reasons why we chose the Kajang community to retrace the Austronesians culture.
The result will also give us an ethnographical aspect based on the daily life of the Kajang

The Kajang Tribe: Geographical and Administrative Locations, and Demographical


Kajang is an ethnic group that inhabits the traditional area of Tana Toa, which still
lives within the cultural values of their ancestors. Like the Baduys in Banten, the Kajangs
are divided into Kajang Luar (means outer Kajangs) and Kajang Dalam (means inner
Kajangs). The Kajang Luar are the people of Kajang origin who chose to live outside the
Kamasea-masea area. They live just like ordinary people from other villagers. They are
aware of modern technology and use various modern appliances like refrigerator,
television, tractor, etc.
They can be considered as “modern” people, but traditionally they have a strong
relation with the Kajang Dalam people and still acknowledge the leadership of the
Ammatoa. The Kajang Dalam people live in the Kamasea-masea area and maintain strictly
the pasang lifestyle, their life-guide that deals with the relationships between God, human
beings, and nature. The pasang prohibits them to accept anything that can not be found
before in their village without thorough consideration (ako kaitte-itte ri saha cinde
tappanging, ri caula ta’rimba-rimba) (Akib, 2003: 21). They tend to refuse technology or
anything modern that is not acceptable according to pasang.
Simplicity is one of the prominent characteristics in the daily life of the Kajang
Dalam. Their black and plain clothes is a symbol of simplicity. They live by the rules of
the Kamase-masea philosophy, which teaches them to pursue the eternal happiness in
heaven rather than worldly wealth. This philosophy teaches human beings to control their
lust and to be truthful, simple, and compassionate to others, as well as in preserving the
nature. Economical necessities are treated with caution because they believe that the desire
to become rich often taints one’s moral values. The taboos include stealing (lukka),
committing adultery (pangnga’ di), gambling (botoro’), disparaging people (tutturi),
wearing non-black clothes, and collecting forest products (wood, honey, damar resin, and
The Kajang Dalam people live in a traditional area, most of them belong to the Tana
Toa village, while the rest, only a small part, belong to the Maleleng village (Pirri and
Maleleng hamlets) and Bantoaji village (Sauka and Bantoaji hamlets) in the regency of
Bulukumba, South Sulawesi. Its position is between 05o19’148” South Latitude and
120o17’613” East Longitude, about 150 – 500 m above sea level. Its relatively fertile soil
with an average annual rainfall of 200 – 300 mm make this area suitable for various plants
like rice, corn, tubers, coffee, cacao, and tropical fruits. Lush grassland also enables the
inhabitants to raise animals successfully.
The Tana Toa village, literally means “an old land, old village”, consists of 9
hamlets with 18 Rukun Kampung (groups of households based on the area they live).
Seven hamlets --Sobbu, Benteng, Tombolo, Pangi, Luraya, Balambina, and Bungkina--.
belong to the Kamase-masea traditional area. The other two hamlets, Balaguni and
Jannaya, are located outside the traditional area. The 2004 demographic data states that
there are 833 families of the Kajang community, consists of 3,900 individuals. They speak
the Konjo language, includes Makassar and Bugis dialects.
The similar shape of their houses and its household items show their basic principal
of refusing modern technology and new things, that might destroy their principal to lead a
simple life. There is no electricity in the Kajang Dalam area. No motor vehicle or other
appliances operated by machine allowed within their daily life. They walk everywhere
barefooted. The only means of transportation is horse, especially to carry water and crops.
Those who have not horses will carry things in their heads (disungi), like the Balinese.
The Kajangs seldom smoke. Both men and women like to chew sirih, which is a
mixture of palm fruit, betel (sirih or leko’), and gambier (gambir or gambere). The
symbolic of sirih chewing is part of every Kajang’s traditional ceremony. Some women,
particularly the young ones, now wear earrings, bracelets (lola’), and necklaces (rante), but
they are not allowed to wear them during ceremonies. Wearing jewelery is not familiar
among the Kajangs because jewelry is considered a luxurious thing, something that is not
welcome in the Kajang community.


Most Kajang people are farmers. But in certain periods usually after the planting
season, some of them will go to another places like Bone, Bulukumba, and Makassar, to
become workers or becak drivers. Working outside their homeland is called by them as
“eating the salary” (ngalle gaji). Every ten days, or depending on their needs, they return
home to Kajang. The ones that ask them to work outside are usually some Kajang people
who have previously worked outside their homeland.
Rice fields and other cultivated fields are usually located outside the habitation area,
but still within the Kajang Dalam vicinity. There is no irrigation system, so the rice fields
are depended on rain. They practice traditional agriculture with simple tools like cangkul
(hoe) and tugal (wooden dibble), and use water buffaloes and cows to plow the land. The
main crop, rice, is harvested twice a year. The rice is planted in January (harvested in
April) and in April (harvested in June or July). Sticky rice is planted earlier because it
takes a longer time to grow (four months) and is considered as an important commodity
because it is the main menu on every traditional event. That is why the Kajangs give
special attention in planting sticky rice. They also keep using wooden mortar and pestle to
pound the rice to separate the rice from the husks, although outside the Kajang Dalam area,
there are a number of rice mills. Corn is only planted once a year, between October and
December while waiting for the rainy season. They plant corn before the rainy season
because the heavy rain will ruin the young corn.
The Kajangs keep the rice for their daily staple food, but if there is surplus they sell a
part of them. Usually middlepersons come and buy directly from the farmers, but
sometimes the farmers sell their crops at Kemajuan market in Tana Toa village or
Kalimporo market in Tambangan village. The resulted will be used to buy the daily
supplies they do not produce, such as cooking oil and thread, or they buy cattle for
Un-irrigated rice agriculture was practiced in Tana Toa until 1980s, using slashed
and burned system. If an area is no longer fertile, the farmers moved to another cultivation
area and open the forest. Due to population growth, which causes forest area to decrease,
this type of agriculture is diminished. Since 1980s it was replaced by simple farming and
the farmers practice individual property. The Kajang Dalam never sell their rice fields or
other cultivated fields. Parent hands down the fields to their children.
The Kajangs have known rice for a long time, but they still eat rice and corn as their
staple food. The relatively high price of rice forces them to sell most of it to the market,
and they mix rice with corn for their daily food. The Kajang Dalam usually mixes 1 part
rice and 3 parts corn, while the Kajang Luar mixes 1 part rice and 1 part corn. The money
they earn from selling rice is used for buying horses, cows, water buffaloes, or chicken for
investment. Besides rice, the Kajangs also plant coffee, cacao, tubers, and fruits, especially
bananas and mangoes. Coffee, tubers, and fruits are usually for their own use, but they sell
all the cocoa. They dry the coffee beans under the sun, and then fry it without oil in a
frying pan made of baked clay. Then they pound it finely with wooden mortar and pestle.

Hunting and Gathering

The Kajang people also hunt the animals. Formerly they hunt to gather food, but
nowadays they only hunt to protect their plants from the animals. Anyone that hunts
within the area of the protected forest will be reprimanded with traditional punishment.
The animals usually hunted are wild boar and deer (jongat) that enter the cultivated fields.
Their hunting tool is spear, locally known as poke’. The wild boar’s meat is given to the
dogs because as Moslem community, the Kajangs are prohibited from eating it. On the
other hand, hunted deer will be taken home and the meat is cooked for the whole family.
Hunting is done temporally whenever animals threaten the plants in the field. The Kajangs
prefer to hunt during summer (dry season) because in rainy season there are plenty of
poisonous snakes that may kill the hunters. They hunt in groups of at least two persons.
Hunting is done one whole day, assisted by trained hunting dogs. The dogs are utilized to
locate the animals. Once the animals are located, the dogs will bark and the hunters will
follow their sound and then spear the animals. It is said that the dogs make different kinds
of barking sound if they locate wild boars or deer. Besides spear (poke’), Kajang hunters
use big or small badik (a type of dagger) to protect themselves from animals or other
The Kajang people never gather forest products because no one is allowed to take
forest products, wood, damar resin, rattan, or honey without permission from the leader,
Ammatoa. The forest has to be kept in its natural condition. Anyone who wants to take
wood from the forest for building a house, he has to ask permission first from Ammatoa
and has to plant a tree to replace the one he cut. Those who disturb the ecosystem will have
to pay traditional fine.

Animal Domestication

The Kajangs have been domesticating animals for along time, especially horses. Then
step by step, they began a simple animal farming. They mainly keep horses because horses
are their only means of transportation, both to carry people and things. The Kajangs also
domesticate dogs, chickens, water buffaloes, and cows. Dogs are used to protect the house
and the cultivated area, and to assist them in hunting activity. Chickens are raised and they
take the eggs for food. Water buffaloes are used in traditional ceremonies, while cows are
raised because of their high productivity and for plowing the rice fields. During the days,
the animals are herded or left in the grassland to feed, and in the afternoon they are put in
an enclosure under the stilt house. The Kajang Dalam are not familiar to keep money in the
house or in bank. If they need money, they will sell animal(s) in the market.

Religion, Myths, and Taboos

The Kajang people name their God as Tu Rie’ A’ Ra’na, believed as a creator and a
ruler of life. They believe in life after death. They do not care about worldly wealth, but
the eternal life in heaven. Politeness, humbleness, patience, respect to the others, helping
other people, and obeying traditional rules are their ticket to the afterworld (Akib, 2003:
44). To the Kajangs, being nice to others in the form of respecting others’ beliefs, truthful,
not gambling, cheating, or not stealing is a ritual they have to practice in their daily life.
Kajang people believe that there are spirits reside in certain places, the sacred forest,
for example. They have to approach the “good” spirits that will give them blessings, and
avoid the “bad” spirits because they cause the bad luck. Their beliefs in spirits in certain
places are reflected in the rumatan ceremony, carried out to honor and give offerings to
the spirits. They consider the forest as sacred place, likewise is the Ammatoa and all
locations they believe resided by Turi’ A’ra’na.
According to the Kajangs, this world was created since the existence of the earth and
human beings, including the Kajang people. The Kajang people were created by God
(Turi’ A’ra’na), the One that owns human beings, the earth, and the whole world. When
creating the first Kajang people, Turi’ A’ra’na told them to wear black clothes, respect
honesty, and follow the rules (rurungang).

Technology and Daily Implements

The Kajangs often use containers and implements made of pottery, such as urns to
keep water, cooking pots (koro) to cook rice or vegetables, and frying pan (kaha). They
used to make their own crockery, but because of plenty of works in the fields has forced
them to by these daily equipments in the Tana Toa market. The goods usually came from
Takalar or Jeneponto, well known as pottery manufacturer in South Sulawesi. Most of the
daily implements used by the Kajangs are made of materials from the surrounding
environment. Here is a list of some implements frequently used in daily life of the Kajang

Bakul: container made of woven lontar (tala) leaves. First the hard center part of the
leaves are discarded then the leaves are dried for 3 days and then put into the water
overnight. Then they were dried before were woven by the Kajangs. Bakul can be made
only in one day, and being used to store rice, corn, or to steam rice.
Kaboti: woven container that looks like a woman’s bag, where hens are put to lay eggs
and hatched them.
Papi’: the unique rounded fan of the Kajangs made of woven lontar leaves.
Pabise bangke: a container to wash feet or urinate, and usually is put in front of the
house, in the left side, near the stairs.
Anjah-anjah: container made of bamboo, usually is put in the kitchen, to store fish.
Songkolang tanah: earthenware to put on frying pan or cooking pot.
Kalili: a kind of ware to serve food.
Sai: plate made of coconut shell (cut into halves); and Sai bobo: water container made of
an intact coconut shell (with a hole).
Bila: water container made of the shell of the maja fruit.
Koro: cooking pot to cook rice, made of baked clay.
Baku leppa’: basket with rim to cook vegetables
Tide’: rice plate made of woven lontar leaves.
Kurungan manuk: chicken cage made of bamboo or rattan, hung under the house. Every
afternoon chickens are put into the cage.
Sampe: horse saddle to make load carrying easier.
Tappere: mat made of woven lontar leaves.
Dohong: big hat made of woven bamboo, used in working in the fields.
Pa’ka’ru kaluku: coconut shredder made of black steel with wooden handle. To shred a
coconut, the fruit is cut into halves. Then the coconut flesh is shredded by holding the
coconut by its shell and move it up and down. The falling shredded coconut then fall into
a container.

Austronesian Cultural Traits among the Kajangs

One of the aims of this research is to identify the Austronesians cultural traits that
can still be found among the daily life of the Kajangs. In this context, the Kajang ethnic
group, which is part of the Indonesian population today, is surely also part of the
Austronesians, since they came for the first time to the archipelago some 4,000 years ago.
They started the migration from Taiwan about 6,000 BP and arrived to Polynesia around
2,000 years ago. They are sea-faring people (sea-nomad) that practice barter and trade.
According to Solheim II (1964:77-78), their material culture, among others, are flake and
blade, tools from mollusks’ shells, and polishing stone tools. They mastered long distance
sailing with outrigger canoes, using quite sophisticated marine technology, widespread
network of barter trade, and specific local culture. On the other hand, Bellwood (2000:352)
is of the opinion that during their migration process from Taiwan, they brought with them
their culture consists of pig and dog domestication, rice, sugarcane and tuber agriculture,
pottery and bark cloth manufacture. They use of stone and bone tools, and sailing with
canoes. Seed farming was finally abandoned by the migrants who sailed through the
equator islands due to unsuitable environment. They plant various tubers by using
vegeculture technique. Bellwood stated that the red-slipped pottery widely distributed in
Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, and West Melanesia as the strong trace of the
migration of the Austronesians. In terms of physical anthropology, the emergence and
expansion of the Austronesians in Indonesia began some 4,000 years ago, initiated by
people with Southern Mongolid characteristics, at the same period with the dawn of the
Neolithic culture in Indonesia. So the Austronesians developed two types of culture during
their long and vast journey in the archipelago, which are agriculture and sea-faring
cultures. Their daily implement, which is dominated by pottery, is a logical consequence of
the nature of their way of life.
Both physical and cultural characteristics are the identity of the Austronesians when
they first arrived in Indonesia. During the inhabitation process in the archipelago since the
last 4,000 years, there were contacts with other groups of people, which resulted in further
cultural diversifications. Up to now, the site that shows a strong Austronesians’ cultural
characteristics is Kalumpang, South Sulawesi (Simanjuntak, 1994:1). Now, how can the
Austronesians culture be traced back in the daily life of the living community, particularly
among the Kajang ethnic group in the southeastern part of South Sulawesi? Regarding the
matter, we need to re-identify the cultural traits of the Austronesians within the Kajang
community. The daily life of the Kajangs is similar to those of other ethnic groups in
Indonesia. They live in the Tana Toa village, it means the Old Land, or an old village, that
has been existed in the area since a long time ago before the appearance of other villages.
The name Tana Toa gives special meaning to the Kajang people, and suggests that they are
is an old community as well. Their daily life reflects their original tradition, by refusing
Agricultural activity, which is one of the main characteristics of the Austronesian
from 4,000 years ago, is still practiced by the Kajangs. In the beginning, the Austronesians
planted rice, sugarcane, and tubers, while the Kajangs nowadays plant rice and corn in un-
irrigated fields, depending on rain. Yams (like taro, cassava, and sweet potatoes) are
planted in the garden near the house. Slashed and burned technique (paredara), which was
practiced until 1980s, is the old technique in opening new fields in Indonesia that was
introduced by the Austronesians when they first came to Indonesia. But since 25 years ago
the technique was changed into rice field system. The rice and tubers planted by the
Kajangs now show similarities with those planted by the Austronesians a long time ago.
And the information about the slashed and burned technique that still be practiced until
1980s can at least be regarded as a link between them. However, the tools used by the
Kajangs, the hoe-like cangkul and wooden dibble, are more advanced than the rectangular
adzes and Neolithic axes used by the Austronesians.
Animal domestication shows similarities and differences. Dogs are important to both
of them, the Kajangs and the Austronesians, to guard the house, assist in hunting, and as
pets. But pigs, the primadonna animal for the Austronesians, are not raised by the Kajangs.
Pigs and wild boars are only hunted when they threaten the fields, and their meat is given
to the dogs. This is due to the fact that most Kajang people are Moslems. Water buffaloes,
cows, and horses are kept because they are needed in agricultural and transportation
Red slipped pottery, which is believed to be the strong characteristic of the
Austronesians, does not exist among the Kajangs, although they often use pottery to cook,
to store water, or to fry food. Formerly, the Kajangs used to make their own pottery, but
now they prefer to buy them in the Tana Toa market. The pottery usually made in Takalar
and Jeneponto are not red slipped and of better quality. Nowadays the use of pottery is a
common thing among the non-urban communities, so the use of pottery by the Kajangs is a
cultural continuity that still be found in various communities in Indonesia.
The interesting daily aspect of the Kajangs is the construction of their stilt houses.
The space below the floor is used as an enclosure to keep animals. Stilt house is identified
as an archaic trait, in which Oppernoorth (1936:408), based on the results of an excavation
at Getas (Blora, Central Java), assumed to be the construction of the houses of the
Austronesians during the Neolithic period. The excavation revealed traces of poles/stilts
together with human, dog, and pig skeletons. This is similar to what we found in Kajang
In terms of religion, the Kajangs believe in Tu Rie’ A’Ra’na as the creator of the
world, and believe as well in good and bad spirits that reside in certain sacred places. The
rumatan ceremony, in which they use offerings to make the spirits do not disturb the
livings is a reflection of ancestor worship that emerged for the first time during the
Neolithic, a period when the Austronesians came to Indonesia. Besides introducing various
technologies, they also brought religious aspects in the form of supra-natural worship, as
shown by the practice of keeping good relation with the spirits. This is the main reason
behind the construction of megalithic structure at the time, which flourished in the next
period after the arrival of the Austronesians, and still survive until now (see for instance
Rumbi Mulia, 1981:23). Supra-natural worship is a religious aspect that still be strongly
believed by the Kajangs until now.
These various situations can give us a degree of similarities between the
Austronesian and Kajang cultural traits. The customs of Kajang Dalam is surely more
original than that of the Kajang Luar, and strongly resist modernization. However, there
are some changes along the way. The slashed and burned technique has not been practiced
anymore since 1980s. Rice and tubers are still cultivated, while dogs, chickens, horses,
water buffaloes, and cows are still raised. Pottery, although still largely used in the daily
life, is not locally produced now, but bought from other villages. Stilt house construction
and the animals they keep dogs, for example show similarities with the Austronesian
settlement traits found at Getas. Likewise is the religious aspect in form of spirit worship,
which is an archaic trait of the original religions of the Austronesians, still survive until
During their migration process from the north (Taiwan) to the south (the Indonesian
archipelago) and eastward direction to the Pacific-Polynesia, Sulawesi became an
important island because it is in one of the routes taken by the Austronesians at the time.
But the traces are more clearly shown at Kalumpang than at other places in Sulawesi, both
at the prehistoric sites and among the still existed ethnic groups (such as the Kajangs), as a
tradition that is still going on through theoretical time scale.
The construction of their houses, animal and plant domestications, and religion are
closely related to the culture of the early Austronesians, while pottery, though still largely
used by the Kajangs, is very different from the red-slipped ones that is the dominant
characteristic of the Austronesians. One aspect that shows strong relation between the
Kajangs and the Austronesians is the slashed and burned technique in agricultural
activities, but it has no longer been practiced since 25 years ago due to their preference to
open rice fields instead of other types of cultivation land. So we see that among the
Kajangs there are some Austronesian cultural traits that are still practiced until now (house
construction, religion, plant and animal domestications), recently abandoned (slashed and
burned agricultural technique), and has long been abandoned (the making and use of red
slipped pottery). The reductions of relationship between the two cultures are due to several
factors, such as the long span of time and geographical situations that influence the
accessibility in a cultural process, that may happened in certain place. In this case, the
geographical situation of the Kajangs is easily penetrated by external influences because of
its location in the southern coast of Sulawesi, unlike Kalumpang that is located in the
interior part of Sulawesi. The Kajangs have an intense interaction with modern system and
technology for a long time, so that will be difficult to avoid its influence. Even the Kajang
Dalam, which resist modernization, are somewhat influenced.


It seems like the Kajangs, an ethnic group that is quite traditional and resist
modernization, who live in an old area within the main migration route of the
Austronesians, are still able to preserve some old traditions of their ancestor (the
Austronesians) among the penetrations of modern influence. But some of them are no
longer exist. Within the scope of the Kajang culture, it is important to conduct a deeper
investigation upon the pottery making in Takalar and Jeneponto, as well as the making of
boats and canoes, particularly outrigger canoes in some coastal areas of South Sulawesi. It
is hoped that those two researches will give us a clearer description on the culture of the
Austronesians, not only among the Kajang people but also within the area of South
Sulawesi. The aspects to be observed will be more dispersed and varied, including as well
their sea-faring tradition that has given so far a special color to the culture of the
Austronesians as sea-nomad communities.

Akib, Yusuf., 2003. Potret Manusia Kajang. Pustaka Refleksi. Makassar.

Solheim II, WG., 1984-1985. “The Nusantao hypothesis”, Asian Perspective 26, pp. 77-88.
Bellwood, P, 1996. “Early agriculture and the dispersal of the Southern Mongoloids”, in T.
Akazawa and E. Szathmary (eds), Prehistoric Mongoloid Dispersal, pp. 287-302.
Bellwood, Peter, 2000. Prasejarah Kepulauan Indo-Malaysia (edisi revisi). Gramedia
Pustaka Utama. Jakarta.
Mulia, Rumbi, 1981. “Nias : the only older magelithic tradition in Indonesia”, Bulletin of
the Research Centre of Archaeology of Indonesia, No. 16. Jakarta : Pusat Penelitian
Arkeologi Nasional.
Oppernoorth, W.F., 1936. “Een prehistorisch cultuurcentrum langs de Solo-Rivier”,
Tijdschrift van het Koninklijk Nederlandsch Aardrijkskundig Genootschap, 2nd
Series, pp. 399-411.
Simanjuntak, Truman, 1994. “Kalumpang : hunian tepi sungai bercorak neolitik-
paleometalik di pedalaman Sulawesi Selatan”, Aspek-aspek Arkeologi Indonesia, no.
17. Jakarta : Pusat Penelitian Arkeologi Nasional.

M. Irfan Mahmud 5 and Retno Handini 6


Toraja presents one of the important points in the jungle of great phenomenas of
Austronesian culture with its extended scope with regard to the dispersal area, the number
of languages as well as the population as the culture bearers. Toraja is only the smallest
part of the Austronesian culture population that occupy almost half of the globe, with 1200
languages and a population of no less than 300 million people (Tanudirdjo and Harry
Truman Simanjuntak, 2004: 11). Even so, according to Bellwood (2000: 190) the group in
the interior like the Toraja are the closest to manifest their Austronesian ancestors culture,
thus making it an interesting potential to be exposed.
Indications that Toraja as a region has influences from Austronesian culture was
discovered long ago. According to Kruyt (1938: 485-489) cultural phenomena that was
observable in Toraja was the result of two migration waves. The first, migration wave that
brought the megalithic culture, or the stone cutters, coming by the northern and southern
rotes, the second wave that brought the pottery culture or the pottery makers, assumed to
enter the interior of Toraja by the eastern route. The arrival of the migration waves has
brought Austronesian cultural elements, like pottery and cornelian. This phenomena was
supported by finds in a number of sites in South Sulawesi, which Kruyt assumed as the
route of dispersal for about of the Neolithic site of Kalumpang, in the Mamuju Regency,
and Buttu Banua site in Enrekang. Result of researches on a number of sites, show strong
Austronesian cultural attributes in the firm of flake tools associated with quadrangular
adzes, bone, cornelian, and fragments of pottery (plain and decorated).
The Toraja phenomena has to be taken into account conform to its achievements,
because next to reflecting occupational and cultural history, it will also show its
involvement in the dynamics of indigenous state and the colonial government (Bellwood,
2000: 190). Therefore, besides archaeological studies, ethnographical studies too has to be
carried out to uncover ideas and behavior of the Toraja with Austronesia characteristics.

Geography of The Sa’dan Toraja

Actually, geographically the Toraja culture is not confined to the area that at present
is known as Tana Toraja.Kruyt (1938) who was the first to use the name Toraja in his

Balai Arkeologi Makassar
National research and Development Center for Archaology
publication, has mapped this ethnic group in two regions: i.e. that of the Sa’dan Toraja, or
Toraja Tae, and Poso Toraja or Baree Toraja in Central Sulawesi. The Toraja as the topic
in this article, is the Sa’dan Toraja that at present occupy the administrative area of Tana
Toraja Regency, about 329 kilometers from Makassar, the capital of the South Sulawesi
Province. The area covers 3.205, 77 km², consisting of 15 kecamatans (sub-district), 116
lembang (villages), and 27 kelurahans (administrative unit). Based on the 2004 census, the
population of the Tana Toraja regency amounts to 429.859, consisting of 221.644 male,
and 208.215 female. One average household consists of 5 persons.
Geographically Tana Toraja Regency lies at 2° - 3° South Latitude and 119° - 120
East Latitude. This area lies at an altitude of 800 – 1000 metres ASL, and has a topography
of hilly to mountainous area, with the highest top Gunung Latimojong; an only 8,42% of
this is feat area; 11,27% sloping, 26,67% steep, and 35,03% very steep areas. Such
topography is reflected in the meaning of the name Toraja, i.e. people that originated from
the mountainous side (to=people; raja=mountain range). Even so, in the local dialect
which means great of respected (to=people; raya= respected).

Austronesianism of Toraja

Many scholars classified the Toraja people as the Dayak, Batak, and other tribes
(ethnic group) in the archipelago. Their ancestors are assumed to originate from Annam or
Indo-China, coming by boat along with the megalithic waves from mainland Asia
(Sandarupa, 1984: 4). Although this view has started to become a subject of debate, for
certain is that the Toraja ethnic groups are the people living by the Austronesian culture.
Following are some insights on the ideas with Austronesian characteristics that dwell in
the Toraja people’s mind.

Dualism of Deities

From the mythology it was revealed that the like other Austronesian communities
do: God of the sky and God of the earth. The highest God of the sky is called Puang
Matua. They believe that Puang Matua generates Aluk Todolo to regulated order of human
life on earth. In supervising the execution of these regulations for order. Puang Matua
authorized the deities of earth, called Puang Titanan Tallu (Marampa: 47) that consists of
Puang Banggai Rante (the deity in charge of the earth and all that it contains), Puang
Tulak Padang (deity in charge of the earth and waters), and Gaun Tikembong (deity in
charge of the sky, wind, and thunder)

Ancestors and Objects of Worship

Besides the deity of the earth that has to take care of the people on earth and punish
those that have violated the order of Puang Matua (deity of the sky), the Toraja people also
respect then ancestors which they called Tomebali Puang. These ancestors are regarded as
those who gave guidance for a better life for then descendants. Therefore, in the Toraja
community there are three objects to be worshipped; they are: Deity of the sky (Puang
Matua); Deity of the earth (Puang Titanan Tallu), and the spirit of then ancestors
(Tomebali Puang).

The objects to be worshipped are clearly defined in the rituals of rambu tukak and
rambu solok. The rambu tukak ritual is aimed at praying homage to God/deity, to express
then gratitude for the blessings received from then ancestors, where the rambu solok ritual
reflects then attitude (puya) towards then ancestors. In actuality rambu tukak and rambu
solok form a pair of concepts in the life cycle which is an reflected in table 1.

Table 1: Comparison of levels in the life cycle rituals

Level Rambu Solok Rambu Tukak

0 Merok Merok,
I Dirapai Ma’bua’, that is high ranking rambu tukak ritual,
a. Rapasan Sapurandanan, sacrifice of 24 or more equivalent to rapasang. In this ritual 1 (one)
buffaloes Sanglengo buffalo is to be sacrificed (not more),
b. Rapasan Sundun, the highest ritual of rambu solok, where a pigs are unlimited
sacrifice of 12-24 buffaloes and obligatory to sacrifice
1 deer.
c. Rampasan dilayu-layu, sacrifice of 9-12 buffaloes. Ma’bate. In this ritual only 1 (one) buffalo is
sacrificed, as for pigs, there is no limit.
II Dipapitung bongi, sacrifice of 7-9 buffaloes Ma’sasiri, that is sacrificed of some pigs at harvest
III Dipalimang bongi, sacrifice 5-7 buffaloes Manngantak, that is intermediate rambu tukak
which is equel to dipalimang bongi in rambu solok.
In Manngantak ritual, 2-4 pigs are sacrificed, for
a. Massura’tallang, expression of gratitude for
b. Ma’palangngan para, that is to express gratitude
for the recovery of a family member.
IV Dipatallungbongi, at lrast sacrifice of 3-5 buffaloes Ma’teteao, that is to gull 1 (one) pig in the house or
be low the house. Since about 20 years ago, this
ritual was no longer held, because there is the
church to accommodate it. The Ma’teteao ritual is
the equivalent of dipasang bongi
V Sangbongi, at least 1 (one) buffalo is sacrified.
Descendant of a nobleman at Kesu, at the death of a
member of the family, abstained from sacrificing 2-3 Tatanan pusuk, ma’tadoran bai, that is rambu tukak
buffaloes, One buffalo is deemed right on Sangngalla ritual that sacrificed 1 (one) pig for the deity.
it is called ditandukki bulaan.
VI Ditedong tungga’, only 1 (one) buffalo is sacrificed.
VII Dibai tungga’, sacrificing 1 (one) pig. Ma’tadoran, rambu tukak ritual that only sacrifices
1 (one) boar.
VIII Didoya or dibai a’pa’, sacrificing 4 pigs without Manglika biang, a ritual that only sacrifices one
buffalo chicken.
IX Disilli’, sacrificing 1 (one) pig or it can be 1 (one) Ma’kolikbiang, this ritual is equivalent to disilli’ of
chichen. rambu solok, which sacrifices 1 (one) chicken.
X Dikale’tekan Tallo manuk, for the poor people, with
only breaking egg.
XI Dide’dekan Pangkun bai, beating the pig-pen. Ma’peong sallampa’, yakni a ritual to express
XII Dikambuturan padang, stamping the foot on the gratitude for the common people, with only 1 (one)
ground. lemang (rice cooked in bamboo tubes)

Kinship: Oriented Towards The Tongkonan

Kinship (marabou) among the To raja is oriented towards the founding ancestor,
Tongkonan Layuk, is cognative in nature, as noted by Bellwood (2000: 211) to prevail in
communities of Kalimantan, Malaysia, the Philippines. They have the freedom to side with
particular lineages (bilateral and parental). Kinship relations oriented towards ancestors
implied a strong attitude for mutual cooperation that functioned as social investment.
The use of family names is not known among the Toraja, though more have used the
family name from one of the grand mothers, from the father’s side as well as that of the
mother’s side. Among the Toraja the phenomena of cross-identity of grand mother –
grandchild is apparent. A child prefers the use of the grand mother’s family name, rather
than that of its parents (father/mother). On the other hand a grand mother in Toraja likes to
be called after her first grandchild from her son/daughter.

Inheritance: Communal Rights

The Toraja are followers of the principle of communal rights in inheritance that
distinguishes two matters. First, the resources of the Tongkonan that unity and provide
sustenance for the members of the family/clan, called Kombongan, like rice fields, land,
gardens, bamboo and herding. Kombongan Tongkonan firm a communal ownership, rather
than individual. Even so, the family that occupy the tongkonan house can benefit from the
Kombongan Tongkonan which may also apply to the members of the family, with the
permission of the traditional chief. Second, inheritance is a reward from the wealth of the
deceased for the sacrifices at the rambu solok ritual. This inheritance is managed by the
extended family (uncles, including cousins), based on the sacrifices at the Rambu Solok
ritual, in the terms of buffaloes and pigs.
In Toraja, the people that do not sacrifice buffaloes (ma’tallang) will not inherit,
even if the deceased was his own father or mother. Symbolically, a reflection of this
custom’s stipulation is seen as the right (tau-tau) held upwards, as if to ask for something,
where as the left hand, straight at the side. Actually, the position of right hand held
upwards was not to ask for blessing, but was a reflection of tekken attitude, a symbol of
asking that wealth be given to hold the rambu solok ritual.
Up to the present the wealth of the deceased will always be put aside for the rambu
solok rituals. The relatives that have made the sacrifice will obtain the inheritance
according to the value of buffaloes sacrificed. Nevertheless, the one that sacrificed
buffaloes does not necessarily becomes the permanent owner. At one time, a child may be
able to get his parent’s wealth back (siri’ undi) or transferred to another relative by way of
participating in a rambu solok ritual (siri’ dolo). Therefore, wealth never stays with one
person, but goes back and forth in the clan, according to the value of the sacrificed
buffaloes at the rambu solok ritual. Similar to the death rituals among the Ngaju and
Maanyan Dayak is pictured by Radam (2001: 13), the Toraja people also sacrificed
buffaloes as petua – not merely to be consumed by the community, but becomes a line that
links relatives and community members that are still alive with the deceased and as a
vehicle for the spirit to reach the puya world.

Petua: Social Obligation and Prestige

Petua, is a contribution extended to relatives that hold the rambu solok ritual as a
form of sympathy and love, because of social obligations as well as prestige. Petua
appeared as buffaloes or pigs that will be assessed by people, called pa’tassere’. The
Toraja’s are familiar with Petua undi and petua dolo. Petua undi is a gift as payment of a
debt, whereas petua dolo or ba’ru is the first gift with the hope that it will be paid later.
Based on the weight that it carries, the petua can be distinguished into two, that is:

1 Petua mallolo, a gift that expresses real love or sincerity to very good
acquaintance, particularly a cousin.
2 Petua tumbiring, a gift that exceeds the obligatory due. Petua tumbiring is
usually given by someone not so close and is done merely to show of (for
prestige). In Tondon Nenggala someone who brings buffaloes at the rambu solok
ritual is given a red sarong to wear that emphasized his social status.

Leaders: Founding Principles and Deliberations

Traditional areas in Toraja consist of several lembangs (villages) with their respective
autonomies. The highest leader of a traditional community is called Toparenge, appointed
by selection in a traditional deliberation (ma’kombongan) in the tongkonan, and is not
hereditary. The main principle is that a toparenge has to be able to prove his relationship
with the founding ancestors of the tongkonan, that since the 17th century is known as
topadatindo, a group of heroes that succeeded in defeating the expansive troops of Bone.
Besides, the toparenge was selected by considering the criteria like being smart, fear,
wealthy, and courageous. The selected toparenge will lead the community to live by the
custom, mange the tongkonan resources, and regulate the daily life of the community.
With these responsibilities, the toparenge has the right:

1. to be the first person to receive the thigh part of the sacrificed animal of
each ritual held;
2. to rule the customary ritual together with his sub-ordinates.

With the keparengesan system the leader is oriented toward the tongkonan. In
executing his duties, each toparenge is assisted by executing officials like shown on the
following structure.

Welfare Security Official for social

(pa’sandukan) (Pan’tombokan) Obligations General

Assistant (pabalian)

The toparenge has no specific attributes, he can only be rightly recognized, when
sitting in the granary (alang) on the rambu solok ritual. The senior toparenge is always on
the front of the right side (west), whereas the people with specific knowledge/ community
figures, that accompanied him, are on the left side (east). At the rambu tukak rituals, all
toparenges are on the eastern side.

Stratification in the Community

In the Toraja community the social stratification called tana’, consists of 3 (three)
levels. First, tokapua or also called tana’ bulaan, the nobility, traditional leaders and
community figures. In Toraja, this first upper level group is also called anak patola, kayu
kalandona tondok, todi bulle ulunna. In daily life, this group is known by the names of
tosugi. Particularly in the south, the traditional area of Tallu Lembangna (Makale,
Sangalla, and Mengkendek), they are called puang; in west Toraja it is called ma’dika;
whereas in central Toraja, it is called siambe (male) and siindo (female). Second,
Tomakaka or also called tana’ bassi, a group that has close relations with the Tokapua
group. They are the free people that own land though do not own land, they are called
Tomakaka Kandian. Third, Tobuda or also called tama’ karurung/tana’ kua-kua. This
group comprise the common people. In general they do not own rice fields only worked on
those owned by the nobility. They farmed and live very modestly. Within this group are
the slaves, that are not allowed to marry into the higher closes. At the death of their master,
the slaves are in charge of keeping watch and clean the maggots falling from the coffin,
until the rambu solok ritual is held.

This slave group in Toraja came into being because of: (1) being sold to other people;
(2) poverty and famine, which cause one to enslave himself to survive; (3) loosing at
gambling, and (4) defeated at war. A slave that whishes to free himself have to go through
the sanda saratu’ ritual, that is sacrificing 100 buffaloes, 100 pigs, and 100 chicken.


Like in other Austronesian traditional communities, the settlement of the Toraja’s is

oriented towards one central point, the tongkonan. In the Toraja community, the tongkonan
in actuality contains physical and philosophical meanings. Physically, a tongkonan
presents a rectangular haus facing the north, especially recupied by the custom dignitary,
and a sacred storage place. Philosophically, a tongkonan means a place for the family
resources, reference, shrine to hold custom rituals and a place for deliberations. A
Tongkonan is built cooperatively to accommodate, as a reference for the kinship system,
and maintenance of social status of the family. Usually the construction of a tongkonan
marked the establishment of a clan by preserving the name of a grand parent of the pioneer
as a start for the clans family tree. The people that occupy a tongkonan are called
totomokeburia’ that literary means, people that hang a chicken basket. These people have
to be smart, wealthy and wise in solving problems.
Within one traditional circle, there are some tongkonan’s of different stratifications,
confirms to the position of the family that builds or owns it. A tongkonan that becames the
dwelling place of a Toraja nobleman is called Tongkonan Layuk. A tongkonan is said to be
in the capacity of a Tongkonan Layuk, when the owner has a clan, or tongkonan, a
tongkonan resources (kombongan), a place to hold rituals (rante), liang and slaves
(Kaunanna). If these requirements are not met (incomplete), this tongkonan house is only
called batu ari’ri. In Tana Toraja, only 5% are Tongkonan Layuk, the other remaining are
still of the batu ari’ri class.
A Tongkonan house has 3 (three) rooms, comprising: (1) tandok, a room on the
northern side, where the rambu tukak is held and used for the adult children or guests, if
the number of guests is small; (2) sumbung, a room on the southern side, to accommodate
the head of the family and non-adult children, and where the corpse is bathed; and (3) Sali,
a room in the center, where the children are placed, the place for the spirit of the dead
(rambu solok), to be worshipped and the kitchen. Inherited wealth of a tongkonan, as
usually an stored in the batutu located beneath the sumbung with or tandok. A tongkonan
house is also provided a tulak somba that reflects the mast of a ship where the sail is to be
tied (sompa).

Simbuang: The Residence of The Ancestors

The Toraja believe that then ancestors came from the north, beringing the megalithic
culture (simbuang). A simbuang is a kind of menhir flat shaped, erected on the arena for
the death ritual (rante). It is erected prior to the ma’palao ritual started, which is believed
to be the place where the ancestors reside to lead the rambu solok ritual. There simbuang’s
an frequently found at a rante, like at the sites of Bori, Lobe, Karassik, Sullu’kan, and
Palawa’. They function as a symbol of participating in the rambu solok ritual for the leader
or high nobility.

Buffaloes: Live Gold

The level of rambu tukak and rambu solok alike, are particularly measured by the
member of buffaloes to be sacrificed. Unlike the rambu solok, which can sacrifice tens of
buffaloes, the rambu tukak allowed only one buffalo to be sacrificed as passomba, but
allows the slaughter of many pigs. Nevertheless they will sky from slaughtering small pigs,
for the will be ridiculed. The buffalo in Toraja is valued equal to gold. Everything is
measured by the value of the buffalo, because the price for a buffalo is assumed to be
followed by the value of money. It means, that the value of a buffalo is “alive”, like that of
gold. Therefore, a buffalo has a name and standard of measurement, according to the
physical characteristics. For example, the length of the horn, from the ears will distinguish
the value of the buffalo.

Table 2: The value of a buffalo according to the length of the horn

No Kind of Buffalo Measurement of the horn Price

1 Sanglengo From the fingertip up to the wrist 4 million rupiah
2 Sangpala From the fingertip up to the wrist plus the hand palm 5 million rupiah
3 Alla’taring The size of Sangpala plus 1 finger or more 6 million rupiah
Balian Has very long horns and castrated 70 million rupiah

A balian buffalo is only sacrificed at the highest rambu solok ritual (rampasan) at the
funeral of a nobleman and the meat is sacred for the distinguished guests. Besides the
assessment of a buffalo according to the measurement of the horns, there are some kinds
that are valued according to the coloring as shown on table 3.

Table 3: The Value of buffalo according to the coloring

No Kind of Buffalo Colour Value According to Traditional Assessment

1 Tedong pudu’ Black 10-15 ordinary boffaloes
2 Tedong bonga and saleko’ Spotted 15-20 ordinary buffaloes
3 Tedong bonga’ sori and Kapila Spotted at the head 10-15 ordinary buffaloes

As a standard value, the number of buffaloes to be sacrificed has to be in conformity

with the shape and motif of the coffin, which will indicate the level of rambu solok ritual
to be held, which are:

a. plain rectangular coffin, sacrifice of only 1-5 buffaloes;

b. carved rectangular coffin, sacrifice of at least 5 buffaloes;
c. carved and gilded oval coffin, sacrifice of 12 buffaloes;
d. carved coffin, provided with a statue, sacrifice of at least 24 buffaloes

In the marriage system of the Toraja, there are requirements to be met (tana), in case
divorce recurred, which used buffaloes as the value of the fine (dosa), which as:

a. a nobleman will be fined 24 buffaloes (tana’ bulaan);

b. a middle class man will be fined 12 buffaloes (tana’ bassi);
c. a freeman will be fined 2 buffaloes (tana’ karurung); and
d. a man from the lower class will be fined at the most 1 pig (tana’ kua-kua)
where as a slave is exempted from being fined.

As an animal of the highest value, buffaloes become the symbol of social status. In
the mangrara ritual of the horn obtained from massomba tedong is kept in front or at the
tongkonan house as symbol of power and social status.

Behavior and Life

The behavior of the Toraja people is very much influenced by the concepts of life
after death. For the take of safety in the puya world, for example, in the past the Toraja
people filed then teeth (manngasai) and tattooed then bodies (ma’baruk). They filed then
teeth (manngasai) because they believed that by doing so, then faces will not change. On
the other hand, ma’baruk was done with the hope that the spirit (bombo) of some one will
not get last in the puya world. Ma’baruk was done by way putting indigo wood or palm
sugar wood in the hand, then burnt to obtain a picture of black circles on the left and right
hand. For those who are afraid of (fire) ember, ma’baruk can be done by rubbing the
sarong till it becomes hot, and caused blisters. These blisters then can also be regarded as
baruk (tattoo).
Like the other Austronesian communities, The Toraja also have the habit of betel
chewing (ma’panngan). The ingredients for betel chewing are: gambir (gatta), leaves of
betel vine (sirih/leko), betel nut (pinang/kalosi), tobacco (sugigi). The box that contain
these ingredients is called suke, made of gold or silver. Before chewing all material are
ground in a mortar (pantu’tukan panngan). Besides betel chewing, they also like to drink
arak or palm wine (ballo). Every feast will be incomplete if ballo is not served. For the
sake of feasting they raised buffaloes, pigs, chicken, and dogs. Among these 4 (four)
animals they raised, the buffalo has the highest value, and becomes the standard measure
of custom till the present.
Up to the present, most of the Toraja people still live by farming. Data from the BPS
in 2004, show that people working in the agricultural sector amounts to 114.083, out of
323.767 that are within the productive age. Long before they knew wet rice planting, they
have know to work the land by a system of sweden agriculture or the slash and burn
system. They cultivate maize (dalle), sweet potato (bua’ tongan), cassava (battae) and dry-
field rice (pare bela’). Later people began cultivating wet field rice that depended on the
ram fall which at first was done once a year.
Besides cultivating rice, the Toraja people are also familiar with hunting activities
using dogs, spears (doke), snare (poya), blowpipe that was no longer popular since the
domestication of animals became the choice for at least the last 5 decades. In Toraja,
hunting activities is called muasu because dogs were used numbering about 10-20 dogs.
Pigs (bai) and deer (jonga) from the main game for then own consumption, and when there
is a surplus, they will share with their relations and neighbors. The catch of hunting is
usually bartered for goods like machetes, textile, carved products or pottery (ceramics).
The skill in metalworking, carving and sculpture of statues was developed by a small
group of the Toraja community. In Sa’dan and Buntao, a group of weavers of tenun ikat
still developed then skill, using cotton, tree bark, fiber of the pine apple leaves (dodo
pondan) which lately shifted the use of clothing made of bark cloth (bayu pa’pak), which
lasted till about the 1930-es. They also have a group of craftsmen for pottery employed the
paddle technique and produced 3 (three) basic forms of pottery: vessels (gumbang), pots
(kurin) and wok (shallow). globular bowls used for frying (pamuttu). The pots are glazed
using dammar (dama’) tree resin on the inside. So that the material to be cooked will not
stick to the pot. All skills and ideas that have been realized was handed down through
apprentice skip.

Colonization and Cultural Transformation

Historically the Toraja have experienced colonization by the Buginese and the
Dutch. At first Buginese colonization went peacefully trough trading of Indian textile that
in later periods influenced the art of the Toraja community. These Buginese traders
penetrated the interior of Toraja, introduced the practice of gambling, cockfighting which
till lately enliven the rambu solok rituals of the nobility (Sandarupa, 1984: 9). Moslem
Buginese traders also preached Islam, but unsuccessfully. Instead, the expansion of the
Bone Kingdom (17th century) found violent resistance from the heroic group topadatindo.
Unlike the Buginese the arrival of the Dutch was able to control Toraja and spread
their influence quite extensively. The Dutch was able to prevent the further development
of the traditional elements that were regarded as primitive which can only be revealed
from oral traditions of the old people, while new forms are taking shape. The tradition died
out because it was regarded as barbaric, among others: head hunting (manngau) that is
hunting for a man’s head to be sacrificed. The idea of manngau is still used by the old
people (parents) in Toraja to scare little children, using a new name pakkarung. Sacrificial
offerings of the enemy’s head of a distant neighboring village, was taken by the leading
head of the family, called Pa’barani. Head-hunting (manngau) activities in Toraja has
been reported by Downs (1955) in relation with the Bare’e community as the attackers
consisting of 10-20 man, which is armed at the perfection also meant for the purification of
the tongkonan and to prove one’s courage. For the purification of the house, after the
mangrara ritual (consecration of the house), the head of the victim was hung at the tulak
somba post, as a symbol of power, as one can still see on the tongkonan of banua sura in
To’bubun, Kecamatan of Kesu’.
Besides modernization through education the Dutch also spread the Christian faith.
The change from the Aluk religion to Christianity started to recur since 1906 and became
more wide spread since 1910, due to the activities of the Zending. At present the followers
of the Aluk Todolo is very sparse, and are only formed among the old aged. In Lembang
Tonglo, for instance there is only one who is known to be an Aluk Todolo believer, named
Ne’ Tili. The decrease of the Aluk believers is because the Dutch did not recognize at as a
religion, but only as an animistic faith. It is possible that the term Aluk Todolo was used
after the Dutch colonization to distinguish the local beliefs and the Christian faith.
In conjunction to the life style of the local people, the arrival of the Dutch gave a
new culture. The Toraja’s that previously only used then proper name, have added it with
a family name (fam) as is common among the Dutch, that attached the surname to their
name. Only the Toraja still use the grand matter’s surname rather than that of then parents
Education and modern elements brought by the Ducth also changed the view of the
Toraja’s with regard to teeth filing tradition (manngasai), ma’baruk (tattooing) and the
pattern of leadership and the structure of custom area. Until the 1940-es, the Toraja felt
ashamed when reaching the adults age, have not fulfilled the ma’baruk. On the other hand,
at present, the Toraja will be ashamed having practiced the ma’baruk, in particular those
that are educated. Similarly, the toparenge, that prior to the Dutch arrival were very
appearance of functionaries of district’s head. This also decreased the role of the
tongkonan as a reference that regulates the life and adapt laws/custom rules) to be replaced
by formal laws of the colonial government. The colonial government abolished slavery, by
a decree of Governor Krueger (Harahap, 1952: 30), which caused the non-existence of
manpower (laborers) of the nobility, and the lax in the caste system (tana’), which is only
clearly observable at traditional rituals.
In the economic system, the Dutch Government has supported the pattern of barter
(nipasituka’) to the market. Previously, the family or neighbors felt ashamed for paying
with money, they prefer to exchange goods with something they like. Since the growth of
the market, the people started to know the coin currency (Sandarupa, 1984, 9). In Toraja 6
(six) markets are known that took turns every six days1, and was made as the standard of
activities, They are:
a. Pasa’ (market) Totumbang in Sanngalla’;
b. Pasa’ Makale in Makale;
c. Pasa’ Rembon in Ulu Salu;
d. Pasa’ Bolu in Rantepao;
e. Pasa’ Mebali in Mengkendek; and
f. Pasa’ To’karau’ in Sa’dan.

In the past, before people know the calendar system the market day became their
“calendar of events” that was used to determine the time for activities, like to start working
the field, harvesting, transaction account of sale/buying as well as debts. Usually the
custom (adat) will select a particular market day for the determination the right time to
embark on some activities, this was the case too with regard to matters relating to debts
and claims; margin time was also reckoned by the particular market day as agreed upon by
the concerned parties.
In the last two decades, the government’s program of revitalizing the local potentials
for tourism goals, has played an important role. The pottery craftsman are trained and
upgraded in groups in the paddle and anvil technique, but the results have not been
gladdening. The introduction of daily utensils made of aluminium and plastic brought by
Bugenese-Macassar traders that are more practical and more durable caused the pottery
industry in Tonglo and several other industrial areas in South Toraja. Of interest is whether
the tradition of pottery using dammar-ship formed the transformation of the red-slip? Was
the dammar-slip a result of knowledge assimilation from the Austronesian’s and the local
hunter-food gatherers communities?
For tourism objectives too, the sculptures (of statues; tau-tau in Toraja) were sent to
Bali to learn. But this caused the transformation of shape and perception towards tau-tau.
Prior to their going to Bali, the form of the tau-tau was very stiff (ungainly), but after their
new experiences, a change towards a more anatomical form resembling the original profile
occurred. The statues that resemble then original shapes are no longer called tau-tau, but
photo (=picture). Stiff tau-tau are no longer made for their dead, but made for tourism
demands of the market. This show that cultural co-modification in one hand, and
conceptual transformation on the other hand has occurred.


The Toraja Austronesian character is emphasized on the ancestor worship, and

tongkonan that integrates the family groups. The founding ancestors of the tongkonan have
always been the main concern, particularly in mythology and tradition. The attitude of love
and respect towards their ancestors was manifested in the rambu solok ritual (death ritual),
accompanied by the erecting of menhirs (simbuang) and the sacrifice of animals
(slaughtered) in the ritual arena (rante). The strong attitude of respect towards the
ancestors may become the reason for the holding of the rambu solok rituals until now,
whereas the rambu tukak ritual are at present rarely held, according to the Aluk Todolo
concepts, because of the transition of belief and the conceptual change of the object of
worship. Worship that previously used the intermediary of a shaman priest (tominaa) that
involved the spirit and spoke in a state of trance, at the present rituals are replaced by
Christian priests.
On the other hand, the preserved state of the tongkonan emphasized the identity
symbols of the Toraja people in the interaction with neighboring group, particularly the
Buginese that have strong Moslem influences since the 17th century. The tongkonan also
played a role in the stipulation of inheritance rights, social status and funeral groups.
Therefore, when a child inherits only the parent’s social status and patrimonial lineage to a
particular tongkonan, rather than wealth (in goods). The inheritance of wealth (in goods)
was based in the value of sacrifice (buffaloes and pigs) at the rambu solok ritual. This
show that the inheritance system among the Toraja lies at the level of extended family
clan, rather than that of the nuclear family, as is common among communities in South
Sulawesi in general.
From all pictures on the Toraja culture, up to the present there are 3 (three) elements
dating from the Proto-Malay-Polynesian period that are still observable as identified by
Bellwood (2000: 226), they are: pottery, betel chewing and rice cultivation. Apparently,
the former two elements shall not remain much longer, whereas the last one will stay to
exist, thanks to the support given by the government’s programs. Other material evidences
of remains of Austronesian character can only be found in museums, showing that they use
clothing made of tree bark cloth (bayu pak-pak), back and attached to the head by a rope
(baka’) and blowpipes and spears (doke). On the other hand on behavior regarded as
primitive or barbaric, one can only know from oral sources from people of over 70 years of
age like head-hunting, tattooing and teeth filing.

Anonim. 2004. Tana Toraja Dalam Angka. Makale: BPS, Tana Toraja Regency
Bellwood, Peter. 2000. The Prehistory of the Indo-Malayasian Archipelago. Revised
Edition. Jakarta: PT. Gramedia Pustaka Utama.
Downs, R.E. 1955. Head Hunting in Indonesia. BTLV III, pp. 40-70
Harahap, Parada. 1952. To raja. Bandung: N.V. Penerbitan.
Jacob, Teuku. 2004. “Asal-usul Orang Austronesia”, in E.K.M. Masinambow, Daud Aris
Tanudirjo, Harry Truman Simanjuntak, T. Jacob, Inyo Yos Fernandez, Harry
Widianto, Bagyo Prasetyo, Polemik tentang Masyarakat Austronesia, Fakta
atau Fiksi. Jakarta: LIPI Jakarta: LIPI and Directorate General of Higher
Learning, Manistry of National Education, pp. 33-41
Kaudern, Walter. 1938. “Megalithic Finds in Central Celebes”, in Ethnographical Studies
in Central Celebes. Geteborg: Elands Boctrykeri Aktiebolog
Kruyt, Albert C. 1938. De West Toradjas op Midden Celebes-Nieuwe Reeks Deel XI.
Amsterdam: Vitgave van de N.V. Noord Hollandsche Vitgevers-
Marampa, A.T. Mengenal Toraja. Makale: No Publishers
Masinambouw, E.K.M. 2004. “Masyarakat Austronesia: Fakta atau Fiksi?”, in E.K.M.
Masinambow, Daud Aris Tanudirjo, Harry Truman Simanjuntak, T. Jacob,
Inyo Yos Fernandez, Harry Widianto, Bagyo Prasetyo, Polemik tentang
Masyarakat Austronesia, Fakta atau Fiksi. Jakarta: LIPI Jakarta: LIPI and
Directorate General of Higher Learning, Manistry of National Education, pp.
Radam, Noerid Haloei. 2001. Religi Orang Bukit: suatu Lukisan Struktur dan Fungsi
dalam Kehidupan Sosial-Ekonomi. 1st Edition. Yogyakarta: Semesta
Tandilintin, L.T. 1980. “Upacara Pemakaman Adat To raja”. Tana To raja: Lepongan
Bulan (YALBU) Foundation.
Tanudirdjo, Daud Aris and Harry Truman Simanjuntak. 2004. “Indonesia di Tengah Debat
Asal-Usul Masyarakat Austronesia”, in E.K.M. Masinambow, Daud Aris
Tanudirjo, Harry Truman Simanjuntak, T. Jacob, Inyo Yos Fernandez, Harry
Widianto, Bagyo Prasetyo, Polemik tentang Masyarakat Austronesia, Fakta
atau Fiksi. Jakarta: LIPI and Directorate General of Higher Learning, Manistry
of National Education, pp. 11-32
Veen, van der. 1966. The Sa’dan To raja Chant for The Deceased. S’Gravengage Martinus

Daud Aris Tanudirjo

Department of Archaeology
Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Gadjah Mada University

Comparative linguistic has been an important tool for tracing human dispersal and
cultural interactions. Although there are some scepticism among archaeologists, historians
and geneticists on the usefulness of this method, recent studies has evidently demonstrated
its benefit to shed a light on the common origins of now-dispersed communities.
Renfrew’s Language and Archaeology (1987) has been a milestone in showing the
important role of linguistic in the attempts to reconstruct the origins and dispersal of Indo-
European populations. This is also evident in the works of Blust (e.g 1995) dan Bellwood
(1991, 1997) on the Austronesian-speaking communities in Southeast Asia and Ocenia.
Cavalli-Sforza (2000) demonstrates in his book Genes, Peoples and Languages, how
helpful is linguistic study in delineating the human dispersal in many parts of the world.
More recently, Bellwood published his fascinating book First Farmer (2005) in which he
show correlation between language families and farming dispersals in different parts of the
It is now apparent that linguistic studies have been beneficial to illuminate the origin
and cultural history of presently widespread communities. In this case, language may be
seen as a cultural marker by which past relation and interaction among groups of people
within a single language family and between groups of people of different language
families may be reconstructed. In view of this, an attempt to interpret the possible
relationship and interaction between ethnic groups in South Sulawesi in the past will be
carried out based on the available linguistic studies in this area.
The history of linguistic studies in South Sulawesi has been summarised by Grimes
and Grimes (1987). Notes on the similarity among different languages spoken in South
Sulawesi has been made by B.F. Matthes since the mid of 19th CE. Howover, more
extensive linguistic study in South Sulawesi has been conducted by N. Adriani and A.C.
Kruyt in the end of 19th CE. They suggested that languages of South-Sulawesi may be
related to languages in the entire Sulawesi as well as those of surrounding island, such as
Talaud and Halmahera. Their linguistic studies have been the foundation for later linguistic
studies in this area. H. van der Veen was another scholars who had put time and energy to
investigate language in South Sulawesi since the beginning of the 20th Century. His study
was focused in Toraja and resulted in, among others, his Tae’ (South Toraja) – Dutch
Dictionary published in 1940.
In 1938, linguist E.J. Esser attmpted to classify the language of Sulawesi into eight
major groups consisting the Philippines (Minahasa), Gorontalo, Tomini, Loinang, Toraja,
Bungku-Laki, South Celebes, and Muna-Butung groups. The last four groups are spoken in
South Sulawesi. Essen went to further separate the South Celebes group into Makasarese,
Buginese, Luwu, Sa’dan, Pitu-Ulunna-Salo, Mandar dialects, and Seko. Meanwhile, in
1960 R. Salzner provided a family tree for South Sulawesi languages within the broad
Austronesian languages (see diagram below). He put South Sulawesi languages, i.e.
Toraja, Bungku-Mori, South-Celebes, and Muna-Butung, under South-west Indonesian
group with other languages of Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Bali-Sasak, and other parts of
Sulawesi. Slightly different to that of Esser, Salzner divided South Celebes group into
Makasar-Bugis, Sadan(g), Mandar, and Seko. Unfortunately, both Esser and Salzner
studies do not provide the degree of relationship between the languages.




1. Sumatra Formosa,
2. Java Philippines,
3. Borneo Minahasa
4. Bali-Sasak
5. Gorontalo
6. Tomini
7. Toraja
8. Loinang
South Celebes
9. Banggai
1. Makasar-Bugis
10. Bungku-Mori
a. Makasar
11. South Celebes
b. Bugis
12. Muna-Butung
c. Wotu
13. Bima-Sumba
d. Toala
2. Sadan(g)
a. Sadan
b. Masenrempulu
c. Pitu-Uluna Salu
Figure 1. Salzner’s diagram showing the position 3. Mandar
of South Sulawesi languages within the broad a. Mandar
Austronesian language family (after Grimes and
b. Mamaju
Grimes, 1987)
4. Seko
The National Language Institute in Ujung Pandang tried to map the distribution of
languages and dialects in South Sulawesi in 1974. Though this detail map is a good
language record, again it does not show the relationship between the languages. It was the
work of R. Mills (1975) which gives a picture on the relationship between the South
Sulawesi languages. It shows an extensive and complex chaining patterns within this area.
Other classification were also proposed by Barr, Barr and Salombe in 1979 and by δ.Sirk
in 1981, but those are merely a combination of previous ones. Barr et al. grouped Salzner’s
Tomini, Toraja, Bungku-Mori, and Loinang into a single Central-Sulawesi Group, while
Sirk included Makasar, Bugis, Manda, Sa’dan, and Seko within a single group South
Sulawesi Group. Later on J.N. Sneddon produced a helpful map of languages and dialects
in the Southern part of Sulawesi. He mainly combined the information provided in Mills
publication and the National Language Institute map.
More recently, a comprehensive comparative linguistic study was conducted by
Grimes and Grimes (1987). They used all of Swadesh 100 word-list and 200 word list in
most cases. This study has resulted in the percentages of similarity of vocabularies among
the languages of South-Sulawesi which are then presented in a matrix and a tree diagram
(Figure 2 and 3). Such presentation allows for interpretation of the linguistic processes
which have happened in the past, whether it was divergence, convergence, or chaining
processes. Furthermore, the results may indicate the degree of relationship and interaction
between the ethnic groups in South Sulawesi.
Relating to the linguistic processes, Ross (1995, 1997) has identified at least three
speech community events, i.e. language divergence by dialect differentiation, language
divergence by language separation, and language convergence process. In divergence by
dialect differenciation process, the formation of new languages has been a result of lectal
differentiation from a very extensive dialect chain, described by Ross as the progressive
break up of a lectal linkage to form a group of separated languages (1997, or ‘innovation-
linked subgroups)’. The process develops since the speakers of each dialect within a lectal
linkage or dialect chain maintain contacts, such that innovations that occur in one will
spread through others, in overlapping arrays (Ross, 1997; Pawley and Ross, 1995). This
process will be reflected in a ‘rake-like’ diagram of language relationship. On the other
hand, in divergence by language separation process, the formation of a new language is
seen as a result of language fission, requiring relative isolation and sufficient time in each
subgroup for the development of a set of identifiable defining innovations (or ‘innovation-
defined subgroups’). This process will produced a ‘tree-like’ diagram of language
relationship. Unlike these two events, the third process covers language convergence
caused by interaction between speakers of two distinct but closely related languages.
Tree-like and rake-like models are not exclusive alternatives, but each may capture a
portion of the entire history of a language family. In the case of Austronesian linguistic
history, most scholars accept that fission occurred initially at the proto-Austronesian level
to give rise to some of the Formosan subgroup(s), and subsequently to Proto-
MalayoPolynesia (PMP). However, the breakup of PMP itself was ‘rake-like’ (Pawley and
Ross, 1993; Pawley, 1999), indicating that this subgroup underwent lectal differentiation
rather than fission. MP, in the early years of its break-up, is best seen as an innovation-
linked rather than an innovation-defined subgroup.
The results of linguistic study carried out by Grimes and Grimes (1987) in South
Sulawesi are interesting in relation to those three speech-sommunity events. Grimes and
Grimes recognised at least there are three language stocks spoken in this area which cover
35 languages and 83 dialects. These are South Sulawesi Stock, Central Sulawesi Stock,
and Muna-Buton Stock. All the members within a single stock are having between 25-45
% shared lexical similarity. The South Sulawesi Stock is the prominent one to include 20
languages. This stock will be discussed more thoroughly here.
South Sulawesi Stock comprises of Makasar Subfamily, Bugis Family, Northern
South Sulawesi Family, Seko Family, and Lemolang (for more detail see Grimes and
Grimes, 1987; see Figure 3). Makasar Sub-Family consists of Makasar, Konjo, and Selayar
languages, while Bugis has two languages, Bugis and Campalagian. Within the Northern
South Sulawesi Family, there are two sub-families, Toraja-Sa’dan and Masenrempulu.
Most of the language family and subfamilies within thi stock have lectal linakage or
innovation-linked subgroups. This seems to agree with the broad patterns within the
Malayo-Polynesian. Now, most scholars accept that language fission occurred initially at
the proto-Austronesian level to give rise to some of the Formosan subgroup(s), and
subsequently to PMP. However, the breakup of PMP itself was ‘rake-like’ (Blust, 1993;
Pawley and Ross, 1993; Pawley, 1999), indicating that this subgroup underwent lectal
differentiation rather than fission. MP, in the early years of its break-up, is best seen as an
innovation-linked rather than an innovation-defined subgroup.
If this is true, now we can see that The Toraja-Sa’dan subfamily which comprises of
Toala, Rongkong, Sa’dan, Mamasa, and Kalumpang is also identified as language-chain
by Grimes and Grimes (1987). This seems to be in accordance with the classification
suggested by Gray and Jordan in 2000 (see Bellwood, 2005) in which Sa’dan Toraja or
Tae (South-Toraja) is grouped together with Baree (West-Toraja) and separated to Mandar,
Bugis, Wolio, and Makassar. Geographically the Sa’dan Toraja Sub-family speakers
occuppy a strap of land from western to eastern coast of middle South Sulawesi. The
relationship between Kalumpang, Sa’dan Toraja, and Toala is interesting in view of
Austronesian dispersal in South Sulawesi. A neolithic assemblage dated back to about
3,500 BP has been excavated in Kalumpang site. The artefacts found in this site closely
resemble to those of the Taiwanese Neolithic (Bellwood, 1997). Furthermore, a genetic
study has also shown a close relationship between Yami people in South Taiwan and
Toraja people in South Sulawesi (Sudoyo et al. 2004). Based on this, there is a suspicion
that the archaeological site of Kalumpang might have been the entrance for the ancestors
of Toraja population migrated from Taiwan into the hinterland where Toraja people now
Considering the relationship between Sa’dan Toraja and Toala, presumably Sa’dan
Toraja and Toala speakers has a common ancestor. Sarasin and Sarasin (1905) who
conducted ethnographic observation in South Sulawesi noted that Toala people lived
mainly as hunter-gatherer in the mountaineous area. If this is true, then Toala people has
give away their agricultural capability and chose to depend their live more on the hunting
and gathering subsistence. However, as they lived close to Sa’dan Toraja and maintain
their relationship, their languages remain in ‘innovation-linked subgroups’. Therefore, if
we compare between this three languages within the Sa’dan Toraja subfamily or language
chain, their relationship may reflect the migration history of the speakers. Each of the
language may serve as a cultural marker of the migration stages.
Indeed, at present this notion is conjectural and can be no more than a suggestion.
There is no hard evidence available to prove this notion at this time. However, a
cooperative interdisiplinary study in this area could hopefully answer this question. This is
a challenge especially for archaeology and linguistic to work together to pursue for the


Bellwood, P. 1991. The Austronesian Dispersal and the Origins of Languages. Scientific
American 265 (1), pp. 55-136
Bellwood, P. 1997. Prehistory of Indo-Malaysian Archipelago. Revised edition. The
University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu.
Bellwood, P. 2005. First Farmer, The Origins of Agricultural Socities. Blackwell
Publishing, UK.
Blust, R. 1993. Central and Central-Eastern Malayo-Polyenesian. Oceanic Linguistics 32,
p. 241-293.
Blust, R. 1995. The Prehistory of Austronesian-speaking peoples : a View from language.
Journal of World Prehistory 9, pp. 453-510
Grimes, C.E. and B.D. Grimes. 1987. Languages of South Sulawesi. Pacific Linguistic
Series D no. 78. Department of Linguistics, Research School of Pacific Studies,
The Australian National University, Canberra.
Pawley, A. 1999. Chasing rainbows: implication of the rapid dispersal of Austronesian
languages for subgrouping and reconstruction. In E. Zeitoun and P.K. Li (eds.),
Selected papers from the Eighth International Conference on Austronesian
Linguistic, p. 95-138
Pawley, A. and M. Ross. 1993. Austronesian historical linguistics and culture history.
Annual Review of Anthropology 22, p. 425-459
Renfrew, C. 1987. Archaeology and Language, the Puzzle of Indo-European Origins.
Penguin Book, London.
Sarasin, F. and P. Sarasin. 1905. Reisen in Celebes. Weisbaden, C.W. Kreidel’s Verslag.
Sudoyo, H. Sudoyo, Herawati, Helena Suryadi, Wuryantari Setiadi, Iskandar A. Adnan,
Erwin Sentausa, Irawan Yusuf, Iswari Setyaningsih, Truman Simanjuntak, Bagyo
Prsetyo, Retno Handini, dan Sangkot Marzuki. 2004. Studi genetika molekul
populasi Indonesia. Dalam Polemik tentang masyarakat Austronesia. Fakta atau
fiksi? Jakarta: LIPI, hal. 103-119.
Figure 12.1: Matrix of Lexical similarity of South Sulawesi Languages (after Grimes and
Grimes 1987)

Figure 12.2: A Family tree of South Sulawesi Stock (after Grimes and Grimes, 1987)
Figure 12.3: Distribution Map of South Sulawesi Stock (after Grimes and
Grimes, 1987)

Truman Simanjuntak
International Center for Prehistoric and Austronesian Studies (ICPAS)

Sulawesi and the Human Occupation

Sulawesi or Celebes is the fourth-biggest island in the archipelago. Covering 189,216

square kilometers, it borders with Maluku islands in the east; the Phillipines in the north;
Kalimantan in the west; and Nusa Tenggara islands in the south. The shape of the island is
unique; at a glance it resembles the letter “K” with four mainland stretches that stick
outwards to the sea, separated by deep gulfs. This condition makes this island to have a
long coast line (reaching 5630 km long: Encarta 2005) rich of natural resources and easily
accessed from many directions. The Island that is located at the coordinate of 20N to 60S is
a southeast part of Eurasia Plaque (Hutchison 1989). Sulawesi is the most mountainous of
Indonesia's islands, boasting a string of volcanoes, some of which are still active. A
number of active volcanoes is also found in the eastern end of the northern peninsula, but
most of the volcanoes have reached the latent stage. The surface reaches one of its highest
elevations in Mount Lompobatang, a dormant volcano in the southern part of the island
2870 m high. Several kinds of minerals can be found in this island such as gold, copper,
tin, sulfur, salt, diamonds, and other precious stones.
Several big rivers are present on this island; they have upper course in the uplands
and flow to several directions. One of them is Sadang River, which has its upper course in
the Toraja region and empties at Jeneponto, Makassar Strait. In West Sulawesi there is the
Karama River with the upper course at the Toraja and Luwu regions and flowing to the
west, empties in the Mamuju region at Makassar Strait. The big river in the eastern part is
the Cenrana River with the upper course at Tempe Lake and empties at Bone bay. Those
big rivers generally can be sailed by boat, which made an important facility to connect the
upper course with the coastal area. A tropical climate with a high intensity of rainfall and
humidity along with the various geographical condition and long coastline made this island
have a very high biodiversity. This can be seen from the high variety of vegetation related
to coastal ecology, lands, and hills until the mountain range. The forests include oak, teak,
palm, cedar, upas trees, and bamboo. Cloves, nutmeg, spices, tropical fruits, corn, rice,
tobacco, coffee, and sugar are raised.
The existence of Makassar Strait, which separate this island from Sundaland does
not prevent occupancy in this island from ancient times. In fact, it shows a strong
connection with its surrounding areas. From the faunal point of view for example, more
than 50% vertebrates and invertebrates were of Asian origin. A rich mammalian fossils in
the Wallanae valley (South Sulawesi), including Palu region (Central Sulawesi), consist of
Elephas celebensis, Stegodon trigonocephalus, Stegodon sompoensis, Sus celebensis, and
Celebochoerus dating back to Plio-Pleistocene (Bartstra et al. 1994; 1991) showed that
Sulawesi has had connection with Sundaland or Asia mainland fauna. The coming of the
fauna in Sulawesi was estimated through land bridges connecting Sulawesi and Sundaland
or Asia mainland. The Sarasin Brothers, who had done many researches in Sulawesi in the
early XX century, estimated the existence of land bridge connecting South China via
Taiwan, the Philipines and north Sulawesi. Tjia (1995) is against of this opinion.
According to him the land bridge connecting the Philippines and Sulawesi has never
existed, but the one between Sulawesi and Sundaland passing through the Kangean island.
Through this land bridge, fauna and human reached Sulawesi in the past.
The geographical location of Sulawesi, which is strategic in the center of the
archipelago, had made this island a cultural melting point since the past until the present
time. Archaeological data indicates that Sulawesi has been occupied since the ancient time
as a part of the regional colonization process. The presence of paleolithic artifacts
associated with faunal fossils in the Wallanae valley became proof of early colonization in
this island. Sartono (1979) dated those artifacts generally from Pleistocene, while Barstra
based on geomorphological analysis of the site, dated of the late Pleistocene (Bartstra et al.
1994; Keats and G.J. Bartstra 1994; 2001). Apart from above controversy, the artifacts
associated with animal fossils mentioned above need to be considered in relative dating
estimations. It seems that the early human colonization of Sulawesi took place at least in
the second half of the Upper Pleistocene. The similarity of the artifacts morpho-technology
with those from the other paleolithic sites in Indonesia shows the existence of those
artifacts as a part of the archipelago occupation process in the past.
The second stage of human occupation in Sulawesi took place in the Late
Pleistocene. Artifacts and faunal remains found from Leang Burung 2 (Glover 1981) and
Leang Sakapao I (Bulbeck et al. 2004) shows that this island has become part of the
occupation area of early modern human (anatomically modern human) since c. 30.000
years ago (fig. xx). This occupation is contemporary with the Southeast Asian occupation
in general, as being found in Lang Rongrien, Thailand (Anderson 1990); Niah, Sarawak
(Baker et al. 2002); Tabon (Fox 1970), Song Terus and Braholo cave, Gunung Sewu
(Semah et al. 2003); Simanjuntak 2002); Leang Lemdubu, Aru (Veth et al.1998); and Golo
cave, Maluku (Bellwood et al.1998). The late Pleistocene occupation continues to
Holocene with a wider spread and more developed culture, occupying cave and natural
niches. At this time there had been cave occupation communities in karstic areas, like in
Maros-Pangkep and Bantaeng in South Sulawesi, Muna Island in Southeast Sulawesi, as
well as in the others karstic area in Indonesia (Simanjuntak and Widianto, in press).
After the end of the ice age, again, Sulawesi was involved in regional human and
culture diaspora. Archaeological proof shown the existence of the development of the rock
art in this island, which was being manifestated in rock painting, rock carving, or rock
engraving. In the reality, the rock art is unlimited in Sulawesi, but also in a wider territory,
covering Southeast Asia mainland, the Philippines, Borneo and the eastern region of
Indonesia, until the Pasifc and Australia. There is a thought that the dispersal of rock art in
Sulawesi and its surrounding began in early Holoceine time, as shown by the contextual
data which is generally in caves and rock shelters conserving occupation remains in the
form of prenolithic culture (Simanjuntak 2002).
The arrival of the Austronesian speaking language people at around 4.000 years ago
in this island should be the next stage of occupation with significant cultural changes.
Those people who were southern mongolid race with their neolithic culture has become a
regional phenomenon, not only in Southeast Asian territory, but also extended to the
Pacific region. The Austronesian speaking people and its culture become the cultural
foundation of tribes which are now living in Sulawesi. The adaptation process towards the
different environments and the interaction with the indigenous population gradually
created a diversity of etnicity and culture. Nowadays this island is occupied by 13.732.500
inhabitants (data of 1995: Encarta 2005) from various ethnics and speak around 40
languages which all belong to the Austronesian family language.

Sulawesi and the Study of Austronesia

The Austronesia diaspora is a big phenomenon within the history of humanity. This
language-family occupied the area more than a half of the globe: from Madagascar in the
west to the Easter Islands in the east, and from Taiwan—Micronesia in the north to New
Zealand in the south. Before the era of the western colonization, this is the language-family
with the largest area of dispersal in the world, reaching more than a half of the hemisphere.
As a language-family, Austronesia has 1,000 to 1,200 languages depending on what
criteria is used to differentiate its dialects (Bellwood et al. 1995) and spoken by more than
300 million people. It is interesting to find that the quantity of Austronesian speaking
people vary from only hundred-of-thousands as in several places in the Pacific area
(Dulton 1995) to millions as in Malaysia and the Philippines, even hundreds-of-millions as
in Indonesia. The present-day subsistence of this Austronesian people varies from hunting
and food-gathering, sea travelers, fishermen, peasant farmers, and modern merchants.
All the characteristics mentioned above make Austronesians as an everlasting
interesting subject and a never-ending research. Many explanations have been given to this
phenomenon, but there are still a lot more problems unsolved. One of the most
controversial subjects is concerning their origin. Different theories have been launched:
one of them claimed Taiwan as the origin of the Austronesian speaking people (Bellwood
2000), but some others think Sundaland (Oppenheimer 1999), Southern Philippines and
Northeastern Indonesia (Solheim 1996), even the triangle area of Taiwan—Sumatra—
Timor (Meacham (1984—1985). These different theories show how the study of
Austronesia is still widely open for researches, and through them, these controversies
might end. From all of these, it is believed that the appearance of the people and
Austronesian languages occurred in the middle of the Holocene and Indonesia archipelago
tend to be associated with the origin or diaspora of Austronesians.
In fact, Indonesia has a strategic position in revealing many problems on the
Austronesians and their culture. From the geographical point of view, this country
potentially keeps rich data on the Austronesian, considering that it covers a vast area
located in the centre of the Austronesian diaspora. More than 80% of the Austronesians
live within this area with their varied cultures. The existence in non-Austronesians
enclaves in Moluccas, Lesser Sunda and Papua are very important for the understanding of
the interaction processes within the Austronesian group. These conditions have put the
research on Austronesia as very promising and intriguing, especially since such research is
still rarely conducted in this area.
Sulawesi is one of the most promising islands in Indonesian archipelago to solve the
problems on the dispersal of Austronesian-speaking people. From geographical
perspective, this island is located in a strategic position as a crossing point amid maritime
routes within Island Southeast Asia. This potential makes Sulawesi a cultural melting pot.
From archaeological perspective, the existence of some tens of neolithic sites within this
area is the key to explain the nature of Austronesian origin and dispersal, as well as their
cultural characteristics and development. From linguistic perspective, Sulawesi has about
40 language-varieties, which are considered as belonging to the Austronesian language
family. Therefore, linguistic study in this area will be very important to understand the
language history and interaction among the speakers. From ethnographic perspective, the
various cultural traits of certain ethnics in Sulawesi represent interesting points to
understand the Austronesian traditions. These conditions have made the research on
Austronesia very promising and intriguing, especially since such research is still rarely
conducted in this area.

Some interesting main issues to be discussed are concerning the questions (fig.1):

1 When did the Austronesians colonize Sulawesi and how did they disperse within
the island?
2 What were their cultural characteristics in time and space?
3 How can we explain the presence of the Austronesian-speaking people in
Sulawesi in relation to their diaspora in the regional context?
4 What are the Austronesian cultural traditions, which are still continuing up to the
For answering those questions, I had the opportunity to perform research in two
years in Sulawesi (April 2004 – March 2006) funded by the Southeast Asian Studies
Regional Exchange Program (SEASREP) project. To support this activity I also had
supports to carry out fieldwork at several particular sites in collaboration with the
University of New England, Australia and the Archaeological Sub-Center in Makassar.
This book tries to find answers of above issues based on research results, which had been

Strategy and Research Method

The complexity of Austronesian issues (diaspora, chronology, and cultural aspects)

urges the importance of research strategies to have optimal results. One of the strategies,
which is appropriate with SEASREP regulation, was to include related scholars from
countries in South -East Asia to get involved in the research activities. They are Ipoi Datan
MA, prehistorian from Sabah Museum, Malaysia, and Dr. Victor Paz from the University
of the Philippines. The participation of those two neighbour-country scholars was a good
opportunity to discuss regional issues of Austronesia, and of course to build the spirit of
togetherness and corporation in solving archaeological problems in the Southeast Asian
region. Another strategy is to perform multidisciplinary research involving experts from
related disciplines, such as archaeology, anthropology, linguistic, palynology, geology, etc.
The research method used was collecting primary data in the field through surveys
and excavations to gain understanding of the origin and the Austronesian diaspora.
Surveys were performed in Karama River flow area in the regency of Mamuju, West
Sulawesi; Enrekang, Sinjai, and Maros regencies in South Sulawesi; and Tondano regency
in North Sulawesi. The excavations were performed in Minanga Sipakko site, Sikendeng,
and Lattibung in West Sulawesi, test pits (rapid excavations) were done at Malilling Cave
and Malawa in South Sulawesi. Primary data collection for living tradition was done by
observations and interviews on the Kajang tribe in Bulukumba and on the Toraja tribe in
Rante Pao. Worth to explain that research on Toraja tribe was intended to replace the
Wanua tribe in Morawali region (Central Sulawesi). This change was due to the social
conflict which occurred in Marowali region, causing research as impossible to be
performed. The other method used was the compilation study of the previous research
reports or publications to get secondary data. Observation was also done for the
archaeological materials from the previous researches conducted in different neolithic sites
in Sulawesi. Such activities were done in the Makassar and the Manado Archaeological
Center, the University of Hasanuddin in Makassar, and the National Archaeological
Research and Development Center, Jakarta.

The Emergence and Dispersal of the Austronesian in Sulawesi

Explorative and compilative studies carried out show the existence of more than 30
neolithic sites in Sulawesi. Based on artifact assemblages, the neolithic sites in Sulawesi
can be classified into neolithic tradition and pure neolithic. The first one is characterized
by the presence of metal objects or ceramic on the upper layer or on the surface of the
sites, generally in association with the typical neolithic objects, such as stone adzes, stone
axes, or red slipped pottery. Some sites which are included in this group are Lattibung,
Kaloa, Tarailu, Pantaraan, and Salukuweh in West Sulawesi; Manding, Talassa,
Takbuncini, and Karang Puang in South Sulawesi; Guaan in North Sulawesi. Pure
neolithic sites are Minanga Sipakko, Kamassi (Kalumpang), Sikendeng in West Sulawesi;
Paso, Teling, Leang Tuwo Mane’e, and Oluhuta in North Sulawesi; and Buttu Banua,
Malillin, Malawa, Bukit Bikulung, Sulenta, and Manggarupi sites in South Sulawesi.
From the range of neolithic distribution areas in this island, it is interesting to observe
each area, with their unique characteristics in the cultural development. The Karama river
basin in West Sulawesi is an example of access and dispersion of the Austronesian-
speaking people through rivers. The neolithic sites along the Karama River show how this
river plays an important role in the dispersion and inhabitation in this area, from the coastal
up to the interior parts. It is highly possible that this area was one of the initial centers of
development before the culture dispersed to the surrounding neighboring areas. The date of
the Minanga Sipakko site supports the assumption that about 3,500 years ago the
Austronesian-speaking people with their neolithic cultures have inhabited the upstream of
the Karama River. The discovery of remains of stingray at this site is important evidence
about contacts between the coastal and interior areas.
The neolithic sites discovered at Tondano and its surroundings prove how the northern
part of Sulawesi was also one of the neolithic cultural development areas. Furthermore, the
discovery of the preneolithic site of Paso shows that long before the arrival of the
Austronesian-speaking newcomers, some communities had inhabited this area. The
Tondano Lake with its rich sources seems to have attracted prehistoric communities to live
there. It is interesting to note that on the preneolithic remains are neolithic remains mixed
with some preneolithic ones. The mixture of those two different cultures depicts the
interactions between the Austronesian-speaking people, the newcomers, and the indigenous
population they met, indicating that the newcomers made an effort to adjust themselves to
the indigenous culture.
The discovery of neolithic sites at Enrekang is very remarkable because it represents
the existence of the Austronesian-speaking people in the interior area. Geographically the
area is mountainous and difficult to reach, but the condition did not discourage the
inhabitation process of this area. The rivers that flow within this area, although the water is
shallow and the banks are steep so that sailing on them is impossible, had enabled the
bearers of the neolithic culture to obtain food and dispersed there. The few archaeological
remains and thin cultural layer – like at the sites of Buttu Banua 1 and 2, and Maliling cave
site – show that the inhabitation of this area was not as intensive as in the lowland areas.
Probably difficult access, insufficient natural sources needed in the daily life, and limited
mobility are the factors that cause it. This condition also explains why thus far there are no
neolithic sites or sites from older period found at high mountainous area like Tana Toraja.
The existence of the site of Mallawa on a hill can be seen as an evidence of quite
intensive inabitation of neolithic communities in the lowland areas of Maros regency, South
Sulawesi. This site is interesting because aside from the dense remains of habitation, which
covers most of the hills, this site is also adjacent to the neolithic cave site complex of
Maros. Its date is slightly younger than the cave sites of Maros, which suggests that this site
was probably the later dispersion of the Maros inhabitation. Another interesting part is that
the shapes and decorations of the pottery found at this site show many resemblances to the
pottery found at the Minanga Sipakko site, particularly in scroll, diamond, and meander
motifs, as well as tapering lids. The most commonly found motives are among others
triangles, spirals, curved lines, half circles, and a group of dots made using impressed,
incised, and piercing techniques.
Thus far very few sites were found at the eastern part of Sulawesi. Maybe at this area
the influence of the Austronesian culture is insignificant. For the time being, the scarceness
of data from this area strengthens the assumption that the Neolithic dispersion was from
the north through the northern coast down southward along the Makassar Strait. At certain
places, particularly at the estuaries, the Austronesians examined the availability of natural
sources, and then they enter the interior areas by utilizing the river as the center of
orientation and sailing route.
Worth mentioning is that several neolithic sites (Paso and sites in Maros region) are
actually situated on pre-neolithic sites. In such cases, the neolithic objects tend to be
associated with the preneolithic objects (flake tools, faunal remains, etc). This means that
when the Austronesian speakers arrived, Sulawesi had been occupied by the preneolithic
population, presumably non-Austronesian speakers. In such a situation, cultural interaction
between these two populations were likely to happen. The discovery of pottery as a
cultural element of the Austronesian speaking people assosiated with serrated arrowheads
and concave base, and also with flake tools from the Maros culture (Bulbeck et al. 2001)
showed that there have been adaptation and interaction process between local inhabitants
and the new comers. Such phenomenon is largely found in caves previously intensively
inhabited by the Australomelanesid race. It seems that in the early occupation of the
Austronesian speaking people adapted to the local population and environment by
inhabiting caves and absorbing local culture. However, their neolithic culture was to be
gradually dominant and they then abandoned the caves moving to open nature, developing
domestication and stone tool workshops (Simanjuntak 2002; Simanjuntak dan Widianto, in
When did the Austronesian speaking people arrive in Sulawesi is one of the most
interesting issues. The limitation of datings from the neolithic sites resulted in difficulties
to have the exact answer. The available dates, so far, show that the neolithic, which is
believed as the Austronesian culture, had begun at around 3,500 BP in this island. Bulbeck
(1996-1997; Bulbeck et al. 2001) estimated the existence of neolithic red slipped pottery in
Ulu Leang, South Sulawesi since 3,500 BP. A slightly older date comes from Leang Tuwo
Mane’e in Talaud Island, northern Sulawesi approximately from 3,600 BP, characterized
by the thin and plain pottery, red slipped pottery and flake (Tanudirjo 2001). New datings
of the Malawa sites at Maros region are more or less contemporary, 3,580 ± 130 BP.
Meanwhile, the all of datings can give early description of the Austronesian speaking
people’s existence in this island. Datings from Minanga Sipakko shows, that around 3,500
years ago (tabel 1), the Austronesian speaking people had been present in Sulawesi and
even had occupied riverbanks areas in the hinterland.

Tabel 1: The Oldest and youngest Radiometric Datings from Several Neolithic Sites in Sulawesi

Sites Reference
(oldest and youngest)
Minanga Sipakko 3446 ± 51 BP (cal. 3834-3572 BP) Wk-14651
3343 ± 46 BP (cal. 3690-3460 BP) Wk-17981
2570 ± 110 BP P3G-97
Malawa 3580 ± 130 BP P3G-06
2710 ± 170 BP P3G-06
Maros c. 3500 BP (Bulbeck 1996-1997)
Leang Tuwo Mane’e c. 3600 BP (Tanudirjo 2001)

The existence of neolithic sites have become the indicator of the Austronesian
diaspora in Sulawesi. In fact, most of them are located in the northern, western, and
southern parts of the island. So far, only one neolithic site reported to occur in the eastern
part. It seems that the Austronesian speaking people were more likely to live in the
northern, western, and southern region of this island rather than the eastern region. There
for, there was a big possibility that the coming of the Austronesian speaking people to this
island was from the north coastal side and down to the south through the west coast. From
this coastal region they then entered the hinterland. In this case Sulawesi Sea and Makassar
Stait probably became the sailing corridor of its dispersal. The existence of the sites from
the oldest datings, like Leang Tuwo Mane’e in the north, Kalumpang in west Sulawesi,
and Maros in South Sulawesi strengthen this assumption. From these early occupation
areas the Austronesian speaking people scattered to other regions in Sulawesi.
Buttu Banua and Malilling sites in the Enrekang region can be an occupation
indication of the dispersal into the mountainous region in the hinterland of Sulawesi. There
are possibilities that they traced the river side up to its upper course. The scarcity of
neolithic sites in this region and the thinness of occupation layer has shown an
unintensively occupation compared to land areas. The difficulty in reaching the area was
because the upper course of the river that cannot be sailed on one hand, and its isolation in
the mountain area on the other hand, became the factors which caused the lack of
occupational development. This assumption is strengthened by the fact, that in the upper
region, like in Toraja in the north of Enrekang, no neolithic sites are registered so far.
The significant role of the river in the dispersal of Austronesian-speakers can be seen
from the distribution of the neolithic sites, which in general occur on the riverbanks or
relatively close to the river. Such a distribution shows that river corridors are preferable for
the occupation due to easy accessibility and the availability of natural resources. The
existence of the river also became a transportation agent facilitating interactions with
outside communities. The sailing mastered by the Austronesian speaking people
(Tanudirjo 2005) made the river course areas easily explored and inhabited. The rich
environmental resources had made developed the hunting subsistence and the use of river
aquatic biota. The best model of the river course area diaspora is shown by the Karama
River in Mamuju, West Sulawesi with its upper course in the mountaineous region of
Toraja and Luwu. This river was to be the centre of orientation for occupation as seen from
the richness of neolithic sites along this river, from Sikendeng downstream to Tambing-
Tambing upper stream.

Prehistoric Austronesian Culture in Sulawesi

Generally, the existence of Austronesian speaking people in Sulawesi can be divided

into the prehistoric period (c.3500 – c.2000 BP) and the historic period (c.2000 BP until
now). The prehistoric period showed the gradual development from the early to the late
occupation. In the early occupation the Austronesians lived in caves or on open land. The
cave occupation is relatively shorter as seen from the thinness of the occupation layer,
compared to one on open land occupation sites. The open land occupation can take place in
an occupated or unoccupated area. For the occupated area, the arrival of Austronesian
speaking people tend to cause adaptation and interaction with the local population. This
kind of example is seen in Paso site, North Sulawesi. A site which is located on the side
banks of Tondano Lake was being occupied more or less since 7530 ± 50 BP (ANU 1517).
The presence of the kitchenmidden showed that the use of fresh water molluscs were the
main subsistence of the dweller. The other archaeological remains consist of flake tools,
obsidian, bone tools, shells, hematite, and animal bones (Bellwood 1976; 2000). The
presence of those materials mixed with the neolithic remains in the upper layer indicate the
adaptation and interaction process among the Austronesian with the local population.
The artifact assemblage found in several neolithic sites which has been examined
gave a pictures of characteristic of the Austronesian culture in Sulawesi in the prehistoric
era. Besides the river banks occupation explained above, the other characteristics are (1)
sedentary life in local community groups; (2) hunting, using of water biota and seeds
subsistences; (3) pottery as the conspicuous technological product; and (4) stone tools
manufacturing (adzes, axes, and other tools, using raw materials abundantly available in
the occupation surroundings. It seems that there had been intercommunities
interrelationships as seen from the similarity of cultural remains in neolithic sites, such as
stone adzes, pottery, obsidians, etc. Red slipped pottery became a distinctive feature of
early occupation found generally in neolithic sites in and outside of Sulawesi. The other
pottery similarities can be seen in decoration motifs (triangle, spiral, curve lines, half
circle, and dots) made by impressed, incised, or pierced techniques.
The Austronesian-speaking people who came to Sulawesi more than 3500 years BP
were the embryo of the recent population. The neolithic cultures that they brought when
they first arrived were then developed by the community that bears it, adjusting it to the
local environment. Since its earliest existence until now, the development of the
Austronesian culture in this island can be divided into 3 periods. First, the prehistoric
period that occurred between c. 3500 BP and 2500/2000 BP, then the protohistoric period
(c. 2500/2000 BP - c. 400 AD), and the historic period (400 AD - now). Each period has
specific characteristics, which distinct one from the other.
Red-slipped pottery, which is prominent in archaeological assemblage, marks the
early occupation period in around 3500 - 3000 BP at Minanga Sipakko. Bowls, dishes,
bottles, flasks, jars, etc. were apparently brought by the Austronesian-speaking people
when they came to this island, and later the pottery were obtained through exchange with
outside communities. Chemical analysis reveals that there are different compositions in the
red-slipped pottery and in the clay sources around the area of the Minanga Sipakko site,
indicating that the red-slipped pottery was not locally made. Instead, they were imported
from outside. A significant change occurred around 3000 - 2500 BP, when the red-slipped
pottery disappeared and replaced by low-fired, coarse pottery, among others in the forms
of big jars, boxes, and pedestals. The appearance of this new type of pottery, which was
manufactured using simpler technology, can be seen as an effort of the local community to
produce its own pottery, and the products and technology used in the manufacture process
were adjusted to local necessities. Analysis result shows that this type of pottery was
locally made.
It is worth noticing that in about the middle of the occupation period, decorated and
plain pottery became eminent, and this situation remained so until the end of the
occupation period. Decoration motifs are greatly varied, generally in forms of lines,
scrolls, and geometrical shapes made using incised, impressed, and pointed techniques.
Bulbeck and Nasruddin (2002) noted the presence of 33 major motifs in Kalumpang
(Minanga Sipakko and Kamassi sites). Among the low-fired pottery there are cut away (cut
out) designs, especially on pedestals. The various decoration motifs on the pottery from
Minanga Sipakko and Kalumpang remind us of those found at other neolithic sites in
Sulawesi. For example, the cut away designs are also found among the pottery from
Manding site (South Sulawesi) and Guaan (North Sulawesi); scroll, diamond, and meander
designs, as well as decorated lids are found at Malawa (South Sulawesi); while incised
geometric and punctuated dot motifs are found at Sikendeng (West Sulawesi).
The existence of various kinds of rocks has stimulated the development of lithic
technology, like the manufacture of adzes and other types of lithic tools. The availability of
schiste and slate rocks, which were found in abundance at Minanga Sipakko, urged the
community that lived at this site to build ateliers to make lithic tools. The domination of
stone adzes in all occupation periods indicates that this type of tools were the leading
products that were exchanged with commodities from outside.

Regional Context of Austronesian in Sulawesi

In regional scope within the Southeast Asian region, Sulawesi has proved to have a
strategic role in the Austronesian dispersal, as seen from certain similarity of the cultural
elements with its surrounding areas. The mastering of sailing technology became an
important capital for keeping contacts, using the river in internal Sulawesi and by seafaring
for outside Sulawesi. At that time, Sulawesi seemed to become the Austronesian cultural
melting point.
The regional connectivity is shown in adzes as part of the most prominent
technological products. It is worth noticing that in term of typo-geographical distribution,
the adze assemblage of Minanga Sipakko can be grouped into three regions of distribution
according to Roger Duff’s model (1970), namely the northern region (the Philippines,
Taiwan, Japan) in the forms of shouldered, violin and stepped adze types; the western
region (Java, Sumatra, Bali, and Malaysia) in the forms of pick-adzes; and the general
region (Southeast Asia - Pacific) in the forms of simple stone adzes and chisels (Heekeren
1972). The similarities of adzes among those regional distribution groups indicate that the
lives of the Austronesian-speaking people in Sulawesi are related to their dispersal within
regional areas.
Pottery is another archaeological evidence showing the relation of Sulawesi with its
regional context. In relation with pottery, some scholars connected it to mainland
Southeast Asia. Heine Geldern viewed Samrong Sen in Cambodia dated to 4000-3000 BP
(Higham 1989) as the closest parallel for Kamassi’s decorated pottery (Heekeren 1952).
Heekeren (1972) concluded that the Kamassi pottery designs were derived from the Sa
Huynh culture of Central Vietnam (c.3000-2000 BP: Higham 1989). Solheim (1996)
viewed the Kalumpang pottery as an example of the expansion of the ornate Sa huynh-
Kalanay tradition, after 4000 BP, from its homeland in the southern Philippines. Red-
slipped pottery, which is very dominant in the early occupation period, are found within a
vast area covering Taiwan, the Philippines, and Indonesia (Spriggs 1989).
Other similarities are seen from the existence of arrowheads at Minanga Sipakko and
Kamassi made of polished slate or occasionally schist (Stein Callenfels 1951; Heekeren
1972). The similarity of those arrowheads to the projectile points found elsewhere in
Luzon, Hong Kong, and farther north - from neolithic Taiwan – support the oppinion that
Kamassi and Minanga Sipakko link to the early expansion (before 3000 BP) of
Austronesian speakers from Taiwan into island Southeast Asia (Bellwood 1997). Those
similarities convince us that there was Austronesian prehistoric life in Sulawesi,
characterized by regular contacts with other Austronesian settlements outside Sulawesi
within the Southeast Asian regional area.
The presence of the obsidian at Minanga Sipakko, Malawa, and other neolithic sites
outside of Sulawesi can be viewed as an indicator of the outside interaction. It seems that
the obsidian flakes were imported from outside Sulawesi, although there is a possibility
that some of them were originated from Sulawesi. The lack of obsidian sources at Minanga
Sipakko, Sikendeng, and Malawa led to the assumption that they were obtained from
outside the sites. Such exotic commodity Sulawesi reminds us of similar discoveries in the
islands of the eastern part of Indonesia, Kalimantan, Java, Sumatra (Tanudirjo 2001;
Widianto et al. 1997; Simanjuntak and Forestier 2004), and even in Sabah, Malaysia, and
the Philippines (Chia 2003b). In this case, they were assumed to be exotic items, which
came to the sites through trade (exchange). The condition incites the community to
economize the material so that they came in tiny flakes. Regarding the function, it is very
likely that they were used as a kind of sickle to cut things by arranging blades on a handle
made of organic material.
As concerns the relation with the adjacent area, the discovery of neolithic occupation
sites in Leang Tuwo Mane’e and Leang Tahuna in Sangir-Talaud islands in the north of
Sulawesi (Tanudirjo 2001) with is slightly older than Sulawesi showed that those islands
become a stepping stone in its southern dispersal. The finding of Arku cave in the northern
region of the Philippines, which are commonly found in Taiwan such as shell and stone
bracelets, shell bracelets, stone earrings, stone bark-cloth beater, spindle whorl, barbed
bone points, stone adzes remind us the similar objects found from Kalumpang. Also the
stepped stone-adzes of Kalumpang site remind us of the same type of adzes found in Japan
and Southern Philippines (Heekeren 1972).
Regarding the relation with Kalimantan, worth to mention is the similarity of
potteries between the Bukit Tengkorak site in Sabah (Malaysia) (Chia 2003a). Many
similarities being recognized in Bukit Tengkorak are red slipped pottery or plain vessels
with a matching lid decorated with stamped circles, reminding of Lapita pottery. The same
applies to agate, marine shells, fish, animal bones, adzes, bark-cloth beater, shell and bone
artifacts, open kiln remains from between 3200 -2300 BP, reminding us to Minanga
Sipakko remains. Concerning the obsidian it reminds us to the one found at Gua Babi in
South Kalimantan (Widianto et al. 1997) and also to the Bukit Tengkorak mentioned above
(Chia 2003b). Electron microprobe analysis to the obsidians from Gua Tengkorak done by
Stephen Chia showed the presence of three groups. The first group had the similarity in
chemical composition with those from Kuatu/Bao in Talasea in New Britain; the second
had the similarity with the obsidian from Talaud Islands, and the third group (represented
only by one flake) had the similarity with those in the Admiralty Islands. The second group
was mostly found in the early occupation layer (4300 BC) while the first group from the
upper layer (between 1200—900 BC).
The interrelationship with the west and south area of Sulawesi was indicated by the
presence of a special type (pick adze), which were most typical of Java, Sumatra, and
Malaysia neolithic. Decorated pottery from Lie Siri, Timor Leste, as well as the plain
sherds associated with bone animals pigs - (Sus celebencis and Sus scrofa) from Uai Bobo
1 dan 2, Timor Leste are similar to those in Kalumpang. While the connection with the
eastern area indicated by the presence of red slipped pottery from Uattamdi cave
(Halmahera), dated to 1300 BC (Bellwood 1993) and from Buru Island, dated to 1150 BC
(Lape 2000), before continuing to migrate to the Pacific. In an open site pulau Ay, Banda:
plain and decorated pottery c.3150 BP and obsidian from other sites. The Molluccas can be
viewed as an occupation area before continuing to migrate to the Pacific.

Austronesian Tradition in Historic Times in Sulawesi

Since 2500-2000 years ago a living tradition in Sulawesi entered a new stage along
with the sailing activities which tend to be more developed with the commerce, adventure,
and religion background, in regional and global scope. At that time, the commerce
relationship between the Archipelago with the Southeast Asian region, China, India, and
even Europe had been well established. The rise of trading activity has triggered by the
need increasing of excotic materials, which have prestiglous values among the elites of the
Mediteranea, India, and China. Along with the regional activity, writings on the islands
and Archipelago communities began to appear (Ardika 1996; 2005). This phenomenon has
made Archipelago to enter the protohistoric era, a transition era to the historical period.
The establishment of the regional-global relationship relates to the living condition of
the Austronesian speaking people in the archipelago at that time. Archaeological evidences
reveal that the life of the Austronesians in the Indonesian Archipelago was quite complex,
allowing them to response the regional and global interactions. The complexity of the
communities is shown in the increasingly better economic condition, which made possible
for them to trade their commodities with exotic goods from outside, such as precious metal,
jewelry, handicrafts, perfumes, medicines, incense, camphor, spices, and sandalwood. In
the archipelago, there had been community groups, like merchants and sailors, which
directly have the connection with the outside world, artisan group, and common people
with different subsistences. They should had been led by a local influencial figure.
The presence of human burial variations, like with or without coffin at Gilimanuk,
stone vats burial in the valley of Besoa and Bada, Central Sulawesi, jar burial in Anyar,
Plawangan, Melolo, etc., sarcophagi in Besuki, Gilimanuk, etc. or painted tomb chamber in
Pasemah confirmed the existence of the social stratification. The establishment of the
megalithic monuments became a remembrance of that are prominent figures or ancestors
spirit worshippers are evidence of the richness of natural spirit and the religiousity of the
society at that time. The ability of the Austronesian-speaking communities in the
archipelago to master sailing technology has enabled them to make inter-insular relations
more easily (Tanudirjo 2005). They even had contacts with other communities in Southeast
Asia. This condition inspired them to actively involved in the regional – global trade
activities at the period.
The most prominent imported exotic commodities at that time were bronze objects
originally from the Dongson culture in North Vietnam. Such exchange has been, at the
same time, benefited by the people in the archipelago to absorbe the metallurgy
technology. Such attitude had given rise to the emergence of artisan groups in the
Archipelago. In fact, the artisans did not wholly imitate Dongson products, but they tend to
give their own characteristics to the bronze objects produced as a local adaptation. The
evidences of the local workshop activities have been found in several sites in indonesia.
The moulding fragments for making bronze adzes has been found around Bandung and
Pejaten site in South Jakarta. While fragments of kettledrum moulding from stone has been
found and until now are still kept in a temple in Manuaba, Gianyar, Bali (Ardika 2005).
Sulawesi was already involved in the regional-global trading at that time considering
its strategic geografical location and its potential of natural resources. Trading activities,
trigge by the needs of commodities like yellow sandalwood and spices from southern
Indonesia, especially from Nusa Tenggara and Maluku region, made Sulawesi a transit
area. In this case, there were surely transactions of exchanging goods with Sulawesi
commodity. The discovery of bronze objects, like kettledrums and bronze axes (Heekeren
1958; Soejono 1984) was evidence that Sulawesi was another island engaged with regional
trading activity. The presence of different imported ceramics from China, Vietnam, etc.
has shown the intensity of a sustainable outside influence in this island. It seems that
Sulawesi is not only involved in the global trading, but also in the related to religion
activities. The finding of a Buddha statue of the Amarawati style, South India from the 2nd
century AD in Sempaga, West Sulawesi indicates the incoming of Hindu-Buddhist
influence in the Archipilego and particularly in Sulawesi (Oey-Blom 1985).
Besides sites of kettledrums and megalith findings mentioned above, there are many
other sites that speaking became a proof of the Austronesian speaking people occupation in
the protohistoric in Sulawesi. Some of them are Tambucini (Takalar), Manding (Polmas),
Sabbang Loang and Baebunta (north Luwu), Karang Puang (Sinjai), Air Madidi
(Minahasa). The end of the protohistoric time on this island are varied in many places, so it
is difficult to give an excact date. For instance: the dates of megalithic sites in Oloan are
from 1540 ± 140 BP – 1180 ± 80 BP (P3G-2001); Megalithic Tatelu site from 850 ± 80 BP
– 2070 ± 140 BP (P3G-2001). Those dates implied that North Sulawesi at that time has not
yet entered the historic period.
Worth to mention is that up to the historic times, the river course area occupation
pattern with regard to pottery manufacture were still maintained as seen from the presence
of neolithic tradition sites. The arrival of the new goods from outside Sulawesi, like
ceramics, bronze vessels, etc. did not discourage the inhabitants in pottery manufacturing.
Seeing from the ceramic finds, this neolithic tradition is still prevailing up to the 18th/19th
century. Even at present, several villages still continue the pottery manufactured. At
Kalumpang region, the pottery making still can be seen in Tararan village and Lebani
(Simanjuntak et al. 2005), even tend to be abandoned. Now the pottery making in those
villages depend on the demand. Other maintained traditions were traditional weaving,
hunting, and sailing using canoes in the Karama River.
Local development in response to the local condition has given rise to the
ethnogeneses in Sulawesi. At present Sulawesi is populated by around 30 ethnic groups
characterized by the different languages and other cultural traits. Such heterogeneity is due
to the different local is evolution in relation with the environmental adaptation or the
intencity of outside interaction. However, this cultural heterogeneity still keeps certain
similarities between one and the other ethnic group which means the existence of the
interrelationship. Such similarities can be easier traced in their languages. From around 40
languages spoken nowadays in this island, they have many similarities in words and all can
be traced back to the Austronesian language.
The most Austronesian traditional elements which are still maintained at present can
be seen in several Sulawesi tribes, like in the Kajang in Bulukumba and the Toraja in
Rantepao. The Kajang tribe notably still maintains traditions, such as dry agriculture (rice,
calladium, taro, edible tuber) animal domestication (dog, buffalo, etc.), and ancestor
worship (see Handini and Irfan Mahmud in this volume). In the Toraja tribe, the traditions
maintained are: homage to the ancestor spirits realized in ceremonials funerary, pottery
manufactured, chew betel, and rice cultivating. The cultural elements that were abandoned
are bark clothes, the use of blowpipes (sumpit) and spears for hunting (see Mahmud and
Retno Handini in this volume). The most general traditions are pottery making which are
still maintained in different regions of Sulawesi, boats and canoes manufacturing,
especially in the Bukukumba region.


The two-year research project in Sulawesi was a positive step in the study of the
Austronesians. This series of researches, which use multidisciplinary approach, have given
new insights about the emergence of Austronesian-speaking people in this island, their
dispersion and development, as well as their cultural characteristics since their first
emergence until recently. The current researches on the Austronesian studies in Sulawesi so
far have revealed many progress. The various new insights obtained based on those latest
data have given a better understanding about the life of the Austronesian-speaking people
since their first emergence until recently. The Austronesian emerged for the first time in
this island more than 3500 years ago and continuously developed up to the present. The
Austronesian-speaking people probably came from the north, and they entered Sulawesi by
traveling along the northern and western coasts. At mountainous areas like Mamuju, rivers
became very important as the access to disperse. Rivers also allow contacts among the
communities along their streams, even with the outside world as well. Indications of
contacts with the outside world are the discovery of spine stingray, red slipped pottery, and
obsidian at the Minanga Sipakko site, presumably as the result of trade activities during the
Entering the proto-historic period and up present time, contacts with the outside
world become more intensive in accordance with the increasingly developed regional –
global sailing and trading activities that intensify interactions and exchange of goods. The
existence of bronze objects and artifacts made of other types of metal at proto-historic sites
and imported porcelain wares at historic sites are evidences of interactions with the outside
world and trade activities of the period. On the other hand, the diversity of environmental
and natural sources, as well as the varied geographical condition, has endorsed the local
cultures to flourish, and in time it forms ethnicities and cultural diversity. We can see here
that the globalization surge from outside has failed to create cultural homogeny. Instead,
the local factors are more determining in creating cultural diversity.
It is important to note that besides the results acquired during the investigations,
there are still some unanswered questions due to the limited amount of time and fund
available. The characteristics of the local cultures of the early occupation period, their
development, and the factors that influenced their development are some examples of
issues to study in the near future. Nevertheless, what we have achieved during this phase is
one step forward from what we previously know. The results have shown how important
Sulawesi is in the effort to understand the Austronesians, not only within the scope of
Sulawesi but also in regional scope. Based on the results it is hoped that the studies of
Austronesians in Sulawesi in particular and Indonesia in general will develop continually
in the future.

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