Volume 66 1957 > Volume 66, No. 2 > Migrations of culture in South-east Asia and Indonesia, by H. D. Skinner, p 206-207
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MIGRATIONS OF CULTURE IN SOUTH-EAST ASIA AND INDONESIA

INVESTIGATIONS INTO the history of culture in Indonesia and South-east Asia have, in recent years, been influenced by the theories of the late Robert Heine Geldern. As his views are not easily available in New Zealand, it is thought that a translation of his summary of them may be useful. It is taken from “Urheimat and fruheste Wanderungen der Austronesier,” Anthropos, Vol. 27 (1932). Heine Geldern postulates eight successive waves of culture, and uses three technical terms—Walzenbeil: an adze with rounded surface and oval cross-section. Schulterbeil: an adze with marked shoulders. Vierkanterbeil: an adze with flat surfaces and rectangular cross-section.

  • “1. Penetration of a branch of the Walzenbeil Culture, either from Japan via Formosa, Philippines, Celebes, Moluccas, etc. to New Guinea and Melanesia, where the Walzenbeil culture influenced deeply the culture of Papuans and Melanesians; they may even have taken it over completely. This culture is, in part, the same as the ‘two-class culture’ of Graebner; probably the partial Neo-lithisation of Australia is the result of it. The form of the boat was a plank-built boat without outrigger (Botel Tobago, ‘orembai’ of East Indonesia, ‘mon’ of Melanesia); the technique of the potters was based on building up pots from rings of clay. The people who brought the Walzenbeil culture from East Asia to East Indonesia and Melanesia were also the bearers of at least a part of the so-called Papuan languages (which fundamentally have nothing to do with the Papuans) especially the North Halmahera languages.
  • “2. Diffusion of groups speaking an Austroasiatic language and probably having Mongoloid bodily characteristics, with Neolithic Schulterbeil Culture, from a region not yet known via South-east Asia to the south Chinese coast, Formosa, Philippines, North Celebes, Japan, N.E. Korea, perhaps also to a part of India.
  • “3. In the first half or middle of the second millenium B.C., the penetration of people with Neolithic Vierkanterbeil culture (the Uraustronesians) from China to S.E. Asia. Their culture is most nearly related to the late Neolithic Yang-shao culture of China, and therefore shows like the Yang-shao culture elements, definite relations with the ‘ostbandkeramic’ culture. Among their culture elements may be listed the following: rectangular sectioned adzes of different forms (long adzes, chisels(?)), stone-sawing technique, kronbohrer, net-and-band ceramic, manufacture of vessels in Treibtechnique; spear-points from schist(?), implements and arrow points of bone and stone, and clam-shell armlets as ornaments and perhaps also as money, decoration by Steinperlschmuck,
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  • especially Roehrenperl, pile houses, rice, horse, pig, cattle, megalithic monuments, head-hunting, the most primitive form of river outrigger canoe, possibly (but not certainly) the making of the tapa cloth.
  • “4. Mixture between Austronesians and Austroasiatics, Vierkantbeil and Schulterbeil culture. Penetration of the bearers of this mixed culture into Further India.
  • “5. Even before the beginning of important mixture of cultures, penetration of a part of the Uraustronesians into the southern part of the Malay Peninsula which, until then, was populated only by Palaeolithic or a little neolithicised primitive tribes. Development of the primitive river outrigger boat to the real outrigger (canoe).
  • “6. Further wanderings of a branch of the Uraustronesians able now through the developed outrigger canoe to pass by sea from the Malay Peninsula (to the common Urheimat of these, part of the Uraustronesians from which the present Austronesian tribes are descended) (a) via Sumatra, Java, and the chain of the little Sunda Islands, southwest and southeast into the extreme east of the archipelago, where they mixed with the Walzenbeil population (the bearers of the so-called Papuan languages) and with the still present remnants of the real Papuans. (b) A second branch via Borneo, the Philippines, and Formosa to Japan.
  • “7. Formation of the Polynesian culture, or at least of one of its most important components in the Formosan-Philippine-North Celebes area out of a mixture of Austronesian Vierkanterbeil and Austroasiatic Schulterbeil cultures.
  • “8. Formation of the Melanesian languages and Melanesian cultures (Melanesian bow-culture) out of a mixture of Austronesian language and culture with pre-Austronesian languages (Papua languages) and with the Walzenbeil culture.

“To many ethnologists this scheme seems to be very thin, measured on the lively and disturbing fullness of South-east Asiatic and Oceanic populations and cultures. Many important problems could not be discussed even remotely, as, for example, the racial problem, so full of riddles. The above-mentioned conclusions (1-8) ought not to be considered final. The whole examination should be nothing more than a first exploration on a path which has never been surveyed. But I hope it will provide a satisfactory beginning.”

Heine Geldern concludes with references to the field work of Colani and Sarasin.