Pollen analysis of sediments from the Toba Highlands of North Sumatra, Indonesia reported here suggests strongly that forest clearance by man began ∼7,500 yr BP. Less convincing evidence suggests that man may have been disturbing the vegetation perhaps from ∼ 17,800 yr BP, but climate has also changed and isolation of causal factors is, therefore, difficult. No Suma-tran archaeological sites have yet been scientifically excavated, nor are 14C dates available1. However, megaliths possibly 2,000 yr old occur in the study area2 and Hindu–Buddhist remains occur further south2. Lowland shell-middens may be much older1,3. Forest clearance may havebegun by 11,000 yr BP on Taiwan4 and agriculture between 14,000 and 8,000 yr BP in Thailand5,6 but these conclusions have been disputed7,9. Archaeological evidence for agriculture dating from ∼9,000 yr BP onwards has been found in Papua New Guinea10,11 while rice may have been cultivated in Sulawesi12 by 6,000 yr BP.
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About this article
First palaeoecological evidence of buffalo husbandry and rice cultivation in the Kerinci Seblat National Park in Sumatra, Indonesia
Vegetation History and Archaeobotany (2019)
The dynamics of Imperata: historical overview and current farmer perspectives, with special reference to South Kalimantan, Indonesia
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