Ancient jades map 3,000 years of prehistoric exchange in Southeast Asia

Hsiao-chun Hung, Yoshiyuki Iizuka, Peter Bellwood, Kim Dung Nguyen, Berenice Bellina, Praon Silapanth, Eusebio Z Dizon, Rey Santiago, Ipoi Datan, Jonathan Manton

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    We have used electron probe microanalysis to examine Southeast Asian nephrite (jade) artifacts, many archeologically excavated, dating from 3000 B.C. through the first millennium A.D. The research has revealed the existence of one of the most extensive sea-based trade networks of a single geological material in the prehistoric world. Green nephrite from a source in eastern Taiwan was used to make two very specific forms of ear pendant that were distributed, between 500 B.C. and 500 A.D., through the Philippines, East Malaysia, southern Vietnam, and peninsular Thailand, forming a 3,000-km-diameter halo around the southern and eastern coastlines of the South China Sea. Other Taiwan nephrite artifacts, especially beads and bracelets, were distributed earlier during Neolithic times throughout Taiwan and from Taiwan into the Philippines.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)19745-19750
    JournalPNAS - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
    Issue number50
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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