The island of Timor has always attracted the interest of archaeological research. The part that currently corresponds to Timor-Leste saw the first archaeological excavations take place in the 1930s. However, the first scientific investigations systematically carried out, only took place in the late 1960s and especially since the end of Indonesian occupation, in 2000. In the past, Timor-Leste was the target of mainly Portuguese researchers, whose colonial period lasted until 1975. Former 'Portuguese Timor', as it was then known, had been a colony since the mid-sixteenth century. However, only during the last ca. 100 years of colonial rule and especially during the Estado Novo, the Portuguese administration strengthened its presence and invested resources more systematically in what was its most distant colony. Nowadays, more than 40,000 years of history of human occupation in Timor are documented, represented through a significant diversity of archaeological sites, including shell middens, open air sites and caves with prehistoric occupation, caves and cliffs with rock art, ancient, pre-colonial fortified settlements, in addition to evidence of the Portuguese and Dutch colonial periods and evidence of the Japanese and Indonesian occupations. Such archaeological information is fundamental so that the new country grows knowing about its history, which in turn is essential in the process of creating a sense of national identity for all East Timorese.
|Title of host publication||New Research in Timor-Leste|
|Editors||M. Leach, N.C. Mendes, A.B. da Silva, B. Boughton and A.C. Ximenes|
|Place of Publication||Melbourne, Australia|
|Publisher||Timor-Leste Studies Association|
|Publication status||Published - 2012|