Culture history of the Toalean of South Sulawesi, Indonesia

Francis Bulbeck, Monique Pasqua, Adrian Di Lello

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    This paper reviews the current evidence on typologically specialized tools assigned to the Toalean tradition of the southwest Sulawesi peninsula. Bone points and a range of stone points appeared across the peninsula in the early Holocene; this probably occurred as part of the expansion of archery and improved spear technology in Island Southeast Asia at the time. The technologically most specialized Toalean tools, namely backed microliths and Maros points, were evidently confined to the southwest of the peninsula. Backed microliths occur in contexts spanning some six millennia, but Maros points were largely restricted to the immediately preceramic period, approximately 5500 to 3500 B.P. The distribution of these tool types closely matches the area where late Holocene pottery in the ornate "Sa Huynh-Kalanay" tradition has been recorded, and where Makasar languages are spoken today. Sulawesi's southwest peninsula may have effectively been an island throughout much of the Holocene, and its southwest fringe runs hard against a major cordillera. Thus, physiographic constraints laid the basis for the division of the peninsula into two "social landscapes" that display long-term continuity throughout the Holocene, notwithstanding fundamental changes in subsistence patterns and technology.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)71-108
    JournalAsian Perspectives
    Volume39
    Publication statusPublished - 2001

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