Learning from Paleo-Landscapes Defining the Land-Use Systems of the Ancient Malayo-Polynesian Homeland

Mike Carson, Hsiao-chun Hung

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Paleo-landscape investigations contextualize how people have inhabited and coevolved dynamically with their landforms, resource zones, and social-ecological niches during measured time intervals and through extended chronological sequences. Toward illustrating this research potential, changing paleo-landscapes 2500-1500 BC reveal the ancient conditions of the places where people lived in both Taiwan and the northern Philippines, in this case exploring what transpired there during a critical time period that heralded deep transformation of the language history, cultural heritage, economic production, and population demography of Island Southeast Asia as known today. During the time range of interest, the region's coastlines and habitat configurations were substantially different from today's circumstances, prior to change in sea level, accelerated slope erosion, lowland sedimentary buildup, and some of the world's most rapid recorded tectonic uplift. The results show that people in eastern Taiwan at 2200-2000 BC faced a crisis of limited suitable landforms for their particular mode of subsistence economy, thus instigating overseas migration to the northern Philippines as a means to expand into other territories, with continued effects through 1500 BC and thereafter.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)790-813
    JournalCurrent Anthropology
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


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