ANTHROPOLOGY: Indonesian Chronology

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Science  29 Jun 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5526, pp. 2399d
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5526.2399d

The precise date of migration of early humans into Indonesia bears on questions of when and which humans migrated from Africa and also relates to the development of technology and perhaps language. Recent dating from Java in western Indonesia indicates that humans may have arrived there considerably more than 1 million years ago; periodically, Java has been connected by land to the Asian mainland when sea level has dropped.

O'Sullivan et al. provide an extensive series of fission track dates of sites containing stone artifacts. These dates show that early humans migrated to Flores, in eastern Indonesia, by at least 840,000 years ago. Colonization of Flores would have required an open-water journey of at least several tens of kilometers, implying that seafaring technology had arisen by then. — BH

Geology 29, 607 (2001).

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