Complex Societies Evolved without Belief in All-Powerful Deity

According to one view, belief in a “big God” has been instrumental in bringing about social and political complexity in human cultures.

But a new analysis of religious systems in Austronesia—the network of small and island states stretching from Madagascar to Easter Island—challenges that theory. In these states, a more general belief in supernatural punishment did tend to precede political complexity, the research finds, but belief in supreme deities emerged after complex cultures have already formed.

Watch on

Austronesia: Reclaiming The Civilization of the Voyaging Canoe

The Austronesian-speaking peoples are various populations in Southeast Asia and Oceania that speak languages of the Austronesian family. They include Taiwanese aborigines; the majority ethnic groups of East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei, Madagascar, Micronesia, and Polynesia, as well as the Polynesian peoples of New Zealand and Hawaii, and the non-Papuan people of Melanesia. They are also found in Singapore, the Pattani region of Thailand, and the Cham areas of Vietnam (remnants of the Champa kingdom which covered central and southern Vietnam), Cambodia, and Hainan, China. The territories populated by Austronesian-speaking peoples are known collectively as Austronesia.

The Austronesian inhabitants that spread westward through Maritime Southeast Asia had reached some parts of mainland Southeast Asia, and later on Madagascar. Sailing from Melanesia, and Micronesia, the Austronesian peoples discovered Polynesia by 1000 BC. These people settled most of the Pacific Islands.

Austronesian people
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Indonesia: 237,424,363 (2011)
Philippines: 92,337,852 (2010) [1]
Madagascar: over 20,000,000 (2011) [2]
Malaysia: 14,290,000 (2010) [3]
Papua New Guinea: 6,300,000
East Timor: 947,000 (2004)
New Zealand: 855,000 (2006) [4] [5]
Brunei: 724,000? (2006)
Singapore: over 700,000[1]
Solomon Islands: 478,000 (2005)
Taiwan: 480,000 (2006)
Fiji: 456,000 (2005) [6]
Hawaii: 140,652 or 401,162 (depending on definition) [2]
Suriname: 71,000 (2009)[3]
Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian languagesor Formosan languages)
Islam, Animism, Dynamism, Christianity, Kejawen, Sunda Wiwitan, Hinduism and Buddhism

#goasean #webstagram #instagram #igers #travel #island #turtle #malay #asia m #usa #france #british #uk #africa #brunei #indonesia #thailand #philippines #singapore #asean #hawaii #easterisland #madagascar #malagasy #polynesia #frenchpolynesia #melanesia #austronesia #malaysia #terengganu
(at Perhentian Islands)

Made with Instagram
The Austronesian Expansion- a Reaction to "Paths of Origin"

TL:DR reaction by Dr. Peralta, but really worth the read.

And honestly I agree with him. Read more when you click the link

Ever since Sapir (1968) proposed that the chronology of the distribution of languages can be traced from the area of greatest linguistic variety to that of the least, linguists have accepted this position in using this analysis to determine the origin and direction of movements of people, despite dissenting analysis that a language may appear to be more distantly related than it actually is due to the variability of language contact (Peiros, 1998). Bellwood (1995) contends that the ancestors of the Austronesian speakers spread from Yunnan in the south Chinese mainland and that as early as 6,000 BC a fishing gardening culture existed on the south coast of China, exploiting the waters off the straits of Taiwan, where eventually between 4,000 and 3,000 BC they finally crossed the straits and settled on the island. Linguistic evidence suggest that these people spoke an Austronesian language that is purportedly related to the Tai-Kadai family of languages that is spoken Southeast Asia, specifically in Laos, northeastern Myanmar and Thailand - regions flanking the Mekong River.

At about 2,500 BC one group of these Austronesian speakers sailed south to the northern island of Luzon in the Philippines and settled there, bringing with them the same set of artifacts and subsistence technology from Taiwan. Through to 1,500 BC the group spread through the Philippine archipelago southwards, on to Sulawesi, the Moluccas, northern Borneo and eastern Java. From the Halmahera of the Moluccas one branch proceeded east by 1,600 BC to colonize eastern Melanesia by 1,200 BC. By 0 AD the expansion continued on to Polynesia and to the Easter Islands by 500 AD. Finally the movement culminated by reaching New Zealand about 1,300 AD. Another wave of these Austronesian speakers moved through Borneo, Java, and Sumatra to the coasts of the Malay Peninsula and southern Vietnam by about 500 BC and from there they traversed the Bay of Bengal, through to Sri Lanka and even southern India with its final expansion to Madagascar by 500 AD. 

In effect what Bellwood contends is that all the ascendants of Southeast Asians and the peoples of the Pacific and the Indian Ocean passed through the Philippines in waves of migration from 2,500 BC to 500 AD from Taiwan. Peter Bellwood’s Out-of-Taiwan (OOT) hypothesis is based largely on linguistics, hewing very close to Robert Blust’s model of the history of the Austronesian language family and adding to it archeological data. This model suggests that Between 4500 BCE and 4000 BCE, developments in agricultural technology in the Yunnan Plateau in China created pressures which drove certain peoples to migrate to Taiwan. These people either already had or began to develop a unique language of their own, now referred to as Proto-Austronesian. By around 3000 BCE, these groups started differentiating into three or four distinct subcultures, and by 2500 to 1500 BC, one of these groups began migrating southwards towards the Philippines and Indonesia, reaching as far as Borneo and the Moluccas by 1500 BCE, forming new cultural groupings and developing unique languages. 

By 1500 BC, some of these groups started migrating west, reaching as far as Madagascar around the first millennium CE. Others migrated east, settling as far as Easter Island by the mid-13th century CE, giving the Austronesian language group the distinction of being the most widely distributed language groups in the world at that time, in terms of the geographical span of the homelands of its languages. According to this theory, the peoples of the Philippines are the descendants of those cultures who remained on the Philippine islands when others moved first southwards, then eastward and westward.

Wilhelm Solheim (2000), on the other hand, asserts the “Island Origin” hypothesis (also known as the Nusantao Maritime Trading and Communication west Africa and Madagascar Network (MNTCN), utilizing archaeological data instead of the historical linguistic evidence used by Bellwood, posits a completely different picture and direction. Solheim proposed a more elegant complex network of reciprocal regional cultural interchanges in the Asia-Pacific region during the Neolithic Age from 8,000 to 500 BC, undertaken by both Austronesian and non-Austronesian speakers. With Solheim the spread there were four geographic “lobes”: central, northern, eastern and western. The central lobe ramified into two phases: the “Early Central Lobe” and the “Late Central Lobe”. Solheim poses the origin of the NMTCN in eastern coastal Vietnam in the Early Central lobe at about 9.000 BC. 

The network covers all of the Pacific Ocean, the coastal areas of China Sea and Japan, the coastal areas of the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean as far as Madagascar, and Island Southeast Asia and the coast al areas of Mainland Southeast Asia. Beginning about 5000 BC, it expanded from Easter island Southeast Asia, it expanded to the north through the Philippines to Taiwan and the coastal South China, then north along the coast of China to western and south Korea, and finally to Kyushu in Japan.

At about 5,000 BC, he suggested a northward spread of people toward the Late Central Lobe through island Southeast Asia that included the Philippines. South China and Taiwan, were the staging area of the Austronesian language family and the Malayo Polynesian group. Between 4,000 and 3,000 BC the spread of population through northern Luzon toward Micronesian, then formed the Early Eastern Lobe, developing the Malayo Polynesian languages. The NMTCN continued its cultural expansion through Malaysia before 2,000 BC, along the coast of India to West Africa and Madagascar. There was a further movement east to the Easter Island.

Solheim proposed that “Pre-Austronesian” culture began in the Bismarck Islands off Papua New Guinea about 13,000 to 10,000 BP., with networks established with Indo China and South China, where contact was made with Hoabinhian culture. 

Oxford University School of Anthropology, Dr. Stephen Oppenheimer has his own point of view: those population dispersals came earlier, from within the region and probably resulted from flooding. In his book Eden in the East: The Drowned Continent of Southeast Asia, when he suggested the migrations came from within ISEA and resulted from flooding in the region.

Dr Oppenheimer said: ‘One of my main predictions in the book was that three major floods following the Ice Age forced the inhabitants to escape in boats and flee to less flood-prone regions. By examining mitochondrial DNA from their descendants in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, we now have strong evidence to support the flooding theory and this is possibly why Southeast Asia has a richer store of flood myths, more than any other region in the world.’

Dr Oppenheimer’s book, based on multidisciplinary evidence, writes about the effects of the drowning of a huge ancient continent called ‘Sundaland’ (that extended the Asian landmass as far as Borneo and Java). This happened during the period 15,000 to 7,000 years ago following the last Ice Age. He outlines how rising sea levels in three massive pulses caused flooding and the submergence of the Sunda Continent, creating the Java and South China Seas and the thousands of islands that make up Indonesia and the Philippines today.

Vania Zouravliov / John Dyer Baizley

External image

I am so amazed by Vania Zouravliov’s work, and the level of detail is really inspiring.

Another artist with a similar style is John Dyer Baizley of Baroness. I love the references to folktales, the simple color schemes or stark black-and-white, and the level of detail. It’s so much fun to look at work like this.

External image

Baroness ‘Blue Album’ cover (I admit, I bought the album because the cover was the shit. And the salmon reminded me of Fionn mac Cumhaill and that story about the Salmon of Knowledge.)

It makes me want to draw. And it makes me want to go out hiking and do some cool taotaomo'na shit, or draw chicks with blackened, cross-hatched and decorated teeth, like this:

External image

Tooth etching. I’ve heard of another instance of holes being drilled through the teeth, for instance the incisors would have what are thought to be decorativeholes drilled through them.

External image

Tooth-staining–a practice found in many Austronesian cultures throughout Insular and Mainland Southeast Asia, as well as in the Marianas. Chewing betel nut (pugua in the Marianas) is common as well, though some examples of the dental staining are thought to be different from regular ole’ reddish-brown pugua smile.

And just 'cause I’m a fucking nerd, here’s an article on the ethnobotany of dental staining in SE Asia by Thomas J. Zumbroich

And for shits and giggles, here’s something on Micronesian ethnobotany.


Austronesian Migration (Crossroad and Civilization)

Austronesia, in historical terms, refers to the homeland of the peoples who speak Austronesian languages, including Malay, Filipino, Indonesian, Maori, Malagasy, native Hawaiian, the Fijian language and around a thousand other languages. The Austronesian homeland is thought by linguists to have been prehistoric Taiwan.

The name Austronesia comes from the Latin austrālis “southern” plus the Greek νήσος (nêsos) “island”.