The Neolithic era in New Guinea started independently from Asia

Findings unearthed in New Guinea oppose the idea that agriculture, which caused cultural changes, was imported from Asia.
The signs of tool making and cultural change in lifestyles, which began to appear with agriculture, first appeared in New Guinea. Findings of symbolic social systems, complex technologies and evidence of mountainous agricultural concentration support the emergence of Neolithic practices nearly 1,000 years before the arrival of Neolithic immigrants from Southeast Asia.

Excavations in a highland area called Waim revealed the remains of a cultural transition to village life 5,050 to 4,200 years ago on the remote island in northern Australia.
Agricultural practices in New Guinea began an estimated 8,000 to 4,000 years ago in the highlands of the island. However, related cultural changes, such as living in villages and making detailed ritual and symbolic objects, were generally assumed to occur only when Lapita farmers from Southeast Asia reached New Guinea about 3,000 years ago.

These cultural changes in Asia and Europe mark the beginning of the Neolithic period. New findings show that the Neolithic period in New Guinea also developed independently without immigration.
Key findings in Waim include a carved human or animal face, possibly symbolic, and two stone pestles bearing traces of potatoes, fruits and nuts.

Other discoveries include a stone cutting or chopping tool, a pigment-stained stone that may have been used to apply coloring to plant fibers, and an iron-rich piece of rock that may have been hit with other stones to create a spark.
Researchers say the rise of farming practices in New Guinea apparently inspired long-distance, maritime trade. Chemical analysis of the obsidian heaps revealed shows that they were imported from an island at least 800 kilometers away.
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