Cut Not Smashed: A New Type of Evidence for Nut Exploitation from Sulawesi

By Paz, Victor | Antiquity, September 2001 | Go to article overview

Cut Not Smashed: A New Type of Evidence for Nut Exploitation from Sulawesi


Paz, Victor, Antiquity


In archaeology the recovery of `nuts' means the recovery of any hard-shelled fruit or seeds, further qualified as those eaten by people. Recent analysis of environmental samples from Leang Burung-1 in the Maros district of Sulawesi (FIGURE 1) led to the recovery of a charred, almost intact nut, in deposits with an age range of 1430 [+ or -] 600 BC (ANU-390) (Bulbeck 1997; Mulvaney & Soejono 1970).

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The nut has a clear cut mark starting from the tapered end, running along the long axis. The cut was established as an incision and not a taphonomic feature based on observations under light microscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy, where the cut could be seen scraping the outer tissue (FIGURE 2). The cut was probably made before charring, using a sharp tool to cut deep enough for the instrument to pry open one of the locules to get to one of three kernels. Based on the associated materials recovered from the site, the cut probably was made using one of several flaked tool types recovered from the area, such as a levallois point -- part of the Maros region blade assemblage (FIGURE 3).

[ILLUSTRATIONS OMITTED]

Using reference collections and image references, the nut was determined as probably Beilschmiedia sp. This determination is based on a morphological match with an image reference of B. roxburghiana (Menninger 1977: 26) (FIGURE 4). The ethnographic record mentions the exploitation of some species of this genus in Southeast Asia: B. malaccensis for its timber, B. pahangensis and B. tonkinensis for the medicinal properties of their bark (Burkill 1966). In the Sahul region, the nuts of at least two species of this tree -- B. tawa and B. bancroftii -- are consumed after transforming the kernel into flour (Menninger 1977; Kiple & Ornelas 2000). A stronger determination may be possible in the future when a more developed reference collection is available.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Nut shell fragments are ubiquitous in archaeo-botanical assemblages, especially in Island Southeast Asia and Oceania. Often human agency in the deposition of these remains can be seen when the shells are smashed and charred. The nature of the fragmentation can easily be connected to an anthropogenic smashing activity when found in established habitation or camp sites such as Leang Burung-1, Madai in Sabah and Batu Ejaya north of Leang Burung, to name a few in the immediate region.

Determining nut fragments as a by-product of human agency is seldom problematic, especially with ethnographic analogies that show the use of hammers and pestles for cracking nuts. For example, in the archaeology of the nearby Celebes Island of Moratai, in the site of Tanjung Pinang, a stone anvil dating to c. 5000 to 3000 BP was interpreted as a Canarium spp. nut cracker through ethnographic examples (Bellwood et al. 1998). This analogy between current human modification patterns on nut remains and past practices was also the basis for establishing human agency on waterlogged nut fragments from Arawe Island sites in West New Britain (Mathew & Gosden 1997).

The recovery of a nut with a clear cut mark avoids other taphonomic possibilities for the nature of the deposition, and also limits ethnographic analogies. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Cut Not Smashed: A New Type of Evidence for Nut Exploitation from Sulawesi
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.