Traces of The History of Blending Austronesian and Melanesian Clusters


Some researchers found evidence that the homeland of the ancient Austronesian nation was on the Asian continent.

INDEPHEDIA.com - Austronesian tribes are various ethnic groups in Asia, Oceania and Africa who use languages ​​from Austronesian families. They include indigenous Taiwanese, most of whose ethnic groups are in the Philippines, Malaysia, East Timor, Indonesia, Brunei, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Madagascar, Micronesia, and Polynesia, and Malay tribes in Singapore, the Polynesians of New Zealand and Hawaii, and non-Papuans in Melanesia.

In addition, Austronesian tribes were also found in the Pattani region in Thailand, the Cham region in Vietnam and Cambodia, and the Hainan region in China, parts of Sri Lanka, southern Myanmar, the southern tip of South Africa, Suriname and a small part of the Andaman Islands. The area occupied by Austronesian language user groups is collectively known as Austronesian.

Most Austronesian people have a similar appearance, such as young to brown skin with straight, curly or wavy hair. If a Javanese language in Suriname is included, the geographical coverage also includes the area. The study also shows the existence of Malay-speaking communities on the coast of Sri Lanka.

Some researchers have found evidence that the homeland of the ancient Austronesian nation was on the Asian continent. (such as Melton et al., 1998), while others followed linguistic research which stated that the Austronesian people had originally settled in Taiwan.

However, some researchers assume, from the point of view of the history of language, Austronesian people originated from Taiwan. Because on this island can be found the deepest division of Austronesian languages ​​from the original Formosan language family. Formosan languages ​​form nine of ten branches in the Austronesian language family.

Austronesian and Melanesian clumps in Indonesia

Classically, Indonesian humans are divided into two groups, namely Austronesian speakers and Papuan speakers. This grouping is based primarily on differences in language and culture in addition to physical features. However, the results of the latest research, mixing culture and genetics among these two speakers since the encounter thousands of years ago.

The Austronesian language family is probably the largest language family in the world, with 1,200 languages ​​and an average of 270 million speakers. Based on a recent study (Tryon, ed. 1994) the Austronesian language family consists of languages ​​that have tens of millions of speakers (Malay / Indonesian, Javanese, and Tagalog) surprisingly, with a large number of languages ​​with only hundreds of speakers.

The language is used almost universally in Indonesia and the Philippines, in Singapore and Malaysia, by indigenous peoples in Taiwan, and small groups of people in Vietnam, Cambodia, and the Mergui Archipelago outside the coast of Burma (currently Myanmar). Farther east, Austronesian languages ​​are used in almost all of the Oceania Islands with the exception of the interior and coastal areas of the Papuan islands (Irian Jaya and Papua New Guinea).

Another view is that the Austronesian family is different from Melanesian people. Not only physical characteristics, Melanesian culture is also typical, such as ikat weaving, architecture, and carving. The term "melanesia" was originally pinned by French explorer Jules Dumont d'Urville (1790-1842) in 1832 to show the human population inhabiting the western tip of the Pacific Ocean. Laterally, this word comes from Greek, Melano-nesos, 'nusa-hitam' or 'black islands', so it is often considered a racial classification.

Initially, Melanesia refers more to the geographical zone. Later often used to call the population. The archipelago group currently coincides with the territories of a number of countries, which then accumulate in the MSG; Indonesia has been a member since mid-2015. Simply stated, the existence of "Melanesia" in Indonesia is in the eastern region.

As Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) called, the Archipelago Islands was divided into geographical boundaries that distinguished flora, fauna and humans. "Malay races inhabit almost all of the western part of the archipelago, while the Papuan race inhabits New Guinea (Papua) and several nearby islands ...," Wallace said in the book The Malay Archipelago (1869).

In addition to the term Malay group, which was considered inappropriate in describing the human population of Indonesia in the west, the term "race" itself was not used later. Italian population geneticist Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza (2000), proves that dividing humans in "race" is a wrong attempt. Biologically, there is only one modern human race, namely Homo sapiens, although then each population develops culture. In fact, different physical characteristics as adaptations to different environments.

Meanwhile, geneticist from the Eijkman Molecular Biology Institute, Herawati Sudoyo, rejected the separation of Indonesia's human population in the east and west. Indonesian human genetics is a mixed product of two or more ancestral populations, although Austronesian genetics presentations are more dominant in the western part of Indonesia, while Papua's genetic presentation is higher in the eastern part of Indonesia.

According to Herawati Sudoyo, genetic studies in five Indonesian provinces that are considered part of Melanesia show there is a mixture of genetics. So, Melanesia is not a single gene entity, so is Austronesian. In fact, in Papua, which has been considered to be an area inhabited by only Papuan speakers, mixing is apparently genetically, especially in coastal areas.

Mentioned, the genetic motives (haplotypes) of P and Q mitochondria and C-M208, C-M38, and M-P14 haplotypes on the Y-chromosome which are markers of Papua's genetic presence are also found in very high percentages on Alor Island.

On the other hand, archaeologists from the National Archaeological Research Center, Harry Truman Simanjuntak, argue that the diversity of Indonesian people is influenced by a different wave of arrivals and travel routes even though their origins remain one, namely out of Africa. When is modern humans (Homo sapiens) out of Africa it is still controversy. There are versions occurring 100,000 years ago, some say 70,000 years ago.

It was these early migrants from Africa who reached the territory of Indonesia around 60,000 years ago. They are distant ancestors of a part of Indonesian society in the east, which is now often called Melanesia. Evidence of the existence of these early modern human migrations can be found in many sites in East Java (Song Terus, Braholo, and Song Kepek), South Sulawesi (Leang Burung and Leang Sekpao), as well as in a number of other parts of the archipelago.

The findings of hand painting in Leang Timpuseng, Maros, 40,000 years old, and the oldest in the world, are also associated with these early migrant groups. At the end of the Ice Age, around 12,000 years ago, according to Truman, a wave of human migration returned to the Archipelago due to climate change. They came from mainland Asia and made diaspora in various directions, including the archipelago.

This group, known as Austromelanesia or Austroasiatik, then developed cave settlements which were previously carried out by the first migrant humans and continued the tradition of hunting and gathering. The next wave of migration to the archipelago was the arrival of the Austronesian population (out of Taiwan) around 4,000 years ago.

From genetic research, it has been shown that there is genetic mixing through the marriage of Austronesian and Papuan speakers since the early phases of their encounter, 4,000 years ago. By analyzing the DNA of 2,740 individuals from 12 islands, six from western Indonesia and the rest from NTT (Sumba, Flores, Lembata, Alor, Pantar, and Timor), Tumonggor (2013) found intensive integration between Austronesian speakers and Papuan speakers.

The trace of intermingling in genetics can also be seen in the product of culture between two speakers. Truman gave an example, the tradition of betraying and cultivating from Austronesians that was entrenched in Papua. In contrast, the architecture of Austronesian speakers' houses in Wae Rebo, Flores, shows the borrowing of Papuan culture.

This integration, said the linguist from the University of Indonesia, Multamia RMT Lauder, was also seen in the use of language. Although broadly speaking there are two language groups in Indonesia, namely Austronesian and Papuan, both of them show that there are borrowing words, especially in eastern Indonesia. In this region, Austronesian speakers borrow non-Austronesian languages. Likewise the opposite. Exchange is mainly related to numbers and counting methods that indicate barter and trade.

From the evidence of genetics, culture, to language, it does show the evolution of archipelagic human integration that has occurred thousands of years ago, and has intensified since the establishment of Indonesia as a sovereign state in 1945. This integration trail should be an important provision for a more equitable Indonesian economic-political development and evenly distributed, from Aceh Province to Papua, Indonesia's easternmost province. (SJ.IN/ENG/**)

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