The First Human Migration to Indonesia


  • Earlier analyses of modern human mitochondrial DNA, which is maternally inherited, had suggested that a single wave of humans took a southern coastal route from Africa to Asia around 65,000 years ago.
  • In 2011 evidence was uncovered in neighbouring East Timor, showing that these early settlers had high-level maritime skills, and by implication the technology needed to make ocean crossings to reach Australia and other islands, as they were catching and consuming large numbers of big deep-sea fish such as tuna
  • Early Indonesians were animists who honoured the spirits of nature as well as the ancestral spirits of the dead, as they believed their souls or life force could still help the living.
  • The reverence for ancestral spirits is still widespread among Indonesian native ethnicities; such as among Nias people, Batak, Dayak, Toraja, and Papuans.

 Paleolithic in Indonesia

  • Homo erectus were known to utilise simple coarse paleolithic stone tools and also shell tools, discovered in Sangiran and Ngandong.

sangiran GATE OF SANGIRAN MUSEUM.jpg Sangiran is an archaeological excavation site in Java

  • Cut mark analysis of Pleistocene mammalian fossils documents 18 cut marks inflicted by tools of thick clamshell flakes on two bovid bones created during butchery at the Pucangan Formation in Sangiran between 1.6 and 1.5 million years ago.
  • These cut marks document the use of the first tools in Sangiran and the oldest evidence of shell tool use in the world.

Neolithic in Indonesia

  • The polished stone tools of neolithic culture, such as polished stone axes and stone hoes, were developed by the Austronesian people in the Indonesian archipelago,  Such as Nias, Toraja, Sasak and Dayak tribe.


The polished stone tools of neolithic

Megalithic in Indonesia

  • Several megalith sites and structures are also found across Indonesia.
  • Menhirs, dolmens, stone tables, ancestral stone statues, and step pyramid structure called Punden Berundak were discovered in various sites in Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi, and the Lesser Sunda Islands.
  • Punden step pyramid and menhir can be found in Pagguyangan Cisolok and Gunung Padang, West Java.

gunung padang

Gunung Padang, Oldest Pyramid, Padang Indonesia, Mount Padang, Java Indonesia

  • Cipari megalith site also in West Java displayed monolith, stone terraces, and sarcophagus.

Cipari megalith

Cipari megalith, Kuningan, West java

  • The Punden step pyramid is believed to be the predecessor and basic design of later Hindu-Buddhist temples structure in Java after the adoption of Hinduism and Buddhism by the native population.
  • The 8th century Borobudur and 15th-century Candi Sukuh featured the step-pyramid structure.
  • Lore Lindu National Park in Central Sulawesi houses ancient megalith relics such as ancestral stone statues.
  • Mostly located in the Bada, Besoa and Napu valleys.

Lore Lindu National Park

Lore Lindu National Park is a protected area of forest on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, in the province of Central Sulawesi.

  • Living megalith cultures can be found on Nias, an isolated island off the western coast of North Sumatra, the Batak people in the interior of North Sumatra, on Sumba island in East Nusa Tenggara and also Toraja people from the interior of South Sulawesi.
  • These megalith cultures remained preserved, isolated and undisturbed well into the late 19th century.

Bronze age in Indonesia

  • Dong Son culture (culture in ancient Vietnam) spread to Indonesia bringing with it techniques of bronze casting, wet-field rice cultivation, ritual buffalo sacrifice, megalithic practises, and ikat weaving methods.
  • Examples are the Batak areas of Sumatra, Toraja in Sulawesi, and several islands in Nusa Tenggara.
  • The artefacts from this period are Nekara bronze drums discovered throughout Indonesian archipelago, and also ceremonial bronze axe.

bronze Nekara atau moko_BaliNekara bronze from Bali


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