Tue, Jul 26, 2016 - Page 5 News List

Taiwan a center for Austronesian study, academics argue

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Academics participating in an international seminar in Bali, Indonesia, last week called for Taiwan’s recognition as an important location on Austronesian cultural research, Ministry of Culture representative Chang Shan-nan (張善楠) said.

Chang, who was invited to chair one of the division meetings at the seminar, said that while academics were divided on whether Austronesian culture originated from Taiwan, they agreed that it should be recognized as strategic point for Austronesian research.

Taiwan is thought to be an origin of Austronesian peoples, with some groups migrating south to the Indonesian archipelago, including Sulawesi, and onward to the South Pacific and Indian Ocean, Chang said.

National Museum of Prehistory researcher Chang Chih-shan (張至善) presented his paper on the “Restoration of Barkcloth Manufacturing in Taiwan and Hawaii” at the seminar.

Hung Hsiao-chun (洪曉純) also presented a paper hypothesizing that there was a group living on Taiwan’s southeastern coast who practiced farming that migrated first to the northern Philippines about 4,000 years ago, and then moved on to the Mariana Islands and east Indonesian islands 3,500 years ago.

David Blundell, who teaches at the National Chengchi University, talked about Taiwanese Aboriginal groups and their similarities with other Austronesian groups.

Chang said he suggested to Truman Simanjuntak, the host of the event, that next year’s seminar be held in Taiwan.

The seminar, hosted by the Indonesian National Center for Archeological Research and the Directorate of Cultural Heritage Conservation and Museums, was held on Bali from Monday to Saturday last week.

The seminar sought to explore the changes, dissemination and development of the many communities and cultures sharing Austronesian languages.

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