Composite hunting technologies from the Terminal Pleistocene and Early Holocene, Niah Cave, Borneo

Huw Barton*, Philip J. Piper, Ryan Rabett, Ian Reeds

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    52 Citations (Scopus)


    Renewed archaeological investigation of the West Mouth of Niah Cave, Borneo has demonstrated that even within lowland equatorial environments depositional conditions do exist where organic remains of late glacial and early post-glacial age can be preserved. Excavations by the Niah Cave Research Project (NCP) (2000-2003) towards the rear of the archaeological reserve produced several bone points and worked stingray spines, which exhibit evidence of hafting mastic and fibrous binding still adhering to their shafts. The position of both gives strong indication of how these cartilaginous points were hafted and gives insight into their potential function. These artefacts were recovered from secure and (14)C dated stratigraphic horizons. The results of this study have implications for our understanding the function of the Terminal Pleistocene and Early Holocene bone tools recovered from other regions of Island Southeast Asia. They demonstrate that by the end the Pleistocene rainforest foragers in Borneo were producing composite technologies that probably included fishing leisters and potentially the bow and arrow. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1708-1714
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009


    • Niah Cave
    • Island southeast Asia
    • Organic technology
    • Stingray spines
    • Hafting residues

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