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Neolithic Age

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certainty. It is thought that the Indonesians were expelled from Further India by Austro-Asiatic peoples, amongst who were the Khmer in Cambodia and the Mons in southern Burma.
Neolithic man is generally thought of as barbaric and scarcely civilized. It is hard for modern man to detach himself from h is own world, in which technology has opened tip possibilities for advance hitherto undreamed of, and to appreciate adequately the progress achieved during the Neolithic era.



Those migrants who came to the Archipelago were no longer nomadic. They built rectangular houses supported on piles and developed the planting of rice in artificially irrigated fields. They kept pigs and cattle, but owing to the lack of suitable pastures cattle raising was of insignificant importance over vast stretches of the Archipelago. They made articles of clothing from the bark of certain trees and receptacles from clay. But as there existed many kinds of bamboo, tile canes of which could easily be worked into wooden vessels, pottery was restricted to the so-called coiling technique: the clay was coiled upon itself in concentric rings until the desired shape was obtained. A potter's wheel was not employed in this technique. For the firing of pottery, naturally, only a fairly primitive process was known.
Whether these tribes were versed in the art of weaving cannot easily be ascertained, although this is probable, since ancient receptacles have been found which still bear the imprint of plaited work and woven fabrics. However, it has not yet been possible to date these remains with absolute certainty. Besides the rectangular axes already mentioned, the largest specimens of which were undoubtedly used in agriculture as hoes, one also finds adzes - axes used for the purpose of working wood. This follows from the manner in which these stone implements must have been secured at the haft. These kind of quadrangular axes, which have come down to us in various sizes, testify to the fact that the Indonesian of the Neolithic period must have been fairly skilled in the working of wood, as is shown by the finds of small adzes which can only have been employed fur woodworking of a more delicate kind.
As is only to be expected, objects made of such non-durable material or remains of such objects, have not been preserved. But artistically worked objects in stone- beads and bracelets, evidence of various stages of' technical development - have been found. From this it follows that people who could master technical difficulties in producing magnificent artifacts of this nature were certainly capable of making beautiful objects from wood, which was so much easier to work.
The question arises as to where Neolithic man found the hard types of rock which he required for his implements. Excavations at many sites have brought to light whole collections of stone implements which have only been partly worked. Only through primitive shape had been hewn out; no ground or polished pieces arc to be found, or remains to show that these sites were inhabited. In all probability these are workshops dating from the Neolithic period, since they arc always situated where there arc plentiful supplies of the appropriate kind of stone, silicated limestone. One may presume that the stone implements were only worked upon provisionally here. so as to reduce the weight of this heavy material as much as possible before transport. The grinding and polishing, on the other hand, required much more time, and could be carried out more easily at. the place of destination. AL the same time it should be borne in mind how dangerous it must have been for these men to stay away from their homes for along period of time.

 
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