Sahul.

The same editing job that led me to complain about the hominid/hominin confusion brings us another such: the prehistoric continent now known, to some at least, as Sahul. To quote the Wikipedia article:

Archaeological terminology for this region has changed repeatedly. Before the 1970s, the single Pleistocene landmass was called Australasia, derived from the Latin australis, meaning “southern”, although this word is most often used for a wider region that includes lands like New Zealand that are not on the same continental shelf. In the early 1970s, the term Greater Australia was introduced for the Pleistocene continent. Then at a 1975 conference and consequent publication, the name Sahul was extended from its previous use for just the Sahul Shelf to cover the continent.

In 1984 W. Filewood suggested the name Meganesia, meaning “great island” or “great island-group”, for both the Pleistocene continent and the present-day lands, and this name has been widely accepted by biologists. Others have used Meganesia with different meanings: travel writer Paul Theroux included New Zealand in his definition and others have used it for Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii. Another biologist, Richard Dawkins, coined the name Australinea in 2004. Australia-New Guinea has also been used.

What a mess! I swear, scientists enjoy sowing confusion.

By the way, does anybody know anything about the etymology of Sahul? Wikipedia says merely “The name ‘Sahull’ or ‘Sahoel’ appeared on 17th century Dutch maps applied to a submerged sandbank between Australia and Timor,” and maybe that’s as much as can be known, but I can’t help but be curious.

Comments

  1. I remember the news in 2017 when another bunch of scientists decided to sow just as much confusion by announcing that Zealandia (next door to Sahul) had every right to be counted as a continent. Just like any other continent apart from being almost entirely under ocean.

    Why should a bit of sea level rise matter when we can just redefine ‘continent’?

  2. We should stick it to Japanese and call it Austraria.

  3. Bathrobe says:

    Austraria (Ōsutoraria) refers only to ‘Australia’.

  4. That’s what I expected. My proposal will put Japanese in ultimate confusion.

  5. What about Arabic “sāḥil”, meaning coast or shore? Lots of Arab traders in that area back in the day / Arabic terms in Malay. It would be very interesting if Australia and the Sahara were described by the same word (the Sahel)

    https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D8%B3%D8%A7%D8%AD%D9%84

  6. SFReader says:

    so Sahul and Swahili have same etymology?

  7. What about Arabic “sāḥil”, meaning coast or shore?

    “Sahel” from the same root, referring to the ‘shore’ of the Sahara desert(?)

    … same etymology Yes, says wp on ‘Sahel’. But careful! Proto-Basque is from Saharan/South East Nigeria or something.

  8. Another biologist, Richard Dawkins, coined the name Australinea in 2004.

    If that’s a combination of Australia and New Guinea, then it would be pronounced like… “Australinny”? That’s gonna be a yikes from me, dawg.

  9. David Marjanović says:

    Dawkins isn’t good at this. Exhibit A: theorum “large, robust scientific theory”.

  10. SFReader says:

    travel writer Paul Theroux included New Zealand in his definition

    Most ridiculous suggestion ever.

    How can New Zealand be part of greater Australia if they don’t even have kangaroos?

    New Guinea has them, by the way.

  11. Dawkins isn’t good at this.

    I’d say meme was a success (despite being limited in too many people’s usage to photos with text superimposed).

  12. if they don’t even have kangaroos?

    They successfully introduced possums, though.

  13. January First-of-May says:

    despite being limited in too many people’s usage to photos with text superimposed

    I sadly don’t recall when or where I originally pointed out that at least meme is a better term for such photos than demotivator.

  14. @Kieth Ivey: I have tried to convince my teenaged daughter that meme means more than just a “captioned picture you can download from the Internet,” but she refuses to believe me.

  15. Michael Eochaidh says:

    Shouldn’t that be Proto-Saharan-Basque?

    Anyway, it’s nice to see a crank in a less popular field like entomology (and one with a UW-Madison connection, which makes me nostalgic even if he got his doctorate before I was born).

  16. John Cowan says:
  17. they don’t even have kangaroos

    Actually there’s a community of Wallabies around Waimate in the South Island.

    They successfully introduced possums

    Wrong adverb: that should be ‘disastrously’. Possums are now a species in decline in Australia. You can have all ours back, please!

    incredibly rude hear! hear!

  18. Hawaii has at least one very elusive wallaby who was captured on film recently by news media, but is still on the loose, so we’re on our way to biotic Meganesia, despite our complete lack of other marsupials. No possums yet. Like NZ, we do have some megaflora and flightless birds, and lack the snakes and crocodiles of Australia and New Guinea. Idiots have brought in snakes, but so far no breeding pairs, AFAIK.

  19. Proto-Basque is from Saharan/South East Nigeria or something

    Am I reading this right? Someone who’s not Edo Nyland and is regardless taking his work seriously? I feel just buying into the Basque cipher theory has to net an additional 100 mNy right away.

  20. Someone who’s not Edo Nyland and is regardless taking his work seriously?

    At least two people, neither of them linguistically trained AFAICT, although one (now dead) was a published author, and held cultural positions at the U.N.

    I don’t know if U Cal at R is aware it’s hosting such nonsense; or what it has to do with a Professor of Biological Control.

  21. john welch says:

    Mahendra Gondwana , “eastern forests”, is the island off to the right from the south pole. This is correct because my locality is Nganywana ” all our forest” in the patch of Australia having trees. Wanaruah “hills and plains” is nearby and also has forest . These names have been used for 800 years . “Australia” really means Antarctica.

  22. John Cowan says:

    There are more tigers in Texas than in India.

  23. john welch says:

    The sensible etymology for Sahul is IE sā́u̯el-, sāu̯ol-, suu̯él-, su̯el-, sūl- “the sun” , PIE sehuel. As Australia is legally a Dutch possession the name now is Neergaand Bewusteloos.

  24. David Marjanović says:

    Submerged unconscious?

    Dreamtime?

  25. john welch says:

    Yes , and Down Under the sun. Sanskrit ravi “sun god” is from PII hraja, PIE hrego “reign” in straight lines. Egypt’s Ra sun-god may be IE and Akhenaten’s sun had straight lines with a hand on the end holding an ankh and pointing to text. Malay raja is ” writing, diagram” which is the original. Old Java raken ( ra.aka) is “chief” and may be Aboriginal Raukkan , a ruling council. Nothing new , they say.

  26. David Marjanović says:

    …Oh, are you serious? I thought you were making an obvious joke?

  27. I assume he’s joking, but it is very deadpan.

  28. David Eddyshaw says:

    There are more tigers in Texas than in India.

    I am given to understand that the entire point about Texas is that there is more of anything in Texas than anywhere else (I believe they are now going for more liberals, even.)

  29. john welch says:

    Old Java rawi “sun-god” is Skt ravi.
    ra : before nouns of category of persons of certain rank.
    Raukkan
    “An inscription from 13th century Hindu Sumatra in Old Malay and Tamil mentions an official, senapati rakan Dipangka. ( naval commander). In later times , rukun meaning “harmony” became a Malay / Javanese ideal for government. Indonesian rekan/ Malay rakan means “associate, companion”. ” Malaysian Public schools recite the Rukun “harmony” pledge weekly after the singing of the Malaysian national anthem, Negaraku. The Rukun Negara “principles of nation” is in exercise books used by Malaysian public school students” .
    Arabic ra-iyya “subjects” seems only an influence on Old Java raken “chief”.
    A skull with sword-cut from central Australia is dated 1200s and they had no metals.
    There is 1 famous false cognate, Aboriginal: English, in Aust , dog:dog. But Raukkan is with 4 other cognate terms for governing, Aboriginal: Old Java , and another OJ cognate term in the adjoining language.
    6/6.

  30. David Marjanović says:

    So you’re serious. And you seriously believe you can’t find a common sequence of just two common sounds in more than two words with vaguely resemblant meanings by chance?

    Do you have a source for that skull with a sword cut? I’ve never heard of it, and there’s probably a reason for that.

  31. john welch says:

    The 1 Australian false cognate is famous, “one in a million”. RW Dixon.
    Essential Chomsky – Page 430 – Chomsky, ‎Noam.
    “.a more recent example, in R. W. Dixon, Linguistic Science and Logic”.. (for Dixon’s reputation on a different topic).
    You feel “chief of group” and “ruling council” are vaguely resemblant? There is mukuta “head” and mukarta “head”. Tendi “person’s self” and tendi “person”. 300 Indonesian loans are known in north Australia.
    https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/antiquity/article/death-of-kaakutja-a-case-of-perimortem-weapon-trauma-in-an-aboriginal-man-from-northwestern-new-south-wales-australia/3E957293B27AB3CD1A30FA7F3DB2BC80
    Kaakutja, Perhaps the First Known Boomerang Victim – The New York …
    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/18/science/first-boomerang-victim-australia.html
    Oct 17, 2016 – They named him Kaakutja, after the Baakantji word for “older brother,” . was crying out for help. Its mouth was wide open.. (Old Java kaka “elder brother” . ujar “speech”.)
    The text says an African Samburu sword is the closest weapon tested compared with the trauma. My Synbone test and that author’s test on pig-skull confirms steel not wood.

  32. One in a million for being exactly [dɒg] ‘dog’ in both. Once you start allowing seemingly minor differences like /-uk-/ ~ /-aʈ-/ or ‘person’ ~ ‘self’, finding false cognates for any one word is more like one in a thousand; finding a few false cognates across a language’s entire vocabulary, pretty much guaranteed.

    300 comparisons would sound much more impressive, though I’d still default toward skepticism (including the dating and routing of any that hold up etymologically).

  33. A skull with sword-cut from central Australia is dated 1200s and they had no metals.

    The link you gave says in its abstract

    ” Analysis indicates that the wooden weapons known as ‘Lil-lils’ and the fighting boomerangs (‘Wonna’) both have blades that could fit within the dimensions of the major trauma and are capable of having caused the fatal wounds.”

    Are your alleged 300 cognates going to exhibit a similar lack of scholarship? We have already done this masses-of-cognates thing thoroughly to death in another place, in three rounds. I’ve no appetite for another round.

  34. john welch says:

    /-uk-/ ~ /-aʈ-/ is actually /-ut-/ ~ /- aʈ -/
    After 600 years and non-written memory expressed in English the “self” is a refined difference. Comments on some-one’s “personality” don’t usually include a gloss on medieval philosophy and psychology.
    The lost ‘Macassar language’ of northern Australia – ResearchGate
    https://www.researchgate.net/…/323522147_The_lost_’Macassar_language’_of_northern…
    Oct 7, 2018 – By example, the use of the Macassan loan word ŗuppiya, derived from the Malay term rupiah, (‘money’) still used in reference to present day Australian …

    The only “capability” evidenced is the length of wooden blades. A wooden ruler is that long but won’t cut your bread .The shape of wooden blades is mentioned , like a “sabre”.
    As a UK forensic anthropologist , endorsed by Aust Fed Forensics , commented : why use metal weapons if wood can slice bone? A pre-school child may believe that a wood sword can cut your head off….ANU Canberra says that “unfortunately” the boomerang didn’t cause trauma. The author Xrayed the skull and then blamed the pig.

  35. John Cowan says:

    The Zompist’s satire on Greenberg and Ruhlen, doing mass comparison between Quechua and Chinese and finding quite a list of resemblant forms.

  36. David Eddyshaw says:

    Favourite quote therefrom:

    This seems to be hard for some people to accept. Just look at ren and runa, or gaijin and goyim, they seem to think– how could that possibly be due to chance?
    These people should be treated with respect. They are the people who made Las Vegas what it is today.

  37. David Marjanović says:

    Old Java kaka “elder brother”

    Turkmen kaka “dad”. I forgot where kaka “uncle”. Generic Romance caca “doodoo”, northern German Kacke “crap”.

    Do not try to trace language relationships with mama-papa words.

  38. @John Welch, your post of March 19 at 6:33 pm has lately appeared. I guess it was released from durance vile. You’ve also made several posts on other threads in the same ‘style’. (If that’s the right term.)

    I don’t get what you’re trying to do. For me, chiefly you are failing to communicate. There is no need to be so telegraphic. Posts here can be quite long (just look around!). And if you have several things to say that are only loosely connected, by all means post several comments.

    Your syntax reminds me of a few things:

    – a correspondent on another (deeply technical) blog I participate in. I’m perfectly capable of being deeply technical myself; but only in English. For them, clearly English is not their first language, and most of what they write seems to be calqued from Flemish. (I’m sure their English for day-to-day purposes is perfectly understandable.)

    – the idiosyncratic shorthand of Edo Nyland. His texts seem to be written in the sort of interior monologue/nerdspeak of somebody who is so absorbed in a line of enquiry, he’s entirely failed to notice how far contra to common sense his claims have become.

    – the self-reinforcing ‘in’ language of certain social media-based countercultures. Oblique, ironic-but-not-really-wink-wink; we all know what we really mean, so we don’t need to spell it out. The current POTUS seems to excel at it.

    To the extent that I understand you (not much), you seem to be making extraordinary claims. They need extraordinary evidence. Linking to an article that directly contradicts one of your claims is all very well in the interests of balance/fairness. Except you’ve failed to link to anything that ‘lands’ your claim in the first place. Repeated asseveration is not evidence.

  39. The only “capability” evidenced is the length of wooden blades. A wooden ruler is that long but won’t cut your bread .The shape of wooden blades is mentioned , like a “sabre”.

    As a UK forensic anthropologist , endorsed by Aust Fed Forensics , commented : why use metal weapons if wood can slice bone? A pre-school child may believe that a wood sword can cut your head off….ANU Canberra says that “unfortunately” the boomerang didn’t cause trauma. The author Xrayed the skull and then blamed the pig.

    I see no references here. There’s a few quote-marks, but no actual quotes in context.

    This skeleton appears to have suffered blunt-force trauma to the skull, ribs, arm. None of them fleshy parts of the body, so not needing slicing-through as of bread. (But anyway neolithic cultures were perfectly capable of butchering their meat without using metal blades.)

    AFAICT nobody is claiming a wooden weapon “slice[d] bone”, nor cut heads off. Breaking ribs is not ‘slicing’.

    ” the largest [boomerangs are] over 180 cm (5.9 ft) in length.” (wikipedia, with photos) “Some boomerangs were not thrown at all, but were used in hand to hand combat by Indigenous Australians.” The ‘lil-lil’s do indeed look like fearsome “battle-axes”, as the NYT article puts it.

    For a comparison I’m aware of: the Maori pre-European contact had no metals. They had frequent inter-tribal conflicts, which included cutting heads off: exhibiting the shrunken head of an opponent, with its distinct moku (facial tattoos), was a mark of the mana (respect) due to a warrior. Maori have a terrifying array of wooden traditional weapons.

  40. john welch says:

    AntC
    My comments are replying to the immediately preceding posts. I will try to be more elaborate , but which “an article” that “one of your claims” are you trying to name?
    If it’s the boomerang , then the evidence within ‘Antiquity’ text is only for steel . There is no example of wood . Medical research can be illegal if such contrary conclusions are published . The elder W Bates in the TV doco stated that they had no weapons that could do that. I wrote to Dept Health suggesting wooden chisels for bone surgery be approved but they said wood wouldn’t, would it. Do you want such comments ad nauseam? (Surgery lecturer , our butcher , the forensics from Richard III skull , ice hockey puck in cortex .)

    I submit that “Macassan loan word ŗuppiya, derived from the Malay term rupiah,” has as much variation as /-ut-/ ~ /- aʈ -/. ( Another linguist complained because some cognates were too similar …)

    .”Each territorial clan was administered by a group of ten to twelve men or elders, referred to as the Tendi. The Tendi from each clan collectively elected.. ” .
    https://ipfs.io/ipfs/QmXoypizjW3WknFiJnKLwHCnL72vedxjQkDDP1mXWo6uco/wiki/Ngarrindjeri.html

    I was reading that as tendi “man” but evidently it means the electoral body Tendi . In that case, the shift from tendi “person’s self. personal destiny” in Sumatra Indonesia to “electoral college” may accord with the shift from Javanese rakan chief to Raukkan council. Metonymy , my new word for the day.

    “.in the upper world is a mighty tree.. All the possible different fates of the person are entered on the leaves…Every tendi that wishes to descend to the middle world must first ask for one of the leaves .. Whatever is written on the leaf chosen by him will be his destiny in the middle world. the tendi is not tied to the body; it can also live for a time outside the body.” Batak wikipedia.
    This has aspects of elections with destiny and choice , for elector and elected .

  41. john welch says:

    “Roots of molars on upper and lower jaw were exposed where alveolar bone was “shaved off” . . A circular segment of cortical bone was removed on the shoulder “with clearly defined sharp edges” measuring 14mm diameter . “Trauma on Kaakutja was very different to any previously described in the Australian archaeological record .. ..of the weapons tested , by Lewis 2008, the frontal wound in Kaakutja most closely resembles that by an African Samburu sword ..”
    ‘Antiquity’ (Westaway 2016) .
    “The wound to Kaakutja’s face and the slice off the humeral head are consistent with a very sharp blade – even a very hard wood could not be sharpened to this extent. . the strikes to the face and shoulder would have resulted in fractures and not the fine slices into bone seen here.” ( Smith, Martin 2017).with permission, unpublished.
    Principal Academic in Forensic & Biological Anthropology , Bournemouth Uni UK

    “Now I see the full significance of your conclusion ! Martin Smith is a well-known expert so a good endorsement.” ( Robertson 2016). with permission.
    James Robertson is currently the Vice President of the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society and President of the Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences and chairs the Advisory Forum to the National Institute of Forensic Sciences (NIFS) and Standards Australia Forensic Committee.

    No the article doesn’t say “slicing” because that suggests something . NY Times says the skull has “a gash” which applies to flesh or hill-side and not to bone or rock. Skull cortex is about 9mm thick and the skull-cut is flat about 4mm deep and 20x40mm across. Is that a “slice” in your opinion ? The bread cutting comment meant that wood won’t slice flesh or bone. Surgical chisels are 2mm thick to avoid random bone-cracking in surgery (Braun Surgical). Boomerang blades are 5-10mm thick at 10mm back from edge and bi-convex profile ( bullet nose shape). That’s because wood is made from wood and not from metal. The contact edge is almost a right angle and the Kaakutja strike was angled obliquely , increasing the blunt effect . So my boomerang just bounced off pig-skull and it took 6 strikes straight down to make a 10mm long shallow groove. Flints of course can cut through bone over time but this trauma was a single strike , about 150mm long .

    Ice hockey pucks can be about twice the velocity of standing sword-blow and are similar weight , hardness and edge to boomerang blades. They don’t cut smoothly like Kaakutja skull.
    https://i.pinimg.com/originals/61/04/2f/61042f460f0994fd41144e7797c51d2b.jpg

  42. john welch says:

    The ‘lil-lil’s do indeed look like fearsome “battle-axes”, as the NYT article puts it.

    William L. Shirer’s book, Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941, in which he recorded the following entry for 27 November 1940:

    X.. says the British intelligence in Holland is working fine. Both sides in this war have built a number of dummy airdromes and strewn them with wooden planes. X says the Germans recently completed a very large one near Amsterdam. They lined up more than a hundred dummy planes made of wood on the field and waited for the British to come over and bomb them. Next morning the British did come. They let loose with a lot of bombs. The bombs were made of wood.

  43. David Marjanović says:

    Wikipedia: Makassan contact with Australia “began […] sometime around the middle of the 1700s, first in the Kimberley region, and some decades later in Arnhem Land”.

    My comments are replying to the immediately preceding posts.

    That’s a dangerous assumption – it often happens that one person posts while another is writing.

    Anyway, are you aware that the link to that paper on ResearchGate you posted didn’t get through because you copied & pasted a masqued version with “…” in it?

    I wrote to Dept Health suggesting wooden chisels for bone surgery be approved but they said wood wouldn’t, would it. Do you want such comments ad nauseam?

    You know as well as anyone that hitting someone with a big, heavy, sharp piece of wood will do a lot of damage. What is your point? The limits on your imagination?

    A circular segment of cortical bone was removed on the shoulder “with clearly defined sharp edges” measuring 14mm diameter .

    Yep, that sounds like it can’t be done with wood. It sounds like surgery, which can be and has been done with flintstone.

    NY Times says the skull has “a gash” which applies to flesh or hill-side and not to bone or rock.

    …Of course it does…?!?

    the skull-cut is flat about 4mm deep and 20x40mm across.

    It’s 2 cm wide, and you call it a “cut” and talk about a steel blade? Am I understanding this correctly?

  44. It’s a waste of time arguing with people like that. I mean, go ahead if it gives you pleasure, this is Liberty Hall, but I don’t see the point. (I swear I thought he was kidding…)

  45. john welch says:

    >Anyway, are you aware that the link to that paper on ResearchGate you posted didn’t get through because you copied & pasted a masqued version with “…” in it?
    Yes, and as AntC noted my post was with-held for approval so I couldn’t edit that . But SD edited my typo.

    >You know as well as anyone that hitting someone with a big, heavy, sharp piece of wood will do a lot of damage. What is your point? The limits on your imagination?
    A bi-convex 5mm thick wooden chisel won’t slice bone cleanly. ask my butcher. or the author with pig-skull.

    (A circular segment of cortical bone was removed on the shoulder “with clearly defined sharp edges” measuring 14mm diameter) .

    >Yep, that sounds like it can’t be done with wood. It sounds like surgery, which can be and has been done with flintstone.
    It is described as part of the battle trauma which included a similar slice on chin. A flint was used in battle ?

    (NY Times says the skull has “a gash” which applies to flesh or hill-side and not to bone or rock).

    >…Of course it does…?!?
    Bone has fractures of excision or depressed comminution. It’s brittle , particularly under sudden force and can’t gash like softer matter . It’s like saying a car “squeezes” in accidents rather than “crumples”.

    (the skull-cut is flat about 4mm deep and 20x40mm across).

    >It’s 2 cm wide, and you call it a “cut” and talk about a steel blade? Am I understanding this correctly?

    Yes indeed , the author says that. You think wood cuts the same 2cm width ?
    Catalyst: Toorale Man murder mystery – ABC TV Science
    https://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/4211835.htm
    Apr 7, 2015 – …. on Toorale Man appear similar to those on gladiators in Imperial Rome.
    NARRATION
    The injuries are puzzling, as if by a weapon of steel, not stone or wood.

  46. john welch says:

    By the way, the main argument is that Australia didn’t have steel in 1200s so the weapon that seemed to be a British sword must have been wooden . That shows it was made of wood. Thus Australia didn’t have steel swords. So it could only be wood.
    He’s PhD.

  47. the main argument is that Australia didn’t have steel in 1200s

    Didn’t have steel (or bronze or copper or any metal) anything, until European times.

    Have archaeologists found any metals or artefacts from metal-using cultures at that far back in time?

    Why is it so hard for you to see that neolithic cultures are plenty sophisticated enough to make effective weapons out of whatever’s to hand?

    A flint was used in battle ?

    As soon as the victim is unconscious from blunt object trauma to the skull, yes someone might use flints on the body, as David M said. Was it a battle? Are there any other bodies? The NYT article said it looked like a surprise attack/ambush on an individual.

    I also saw other articles saying aborigines used spears with flint/stone tips.

    Let me give you another comparison from NZ historiography. In the C19th there was a theory that NZ had been visited by Europeans prior to the Polynesians. And that explains why Maori are lighter-skinned than Polynesians from nearer the equator. Again this was European imperialists supposing that Polynesians couldn’t have been sophisticated enough to sail to somewhere so remote.

    Do we need to wait for DNA evidence before rejecting the theory of ‘Viking settlement of NZ’? No: there is not a skerrick of archaeological evidence of Viking visitors — either in NZ or Aus or anywhere en route from Scandinavia. Contrast there is evidence of Vikings in Newfoundland.

    Not a skerrick? Oh, they built a wall deep in the middle of the North Island Kaimanawa Wall. If they brought masons that far, why didn’t they think to build a few shelters somewhere on the coast, like L’Anse aux Meadows? There’s plenty of settlements on the coast been discovered by archaeologists: they’re all distinctively Polynesian.

    The dark reaches of the internet are full of people making these claims belittling neolithic cultures: aliens must have built Gobekli Tepe or The Pyramids or the Aztec complexes; must have helped them with the astronomy to align the Pyramids to the belt of Orion, etc, etc. Von Daniken with his Chariots of the Gods nonsense.

    No: the Polynesians had a sophisticated understanding of the night sky; and of weather and wave patterns around island groups in the ocean. The aborigines have been in Australia an almost unimaginably long time before the flowering of Fertile Crescent and then European culture. Of course these peoples adapted to their environment; and developed weapons/tools as hard as steel.

  48. It’s a waste of time arguing with people like that. I mean, go ahead if it gives you pleasure, …

    No not pleasure. I’m in Christchurch. As I go through the stages of grieving, I’m feeling a visceral need to vent at white supremacist Australians.

    BTW my last response (an hour or so ago) seems to have disappeared. Must have been the links to crackpot theories with no support from archaeology.

  49. john welch says:

    >Have archaeologists found any metals or artefacts from metal-using cultures at that far back in time?
    Rock art in Victoria may be evidence. The L’Anse aux Meadows evidence needed texts and radar to detect buried stones and soil-colours. Australia is a bit larger in area..I’m not mentioning white races , why are you? The Macassan contact is not an Indigenous put-down , it’s academic linguistics , supported by Yolngu and others who have Macassan relatives.

    >Why is it so hard for you to see that neolithic cultures are plenty sophisticated enough to make effective weapons out of whatever’s to hand?

    Where did I say they’re not able , when talking about blades ? However the science is against wood excising bone. It’s not racism, my skull is as hard as yours and my Aboriginal grand-daughter’s ( when adult ). Her Bundjalung father supports this stuff , their elders have the 3 Brothers Legend of a boat arriving and say it was recent history.

    >As soon as the victim is unconscious from blunt object trauma to the skull, yes someone might use flints on the body, as David M said.

    Yes but the reality is absurd . The excision on the right frontal was from no blunt object.
    Come on, AntC – a deep cut into the bone touching the eye-ball ? Why? Why shave off his eye-brow bone with flint ? The trauma was all peri-mortem and unhealed .

    > Of course these peoples adapted to their environment; and developed weapons/tools as hard as steel.
    The Iron Age and China’s steel industry is a waste of space? Wood=iron. The skull-cut was 150mm long and needed a 2mm thick blade for the “fine slices” , quoting UK forensic academic.

  50. David Marjanović says:

    Yolngu and others who have Macassan relatives

    Loanwords, not relatives.

    More later.

    He’s PhD.

    So what, so am I…

  51. john welch says:

    No a PhD would check.
    Macassan History in Arnhem Land – ABC Darwin – Australian …
    http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2009/07/21/2632428.htm
    Jul 29, 2009 – After learning of her connections with the Macassans, Burarrwanga decided to study her family history, and eventually took a group of people to …

  52. From the ABC article:

    “The words are just part of the Indonesian culture that has infiltrated areas of North Australia during hundreds of years of trade between the Macassans (from Sulawesi) and many Indigenous clans.”

    ‘Hundreds of years of trade’ correlates with the wikipedia link David M gave: ” began visiting the coast of northern Australia sometime around the middle of the 1700s”.

    3 Brothers Legend of a boat arriving and say it was recent history.

    ‘recent’ means later than 1700s? No earlier than 1700s? Later than dreamtime?

    The loanwords include ” ‘Rupiah’, the Indonesian word for money.”, again from the ABC article. Well d’uh, if you’re visiting to collect trepang (possibly for the Chinese market), you’re going to buy stuff off the locals — with money.

    Nobody’s denying the Macassan contact. Nobody’s denying the contact yielded loanwords. There are people here better qualified than me to comment on the likelihood of a mass of 300 cognates.

    None of it gets us anywhere near back to the C13th archaeological dating of the skeleton.

    On that skeleton’s wounds: yes they might be consistent with blows/cuts from metal tools/weapons — that is if a C20th forensic pathologist were looking at them with no knowledge of the date. The question is: are they also consistent with blows from sharp-edged wooden weapons and flints, as typically wielded by Aboriginals? I put it to you that a UK-based forensic pathologist (with PhD or not) would have not a clue. Such alleged evidence is worthless.

    It needs comment from an archaeological pathologist with specific knowledge of the effects of neolithic weaponry. And that seems to be coming from the ‘antiquity’ article (by a paleoanthropologist) from which I quoted part of the abstract, and the NYT article presumably based on it (which also appeared in National Geographic). I also found a more sober summary at phys.org ‘Head wound suggests ancient Aborigine was killed by a boomerang’.

    However the science is against wood excising bone.

    Is any scientist claiming that wood excised bone? I see only claims that wood caused blunt-force trauma. The excising could have been done perimortem with flints, with the victim unconscious or dead. That’s what the Maori did.

    Why is it so important to you to persist in such extraordinary claims? Do you for some reason want to deny the possibility of Aboriginal-on-Aboriginal violence? In C13th?

    Again, nobody is denying the European-on-Aboriginal violence, which was heinous and shameful. And using metal weapons (but mostly muskets). It was way later.

  53. The British forensic anthropologist he quoted, Martin Smith, while sympathetic to Welch’s cause, said explicitly that “I have never actually seen a Lil-Lil or a Wonn”. Regarding the tests applying wooden weapons to a pig skull, he also wrote, “it would be relatively simple to test this experimentally – pig skulls are out of the question as they are too dissimilar to human crania – but animal long bones (pig, sheep etc.) should work fine.” No such tests are mentioned by Welch or anyone else.

    Martin Smith is an expert on the bioarchaeology of violence, exactly the subject matter at hand. He co-edited The Routledge Handbook of the Bioarchaeology of Human Conflict. His credentials aside, there’s no other evidence of metal production or use in Australia before the 18th century, certainly not 500 years earlier.

  54. SFReader says:

    13th century expedition in Australia?

    Could be remnants of Kublai Khan’s fleet sent to conquer Java…

  55. john welch says:

    Y
    Synbone make rubber- covered forensic skulls to replicate living human skull better than dead sheep bones. Machete of .6kg at 53kph by radar speed gun made a triangular radial fracture of similar size to Kaakutja. Sharp mulga boomerang .5kg , same momentum, bounced with small bruise mark. Australian housewives and male roast-beef carvers are advised to go steel , not wood. Mulga is for fire-wood and not for butchers’ bone cleavers.

  56. David Marjanović says:

    If the argument is “wood can’t do it, so it must be steel”, doesn’t that overlook a whole list of other options?

    Is there anything known from Australia that would resemble an Aztec sword – you know, a wooden paddle with little flint blades along the edges?

  57. Could be remnants of Kublai Khan’s fleet sent to conquer Java…

    Riding the sea-horses, you mean?

    That would fit with our false-cognative’s seeming preference for Chinese steel.

    The archaeology gives a date too early for Admiral Zheng He. But did he have precursors? (I haven’t read Gavin Menzies.)

    Minoans from Atlantis?

  58. John Cowan says:

    But did he have precursors?

    Not really. The Yuan (Mongol) dynasty attempted several times to project naval power outside China (Vietnam, Japan twice, Java): all were failures. They had finally defeated the Song dynasty in a battle from ships, but no cannon were used, so the fighters were all soldiers and the ships used only as a platform. The Song even bound their ships together so that none would be able to flee. The seven “treasure fleets” (of which Zheng He commanded the first six) were the next attempt, made by the Ming. They were very successful in a diplomatic sense, and the Ming became the predominant naval power of their era, but the state-supported efforts cleared the way for nimbler private Chinese entrepreneurs. Since then, Chinese navies have fought foreign powers only in coastal or trans-coastal waters.

  59. John Cowan says:

    Is there anything known from Australia that would resemble an Aztec sword

    I doubt it. Flint is extremely rare in Australia, and essentially unknown outside South Australia. There are competent Aboriginal flint knappers now, but they got their flints from the ballast used in British ships.

  60. Traditional Aztec macuahuitl were supposedly lined with obsidian, rather than flint, since the volcanic glass was common in the Mexican highlands. However, I was surprised to learn that there are actually no documented surviving examples of macuahuitl still in existence, and they are known solely from accounts and drawings.

  61. January First-of-May says:

    However, I was surprised to learn that there are actually no documented surviving examples of macuahuitl still in existence, and they are known solely from accounts and drawings.

    Supposedly the last known example, stored in a museum in Madrid, was destroyed in the 1751 earthquake.

  62. john welch says:

    The frontal , eye orbital bone and molar trauma line up as 1 strike. That means a flint axe would be 150mm at least and examples of the mass required for sustaining the tool under shock can be seen on the net. The weight would crush bone and the thickness won’t allow the shape and facial geometry of Kaakutja’s fractures. Again the butcher won’t buy one.

    Bas reliefs on Javanese temples dating back to the Mataram Kingdom , 8-11th cent. depict, swords, sabre, .The bas-relief of Prambanan temple a number of images, including a battle featuring weapons like a gada (mace), and images of a Borobudur ship, a type of ship probably possessed by the Sailendra and Srivijaya armada.
    Major Indonesian empires such as Srivijaya and Majapahit were known to launch naval raids against neighbouring kingdoms.. some kingdoms developed navies and even armadas.

    Srivijaya in the 7th century. . The Telaga Batu inscription mentions military titles; , puhāvam (ship captain) The Kota Kapur inscription mentions a Srivijayan naval expedition against Bhumi Java, and is dated to a period coinciding with the fall of the Tarumanagara and Kalingga kingdoms in Java.

    From the 7th to 9th century, Srivijaya launched various naval raids against Cham ports in Indochina. The Srivijayans continued to dominate areas around present-day Cambodia.

    The 10th century Arab account Ajayeb al-Hind (Marvels of India) gives an account of invasion in Africa, probably by Malay people of Srivijaya, in 945-946 CE. They arrived in the coast of Tanganyika and Mozambique with 1000 boats In 990 AD, King Dharmawangsa of Medang launched a naval invasion against Srivijaya,

    In 1025 Rajendra Chola, the Chola king from Coromandel in South India, launched naval raids on ports of Srivijaya.

    After defeating Srivijaya’s successor, the Dharmasraya kingdom, in Sumatra on 1275, the kingdom of Singhasari in Java became the most powerful kingdom in the region. King Kertanegara launched the Pamalayu expedition against Sumatran states and conquered them. wikipedia Indonesia military

  63. john welch says:
  64. john welch says:

    terra incognito cognate .
    Asian Roots of the Malagasy: A Linguistic Perspective – Jstor
    https://www.jstor.org/stable/27864676
    by A ADELAAR – ‎1995 – ‎
    The idea that Malagasy is related to the languages of insular Southeast Asia is … can be traced back to 1603, when Frederick de. Houtman published his Spraeck ende Woordboeck, inde Maleysche ende … This work was basically a textbook for those interested in learning Malay, but it also contained a Malay-Malagasy.

    Adelaar studied at Leiden University, where he also lectured. He was a research fellow in Linguistics at the Australian National University and a Humboldt Fellow at Goethe University (Frankfurt) before coming to the University of Melbourne .

    Malagasy dialects and the peopling of Madagascar – Semantic Scholar
    https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/454f/5824ac056cfb54003376ad5b9914fea40623.pdf
    by M Serva – ‎
    Jun 1, 2011 – Keywords: dialects of Madagascar; language taxonomy; lexicostatistic data analysis; Malagasy origins. 1. … Sulawesi, Malaysia and Sumatra, including loanwords from Malay .

    Maurizio Serva. Dipartimento di Matematica, Universita` dell’Aquila, I-67010 L’Aquila, Italy

    This happened about 2000 years ago . History of Madagascar. wikipedia

  65. Another little point to mention: Kaakutja was found in Toorale National Park, in northern New South Wales. It’s inland, about 650 km from the nearest coast (near Sydney), and about 2500 km from the coast nearest Java. So those Indonesians either crossed the Timor Sea (some 600 km from Timor), and then walked, through the Australian desert, most of the way to the opposite side of the continent in order to kill poor Kaakutja with a sword, then presumably turned around and went back the same way; or they sailed halfway around Australia, some 5000 km, and walked a mere 650 km inland for the same purpose; all without leaving for future archaeologists any other trace of their visit (most notably without leaving any other bodies killed the same way), and without ever returning to Australia.

  66. john welch says:

    650 km?
    Aboriginal river dance performed – Australian Geographic
    https://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/history-culture/2010/09/aboriginal-river-dance-performed/
    Sep 16, 2010 – It’s the Murrundi Ruwe Pangari Ringbalin, or River Country Spirit Ceremony, and it’s the first time the dances have taken place in modern …Murra Murra on Nebine Creek south-east of Cunnamulla, Queensland, and continuing all the way down to Meningie, SA, near the mouth of the Murray.

    15 h 6 min (1,447.5 km )

    Ngurunderi – Dreaming of the Ngarrindjeri People Murray River
    http://www.murrayriver.com.au/about-the-murray/ponde-dreamtime/
    The two men fought, using weapons and magic powers, until eventually Ngurunderi won. He burnt Parampari’s body in a huge fire, symbolised by granite …
    Old Java parampara, parĕmpara (Skt one following the other, successive; parampari) in succession, uninterruptedly .

    Parampara – The Heart of Tradition – The Practice Bali
    https://www.thepracticebali.com/2017/02/16/parampara-heart-tradition/
    Feb 16, 2017 – by Octavio Salvado. Parampara means ‘from one to another’ and speaks to an essential aspect of the Yogic path: Tradition.

    What is Parampara? – Definition from Yogapedia
    https://www.yogapedia.com/definition/6176/parampara
    Parampara is a Sanskrit word that refers to the succession of knowledge from one guru to the next.

    A World that was: The Yaraldi of the Murray River and the Lakes, …
    https://books.google.com.au/books?id=gYhQnj6cWh8C&pg=PA225&lpg=PA225&dq=ngurunderi+plonggi+threw&source=bl&ots=lN7lCWCqKH&sig=ACfU3U1QA__6BBA2utG-ySdLs_Shl9UE3A&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiizemiipXhAhXE7HMBHa0xAcIQ6AEwAXoECAgQAQ#v=onepage&q=ngurunderi%20plonggi%20threw&f=false
    Ronald Murray Berndt, ‎Ronald M. Berndt, ‎Catherine Helen Berndt – 1993 – ‎History
    Ngurunderi got his plonggi club and threw it, hitting Parampari, who..

    A palang is a ceremonial Malaysian sword. Indonesian palang pintu means a crossbar of a door.
    The Art of Outdoor Photography – Page 169 – Google Books Result
    https://books.google.com.au/books?id=VAtaTB5Qx7sC&pg=PA169&lpg=PA169&dq=headhunter+palng+sword/borneo&source=bl&ots=QeIa4kFVAw&sig=ACfU3U3-ZYFRmc-ZL9ZS0x2D642G733fjg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiquturi5XhAhW863MBHT73C58Q6AEwC3oECAgQAQ#v=onepage&q=headhunter%20palng%20sword%2Fborneo&f=false
    Boyd Norton
    Ibans are former head hunters living in the interior of Borneo. … that he offered to trade me a palang (a headhunting sword) and two skulls for it.

    1871 The Overland Telegraph Line: Telegraph Collection | Australia’s …

    http://www.migrationheritage.nsw.gov.au/exhibition/objectsthroughtime/1871-the-overland-telegraph-line-telegraph-collection/index.html
    Samuel Sweet, Overland telegraph party, J.A.G. Little, Robert Paterson, Charles Todd, … with Aborigines, floods and bushfires destroying poles and insulators. … the glass insulators an excellent source of flint like material for spear making and …

    Any metals would be used until exhausted and rusted . It’s said there was a lot of evidence for early gold-mining at Gympie Qld but it’s been mishandled and is now meaningless. ( I totally reject any association with Gympie pyramid claims , also mishandled ). There are also early reports of stone houses , one in Qld was destroyed on NSW government orders . Other stone structures have been quarried by settlers.
    Bundjalung people say the boat people became ancestors . Royal exile is one suggestion and would explain the religious elements.

  67. Rodger C says:

    So those Indonesians either crossed the Timor Sea (some 600 km from Timor), and then walked, through the Australian desert, most of the way to the opposite side of the continent in order to kill poor Kaakutja with a sword, then presumably turned around and went back the same way; or they sailed halfway around Australia, some 5000 km, and walked a mere 650 km inland for the same purpose

    Surely it’s not inconceivable that a sword could have found its way to the northern coast, even via shipwreck, and that such an interesting, useful and durable object could have traveled a long way in native hands via trade or conflict?

  68. john welch says:

    Yes , either way, someone would walk and carry it. Long distance walking was an Aboriginal thing such as the Bunya nut or Bogong moth harvests. Fast food was available for walks taking months.

    “Throughout Australia yapa (Indigenous) translate ngurra as ‘country’, which is more than ‘land’. Grasping ngurra’s intersecting meanings and contexts can help kardiya ( non-Indigenous) change perspective and position in relation to other people and our environment.”

    Indigenous Justice: New Tools, Approaches, and Spaces
    https://books.google.com.au/books?id=7j9bDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA146&lpg=PA146&dq=Throughout+Australia+yapa+translate+ngurra+as+%27country%27,+which+is+more+than+%27land%27&source=bl&ots=BSMQTnr0oW&sig=ACfU3U2Zfg0aIeF6REflCb3gLBb466rKzQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwigk8yfsZDhAhVLfysKHYfHAroQ6AEwAHoECAkQAQ#v=onepage&q=Throughout%20Australia%20yapa%20translate%20ngurra%20as%20'country'%2C%20which%20is%20more%20than%20'land'&f=false
    Jennifer Hendry, ‎Melissa L. Tatum, ‎Miriam Jorgensen – 2018 – ‎p 146

    James Gaykamangu – Research Data Australia – ANDS
    https://researchdata.ands.org.au/james-gaykamangu/249217
    an Indigenous Ngurra law custodian/elder from Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory.

    Negara: The Theatre State in Nineteenth-Century Bali
    https://books.google.com.au/books?id=QSUpCecTugkC&pg=PA62&lpg=PA62&dq=negara+precedence+band+sovereigns&source=bl&ots=bViv4Ka8cB&sig=ACfU3U1SrqiuzsV80Kpjpl2pxq9yXB7n4w&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi7qZXb_pThAhWb7HMBHfi_DD8Q6AEwAHoECAcQAQ#v=onepage&q=negara%20precedence%20band%20sovereigns&f=false
    Clifford Geertz – 1980 – p 62
    The negara state … a ceremonial order of precedence imperfectly impressed upon a band of sovereigns.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negara:_The_Theatre_State_in_Nineteenth-Century_Bali

    Billibellary – Wikipedia
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billibellary
    Billibellary (c. 1799–1846) was a song maker and influential ngurungaeta. .leading song makers and principal Woi-Wurrung leaders in the Melbourne region.. When John Batman explored .. he met Billibellary, one of the eight ngurungaeta he signed a treaty with on 8 June 1835.

    Javanese. negarane gita “country of residence”.
    Old Java. nagara (Skt town, city) capital, state or realm. gita “song”.

  69. john welch says:

    From Y
    “Regarding the tests applying wooden weapons to a pig skull, he (M Smith) also wrote, “it would be relatively simple to test this experimentally – pig skulls are out of the question as they are too dissimilar to human crania – but animal long bones (pig, sheep etc.) should work fine.” No such tests are mentioned by Welch or anyone else.”

    Certainly no test of wood is mentioned in the ‘Antiquity’ article which published that wood has the capacity to cause this trauma. The ANU test , which the author supervised and which he knew failed at the time of publication , is not mentioned. No museum bones or photos are referred to as evidence.

    “Martin Smith .. His credentials aside, there’s no other evidence of metal production or use in Australia before the 18th century, certainly not 500 years earlier.”
    There is 1 flag-pole on the moon , no others were seen previously or since. The Soviet one is buried in history . Just one small step.

  70. There is 1 flag-pole on the moon

    It isn’t a solitary metal artefact: there’s several bases of the lunar landing module; a buggy; at least one golf club (not to mention several golf balls made from modern materials).

    If you’re going to go extra-terrestrial, an explanation equally plausible to those you’re offering is that Kaakutja was killed by aliens. They sliced off bits as samples of terrestrial life. Took their metal weapons away with them.

    Or that he was killed in modern times; then the dating evidence was faked by burying and besmearing the body in ancient soils/sands.

    Why believe one bit of science (the dating), but disbelieve all the other bits (the isolation of Australia until C18th, that the linguistic evidence for loans from Old Javanese is bogus)? This is like a flat-earther denying that the earth is a globe and both spins on its axis and orbits the sun; but trusting science and navigation enough to take a plane to a flat-earthers conference.

  71. January First-of-May says:

    There is 1 flag-pole on the moon

    Unexpectedly relevant recent XKCD.

  72. john welch says:

    Dead right ,AntC, follow the science, you may have noticed (?) that the Cam Press article mentions this dude:
    (PDF) Identifying Sword Marks on Bone: Criteria for Distinguishing …
    https://www.researchgate.net/…/222528038_Identifying_Sword_Marks_on_Bone_Cri…
    Nov 13, 2017 – PDF | Swords have been one of the major weapons used in violent conflicts … 2002 J.E. Lewis / Journal of Archaeological Science 35 (2008) … Sword marks were found to be easily distinguishable from knife marks.

    1616 Dirk Hartog | Western Australian Museum
    museum.wa.gov.au/explore/dirk-hartog
    It encompasses the story of Dirk Hartog; profiles other early Dutch East India Company (VOC) skippers or commanders and their discoveries;

    A Note on the Golden Image of Agusan – Jstor
    https://www.jstor.org/stable/42719871
    by JR FRANCISCO – ‎1963 –
    Javanese miners who are known to have been mining gold in the Agu- san-Surigao area in the middle or late 14th century. (Surigao del Sur, Philippines).

  73. john welch says:

    Two solid rocket boosters (SRBs) cases were made of steel about ½ inch (13 mm) thick. on Shuttle missions, including STS-1 . The first orbiter, Columbia, launched on 12 April 1981.
    Kennedy Space Center Child Development Center
    https://ksccdc.ksc.nasa.gov/ Dec 12, 2018 – … CDC has achieved APPLE accreditation from the Accredited Professional Preschool Learning Environment program. Advanced preschool doctors of rocket science have made wooden booster-cases based on AntC boomerang booster breakthrough blunt-force blast-off , paid by Rocket Lab NZ with high altitude kauri about ½ inch (13 mm) thick .

    Maoris did it in wooden canoes and one is on the bottom of the Pacific . It had wood hull 2mm thick.
    From 12,000 to 500,000 litres capacity, the thickness of our tank walls ranges from 0.8mm to 2.0mm thick.
    Rural Steel Water Tanks – Pioneer leading the way in water

    A unique lunar flag-pole cannot change the science of aluminum refining and machining a tube.
    A unique skull trauma cannot change the science of wood and steel striking cortical bone.

    “.. but boats around the 30 foot or so length are usually built of about 3mm except for the keel. . My boat, a Dudley Dix Hout Bay 33, has 5mm keel and 3mm everywhere else..”

    Don’t go to sea with AntC.

  74. John Cowan says:

    Of course, hollow boats won’t work on Mesklin, at least not away from the Equator they won’t.

  75. john welch says:

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/678583312/skid-the-first-wooden-chef-knife
    This wooden knife is German-made to 4.073926 mm accuracy . Due to worries about false data in VW exhaust emission tests the knife has a steel edge to ensure safe skull excisions. Products can be returned to point of sale like boomerangs.

    Cheese and wood have the capability to form the moon , it’s been published and that’s science.

  76. I haven’t been to my local big library until today, unfortunately delaying the shift from the aggressive crackpot back to the subject at hand. Now I have a copy of a Chris Ballard’s article referenced in Wikipedia, and… it’s no help: “The original source of the term Sahul is not certain, but was possibly the name given by Malay-speaking crews or pilots on Dutch vessels, familiar with the waters, to a well-known feature of their fishing grounds […] No obvious gloss for Sahul can be found in Malay dictionaries and it may be Macassan in derivation.” If I run into a Makassar dictionary next time I’m at the library, I’ll know what to do.

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